nearly 20 years, the Jumpin' Hot Club and its founders, Graham"Shippy"
and Adam have been men with a mission to bring
the best of the Country,Blues, Rock n Roll, Songsters, Reggae/Ska
- in fact any kinda Roots music to a stage somewhere near you.
At a time when music is increasingly packaged as a lifestyle accessory,
it's refreshing to come across people with passion and enthusiasm
which years in the "bear pit" of concert promotion has yet to blunt.
The Club first opened for business in the cellar room of Newcastle's
Bridge Hotel way back in 1985, although for Graham the venue
had an association which went much further back into Newcastle's
musical history. "My dad was a trombone player and he and trumpeter
Fred Rowe opened a jazz club in the early fifties in the same place."
music clearly running in the blood, he summoned the help of
self confessed acoustic music aficionado Adam, to give
Tyneside a new dose of Live Music.. As
Graham ran a fanzine called "Jumpin' And Hot" the
name of the club was easily acquired.
has long had an affinity with live music, although in the 1980's
the number of venues had slumped in comparison to
the heydays of the late 50s and 60s.
"Shippy" being a musician who could run a p.a.
system meant that the pair built up a good network of contacts from
which they were able to gauge support for the notion of promoting
a new Live Music Club.
The First Venue
Graham recalls, "Dave Shippley was an ex-musician trying
the pub trade and asked us to take a look at his cellar bar at The
Bridge Hotel." What they saw was a somewhere that was dark and seedy
and exactly what they were looking for. "It looked like something
out of a Big Bill Broonzy clip. I didn't know at the time
me old man had run a jazz club down there all those year's ago."
On Tuesday 3rd December, 1985, local legends, The
Hokum Hotshots, opened up and from then on they havn't looked back.
Since opening for trade, the Club has carefully built up a long
list of top-drawer names, helping to establish their credibility
at a local, national and international level.
After 6 months as a acoustic blues club they decided to dip their toes in the water
booking a variety of performers including Rockabilly, Ska, Country,
Jazz, Singer/Songwriters to add to the staple diet of the Blues.
"In fact, we booked anything rootsy" says Collerton. "Mind you,
we weren't very experienced. If a rider was required, my Mum would
invite the artists round to dinner and make them sandwiches to take
down the club."
Over the years this has included the likes of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, 0detta, Scotty Moore, James Burton, John Hammond, Doctor Ross, Charlie Mussellwhite,
Billy Lee Riley, The
Abbyssinians, Toots And Maytals, Byron Lee, Rico, Horace Andy and Dennis Alcapone, Dl Menard and the late Eddie Le Jeune & C.J Chernier
will have all tickled your taste-buds. Country luminaries such as Chuck Prophet, Be Good Tanya's,Tift Merritt,Jay Farrar,
Giant Sand, Paul Burch, Old Crow Medicine Show, have given the club
its big Alternative shot too. Even further afield, the palm wine music
of Sierra Leone's SE Rogie and veteran Malian performer Boubacar
Traore added an nice exotic blend in early days.
The Artists Like It Too!
The Jumpin' Hot Club was somewhere to hang out for many musician's
and one regular was Martin Stephenson of The Daintees fame. "When
he was on Kitchenware Records in the 80's, he used
to sneak away from his management and come play a solo show at the
club. In fact Martin Stephenson has played more than anybody. "He's
always supported us!", laughs Adam.
Of course not every artist can be as easy to get along with. Graham
recalls the time when Ryan Adams appeared. "He had the piano man
tune the thing three times - back and forth during the day,He was
dizzy, oh and the towels weren't the right colour for him."The show
nevertheless went down very well with the capacity crowd who turned
out to see the truculent troubadour."They don't always get to see
what goes on behind the scenes, fortunatly", Adam proclaims.
audiences grew, the Club realised it would have to move to somewhere
bigger and in 1996 relocated to the spacious "Live Theatre" on Newcastle's
Quayside. Additionally, the club branched out, providing the
content for several events in the region, including an ever-popular
slot at Orange WOW festival and several Newcastle Festivals, including the main
programmer's for the mighty ORANGE EVOLUTION festival.
In 2003 the club doubled its booking policy & deceided to use the splendid confines of The Cluny,Byker as a small music club alternative to Live Theatre.The place just lended itself to raucous Americana/Rock N Roll & Reggae. Other unusual venues have been used too, so the Newcastle public hav'nt missed out on very many J'Hot favourites either.
Unlike many promoter's, "Shippy" has always made a point of seeking
out the music first hand, making several trips to the States in
search of something special, especially his trips over the last decade to Austin SXSW Music Festival (see his reviews).
"I've booked more Texas stuff over the last eight years than
everything else, from Slaid Cleaves to Dale Watson to Patty Griffin to The Resentments and so on and so on."
The appearance of quality high profile names such as Buddy Miller, Michelle Shocked,
Ron Sexsmith, Gary US Bonds, have also ensured that the popularity of
the Jumpin' Hot Club continues to spread.
A Labour of Love
bottom line is that Adam believes that the continuing success of
the Jumpin' Hot Club is because it's never been an exercise in just
getting punters to part with their hard-earned money.
For him it's always been about following an interest and then putting
a lot of time, energy and enthusiasm into telling others about it.
More than anything, it's this kind of personal enthusiasm and commitment
which gives the Jumpin' Hot Club it's own distinctive brand and
Not too bad for two geordie boys!! - Stan Smith (ex WOW Festival co-director)