The Joint Chiefs have been bringing soulful funk to Santa Cruz’s music scene since 1989. James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Jaco Pastorius are just a few of the band’s main influences, and any given set will include popular covers and a few of their own R&B originals.
For singer/guitarist Don Caruth and bassist Daniel Vee Lewis, music is a full-time gig; the two stay busy giving lessons and playing in multiple bands, with shows nearly every night of the week, including regular monthly restaurant gigs and an open jam session that they host at the Pocket.
For Lewis, playing gigs every night never gets old: “I’ve had real jobs, I’ve worked 50-hour weeks, so I can compare the difference,” he says. “Any time it gets tough I’m like, ‘Wait, look what you do.’ I love it, and I’m very grateful.”
Caruth agrees. “I do it ’cause I love it, and I’m very blessed to make a living at it. But if musicians didn’t get paid anywhere, I’d still be doing it.”
Their advice to younger aspiring musicians?
“Practice and learn your craft before you just go out and start playing it in front of a bunch of people,” Caruth says. “When I was trying to get into clubs when I was young, if you couldn’t play, they wouldn’t let you in there! And these days—I don’t mean to put anybody down, but I see a lot of guys out, and they’re not ready to be out. So my advice is to practice, practice, practice.”
The Joint Chiefs play at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 1 at the Crow’s Nest. $6.