For the first time in decades, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will not be performing a concert on New Year’s Eve. But current Jukes guitarist Glenn Alexander is offering the next best thing with an 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve stream with his own band, Shadowland. It can be seen at facebook.com/glennalexandermusic at no charge, though viewers who want to support the musicians can donate.
Jukes members John Isley (saxophone) and Chris Anderson (trumpet) join Alexander in Shadowland, along with singer Oria, bassist Greg Novick and drummer Dave Anthony. The band, which released albums in 2017 and 2019, plays soul- and blues-flavored rock (mostly Alexander-written originals), with Alexander sharing lead vocal duties with Oria.
On New Year’s Eve, they’ll broadcast from Alexander’s basement studio in his Scotch Plains home, with temperature checks beforehand and masks in place until the music starts.
Throughout the pandemic, Alexander has been presenting Friday night “Quarantunes” concerts, mostly as a duo with Oria (his daughter) but sometimes with the whole Shadowland band. For New Year’s Eve, he said, they’re prepared to perform “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, followed by “Havin’ a Party,” the Sam Cooke song that has been a Jukes favorite throughout the band’s 45-year history.
“I felt like we have to do that,” said Alexander. “I know we’re going to have a lot of Southside fans (watching). Those people have supported our ‘Quarantunes’ thing that Oria and I do, and I know they’ll be with us.”
Southside Johnny and the Jukes have not been completely inactive during the pandemic, having presented some drive-in concerts back when the weather allowed for that. “Which was great,” Alexander said. “I have to say, this past summer … I don’t know how many we did, but we did at least a half dozen. Maybe seven or eight drive-in things. That was not nearly as weird as I thought it was going to be. And Oria and I did a couple of openings (for other artists) down at the Blu Grotto (at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport). They had tables spread out over that big lawn. So people are figuring some things out.”
Alexander has also continued to teach, virtually — he’s a faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. — and do studio work from his home studio, emailing his parts to other musicians. “I’m in my studio almost every day,” he said. “I have clients all over the world.”
And “Quarantunes” has, at least, given him a way to keep in front of an audience.
“It’s just been good for us to have to prepare something,” he said. “We did it every week for a long time, and only missing if we had gigs.”
As with the New Year’s Eve shows, the weekly “Quarantunes” shows — which will probably resume on Jan. 8 — are free, though people can make donations.
“It’s not a lot of money, but it’s pretty amazing,” said Alexander. “People are kicking in, because they’re used to going to shows, and they’re not buying those tickets … I was pretty surprised. It’s made a (financial) difference, for sure. And it’s kept us sane. … just the attitude of having to do something every week.”
In 2020, he said, “I have never played fewer gigs in my life, since I was 16 years old. I gotta say, the whole internet, Facebook Live shows and all that, I’m all for it.”
For information and updates on Shadowland, visit glennalexandershadowland.com.
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