By James, Michael Igiri
Groton Police has announced the death of Music icon, and Jazz producer J. Geils. John Warren Geils Jr., the artist kown professionally as J. Geils – who gave his name to the 1980s rock group he founded, The J. Geils Band-, was found dead in his Groton, Massachusetts, home on Tuesday. He was 71.
Groton Police Chief Donald Palma confirmed this, and stated in a report that the late guitarist- who also found the eponymous- has died. According to the police chief, the 71-year-old was found unresponsive and was declared dead at the scene.
The police are investigating the death as a standard procedure, although foul play was not suspected and a preliminary investigation suggested Geils died of natural causes.
Geils was born in New York City and grew up in Morris Plains, New Jersey. His father was an engineer at Bell Labs and a jazz fan. From an early age, he heard his father’s albums by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, and was escorted by his father to a Louis Armstrong concert. He worked out Miles Davis Music on trumpet and drums, and he listened to blues guitarists Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters on the radio.
In 1964, he went to North-eastern University and was a trumpeter in the marching band.
When he was drawn to folk musicians in Boston, he left North-eastern for Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he studied mechanical engineering.
At Worcester, he formed J. Geils Blue Band with Danny Klein, Magic Dick Saltwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, and Peter Wolf, with Seth Justman, becoming the last member before the band released its debut album in 1970. The band released other albums- Love Stinks (1980),
Freeze Frame (1981), and Centerfold, which charted to number one in the United States in early 1982- before tension and conflict arose among band members and Peter Wolf left to pursue a solo career until the band broke up in 1985.
Geils put down the guitar to concentrate on auto racing and restoration. He returned to music in 1992 and formed another band called Bluestine, with Magic Dick. In 2005, he released his first solo album, a jazz album and in 2015, Geils was named to the Wall of Honor, at his alma mater, Bernards High School in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
Earlier in 1982, Geils moved to Groton, Massachusetts where he was honoured by a proclamation of a “J. Geils Day”, on December 1, 2009.
J. Geils was a musician, singer, songwriter, and producer whose works earned him international acclaim and has given him the status of an icon in the music industry.