Go Jimmy gone
Go Jimmy Go will call it quits in 2016 after two decades of music, according to one of the band’s founding members.
Eric White has long served as resident saxophone player and de facto publicist for the group, which also includes lead vocalist Jason “Bison” Friedmann, guitarist Ian Ashley, bassist Andrew McLellan, drummer Shon Gregory and Brandon Hutson on trombone. He was the one responsible for a Facebook post announcing the news.
“It’s strange writing something like this, but here it goes,” he said. “It is with heavy hearts that we say it’s about time we close up shop.”
Reached by phone this week, White admitted the post was a long time coming. After traveling extensively throughout the United States, Asia and Europe for more than a decade, the band stopped touring full-time in 2007 and haven’t played outside Hawaii since 2009.
“We delayed it as long as possible,” he said. “I’ve been meaning to write that (Facebook post) for a long time. … That was the hardest thing to write. I waited over a year to write it.”
Making such an important announcement a year in advance seems like a pretty grown-up thing to do. And that’s pretty much what’s happened to Go Jimmy Go — full-time jobs, marriages and children mean priorities have changed as the guys have gotten older.
“A lot of bands don’t get to do farewell shows,” White, 40, explained. “We’ve had a good ride. We figured we’d end on a nice round number like 20. … We’re gonna call all the former band members on the mainland and everyone here in Hawaii and do a massive set of all our songs.
“It’s going to be a retrospective. Our first release was on a cassette tape, so we have lots of music to go through!”
Despite the sad news, White said nearly everyone in the band will remain involved in the local music scene one way or another. When he’s not teaching at Highlands Intermediate or spending time with his wife and two sons, he spends his free time on stage with Black Square and JD’s Rock ’N’ Soul Band.
“I’ve been teaching for eight years since (Go Jimmy Go) stopped touring,” said White. “It’s a little hectic, but music is time well spent. It’s like people who gotta go surfing. It’s food for the soul.
“And it’s fun because I get to play with my wife. JD is a big ol’ eight-piece band. It’s so different from what I’ve been doing the last 20 years with Go Jimmy Go.”
But White and the rest of Go Jimmy Go aren’t done yet, with two shows lined up in March and plans to continue playing locally as long as there are gigs available.
They’ll perform next at 8 p.m. March 14 at Aloha Stadium as part of the Honolulu Music, Food and Arts Festival, a two-day event with 40 arts and crafts vendors, food from 35 local restaurants and a full lineup of live entertainment.
On March 20 they’ll join another Honolulu music veteran as Jason Miller celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hawaiian Express Records with a free, all-ages party at Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s. Go Jimmy Go will be joined on stage by Grapefruit, The Quintessentials and others starting at 8 p.m.
“We want everyone who’s a fan to come to the last few shows we have and then definitely make it to the farewell show next year,” said White. “It will be good to have closure. We want to do it right.”
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.