Tag Archives: Salt Lake City

Wanda Jackson And The Rubes

Wanda JacksonWanda Jackson is one of the legends of rock’n’roll. Possibly the very first woman rocking out in the 50’s when the whole thing was a “man’s game”. With her raspy southern accent and attractive looks she definitely left a mark. Still, after all these years she is recording and touring. She recently put out an album dedicated to Elvis Presley and is on a busy schedule touring United States. She doesn’t have a steady band though. When she booked shows in Denver and Idaho, she sought for a good band to back her up. And she found
the right band in Salt Lake City’s own The Rubes. They could be her grandchildren, or even grand-grandchildren considering they’re from Utah where people have kids at a very young age compared to the rest of the world. I asked them how did the collaboration happen…

Our manager booked her appearance up at Idaho State. He books lots of shows up in Pocatello [in Idaho]. She didn’t have a touring band in the Mid-west so our guy pitched us as the back up band. Sort of random, really” says Greg, the pianist in the band. Themselves, Rubes seem to be more than great backup for Wanda as they are very young gents who are not afraid to underline their influences playing a medley of 50s rhythm and blues standards on their own live performances.”

Indeed, they seem extremely honored to play with Wanda… “Wanda is a good entertainer and most of the crowd was people who were young when Elvis blew up in 1955. We played mostly her rockabilly hits like ‘Let’s Have a Party’, ‘Rock Your Baby’, ‘I Gotta Know’ and some Elvis Presley Sun records tunes. Of course, Wanda wants to make a witness so we did ‘I Saw the Light’. On the footwear tip Wanda has fresh velcro shoes that cut our Anchor Bays from K-mart.

The RubesStill, band had to tune down their amps… “Lemmy [from Motorhead] was right when he said that only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud. We are used to playing louder and the sound guy [that was engineering the concert with Wanda] was used to Peter Breinholt. I think our amps were on half of
‘One’. So it was kind of challenging to get all shook up. We played in a very extravagant acoustically perfect concert hall; The first 12 foot Steinway I’ve ever played. This was the second time we’d backed her up with about an hour rehearsal. Our first gig (in Denver) was a little shaky; This time it went 10 times smoother.

The band definitely had a royal treatment in presence of rock’n’roll royalty. Greg says “I think the crowd had a good time. The Rubes most enjoyed the Del Taco delivered gratis to our dressing room. The fans are really cool in Pocatello, they paid for a cab so we could sing karaoke and bar hop after the show. I remember performances of ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Three’s Company Theme’.” And they would like to do it again: “If we can back up Chuck Berry or Bo Diddley next time that would be ideal.” No shit, Greg!!

Peter Breinholt is a family friendly folk musician beloved by the Mormons.

The Rubes profile
Wanda Jackson website