Dan Hughes' Musical Journey - Minneapolis
The Americans in Minneapolis
June 30, 2010
We come into Minnesota last season and we changed our arrangement, we have never been successful at Minnesota in my time here. The plan was to come in a day earlier and have a practice on their court.
Later that night, I'm taking my walk out to get something to eat and I'm walking by the convention center. I look over and I notice people are setting up tables to sell things, so I wander over to check it out.
One table I notice is selling Jay and the Americans, a 60's band out of New York. They were a very vocal band, not a rock band side, but more on the harmony and vocal - sort of Frankie Valli, Four Seasons type of genre.
I look a little closer and I see the guys who are setting up are actually the guys in the band, The Americans. So I decide to strike up a conversation with them. "What are you doing here?" "What's going on?" That type of thing.
They were very interesting and very good to talk with. They asked me if they saw me at the hotel and was with the team that came in earlier in the day. I tell them yes and led to more conversation and they told me the most fascinating story.
Over the past year the group had just started performing again as Jay and the Americans. For a lot of these groups, especially older groups, the rights to the name is a very legal issue. Well the rights to Jay and the Americans was owned by "Jay," Jay Traynor.
The group hadn't been performing with him, he actually had the name and sort of put together his own group. Well what had happened was Jay went through some difficulties and one of the things that he put up for sale was the name of the group, "Jay and the Americans."
The guys in The Americans decided to get together and bid on this name and get the rights. The bidding came down to a financial battle with one other person. This was very interesting to me because I couldn't think who else would want their name.
Well The Americans won their name and they decided, well we have to get a new "Jay." So they found out who had been bidding against them, and it ended up being a a guy who imitates and does a show like Jay and the Americans and he sounded just like Jay!
So they went to Chicago to hear this guy and they find him to be really good. They approach him and ask him if he'd like to play with the original Americans and sing as their new "Jay." He said yes and the two groups merged.
Now these men who are now in the later stages of their life put their group back together with their new "Jay" and they go out and start playing dates. So in Minnesota when I run into them they are playing a huge Lions Convention in Minnesota. They ask me if I'd like to come to the show and of course I told them I'd love to.
I saw the show and thought they were just excellent. One thing that was really amazing to me was the way they came together with a new "Jay." It was a great show.
Another thing that I thought was interesting is that one of the guys with Joan Jett (who is a big WNBA fan) helped write the song "Bad Reputation," which was featured in the movie Shrek. Just goes to show how things come together on the musical journey.