INTERVIEW: Jumpin’ Hot Club 37th Anniversary | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image: Riley Downing

When I was sorting out this interview with Shippy about Jumpin’ Hot Club, he told me this anecdote that sums up the spirit of the man: he got an email from the agent for Lady Nade, who played last month, asking who the show rep was. “It never really occurred to me that I’ve been that person for 37 years. I just go to all the shows. I don’t think I’ve even missed double figures yet!” That unassuming attitude is a big part of what makes the Jumpin’ Hot Club – which he’s run with Adam Collerton since putting on a Hokum Hotshots gig on 3rd December 1985 – so special. They’re fans rather than businessmen, and they book what they love. “The one thing that’s kept me going all these years is the need to have all this different, non-mainstream music come to the North East,” he explains. “When I first started Jumpin’ Hot, a massive amount of talent never came here. I still get frustrated when I can’t get an artist or band to come here.”

Shippy never intended or expected JHC to last this long. “I didn’t expect it to even last a couple years, let alone bloody 37 years. But I love what I do and it’s an absolute privilege to have the life I’ve had.”

The one thing that’s kept me going all these years is the need to have all this different, non-mainstream music come to the North East

The club had humble beginnings. “Me and Adam looked about to find a club like one we saw in a Big Bill Broonzy clip and we found it at The Bridge Hotel. We just started booking acts, easy as that. We didn’t have much of a clue but we learned and I was already a musician so I got the task of doing the PA. I also had a fanzine called Jumpin’ Hot (my wife Berni’s idea), so we named the club after that. The fanzine only lasted about four issues but we’re still here.”

Shippy is the first to admit the idea behind the programme of anniversary gigs taking place this month is as much to remind people that JHC is still kicking after the dire straits of the pandemic years as it is to celebrate its longevity. “It’s still pretty hard getting older people to take a chance on somebody they’ve never heard (except on our reputation), let alone coming out to a gig. We’re letting people know that we are most certainly still here.”

Shippy reels off JHC highlights easily – Rico Rodriguez at The Bridge, the Boss Sounds Festival in 2003 with Jimmy Cliff, Prince Buster and Lee Perry, Alejandro Escovedo at The Cluny with his string quartet. But he wants to talk about the upcoming gigs too: there’s Brixton reggae/blues artist Errol Linton (Thursday 17th, Gosforth Civic Theatre); Missouri’s Riley Downing (“he has a country blues, folk rock ‘n’ soul, whatever-catches-his-ear concoction that’s so amazing and unique”) (Thursday 10th, Gosforth Civic Theatre); American singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault (Monday 14th, Gosforth Civic Theatre); Grammy-nominated folk artist Mary Gauthier, with support from Texan folk ‘n’ roller Jaimee Harris (Thursday 24th, Gateshead’s Little Theatre) and a host of others (check the JHC website).

There’ll also be an exhibition at Gosforth Civic Theatre from Thursday 10th November-Thursday 1st December featuring JHC live photos across the years from Charles Holley and Juan Fitzgerald, as well as video clips and interviews from the archives playing on a loop on launch day.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout