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The O'Jeez
(Dave Pirner, Kraig Johnson and Jesse Greene)
DIM SUM REVIEW
 

10/19/98
400 Bar..Pirner makes special appearance
from St Paul Pioneer Press
 
Published: Thursday, October 22, 1998
 
"Let's hear it for that guy who sat in with the band"
WHO: The Mason Jennings Band with Dave Pirner
WHEN: Monday
WHERE: 400 Bar
CAPSULE: Soul Asylum singer/songwriter Pirner joined up-and-coming
songwriter Jennings for a surprise three-song set that reminded all who
were there of the kind of blissful improvisation and risk-taking that
can only happen in an away-from-the-masses club.
 
JIM WALSH POP MUSIC CRITIC
 
It was just before midnight Monday, and the crowd at the 400 Bar on the
West Bank of Minneapolis numbered exactly 20 -- and that includes the
bartenders, soundman and the musicians onstage.
One of those musicians, ojeeeeeeeeeeeeezDave Pirner, has sung in front of hundreds of
thousands of people at a time. As the guiding light behind Soul Asylum,
Pirner has performed on the White House lawn and to national television
audiences. He has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine,
toured the world over and sold millions of records.
Another one of those musicians, Mason Jennings, has had trouble selling
500 copies of his self-produced, self-released debut CD. He is one of
the brightest new songwriters in the Twin Cities, but in these days of
fractured and/or unadventurous club-goers, he's struggling to find an
audience.
This night, however, the two songwriters -- the seasoned elder and the
young buck -- found equal ground on the 400 stage, as Pirner joined the
Jennings band for an unannounced three-song set.
The greater part of the evening was given to Jennings who, along with
his ace band (bassist/vocalist Robert Skoro and drummer Chris Strock),
performed two wonderful sets of his own material, including
``Butterfly,'' ``California,'' ``Nothing'' and ``Godless.'' The spare,
acoustic-framed rock trio was more than holding its own with the small
but attentive audience when 400 Bar owner Bill Sullivan yelled from the
front bar, ``Hey, Mason! Mind if my friend plays a few with you guys?''
Jennings glanced over to see Pirner sitting at the bar, and waved his
consent. A few minutes later, when Pirner ambled onstage with his
acoustic guitar, it was the first time the musicians had ever met, let
alone played together. What happened next was a marvelous testament to
the spirit of risk-taking, musical spontaneity and to the riches that
can be had only from trolling clubs, away from the numbers.
The setting was so intimate, barflies could hear Pirner explaining the
chord changes and arrangements to the young band, who appeared
alternately nervous, cocksure and blown away. They wobbled through a
version of TLC's ``Waterfalls,'' which lurched at first, then found an
easy groove. That was followed by a subdued version of Soul Asylum's
``To My Own Devices,'' with Jennings adding flamenco-flavored classical
guitar touches.
``I feel like I'm from out of town, and I just found a kick-ass pickup
band,'' cracked Pirner, who had just returned from a promotional radio
and television tour, and was in town briefly before Soul Asylum left
Wednesday for the Southern leg of their most recent tour.
``This one is pretty emotional for me, so it might be tough,'' said
Pirner, before going into Sinead O'Connor's ``To Mother You.'' Pirner's
obvious affection for the song, coupled with the band's unfamiliarity
with it, made for a fascinating dynamic: Everybody in the pub inhaled,
wondering if the ad-hoc group would make it through the song. Would
Pirner give up in frustration? Would the young trio rise to the
occasion?
In the end, the song soared, and the room pitched a bit. And even though
the crowd was smaller than what any respectable street busker attracts,
Pirner, ever the singer/showman swept away by the moment, emoted his way
through O'Connor's stately, undiscovered gem like his life depended on
it. When it was done, he thanked the trio, got off-stage to the sound of
a few hands clapping and, with a squirrelly smirk, said, ``Thanks, you
guys.''
Jennings' crew finished the night with two songs, and everybody retired
to the bar.
In a recent interview, Jennings said, ``You've got to talk to the people
you're singing to. There's a boundary between you and the singer, and
I'm trying to get rid of that boundary.''
Monday night at the 400 Bar, the boundary between the audience and the
singer was razed, shot, demolished. Just ask those who were there. All
20 of them.
news:
From: M.Bali
The Minneapolis bar and Soul Asylum hangout, the infamous 400Bar, held what they called, "The Me Fest" Monday May 11th, with a line up of local bands and throw-togethers with Dave Pirner playing the drums for almost
all of the bands. He also did a guitar duet with a member of Run Westy Run, another local Minneapolis band.
 
