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Arts & Culture

Jay's Happy Sunshine Burger Joint: A Fun Name for a Hard-Working Band

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Credit: jhsbj.net
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Jay’s Happy Sunshine Burger Joint is clearly a name that stood out while pursuing the Summerfest 2014 lineup. While certainly a band that enjoys its music and does not take itself too seriously, Jay’s Happy SBJ takes its craft seriously.

Spanning two coasts – New York and California – the six-member group comprised of Jay Lane (drums, musical direction), Happy Sanchez (bass guitar, vocals), Sunshine Garcia Becker (vocals, flute), and Chris “CB” Burger (rap/spoken word), Perry “duBWhite” Winston (guitar, vocals, dubmixing), and Paul Kates (keyboard, vocals), is a mix of Jam Band, Reggae, Rock, Rap, R&B and Blues. They aim to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Each member is a solid solo performer in his or her own right, and what they love to do they do best: jam.

WUWM’s Rachel Owns got a chance to speak with Perry “duBWhite” Winston. In addition to being a guitarist, he also provides vocals and live dubmixing. His experience as a producer is quite impressive, he’s mixed for Bob Marleys’ Wailers, Jennifer Lopez, Shabba Ranks, and Erykah Badu, among others. We lead with “The Joint’s” song, “Give A Little.” Perry Winston, speaking from his car in New York City traffic, talked about his time performing at 2014 Summerfest Uline Warehouse Stage.

“It was a blast, we really enjoyed playing from the Milwaukee crowd,” says Winston, who noted how foggy last year’s Summerfest was. “It was really great for us, we don’t get to play in the Midwest as much as we would like to.”  

The name Jay’s Happy Sunshine Burger Joint is a combination of all the performers’ names, Jay Lane, Happy Sanchez, Sunshine Garcia Becker, and Chris “CB” Burger. The “Joint” in the name was Winston’s idea, a clever way to tie all the names together.

“It’s great having a name that we knew no one else had to avoid any conflicts,” says Winston. “But we go by “The Joint,” “JHSPJ,” and we go by “Burger Joint” a lot.”   

The band, which aims to bring a little happiness and joy to their audiences, is split between New York City and San Francisco. With members on both coasts, the band has a variety of local resources whichever side of the country they perform on.    

“Casual get-togethers are not an option but when we do get together we really value are time together,” says Winston. “The internet has allowed us to record and write music without being in the same city.”

JHSBJ came together about two years ago, many members coming from Jay Lane’s group, Band of Brothers. Each member has their own musical aspirations and backgrounds. Winston in particular has had a variety of jobs in the music industry having traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to learn reggae. He learned sound mixing from "Family Man" Barrett, the former bass guitarist from Bob Marley and the Wailers. Barrett gave Winston his nickname, Perry “duBWhite” Winston.

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Credit Credit: jhsbj.net
JHSBJ drummer and musical director, Jay Lane, performing with the band in 2013.

“They like to hire young American sound engineers and teach them about reggae,” says Winston. “There notion was that to be a sound engineer, you need to play all the instruments and you needed to learn the way reggae musicians play them. I learned a great deal about reggae music and that is part of what we do with Jay’s Happy Sunshine Burger Joint.”

The fluidity of reggae and jazz are essential aspects of the band’s performances. Drummer and musical director Jay Lane feels each performance should, “be different every single time.” For the audience, this creates a different live musical experiences every time JHSBJ performs.

“Most band’s, especially on the jam band circuit, it’s all about the guitar players,” says Winston. “The vocalists with us have a chance to really participate in that jam process, especially Chris with his free-style rapping on top of that. You can’t be quiet without being loud, so it’s that contrast between the two of them.”

Here is a video of Jay's Happy Sunshine Burger Joint performing their song, “Time of Your Life/Lovelight Jam” during an unedited session in October 2013.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8srPtp6WOM

Thanks to Trapper Schoepp for editing this interview.