The Great Roland Janes

This afternoon, my buddy Joe Restivo and I met Roland Janes, the great rock-a-billy guitarist and famed recording engineer, right here at Sam Phillips’ recording studio on Madison Avenue.  What a treat.  This guy was a house session guitarist at Sun and played with  Jerry Lee Lewis on two of his biggest hits, (“Great Balls of Fire” & “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”).  He was sitting at the front desk when we walked in the door.  “Hi fellas.  What can I do for you?”  We were stunned.  After the introductions, he asked us to have a seat and we just talked to him for a while.  He let us take a walk through those amazing, historic rooms that are still in operation and can be yours for the low low price of just $65. per hour.  Wow.  All analog, no ProTools, nothing digital, just the real deal Holyfield.  We saw numerous vintage tube gear, Neumann mics hanging (uncovered) on stands, killer old Hammond organ, tube amps everywhere, the vibe was incredible and I got goose bumps right away.  I can’t believe that place isn’t packed on a daily basis with rock stars.  I guess it used to be, but not anymore and today was just a glimpse into a world that is truly fading fast.  Growing up here, I had only a vague knowledge of the music this town has produced and even now I’m still learning new things, but what a place.  For all of it’s faults, intricacies, racism and tremendous poverty, Memphis is still one hell of a city and I’m proud to be from here.

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