"to the rescue tour"
Date City State Venue
12/02/97 Minneapolis MN 400 Bar
12/06/97 Chicago IL Double Door
12/08/97 Columbia MO Mojo's
12/09/97 Lawrence KS Bottleneck
12/10/97 Oklahoma City OK VZD
12/11/97 Dallas TX Club DaDa
12/12/97 Austin TX Electric Lounge
12/15/97 Athens GA 40 Watt Club
12/16/97 Atlanta GA Point
12/17/97 Lexington KY Lynagh's
12/21/97 400 Bar, Mpls MN
reviews etc.

02-15-98
O'JEEZ review

"The O'Jeez come to the rescue" by Gail Fountain. Published in the Georgia State University Signal, Jan. 20, 1998.

Take a writing genius, add his best friend, the friend's girlfriend, musical talent, then mix instruments well and what do you get? The O'Jeez, of course -- the band that played at The Point on Dec. 16 to an intimate crowd of about 50.
The O'Jeez is a new super-band from Minneapolis with members hailing from Soul Asylum, The Geraldine Fibbers, Run Westy Run, Golden Smog, and the Jayhawks. Leaving the stress of the popular bands behind, these musicians play for playing's sake. The band consists of Stew aka Kraig Johnson on electric bass, The Jester aka Jessy Greene on electric guitar and violin, Reno aka Dave Pirner on drums and trumpet, with all switching on and off for lead and backing vocals with Reno adding low notes for variety. Although The O'Jeez musicians are better known for playing other instruments, the members mix it up to add a little fun and adventure to making music. That fun quality comes through in their lyrics and song titles, also. Two of the catchiest tunes were named "Super Friends" and "Super Baby."
The same concept of freeness applies to the way The O'Jeez approach musical genre. Nothing is set in stone for them. The O'Jeez play everything from rock to folk to jazz, doing all well. The musicians are so talented it's no big deal for them to make genre changes. The O'Jeez portray fun and musical enjoyment. That spirit ruled the show at The Point. Musical enjoyment was also the focus for the opening act, singer-songwriter Dave Pirner, who was equipped only with a microphone and an acoustic guitar. Taking the stage while "rock n roll nigger" by the Patti Smith Group played, he paced around, lit a cigarette, got his guitar ready, and waited for the song to end before he began. He was dressed in a horizontally-striped shirt, loose jeans and combat boots without laces. Pirner said hello to the crowd, then played and sang "Pretty Boy Floyd," a Woody Guthrie song he had played at a tribute to Guthrie put on by the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame last year. Then he did something rare: he asked for requests, saying he would sing the song requested if he still knew the words.
The other songs performed by Pirner came from Soul Asylum's catalog. The set included "Homesick," "Closer to the Stars," "String of Pearls," "Somebody to Shove," "Stranger" and the request, "Eyes of a Child." Also part of the excellent set were two new songs from the upcoming Soul Asylum album which is due out in February or March. Between his set and The O'Jeez set, Pirner sat on the edge of the stage, talking to anyone as he smoked a cigarette and sucked on his locally-made beer, Laughing Skull. He sent a vocal coach on his way by explaining that most vocal coaches requested that he quit smoking and drinking, which made him too nervous to sing.
It proved to be a terrific night for all forms of music. The small crowd that was assembled at the show was pleased and appreciative of the music and the musicians. The O'Jeez titled their tour correctly -- their music certainly came "to the rescue" that night for the audience.
Gail

ckfan@mindspring.com The Dave Pirner Ad for OJeezsolo set at 12/21/97 Mpls MN 400 Bar
was as follows: unreleased songs in color
Pretty Boy Floyd (cover song..Woody Guthrie)
Homesick
So Close
New World
Grounded
Never Really Been
Closer To The Stars
New York Blackout
String of Pearls (with Jesse)
Somebody To Shove (with Jesse)
Eyes Of A Child (with Jesse)
Stranger (with Jesse & Kraig)
There was a long line to get into the 400 Bar at the 9:00pm opening time. The place was crowded, but did not look sold out. Dave's solo set was a good set, but I got the feeling Dave was uncomfortable being alone on stage. Dave made comments before "So Close" and "New York Blackout" that these are new songs on the new Soul Asylum record.
The O'Jeez played a similar set to the set they played the last time at the 400 Bar. Several songs into the set, the crowd started to clear out. Kraig's brother did start out the set singing a song with the band using a leaf rake for like a "Romper Room Mirror" for effect.
-Lee

a story on ojeez
for all you squinters

12-09-97
Pirner Solo and O'Jeez
Tues Dec 9 at The Bottleneck In Lawrence, Ks

This was an amazing show, that only 30-35 people were there to see. We were lucky though. Dave was wearing untied combat boots and his black accoustic guitar with the silver inlays now has a silver star..i think its a sticker but it looks really awesome. Dave is also sporting a mustache/beard type thing. Dave mentioned that it was good to be back from Miami and he had just finished recording an album with Soul Asylum, I don't know if he was refering to the one that isn't being released or something else. The other difference i noticed between this show and the last soul asylum show i saw was that Dave wasn't drinking very much and stayed very sober throughtout the show.

