The New Jack Hippies -
1. (n.) The songwriting team of Roger Tausz & Guy Schwartz, first formed in 1974.
2. (n.) A semi-revolving band of musicians who came together with Guy Schwartz at weekly jams in 1997 at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar & at The Big Easy in Houston, Texas, USA, to play the music of The New Jack Hippies.
3. (n.) A production team consisting of a world class recording engineer/producer (Roger), an archivist/guerrilla taper (Guy), and their many collaborators, who have recorded, and have recorded with numerous diverse artists and kept a partial record of the southeast Texas music scene at the end of the 20th century.
Guy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies -
1. (n.) A huge revolving band and revue which performed around southeast Texas in 1998-2000, featuring various artists and musicians whose common thread was their love of playing with the other creative musicians who would show up at these shows, and their interest in the songs of Guy Schwartz & Roger Tausz.
Schwartz is usually touring with a smaller rhythm section, sometimes including Tausz.
Before The New Jack Hippies began retooling for the road in 2001, a New Jack Hippies performance could be almost anything, with 4 - 20 various musicians showing up on any given night.
Many were members of an evolving core band.
Many others would be Texas blues and rock musicians showing up for the first time, to become new recruits and claim their Hippies roster number! On some nights, the band would go all night without breaks in the music, with Guy orchestrating musicians onto and off of the stages, as the band reconfigured again and again to play various songs and styles.
Studio recordings were sold on the web and at the performances, but live recordings of The New Jack Hippies band with its various guests became fan favorites.
By 2001, Guy had decided to take the music on the road in order to expose their songs to a wider audience, and to recruit new Hippies around the world.
Hoping for the same type of spontaneous participation from local musicians in each community they would visit, the big revolving band had to be streamlined for the road.
NOTE FROM GUY: On that first day back together, when we wrote 'Love Vs.
The World' and 'All Through Loving You', it was great to realize that we could still write songs like we did before.
Roger had expressed his desire to have a large band like we had in the 70s, but we didn't actually play out at first.
We figured we'd just be songwriters, and not take on the responsibilities (and drama) of having THE BAND! I was playing as the house bassist at the weekly blues jam at Dan Electro's, and each week I'd get the chance to play a few of our new songs on guitar with a different group of jammers.
A regular group began emerging, and some of the things that guys like Teri Greene, Chaz Nadege, John Chupin and Matt Underwood played became permanent parts of the new arrangements.
The jam became a laboratory for the music, and the musicians and vocalists I met at the jams became my new lab mates.
It wasn't until Roger was in California in 1998, that a chain of events begun by a 'Best Songwriter' award nomination in The Houston Press led to a few old friends in the music business and local scene asking if I would play some shows and do some recording.
After that, we began playing all over! Different musicians would come join us and help with our music, and we began helping with theirs.
Levon's techno guys would show up, and a blues or rock audience would freak when the turntables started scratching.
We'd have 10-15 musicians set up, often including horns and two drum sets.
Three drummers would rotate with one being offstage at any time, resting up to be fresh when one of the other guys needed a break.
The music never stopped - there was always a group onstage.
People like Jerald Gray & Heath Spencer Philip became regularly featured performers with the band.
Discovering Heath, and rediscovering Jerald, were two of the big thrills.
We began recording them, as well as recording some of our guest Hippies like Gloria Edwards and Tyri Scheik.
It got tricky sometimes! Stage-time could sometimes be tight when a couple more entertainers (like Andy 'Too Hard For Texas' Williams or Carolyn Wonderland) could all walk in with guitars at the same time.
It made for some great moments, like Heath's spontaneous duet with Sonny James, the Sandy/PJ lovefest at Silky's or the night we had the pro musicians from my high school class - Vince Bell, Jimmy Raycraft and Bill Browder.
Playing in this band has always been musically magical on a very consistent basis...
I could go on doing that stuff forever, but we really need to take the music on the road...
to the people....
We'll only be able to take the rhythm section and Heath this time....
I hope we run into a lot of new Hippies on the road! That's it for now! See you where the live music is...
-Guy Schwartz Press Reviews
"Calling this outfit a jam band may be accurate, but it's not complete.
The multi-faceted Hippies take their cues from the compact disciplined stylings of bands like The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Little feat and War, in addition to the likes of Phish and The Dead.
If anything, call The New Jack Hippies a well-rehearsed jam band! And, as good as this band sounds on disc, it's usually more effective in a live setting - preferably under the sun with a cold beer in hand." - Bob Ruggiero, New Times Newspapers "Pulling from the great genre pool, The New Jack Hippies are a unique spin on bluesy, jam-style rock.
Eclectic from the very sense of the word, the often large conglomeration of musicians is remarkably creative and cohesive." -PJ Cooper, Houston Headline "....we have a very eclectic evening of music, and that eclecticism is personified by (The New Jack Hippies).
These two guys, the main core of this band up here, are two of my oldest, and dearest friends from Houston, Texas.
We grew up playing music together, and the thing about Texas that's great is that you get to play country, you get to play rock & roll, you get to play the blues, and you get to do just about anything you want.
These guys play all kinds of music, and they've morphed into one of Texas most popular blues rock hippie jam bands!" - Billy Block (Western Beat/CMT - Nashville) "Schwartz has been an uncontested guitar wielding presence on the Houston scene for decades...Given the mountain of songs he's written over the years...
this Best Songwriter nomination is a belated payment for a long overdue I.O.U."