The Jefferson Jay Project, the Jefferson Jay Band, The Jefferson Jay Show -- this guy keeps busy. Formerly known as Brainstorm, the Jefferson Jay Band has been playing around San Diego for five years and has opened for Jane's Addiction and Steely Dan.
"The longest-tenured member other than myself," says Jefferson Jay, "is bassist Damon Stoll, a.k.a. the Funky Damon. He and I met three years ago. When he first came over, I made us egg salad sandwiches. The lesson to be learned here is that if you have love and egg salad, there is nothing you can't do."
His radio program, The Jefferson Jay Show, airs online on Monday nights from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. at www.kcrlive.com, as well as Cox digital cable channel 956 and Time Warner digital cable channel 957. "It is mostly comedy and music, with a little bit of politics and sports."
When the band played the Belly Up last May, "Something strange happened." Jay explains, "In the middle of our second song, this huge screen came down right in front of us. We just kept playing, and we were laughing. We've been around awhile so we took it in stride. Eventually I came out in front of the screen and people cheered. The funny thing was that they couldn't get the screen to go back up. Apparently it was on a timer. The manager was looking at me, pressing on a remote control. He looked apologetic and was saying he thought it would go up sometime during our next song. It did. People cheered more.
"Street Scene is this week," he adds, "and that's a bad time for anyone to do gigs."
The Jefferson Jay Band performs at O'Connell's on Friday, August 11.
"I loved the Gibson acoustic that I learned on, but that was stolen. My favorite axe now is my '72 Les Paul Black Beauty. I bought it from a dark character named Detroit Frank. I loaned him $200, which was arguably a bad move, but when he offered me his 'baby' for only $800 more, I felt like the $200 I had loaned him was reborn. Friends of mine in other bands were begging me to turn it over to them for a quick profit, but I would never do it. Rumor has it some other people didn't come out of the Detroit Frank era as well off as I did."
"Being in a big house with my grandmother, my dad's mom, and she was teaching me how to get Goldfish, the crackers, to swim in your mouth. She died when I was two."
Pink Floyd, Animals. "My most accurate list would probably include The Wall and Wish You Were Here, not to mention Meddle and Dark Side of the Moon, but Animals wins for this list."
Marvin Gaye, What's Going On. "Soulful, funky, deep, meaningful, short and sweet, ambitious. 'Only love can conquer hate / You know we've got to find a way. '"
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. "The jazz classic. Miles, Coltrane, Cannonball. His In a Silent Way was the first jazz album I loved."
Alice in Chains, Dirt. "It is my favorite album of the '90s.... [It] awakened me to dark, heavy music."
Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic. "I just love Steely Dan so much after seeing them twice in the [same] week."
"Two weeks ago the Jefferson Jay Band opened up for Michael McDonald and Steely Dan in Irvine. There were thousands of people checking us out, and we put together a nine-piece version of the band including a three-piece horn section, unofficially known as the Jefferson Jay Hornblowers. I was so relaxed. It was the most people I had ever played for and the most fun I ever had. I have written three songs in four days, directly from the Steely Dan inspiration."
WORST FASHION FAUX PAS?
"Governor Schwarzenegger said, in the fine film Commando, 'I eat Green Berets for breakfast.' Well, I am pretty much the same way with fashion faux pas. I sport feather boas, sumo topknots, platform boots, velvet bell bottoms, fake fur, sparkles, skirts, smocks, whatever I feel like, really, without hesitation. But I would have to say...in a Hanukkah show at the Casbah, about five years ago, I covered the Dylan tune, 'Ballad of a Thin Man.' I wore white spandex bicycle shorts rolled up past my knees, a too-tight little shirt with blue sequins, and a long orange origami beak with Groucho Marx glasses, as my 'Captain Jew' superhero disguise."
BEST BRUSH WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS?
"On September 11, 1994, when I was in college at University of Massachusetts Amherst, I was huge into Phish. I saw them about 70 times in the '90s. A side project featuring Trey Anastasio, Phish's guitarist/songwriter, and Phish's drummer Jon Fishman, called Bad Hat, came to play in Northampton, so I decided I was going to go down early and meet them. So I got my lunch, and I've got my notebook to write in, it's about 1:30 p.m., and then right to my left is Trey. After a brief fumfur (also known as a 'homina homina'), I helped them move their stuff and sat and listened and wrote all day as Trey played for hours and hours. I could have talked to him a bunch, I suppose, but I let him do his thing and enjoyed it and chilled -- while Trey and the band played, when they were my favorite band in the world."