With a career that spans over five decades, James Ferris' musical talents (piano, Hammond B-3 organ, synthesizers, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, and vocals) are as diversified as his influences. From Amadeus to the Animals and all points in between…Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren, Stones to the Beatles, Stevie Ray to Stevie Wonder, Carol and B.B. King, just to name a few.
James has performed at almost every club in the Dallas/Fort Worth area during the 60’s and 70’s and many others thru out the U.S. and beyond. James has also played keyboards or fronted for some of the most popular local and regional acts since the mid-sixties. 1964-1966 he played with The Seventh Street Prophets, one of the few bands playing at that time. This was also James’ first experience with recording; the band released a 45 titled Everybody Needs Somebody (a Stones hit).
1968 to 1970 James continues to climb the ladder being hired by Santa Fe; just three days before opening and touring with Three Dog Night. Managed by Ray Dennis and Beverly Beard, who wanted a bigger sound for the three piece, had James learn their entire show on keyboards in just a matter of hours. Besides touring with Three Dog Night, they also opened for Spirit and others. At the Dallas Memorial Coliseum opening for “3 Dog”, James’ parents saw their “long hair son” and proclaimed lovingly “I guess those piano lessons finally paid off!”
James returned to Dallas to form Brat (1975-1979). BRAT, who Buddy Magazine called the “heavy metal kings of Dallas”, was an extremely popular Big D band opening for many acts including: Thin Lizzy, The Baby’s, Dr. John, Molly Hatchet, Nitzinger, Freddie King, and more. Ferris says, the “heavy metal kings” was misleading, we were only rock and roll as Buddy Mag later said…remnant of the Rolling Stones, and one of the top acts in the area. After four years of touring the southwest from major venues to honky tonk dives, Tony Caterine came calling asking James to join Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88’s (1979-1991), a highly visible band throughout the south and the entire USA.
With one album under their belt, Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88’s went on to release more, mostly written by Ferris. Performing for 11 years as “Rocco Vaselino”, James performed for the famous anti-litter campaign “DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS”, saving Texas tax payers millions of dollars in Highway clean-up costs. The commercial went on to win the “Addy” award for the year 1986; the equivalent of the Grammy for advertising.
James credits the “88’s” for his ability to come up with intricate vocal harmonies, you can hear in his originals today, such as “Primitive Women” and “One Sided Love”. “It was like going to vocal school all day and singing in the choir all night” Ferris says. After 11 long yet successful years with Johnny Dee, it was time to move on. In 1992 James, or should we say “Rocco”, left the 88’s to form a look-a-like tribute act called “Rocco’s Tribute to The Rolling Stones” based out of Austin, TX, A Rocket 88’s spin off, one of the first look-a-like acts in Texas and just a few outside of Vegas. Capitalizing on his uncanny resemblance to Mick Jagger, plus the ability to sing like him, he hired Joe Kennedy as a Keith Richards look-alike and took their act to Vegas to form the 1st incarnation of Voodoo Lounge. James became the most sought after Jagger impersonator in the country and was voted celebrity look-a-like of the year in 1994. James also appeared at “Legends in Concert” at the Imperial Palace, the longest running celebrity look-a-like show in history. He continues to perform as Jagger today (akamickjagger.com) when he’s not working with his original act The James Ferris Group – JFG (Jamesferrisgroup.com).
James has also performed live with such greats legends as ZZ Top, Rolling Stones saxophone player Bobby Keys, James Brown (national television), Stevie Ray Vaughn (I used to sneak him into the Fog…he was too young to get in!), and John Lee Hooker (Lone Star NYC). James continues to perform today with Ferris Turner Overdrive, a power duo with James Ferris Group drummer Ricky Turner, The Will Crayton Band, a show band out of Dallas, and session work, as well as teach.
James credits every band and musician he’s ever worked with for their influences that have made him the musician/songwriter that he is today. Never at a shortage for ideas, Ferris strives to tell the truth about real life events, experiences, and relationships. Listen for yourself thru great lyrics, melodies, music and catchy memorable hook lines...from the sad lament “No Stars Falling” to the boot-scootin country rock of “Two Steppin Fool”. The music of the James Ferris Group is timeless; just ask four year old Olivia Brady…she likes "Out Back With the Dogs". 87 year old Dick Turner (Ricky’s Dad) says “I can understand his words”.
Terry Humphries - Lead Guitar
Terry Humphries has been playing guitar in bands since the age of 15, getting to play in some of the best clubs in the area.
Signing with RCA in the Band dv8, the 3rd year tour landed shows in NYC where Terry transitioned into a session player, spending over a decade in New York working with various major recording artists.
Havening earned his degree from North Texas State University, Terry has also been teaching for years. Terry carries a full cornucopia of students of all ages and levels. He also appears regularly with his power trio band Voodoo Witness. Terry on lead guitar puts his heart and spirit into each song. Music is his life, it flows through him and out from him, touching all he reaches with his amazing talent.
Ricky Turner - Drummer
Ricky Turner had been drumming in the Dallas-Fort Worth arena since 1967. Savoir- Faire was his first endeavor and they played all the happening clubs in Dallas of that era. He met James Ferris in the early 70's and immediately hit it off musically. Ricky was filling in with Kenny & the Kasuals at the Big D 60's reunion at the Lakewood Bar & Grill in 2006 when he ran into James after 30 years. James had just recently returned from Vegas and they started collaborating on many of James' original songs. They later formed Voodoo Lounge doing Rolling Stones and added Terry & Vernon to the lineup after James met them at a mutual gig. After a well recived performance at the Lakewood Theater for "Hippie Circus" December 2007, they decided to concentrate on all original music and "Out Back With the Dogs" is their debut release as The James Ferris Group.
Vernon "The Wizard" Jones - Bass Guitar
Vernon Jones, bass player extraordinaire, originally from Memphis, TN, grew up in a musical family. His father played banjo, guitar, fiddle and mandolin for country bands. Vernon has spent a great deal of his life in the studio and has performed on many gold records. R & B singers from the South and British Invasion bands are among his favorite influences. He's the bottom line of the band that keeps it all going.