J. Geils Band touring without J. Geils

The J. Geils Band. Left to right: Danny Klein, J. Geils, Peter Wolf, Magic Dick, Seth Justman (Handout)
The J. Geils Band. Left to right: Danny Klein, J. Geils, Peter Wolf, Magic Dick, Seth Justman (Handout)

This week’s announcement that the J. Geils Band is going back on the road didn’t come as a surprise. After all, the Boston band has been reuniting periodically over the past few years, performing a rollicking set of fan favorites, from “Looking for a Love, and “Give It to Me” to “Musta Got Lost” and “Freeze Frame.” What’s different about this tour, which kicks off Aug. 25 in Syracuse and concludes Sept. 22 at the Hampton Beach Casino, is the absence of the band’s guitarist and namesake. That’s right, the J. Geils Band is touring without J. Geils. “Guitarist John Geils will not be joining this tour due to an ongoing legal dispute between The J. Geils Band and John Geils’ solo record label, Francesca Records,” the band said in a statement. “The band is challenging Francesca Records’ baseless claim to ownership and control of the rights to the name ‘J. Geils Band.’ Unfortunately, John Geils’ decision to align with Francesca Records has hindered a working relationship with The J. Geils Band.” According to its website, Francesca Records was formed in 1996 by brothers Gerry and Vincenzo Beaudoin. (Gerry is a guitarist who’s recorded with the Boston Jazz Ensemble, mandolinist David Grisman, and guitarist Duke Robillard, among others.) In 2003, according to the site, Vincenzo sold his share in the company and J. Geils joined as Francesca’s “house producer/co-owner.” Reached Thursday, Gerry Beaudoin said he hadn’t read the band’s statement and declined to comment. Attempts to contact Geils were unsuccessful. The current lineup now includes frontman Peter Wolf, keyboardist Seth Justman, bassist Danny Klein, harpist Magic Dick, guitarist Duke Levine, Tom Arey, who replaces original drummer Stephen Jo Bladd, and the Uptown Horns. John Baruck, who manages the J. Geils Band, told us Wolf and the band are “frustrated and disappointed” after being “blindsided” by Geils. He said the guitarist applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office for ownership of the name — without telling the rest of the band. “After all those years together, it’s a sad situation that somebody would think they have the right to preempt the commerce of the other guys by taking the name away,” said Baruck. “That doesn’t make for a good working relationship.”

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