Q&A with Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein

(Answered by Jimmy)

What was the first concert you attended? As I recall I was still in high school so it was pre-1964 and the place was the Carolina (RI) fire hall. I'd been playing electric guitar in my own dance band, Jimmy G. & The Jaguars (my initials are JAG) but this was an acoustic concert featuring a local bluegrass band. They weren't great but I was taken by the rhythm and especially the mandolin and banjo. Musically, it changed my direction and my entire life as I look way back.

Where and when was the first show you played? That's easy, Chariho High School, again in my home state of RI. It was called the Varsity Review, took place during school hours and the mean old principal shut it down during our performance as we were playing "rock & roll", probably a Beatles tune, and the kids were getting into it, clapping and an occasional hoot or holler. Seems he thought that was going to lead up to a full-fleged riot, so he pulled the plug and left us standing there dumfounded. Like I said, that's an easy one cause I'll never forget that incident and that it was the first time for any of us on stage....But, that was the birth of the Jaguars. Sorry, no pictures available.

If you could open for any artist in the next year, who would it be? My vote would go to Jonathan Edwards as Moondi & I have opened for him in the past and then gotten to perform with him during part of his set. We know a fair amount of his material and the combination of voices goes together very well. Yes, there's clips of that combination out there on YouTube. We already know its a fun show and although there are many artists we would feel comfortable opening for, the chances of getting to perform with him or her are quite low. However, back in 2008 we were selected to open for Emmylou Harris' summer tour across the US and Canada and not only did she join us for a tune on our set, she invited us to join her on a tune on her set. You can find some of that on YouTube as well.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? I originally wanted to be a draftsman and went to school to study mechanical drawing after a couple years doing a boring day job following high school. The term is hardly used these days as CAD has replaced the old fashion way of drawing "mechanically". Probably a good thing I found music as I can't imagine having spent my life doing any kind of that stuff to make my living. 

What is your favorite phrase? How do you like it now? I can't remember when I picked it up or from whom, but it's stuck with me for over 40 years I'm sure.

Cat person, dog person, or both? dog person for sure. Had one for years when our daughter was growing up, but are dog-less these days. My wife and I are the proud grandparents of a little girl, Anais (2 3/4) and a boy, Elias who just turned one. She's as sweet as can be and he's a handful who enjoys getting into everything. No matter, they are the joy of our life!

Books or movies? I read every night before going to bed and it seems to be effective in getting my mind off of things. My favorite authors are John Grisham, Stuart Woods, Robert B. Parker, David Baldacci and James Patterson. Getting harder and harder to find stuff by any of these authors that I already haven't read.

Why would people who knew us from Chesapeake or people who never heard of you at all, want to come out and see what you're doing as a duo? Chesapeake was a highly-disciplined quartet which included the late, great Mike Auldridge on Dobro & pedal steel and also featured T. Michael Coleman, the extraordinary electric bassist who worked with Doc Watson for 18+years. They along with Moondi were also part of the Seldom Scene during the early 1990's. We released 3 critically acclaimed CDs on Sugar Hill and amazingly we could sound very close and sometimes better than those projects during our live performance. Hence, the highly disciplined term. Was it challenging? yes, did it wow audiences? most of the time, were we really having fun? in the beginning, yes, but it wore off somewhere after our third release and ultimately had something to do with our disbanding in 1999. With the exception of Moondi, we all found other musical opportunities, but since his kids were very young and he was pretty much burned out on touring and the band business in general, he took a couple years vacation from music and decided to concentrate on his family and home life. Again, I'm sure that lasted at least 2 years, but one day, out of the blue, I decided to give him a call just to catch up and see how he was doing. When the subject eventually came around to music, he said he'd done very little playing at home and admitted that to some degree he did miss playing and performing...but didn't miss the traveling. Certainly understandable. When I posed the question "think you'd be interested in doing a few dates per year as a duo, if we're talking locally? " he didn't respond right away but said he'd entertain the thought. Apparently the idea appealed to him as he called back a couple days later and said he might be interested, but we'd have to make a vow to never be as "slick" as Chesapeake (sound exactly like our Cds, if indeed we ever got the chance to record)) and the bottom line would be that we simply had to enjoy ourselves and if that took being somewhat loose, so be it. I agreed 100% that I didn't want to play the same breaks over and over and looked forward to the opportunity  to improvise whenever I felt the urge. His response was "have at it, by all means. GO for it! " And yes, that attitude rubbed off on him over the years as his breaks don't sound the same every time either. A risk of a train wreck during every show? Absolutely. And if you get out on the wrong end of the limb and start sawing it off, you do indeed subject yourself to disaster. But if you succeed (even if you don't) you are likely to get applause from the audience, who like Moondi once put it " are somewhat like NASCAR fans and love it when you succeed, but are used to seeing the occasional crash. Win or lose, we are having a blast, the audience is with us and WILL be entertained, one way or another. THAT"S why we still see a lot of Chesapeack fans showing up at our gigs and the best reason I can think of to tempt those who are not at all familiar with us to come out as well. Make your reservations early and brace yourself for the occasional crash, or at least fender-bender!