Jim Keller: The Usual Mess

February 9th, 2022 7pm   Stage 2


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The Usual Mess


"The Usual Mess” featuring: Jim Keller, Adam Levy, Adam Minkoff, Yuval Lion, Andy Hess, Todd Caldwell, Tony Mason, Tony Scheer, Dan Mintseris, Luca Benedetti (if he cancels his other gig), but not Rich Hinman cause he’ll be up in Boston or Ben Zwerin cause he’s in Woodstock and I haven’t asked him yet, or Mr Byron Isaacs who will be on plane to London.

Jim Keller


What would you get if John Lee Hooker quarantined with Kraftwerk? Jim Keller’s mix of industrial blues and industrial menace, ”Don’t Get Me Started,” could turn out to be the definitive song for the pandemic.

Keller first got attention years ago when, as part of San Francisco group Tommy Tutone, he co-wrote and performed “867-5309” (“Jenny Jenny”), a classic power pop tune that made 80’s radio so listenable.

After migrating to New York, he jumped the fence, running Philip Glass’s publishing company and taking over management of Glass’s career as director of Dunvagen Music.

In 2005, Keller returned to recording and performing and with a voice aged by time, whiskey and promises, he’s got the sound of someone who could have been Tom Petty’s therapist.  He’s made three solo albums to date Sunshine In My Pocket (2005), Soul Candy (2011) and Heaven Can Wait (2014). 

A cult figure in the music business, Keller’s gigs at New York’s Lakeside Lounge and The Rockwood Music Hall are legendary. If the best players in town weren’t on stage with him, they were in the audience, singing along, playing along, making the sort of noise that would get you locked up in a lesser town.

Written with longtime collaborator Byron Isaacs (The Lumineers, Levon Helm) and produced by Mitchell Froom (Los Lobos, Crowded House, Randy Newman) “Don’t Get Me Started” is what so many of us are feeling right now, whether we’re stuck at home or on the front lines.

It’s the phrasing that hooks you, sly and all knowing but still waiting to be told that one secret that might make it all worth it, that might make sense of this whole crazy mess.

You know?

Don’t get him started.

– Brian Cullman