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Southside Johnny's focusing on fun these days

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2015

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Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes are as much a legend as a band.

Johnny Lyon was a running buddy of Bruce Springsteen back in New Jersey during the 60s, and before Springsteen was signed to a recording contract. The Jukes were co-led by Steve Van Zandt, who eventually joined Springsteen's E Street Band, and Springsteen's success led to a deal for Lyon and company -- as well as songs co-written and featuring Springsteen on the group's early albums.

Pretty heady stuff, but "that legend stuff makes me nervous," Lyon says.

"We just like to go out and play anymore, really," Lyon, 66, says by phone from his home in New Jersey. "I usually find there's a lot of people who haven't seen us for a long time, so they're glad to come out. And they bring their kids or grandkids; 'This is the guy you've been hearing all these years.'

"That`s great. It's just like meeting old friends, connecting with people who used to go see us and putting on as good a show as we can for them."

But wait, there's more...

The Jukes do have a new album on the way, which Lyon says is "almost finished." It will be the group`s first fresh material since "Pills and Ammo" in 2010, and Lyon calls it "a soul album," with influences that include Sam & Dave, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack and others of that ilk. He's not sure when it will come out, but he's confident it will fit with what the Jukes have done since "I Don't Want To Go Home" came out almost 40 years ago.

"I was out grocery shopping and was going to buy some wine, and 'Superfly' came on, Curtis Mayfield's great theme song from the movie," Lyon recalls. "That great groove, the bass, the horns. And I look and here comes this guy down the aisle, bopping to the music. There's a woman pushing a car, she's bopping. I'm bopping. The clerks are bopping...

"That's what I wanted to do. The last album was a very angry album. This album is a lot of fun. This is an album to dance to, to make you feel good. That's what we should be doing at this time, music that makes people feel good and makes them want to dance. No great political messages, no philosophical thought. Just good times."

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes

Thursday, June 25. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $25.

Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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