5GB With John Paul Keith And The One Four Fives; Playing Maxine’s, Nov 10


“Well if you wanna be a hero, not a rock and roll zero… ” (“Anyone Can Do It” off The Man That Time Forgot, 2011, Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum Records)

Anyone can do it, he says, but John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives do it well. Really well. I first saw them play at the legendary White Water Tavern in Little Rock, AR several years ago, and spent many a night shuffling around that bar to their music while sloshing my well poured beer on my friend’s shoes. Nobody seems to care when the band is that good, and you can expect to stay on your feet throughout their set. The infectious simple tunes they shake out are a mix of old country, die hard rock and roll, blues and soul. They  do an excellent cover of Richie Valens’ “Come On Let’s Go”. JPK was born in Knoxville, TN , and has lived in both Nashville and Memphis. He’s playing another  one of my favorite Arkansas venues, Maxine’s in Hot Springs, this Saturday. Check out my interview with him for our 5GB series and be sure to catch his show if he’s near you. Anyone who can’t count the number of times they’ve seen Jerry Lee Lewis is pretty awesome, right? The Killer!

What’s the first gig you ever attended?

The first real gig I ever went to was Motley Crue’s Girls Girls Girls tour in Knoxville, TN with Guns N Roses opening. Appetite for Destruction had just come out and no one had ever heard of them yet and really had no idea what to expect. They opened with “It’s So Easy”. I was 11 and my mom was with me. It was weird.

What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?

I don’t know what my best performance has been – you’d have to ask some audience members about that. But the gig that means the most to me is probably last month in Madrid, Spain. I had no idea I had that many fans there, and they were singing along with the words, which I had no idea would happen. It was a really special night. Also, we recently opened for Chuck Berry at his club in St. Louis, the Duck Room, which was definitely a career highlight. (Side note: Chuck Berry rules! -CW)

What is the best gig you have ever seen?

Jerry Lee Lewis at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in the late 90’s was pretty amazing. It was a TV taping for a show Ricky Skaggs used to have. Jerry did “The Old Rugged Cross” by himself at the piano, which I’d never seen him do (I’ve lost count of how many Jerry Lee shows I’ve been to). I saw King Khan & The Shrines tear up the Hi-Tone in Memphis once, that sticks out. We recently opened for JD McPherson in Holland and it was one of the most seriously swinging bands I ever heard. They never let up.

What is the gig you would most like to play?

I would love to back up Chuck Berry but that train has left the station, I’m afraid.

What would be the lineup for your dream gig?

I’ve never thought about that. I would need a time machine I guess, so I could go back and see The Beatles in the Cavern Club or the Star Club in Hamburg. Or maybe Elvis singing through a tweed guitar amp with Scotty Moore and Bill Black at some county fair somewhere in 54 or 55.

John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives play Maxine’s Nov. 10th

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