So, WHO THE HELL ARE THESE GUYS?
Interested in hiring Mo'Jo Boogie? You should read this, but we encouarge you to request a list of references from a long list of venues.
A Little Background
Mo'Jo Boogie is a project band that came together in early 2014 to play benefit for a local non-profit. That event gave reason for these guys to try out what proved to be a fun combination of players. It was with that gig that encouraged them to cut enough time to continue rehearsing with the premise to do something special and fun even though everyone was already busy. Each player brings a unique perspective to this project, creating a place to experiment with fun grooves, rhythms, genres and musical influences/attitudes. A place to pay homage to our heroes and to bring together a culmination of dynamic influences. Expect to be pulled from Jimmy Smith to the Funky Meters, from Art Blakey to WAR, from Tower of Power to Frank Sanatra, from Elvis to Southern Culture on the Skids, from Walter Trout to The Spinners... you catch my drift.
Recognizing that the players were pretty much all tied up as members of other bands, what they were creating would be something special and unique to come together for, something that would be targeted at special venues, events and festivals. You won't see them booked everywhere, all the time. However, two years later, Mo'Jo Boogie continues to book special events and venues through the region and continues to build a dedicated following. From the very beginning they connected on a very high musical level AND as respectful friends..., but mostly they just enjoy working together.
Their grooves center around Funk, Blues and R&B, stretching the boundaries with a little Elvis, Roots, Surf and Sinatra. These guys are quickly becoming a SW Oregon attraction at festivals and special events. Catch a show and you'll know why, but bring your dancing shoes and be ready for a time!
Made up of some of the area's more popular musicians (Umpqua Valley in SE Oregon), they are each known as hard working players and for bringing a broad set of influences to the music.
Michael Paul - Lead Vocals and percussions / Michael Mendenhall - Keyboards and Vocals / Mickey Beach - Guitar and Vocals
Jeff Chastain - Bass and Backing Vocals / GT Albright - Drums and Backing Vocals
Born in LA 1969, Michael has been singing and playing guitar professionally from the age of 16 in various rock and blues bands. He moved to Oregon in 1991 and studied classical voice under Steve Biethan for 3 years and learned many techniques which broadened his range and control.
Known for his aggressive and sometimes raspy style, Michael still maintains a smooth approach while delivering a powerful vocal performance filled with passion.
Michael joined Mo’Jo Boogie in February 2014 for the first time in his career as a front-man without his guitar. The chemistry between Mo’Jo Boogie quickly clicked and Michael can’t recall playing with such a talented group of musicians.
“The first time we got together, I knew this would be something special. There’s not another group of guys I’d rather play with, and I hope we stay together for years to come.”
Mick has been one of the most recognized Rock Blues & Funk guitar players from the Umpqua Valley for decades. Besides guitar, he has typically been the guy doing the organizing, promotions, and generally serves as chief cook and bottle washer. He’s had the opportunity to bring together some of Southwest Oregon's most talented musicians and the area's most popular local Blues, Funk and R&B bands. Along with longtime bandmate, Jeff Chastain (they have worked together for more than 30 years), they've had a long run of projects such as SBR & the Hornheads, MR DJT, The Spoilers (with Gary Beck) and most recently - Mo’ Jo Boogie. Regarding Mo'Jo, Mick says, "I just love playing with these guys, it's an honor!"
The bands Mick have pulled together have been regular attractions throughout SW Oregon and regulars at Arts Festivals, Wineries, Casinos and events around the region including Cycle Oregon, Medford’s Pear Blossom Festival, Eugene Celebration, Umpqua Valley Arts Festival, Douglas County Fair and Fort Vancouver July 4th Celebration.
Always working to bring something real to his performances, Mick wanted Mo’Jo Boogie’s aim to deliver infectious grooves, have major fun and keep it lively; things that’s become the band's trademark.
Jeff Chastain, a garage band hero, has been playing with some of the Umpqua Valley’s most popular bands for well over 30 years, and in doing so, has had the privilege to play with some of the area’s best musicians. Jeff has been considered by many to be one of the most solid and hardest working bass players around.
Music has been an important part of Jeff’s life. He’s been drawn most strongly to Blues, R&B, Funk and Jazz as each of those genres are all about the groove. Jeff's list of projects include the Gary Beck Trio (Portland's Apollo Theater with Jimmy Smith), Party of Five, SBR & the Hornheads, Mo' Greens, MR DJT, and others.
He and longtime band mate Mickey Beach have spanned more than three decades of performing together and are still making waves around SW Oregon with this latest project, Mo’ Jo Boogie. Jeff feels that Mo’ Jo is one of the best he’s had the fortune to play with; the players fit together musically and on a personal level, and the energy is good.
Jeff’s comment to the readers? – “If you get a chance, you should come out and hear for yourself. Peace!”
Michael Mendenhall, aka Mickey Funn, has been playing music professionally for more than 40 years. His piano and organ style is heavily influenced by New Orleans R&B and Chicago blues. In the 1980s and 90s, he played with many different bands in Portland, Oregon, including Driving Sideways, Pete Karnes Blues Band, Sheila and the Boogiemen, Jo Newton and the Jomatics, Roadha X and the Eccentrics, and the Funn Band. He recorded with Pete Karnes, Rhonda Kennedy, and Sheila Wilcoxen. He toured with the Coasters, the Champs, 50s and 60s Review, and with the Pete Karnes Blues Band.