BEMIDJI -- The first time Mark Rodgers saw the Jimmys in concert, band leader Jimmy Voegeli capped off the final song by jumping over the drum set. Leaping around and off the stage has sort of become a trademark for the high-energy Voegeli.
But he claims that won’t happen on Friday, Nov. 22 when the Jimmys bring their swing party blues music to Bemidji. They’ll take the stage at the Tavern on South Shore around 9:30 that night following the Bemidji State University men’s hockey game next door at the Sanford Center.
“I’ve been instructed by my chiropractor to stop jumping off of stages and doing leaps,” said Voegeli, 56. “I chomp at the bit. But I’m getting up there to the point where they’re right, it’s not a very bright thing to be doing.”
Rodgers’ Bemidji law firm and KAXE/KBXE radio are co-sponsoring the event.
The seven-member band, based in Madison, Wis., has made quite a name for itself since forming about 12 years ago. They’ve toured the United States and Europe, and will make a return visit to Jamaica in March. Rodgers first saw them a few years ago at KAXE’s Mississippi River Festival in Grand Rapids.
His first impression?
“Where have they been all my life? They were really good,” Rodgers said. “Music brings people together, so I thought this would be really interesting for Bemidji. They’re fun. The idea is to get more people to the hockey game and to go to the concert afterward. It’s a great evening, and if the weather's cold you don’t have to go outside.”
Voegeli plays keyboard, is lead singer, and writes many of the band’s songs. Their seventh CD, “Gotta Have It,” was recently released. The band also features Perry Weber on guitar, John Wartenweiler on bass, Chris Sandoval on drums, Pete Ross on saxophone and clarinet, Mike Boman on trumpet and Kevan Feyzi on trombone.
Voegeli said the band’s horn players are scheduled to perform the National Anthem prior to the Beavers’ hockey game against Alabama-Huntsville that night.
The Jimmys have played at venues both large and small (12,000 saw them at Bluesfest International in Windsor, Ontario). The Tavern on South Shore can hold about 200, and that’s just fine with Voegeli.
“We do enjoy that kind of show,” he said. “I hope they’re sitting practically on our laps. That’s the most fun. We’re blessed to be able to play festivals around the world. Every musician just loves it when people can just feel the energy coming off, and you feed off of them. When they’re that close you can just feel that people are digging it, and that just makes us play that much harder.”
Voegeli splits his time between music and his family’s sixth-generation dairy farm near Madison.
They milk 220 purebred brown Swiss dairy cattle and farm 1,500 acres of crop land. Their milk goes to a small co-op that makes internationally recognized specialty cheeses.
“My family and all the employees are absolutely fantastic about letting me go when I have to go,” Voegeli said. “My day consists of getting up pretty early and doing band business for four or five hours and then going to the farm for 6-10 hours, and repeat, repeat, repeat. We’re playing as many as 160 gigs a year, so it ends up being a lot of time. But it’s doing what I like.”
If you go:
What: The Jimmys in concert
When: 9:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22
Where: The Tavern on South Shore
Tickets: $10 cover charge