He was a guitarist and singer born John Warren Geils Jr. in New York City and raised in Far Hills, New Jersey. He was introduced to music at a very young age from his father’s love of jazz. He listened to recordings at home by some of the jazz greats and went with his father to see Louis Armstrong in concert.
He first took studies at Northeastern University from 1964 and played trumpet in its marching band before moving on and studying mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He formed the group The J. Geils Trio in 1967 and played the folk clubs with them while he was attending the Institute.
By 1970 the band had grown and became The J.Geils Band and they saw success in 1980/1 with “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold ” among others. The band went into semi retirement after in 1985 although occasionally gave performances.
After the band finished he concentrated on restoration and auto racing although he went back into the music side of things when he was the producer for Danny Klein’s album. He and Magic Dick formed Bluestime and he performed with the acoustic Kings of Strings trio and played in the New Guitar Summit. In 2005 he released his debut solo album.
Living in Groton, Massachusetts, since 1982, the town proclaimed 1st December 2009 as J. Geils Day. His name was added to the Wall of Honor at Bernards High School, New Jersey, which was his alma mater, in 2015.
He died of natural causes at his home in April 3017. He was 71 years old.
Here he is performing with the band on “Looking For a Love”….
The J. Geils Band recordings
Centerfold (Seth Justman )
Flamethrower (Seth Justman )