The James Gang were an American hard-rock band that debuted with Yer’ Album on Bluesway in 1969, followed by four studio albums and a live disc on ABC Records, including the popular 1970/71 titles Rides Again and Thirds. Two songs, “Funk #49” and “Walk Away,” remain staples of classic rock radio. Multiple guitarists passed through the lineup, including Joe Walsh, Domenic Troiano, and Tommy Bolin.
Members: Glenn Schwartz (guitar, 1967-69), Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, 1969-71), Tom Kriss (bass, vocals, 1967-70), Jim Fox (drums, vocals), Dale Peters (bass, vocals, 1970-76), Domenic Troiano (guitar, vocals, 1971-73), Roy Kenner (vocals, 1971-74), Tommy Bolin (guitar, 1973-74), Richard Shack (guitar, 1975-76), Bubba Keith (vocals, guitar, 1975-76), David Briggs (keyboards, 1974), Bob Webb (vocals, guitar, 1976), Phil Giallomardo (keyboards, vocals, 1976), Nelson “Flaco” Padrón (percussion, 1976)
The James Gang formed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1966 when drummer Jim Foxx teamed with bassist Tom Kriss and rhythm guitarist Ron Silverman. Foxx hailed from an early lineup of local pop heroes The Outsiders, but left before they recorded the brassy #5 Billboard hit “Time Won’t Let Me.”
Inspired by The Who and the Yardbirds, they churned through a series of lead guitarists, including John “Mouse” Michalski, fresh off a stint with garage-rockers the Count Five, known for the buzz-tinged “Psychotic Reaction” (US #5). In 1967, he was replaced by Glenn Schwartz, a local legend who soon split for California, where he formed Pacific Gas & Electric and later became a born again Christian.
In 1968, the James Gang hired guitarist/singer Joe Walsh from garage rockers The Measles, which had served as an uncredited studio band for bubblegum merchants the Ohio Express. That June, they opened for Cream at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. Silverman quit just prior to the gig, forcing the cash-strapped band to play as a three-piece. Walsh, Kriss, and Foxx enjoyed the power-trio format and made it permanent.
Months later, they signed with businessman Mark Barger, who managed local psychsters The Lemon Pipers, which recently scored a Billboard #1 with the sitar-laden “Green Tambourine.” He linked them with producer Bill Szymczyk (Ford Theatre, Hello People), who inked them a deal with ABC-subsidiary Bluesway.
- Yer’ Album (1969)
- Rides Again (1970)
- Thirds (1971)
- Live in Concert (1971)
- Straight Shooter (1972)
- Passin’ Thru (1972)
- Bang (1973)
- Miami (1974)
- Newborn (1975)
- Jesse Come Home (1976)
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