Jupiter Studios

"He wandered in here one day fresh off the boat from the Orient reeking of handrolled cigarettes and dressed to the nines, and of course we hit it off immediately. We both love to complain about the poor quality of food in America, and how irritating the willfully ignorant are." -- Jupiter Studios owner Richie Kindler on how he met J.J. Vicars

Maximum Ink music magazine

Ramblin’ man J.J. Vicars has lived the life of the guitar player at “The Crossroads”, staring the Devil in the eye, always ready for the axe-slinger’s duel at the drop of the dead man’s hat. This down-South honky-tonk rockabilly blues man has paid his dues, but as does the finest timepiece, he takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

With a voice somewhere between Foghat’s Lonesome Dave, Bear Hite from Canned Heat, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Vicars lays down authentic rock ‘n roll blues with diverse technique, peppered with attitude and swagger.

While “Ain’t Waitin’ Anymore” has an SRV-type Texas vibe, and the instrumental “Icebreakin” features Freddie King or Albert Collins-ish bluesy chicken pickin’, there’s plenty of rock in this house, evidenced by “Cutie Pie” and it’s 70s sex gargoyle heavy modal shredding deconstruction. There’s also some Peter Green-era Mac magic at work here, with the ethereal “Albatross sheen” applied liberally to “Solitude” and “Sleep Walk”. In a nutshell, if you’re serious about your guitar-hero blues music, you be right at home drinkin’ and grinnin’ with Mr. Vicars. This guy has the chops and the cojones to kick-start one helluva rockin’ roll-y hoedown.


It's been awhile since we heard from JJ Vicars - the blues and rock `n' roll afficionado who operated out of...Japan of all places. And much as one wouldn't except first-rate blues rock to come out of Japan...one also might be pleasantly surprised by the consistency of his new disc LONG WAY FROM HOME.

A warm, rootsy maturity underlines this collection of song. Overall, this is the most consistent and enjoyable album by JJ Vicars yet. There's a warm, retro sound to the whole album...yet there's enough energy to keep things fresh, vibrant, and vital. A rock and roll purist in every sense of the word, I am confident we will keep hearing from Vicars for years to come - and each album will be better and better.

As a postscript, it's only fitting that shortly after releasing an album called LONG WAY FROM HOME that Vicars relocated back to the United States.

Blues Matters issue #42

Album Review: HI-TECH HILLBILLY and HEARTLAND The second and third albums by one-time Texan resident J.J. Vicars. HI-TECH HILLBILLY features some of Vicars' earliest writing and was recorded recently as a solo project at his Jindaijii Monkey studio. The earlier album gives more than a hint of the talent of the man, and shows him to be a gifted songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician. Whereas the earlier CD has a more varied, experiemental and demo-like feel, HEARTLAND is a much stronger offering, brim full of sustained riffing, the like of which I haven't heard since early AC/DC albums. When Vicars rocks, it is positively strident. The tunes on the later CD cut a mighty swath through Blues, rock and boogie, tempered with some contrasting gentle ballads. The common denominator throughout is of some extra-ordinarily powerful guitar playing, often enhanced by multi-tracking, albeit sometimes let down by some strange engineering or mixing. Influences are taken from southern rock bands and borrowed from timeless Rolling Stones riffs. What Vicars lacks in vocal subtleties and nuances he more than makes up with powerful instrumental prowess. Anger and passion pervade his lyrics in equal measure and timeless themes of lust, travel, politics, and economic deprivation are coverd in songs like LOVE OR LUST, ONE OF THESE DAYS, and BUSTIN' MY ASS. The raw power of the rock tracks, especially on HEARTLAND, are an invitation to turn up the volume and bang heads in time.

J.J. Vicars' special mixture of Blues and Rock 'n' Roll, well, rocks. Like a cool mixed drink on a hot Texas evening, it soothes and satisfies. Before you know it you're being entertained in a down-home kind of way, if you know what I mean. Aw, come on now. You know the kind, when your feet get light and you can't sit down anymore. Yea, now you got it. Influenced by the sounds of southern bluesmen, J.J. won his spurs on the coca-cola and beer-sticky floors of Texas honky-tonks, where believe me brother, they play the real thing. Authentic and audacious, J.J. plays the genre the way it is supposed to be experienced -- loud, twangy and bluesy. Great stuff!

J.J. Vicars & The Desiatos is a hard act to follow. When a talented band of rocking and rolling musicians are intent on having a swinging time together, the audience is always in for a treat. And that's the secret. Primarily the band is there to discover new musical heights to scale, as much for themselves as for the paying and baying crowd. The musicians move the listeners into feet-tapping or dancing with those exciting standards and classics that once moved their parents. Great music never dies, it just gets reborn each generation and J.J. Vicars plays homage to the glorious past of rock 'n roll. I should know... I was dancing to their music long before they were born and still am.

Blues Matters

Album review: SCI-FI DINER This is a rocking power trio with J.J.,originally from Texas but now based in Japan,specialising in hard drivin' Blues,Boogie and Rock'n'roll. There are thirteen songs here and all bar three are self-penned. The opening track is a cover of SEE SEE BABY which rocks along nicely featuring J.J. on vocals and guitar. J.J. Barrera pumps his bass and Mike Buck (an original Fabulous Thunderbird) keeps everything together on drums. This lot work at the Sci-Fi Diner and they're up to their elbows in greasy,hot,grimy rock'n'roll,the dance floor is heaving and there's sweat running down the walls. Iggy Pop's REAL WILD CHILD gets a good seeing to as does almost everything here really. (Note: REAL WILD CHILD is actually a Jerry Lee Lewis number covered by Iggy Pop. Brian Setzer also covered it on his Sun Records Tribute CD which was recorded after but released at the same time a SFD. --J.J.V.) God knows what they eat in the diner but CROW'S FEET 'N' CHICKEN ASS is served up here as a tasty instrumental snack. The straight ahead,no prisoners approach must make them a great party band and I'd love to see them in a packed club somewhere. TAKE ME ON DOWN TO MEMPHIS is a Chuck Berry soundalike which rocks along furiously and will get your toes tapping. Closing track SPANISH FANDANGO is a pretty little acoustic number which gives J.J. the opportunity to display his more sensitive side and seems almost out of place after the preceeding blood and thunder! Very tasty!