Dave's acoustic set


1. They say that I'm an outlaw they say that I'm a thief but on this Christmas... (Pretty Boy Floyd ?-ed)
2. Homesick
3. "a new number I'd like to play for you" repeated "so close"
4. Black Star
5. New world
6. Never really Been
7.
Closer to the stars (just as i was trying to get enough nerve to request it!)
8. ...when you chewed my ear off, know you'll never get another piece of me... New Yourk blackout...
9. String of Pearls with Jess on the violin
10. Eyes of a child -still with Jess
11(Stranger-ed). ...No such thing as a man made world...Sometimes i feel like a stranger and i feel even stranger Kraig joined in on base, Dave had trouble with his harmonica and gave up on the two he tried, they weren't blowing properly.

O'jeez is: Kraig Johnson (run westy run/golden smog) bass Dave Pirner(soul asylum) Drums, trumpet, recorder Jessy Green(geraldine fibbers) guitar, violin
All three members sing, they take turns, harmonize and sing in unison and they switch off a lot, but its a good thing.
The tour is called To the Rescue tour 1997. This really is a super group, I definately recomend seeing them. They are selling cool T-Shirts $10 short sleeved, $15 for long sleeved. They said they were heading to Oklahoma City next. .

O'jeez playlist: (i obtained an official copy)
1. CLorophome
2. Fan
3. Brand New Day
4. Cover me
5. Friends (dave said lets try a little different into on this one)
6. Walk at the Lake Instrumental, very jazzy, very fresh. They were jamming in the stuidio and Jess made some comment about going to "take a walk at the lake, and they decided it was a good name for the song.
7. Swallow
8. Super Friends
9. Sad Paradise
10. Getting Along
11. Where did you go
12. Walk at the Lake (part two i guess?)
13. Super Baby 14.
Mr. Butterfly
15. Thankyou
They also had down, but didn't play, 'Moon Hangs'
The concert was very entertaining. Tues Dec 9 at The Bottleneck In Lawrence, Ks

Daphne@clubmet.metrobbs.com

400 Bar Review 12-2-97
The doors of the 400 opened at 9:00pm. The stage was set-up with two turn table. Karl aka "Squirmin Karl Herman" and DJ Lori B. were spinning some of the "baddest" music on vinyl. (Take that the way you want to! They played Micheal Jackson!) The place was crowded but not close to capacity.
The O'Jeez came on shortly after 11:00pm. Kraig Johnson on bass. Jesse Green on guitar and violin. Dave Pirner on drums and cornet (or was that a trumpet?). They played a short 45 minute set of "space jazz" intros (Similar to "Caged Rat") and "Power Pop". Most songs were catchy sing along songs with hard rockin' hooks. The crowd was very receptive to the set of all original material.
I didn't get a chance to talk to either of the boys since they both hung out in back when they weren't working! I also saw Steve Foley, of Replacements fame, in the audience.
I hope you get the chance to see the "O'Jeez too the rescue tour 1997".
-Lee
P.S. The O'Jeez is playing the 400 Bar again on Sunday, December 21st.
From: "R. L. Hess" <rlhess@earthlink.net

12-02-97
from Postcard, Anders and rafs

INFO  on "OH JEEZ"
According to Jessy Greene (quoted in last week's Pulse, a Mpls indie rag), the band's name derives from the threesome's collective reaction to their decision to play out together: "Oh jeez, it's Golden Smog all over again." And not to be too picky, but the subject line has the correct spelling of the band name: The O'Jeez. (pun intended, i'm sure)

11-12-97
Rocktropolis allstar daily music news
November 10,1997
http://www.allstarmag.com
Edited by Carrie Borzillo
SOUL ASYLUM'S DAVE PIRNER POUNDS DRUMS
IN NEW MINNEAPOLIS SUPERGROUP O'JEEZ

Since ex-Soul Asylum manager Bill Sullivan took over the booking at Minneapolis's 400 Bar,400BAR.JPG it seems like anything can happen at any time. Recent surprise performances have included the likes of Soul Asylum, the Jayhawks, and Atari Teenage Riot (who have earned raves from Foo Fighter Dave Grohl). Toss in the fact that Minneapolis is the land of Golden Smog -- where everybody sits in with everybody -- and not even Sullivan always knows who's playing. The latest news is that Sullivan is planning to book another gig by the local quasi- supergroup O'Jeez (who first played there over the summer) in late November or early December. Oh Geez is comprised of Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) on drums, Jessy Greene (Golden Smog, sometime Jayhawk, and ex-Geraldine Fibber) on violin, and Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run, Golden Smog, and another sometime Jayhawk) on guitar and bass. While finding Pirner behind the kit may come as a surprise to some, diehard Soul Asylum fans will remember that's where he started in that band's first incarnation. Oh Geez has already hit the studio, but there's no word yet on what, if anything, is going to happen with those tapes.
-Bill Snyder

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