Take a posse of seasoned Tahoe rockers, put out a bounty on a hit list of legendary rock tunes, and what do you get?
You get the Electric Jimmys, and you get it at free at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, in Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The roots of the Electric Jimmys go back to the heyday of the Lake Tahoe music scene of the ’90s, with various members hailing from Cosmic Freeway, Paisley Braincells, Uncle Funkle and other groups. Band members have appeared with artists such as Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Brent Mydland, Vince Welnick, Steve Kimock, Mike Gordon, John Cipollina, Taj Mahal and Drew Emmitt.
“We’re just a bunch of old-school, Tahoe jam cats basically,” guitarist Joe Warren said.
The Electric Jimmys are Dan Parslow (guitar, vocals), Warren (guitar, vocals), Steve Roberts (drums, vocals), Jeff Laakso (keyboards, sax, vocals), Jared Golden, (bass) and Tarius Macara (percussion).
The band first began to come together in 2011, when Parslow and Warren got together with Frank Fletcher and Chris Carletto, the latter three members of Cosmic Freeway. Parslow and Fletcher initially were playing in a band called Headphone Union.
“I joined that band, and out of that came the desire to play music again,” Parslow said. “Then out of that came the Electric Jimmys.”
Fletcher brought Carletto and Warren in, and the Jimmys formed, playing initial shows at Himmel Haus and MontBleu Casino in South Lake Tahoe, until Fletcher and Carletto left the band due to scheduling differences.
A longtime South Lake Tahoe percussionist, Macara joined the band in 2011, and Paisley Brain Cells player Laakso signed on in 2012, the same year that Roberts and Golden relocated from Florida to join the project.
The Electric Jimmys play a far-reaching blend of classic tunes in and around the Reno-Tahoe area, putting on a party for old and new fans alike with their heartfelt renditions and extensive improvisational skills.
“If we do a show like we did last year, playing the after-party for JGB and Melvin Seals, we will do all Grateful Dead,” Parslow said. “We are able to provide a full night of Grateful Dead entertainment. However, when it’s our own night we branch out and cover a lot of other rock styles.”
“We go anywhere from Jimi Hendrix to the Grateful Dead to the Allman Brothers to Led Zeppelin,” Warren said. “Our roots are really varied, from rock ‘n’ roll to reggae to jam inspired music, and we focus on the jam-improv aspect of the music.”
Not solely a cover band, the Electric Jimmys also throw down an array of original tunes, from current compositions to timeless tunes from members’ past bands. Regardless of the material, concertgoers can always rely on a heavy dose of the group’s instrumental prowess.
“One way that I could describe that is that we like to create things in the moment,” Parslow said. “A lot of that is based on improvisation, where we can be playing a cover song and then expand upon that, and build upon that to where it’s not the song that we were playing at all.”
“Every song has got its own approach and we never repeat the same show, so it’s always a new set list,” Warren said.
Beyond the impending shindig, the Electric Jimmys are simply focused on growing the party.
“We’re looking forward to continuing on,” Parslow said. “Playing more performances and getting into the festival circuit, and continuing to build our longtime following.”