Author Topic: James Gurley (St. James)  (Read 666 times)


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James Gurley (St. James)
« on: November 04, 2016, 01:57:29 PM »
James Martin Gurley (December 22, 1939 December 20, 2009) was an American musician. He is best known as the guitar player of Big Brother and the Holding Company, a psychedelic/acid rock band from San Francisco which was fronted by singer Janis Joplin from 1966 to 1968.

In the summer of 1965, Chet Helms brought Gurley to 1090 Page Street to meet Peter Albin and Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company, and shortly thereafter, he joined the band. His fearlessly wild guitar playing made the band's reputation for "far-out" psychedelic experimentation. He said it developed from his admiration of John Coltrane's barrier-breaking saxophone solos.

He was known as the first guitarist in 'space', due to his progressive 'acid' style, and one of the most influential of the San Francisco Sound.

A few weeks after Janis Joplin joined the band, Gurley began having an affair with her. Once Gurley and Joplin became involved, he moved out of the apartment he shared with his wife and moved in with Joplin. According to Joplin, that arrangement ended the day James' wife Nancy Gurley came barging through the front door of Joplin's apartment. "What an embarrassing situation," Joplin told her friend Jim Langdon later. "His old lady comes marching into my bedroom with the kid and the dog and confronts us." Gurley continued his affair with Joplin for a while, but eventually returned to Nancy, who forgave both him and Joplin, with whom she had a close friendship.

With Joplin's departure, Big Brother and the Holding Company briefly disbanded in 1968, but a new lineup including Gurley and the other three original members (Sam Andrew, Peter Albin and Dave Getz) reunited from 1969 to 1972.

In 1969, Nancy Gurley died of a heroin overdose. Gurley was charged with murder for injecting the drugs, and spent two years fighting the charges before being sentenced to probation. He remarried and had another child in 1972.

In 1981, Gurley started a New Wave band, Red Robin and The Worms. James Gurley played bass with Robin Reed on vocals, Mitch McKendry "aka" Mitch Master on lead guitar, Jerome Jim Holt on Sax, and Gurley's son Hongo Gurley (from first wife Nancy) on drums. He recorded with New Age drummer Muruga Booker and was actively involved in writing and recording solo work.

Big Brother and the Holding Company again reunited in 1987 including original members Gurley, Andrew, Albin and Dave Getz. In May 1997, Gurley stopped touring with Big Brother to devote his full attention to other collaborative and solo projects. The first offering was the CD entitled "Saint James - Pipe Dreams" which included two members of the "Worms " Mitch McKendry and Hongo Gurley . "St James - Pipe Dreams " was released in January 2000.

Gurley, with fellow members of Big Brother, played at the induction ceremony for Joplin at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, although he regretted that the band members were not inducted themselves.

Gurley died on December 20, 2009 from a heart attack at his home in Palm Desert, California, just two days before his 70th birthday. His wife, Margaret, survived him, as did his two sons, Django and Hongo.

Here is some of James Best:

Interview with James Gurley 9.12.87

James Gurley

Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Peter Albin, Dave Getz and Lisa Battle-Ball and Chain

Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Peter Albin, Dave Getz and Lisa Battle-Summertime

Big Brother and the Holding Company-Combination of The Two

Janis Joplin - Codine ( 1965 )

Big Brother & The Holding Company - Piece of My Heart

Big Brother & The Holding Company-Turtle Blues

Big Brother & The Holding Company-Oh, Sweet Mary

Saint James-Selah


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Re: James Gurley (St. James)
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 04:18:52 PM »