Dig It! Fanzine

Album Review: SCI-FI DINER J.J. Vicars pratique un boogie rythm'nblues classique sans fioritures ni effets spÈciaux, juste le feeling et les bonnes rÈfÈrences en bandouliËre (BB King, Jerry Lee L., Sonny Boy W., Lightnin H., Lonnie Mack...). Le genre de truc tout indiquÈ pour faire les Japonais taper du pied en levant le coude le samedi soir. Les Japonais ? HÈ ouais, J.J. le Texan s'est installÈ ‡ Tokyo et rÈgale la ville de ses descentes de manche bien senties depuis plusieurs annÈes. Quand il revient au pays, il enregistre ses morceaux sur un mode "sitÙt sorti de l'ampli - sitÙt dans la boÓte". Et J.J. sait s'entourer puisque sur ce CD 13 titres (Sci-Fi Dinner) on croise de vieilles connaissances : J.J. Barrera des Tailgators (basse) et Mike Buck des Leroi Brothers ‡ la batterie, soit la crËme d'Austin au rayon section rythmique Est-il besoin de prÈciser que Áa tourne rond ? DÈfinitivement hors des modes mais solide et immortel. (www.jjvicars.com)

Guitarscum Lilypad Productions

Album Review: SCI-FI DINER Oh man, something's got to be wrong with me. I feel a little feverish,and have an uncontrollable tapping reflex in my feet. The really weird thing is,the symptoms usually only occur when I listen to one particular music CD. Could it be that J.J. Vicars' SCI-FI DINER has infected me with the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu? More and more it seems the case. Guitarist Vicars is up to his elbows in greasy grimy gritty rock and roll at the SCI-FI DINER,but it all goes down well with a slug out of the bottle of Blues chased with a shot of swing. Sound intoxicating? Don't say I didn't warn ya. Daddy-O,if the highway calls your name than you'll never ever be the same. J.J. Vicars has walked that walk, learning electric blues in the scorching South before exploring the fertile musical heartland of the Midwest,with jaunts to Japan adding to his cultural vocabulary. Indeed, the former Austin, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Cincinnati resident now calls Tokyo his home. Make no mistake though,the music on J.J.'s debut full length CD is pure Americana. Heck it's enough to make one (almost) proud to be American again! Almost, that is. Bringing back the spirit of the true revolutionaries and the land they loved to call home is the cowboy swing and stomp of the opening two numbers. SEE SEE BABY and ROCK MY WORLD shuffle a boogie woogie beat behind Vicars' hightone pickin' and gruff vocals, singing about - what else?- lustin' after some sweet young thing,of course. And thats so down-home American rock 'n' roll I don't know what else is. Well, cars are pretty rock 'n' roll too I suppose. Which is why it's so great to have some new road music to listen to. Vicars' instrumentals make for especially good road trip soundtracks, as example, the self explanatory J.J.'S BOOGIE and the squawk and pluck of CROW'S FEET 'N' CHICKEN ASS. My my,that makes the motor hot when the pistons pump that way. It is certainly no coincidence that subsequential songs on this digital offering have traveling titles like GOTTA RIDE and TAKE ME ON DOWN TO MEMPHIS. With the steady backbeat provided by original Fabulous Thunderbirds drummer Mike Buck, you're sure of a smooth and steady ride to that aforementioned greasy spoon of the celestials. Some of my favorite moments on this disc come from the guitarist unaccompanied, however. A chuggin' acoustic rocker like BOOGIE WITH GRANNY really stirs the Rory Gallagher/Lonnie Brooks/Freddie King stew and that's throwing together a lot of spices from different tasty places! But you know,with a pinch of this and a dash of that, J.J. Vicars has written the recipes for many specials at this funky crazy hash house, and in the process made the menu uniquely his own. My favorite number here is the CD's closer, another solo acoustic ditty by the name of SPANISH FANDANGO. I find myself humming the infectious melody and again; the fever with uncontrollable toe tapping sets in again. Well I don't need no doctor,'cause I know what's ailing me. And the disease is the same as the cure when all roads lead back to the SCI-FI DINER. Flo, gimme the usual.

Le Cri du Coyote (France)

Album Review: SCI-FI DINER Un vrai citoyen du monde, né à Los Angeles (1972), influencé par Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, il a passé son enfance à Houston et la fin de son adolescence à Tokyo. Revenu aux USA en 1992, on le retrouve en Indiana, puis en Ohio, au Texas, en Arizona et, depuis 2003, de nouveau au Japon! En outre, il reprend le titre d'un Australien, ''Real wild child'' de Johnny O'Keefe, une des deux reprises à côté de 10 compos de très bon niveau, plutôt ancrées dans le rockin' r'n'b. Il ne dédaigne pas les instrumentaux, dont 2 sauce ''Guitar boogie'', le blues lent ou le bon vieux rock'n'roll (''Take me on down to Memphis''). Très bon CD de début donc. Bernard Boyat Le Cri du Coyote

Blues N*40 (France)

Bernard Boyat's review of SCI-FI DINER has been published in the April issue of Blues N*40 in France.The late great Rory Gallagher graces the cover.Click on CHRONIQUES CD and then look under "V" for VICARS,J.J. in the alphabetical listing.