My old pal, the late, great John “Juke” Logan was the harp man on the music for the original Roseanne Show for all those glory years from the late eighties through the nineties. He was also a great singer/songwriter and keyboard player. Juke was brutally handsome and of course, the ladies loved him but it wasn’t just because of his looks. He had an incredible, positive vibe that was contagious. If you were lucky enough to catch his live show you’d know he was a mixture of an old-time tent revival preacher and swampy, down-home, rockin’ bluesman.
With all the excitement with the New Roseanne Show, I thought I’d share the roundabout way I became the new harp man on the show.
I first met Juke in 1975 through a mutual friend, Ed Robles aka Gabriel Black who was a sax player and great singer/frontman for a group called Charlie Dawg, which had moved to LA from Sacramento in the early 70’s. Juke and I just called him Fast Eddie.
I was playing with my group at an infamous club in Sacramento called The Gilded Cage. All the top groups throughout the 60’s and 70’s played there.Tim Schmidt from the Eagles played in his early bands there. I always thought it cool that Lenny Bruce had performed there.
So we take a break, and Ed comes up to me and wants to introduce me to his harp playing buddy from LA. So we walk over to the table. I had a very pretty, Filipino girlfriend at the time and Juke was making a very strong move on her at the table. She was very nervous and looking at me but I didn’t let on that I knew her. Juke and I are introduced and he was obviously not too interested in talking to me at that moment so I smiled and said I’m gonna get a drink. My girl was not pleased and shooting me daggers with her eyes, as Juke went back to making moves on her.
At the end of the night, I walk over to take her home and there’s no sign of Juke or Fast Eddie so we walk out to the car. As I’m opening the car door for her Juke walks out of the club and our eyes meet and he says, “Jimmy Z… you muthafucka!!!” I smiled and said nice meeting you Juke, and we both laughed.
Fast forward to 1980. I had just moved to LA and I was playing with King Cotton and the King Pins and I run into Juke. We became fast friends and always seemed to cross each others path. The 80s were good to both of us. He with his harp work and sound with Los Lobos, tons of commercials and of course a huge part of the sound of The Roseanne Show and me with Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Eurythmics. We’d laugh about spreading the blues harp to uncharted territory.
Once in the 90’s when I was in Etta James Roots Band we were scheduled to be on the Jay Leno Show. Unfortunately, at the time my address was the LA County Jail so Juke filled in for me. When I left Etta in 2001 to join Jaguares, Juke again filled in for me on some recordings before I rejoined her in 2007.
In 2009, Juke was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and underwent successful surgery. Unfortunately, the cancer returned in 2011. In 2013, Juke died from cancer at the home he co-owned with his longtime friend Stephanie Riggio in Joshua Tree, California. I remember getting messages from him during this time being bold and positive saying he was gonna beat this shit. He put up a helluva fight. He was 66.
So in January 2018, I get a call from legendary music composer Dan Foliart asking if I could do a session for the The New Roseanne Show. Apparently, he had asked Stephanie if she could recommend a harp player for a session. She didn’t know at the time what the session was for but Dan told her they wanted someone that could give them that “Juke” kind of vibe. She didn’t know me but she told Dan she remembered Juke mentioning my name often and in her words, says Juke didn’t like assholes so I must be ok. So, it would seem even from the great beyond Juke has somehow worked his magic and managed to get me a gig.
We recorded at Capitol in Studio A with all the original musicians except me. I have to admit I was a bit nervous. At one point after a cue, Dan was giving me a funny look… uh oh… And then he did it again and said, “ Damn, that was great… it’s like you’re channeling Juke.” Well, needless to say, that was a bit of a relief to hear… and very high praise, indeed.
RIP my friend. You are sorely missed… and thanks for the gig.
You can listen to The New Roseanne Show theme with me on harp here.