Saturday, February 16, 2008

jeff neills bio


Born and raised in Sault Ste.Marie, Jeff grew up listening to hit radio and was inspired by the British Invasion to pick up the guitar. By the time he was 11 he was playing bass and singing in any band in the neighbourhood that could stumble through any recognizable version of Jimi Hendrix’ "Foxy Lady" or Vanilla Fudge’s "You Keep Me Hangin’ On". It was during those early years that Jeff discovered two of the most important things about being in a rock and roll band... girls and cigarettes.

By the time Jeff was 14 he decided he needed to switch to guitar and promptly went down to the local pawn shop/pool hall and traded in his bass for an electric 6 string guitar which he informed his parents about a week or so later.Always supportive,Mom and Dad weren’t quite sure but after a slightly imperfect version of Hendrix’ "The Star Spangled Banner" they were truly was already too late.

At 18 Jeff went out on the road and played the Western Canadian club scene, primarily with a very popular band called Shama. Ironically enough one other group that also had the same kind of drawing power at that time was Kenny Shields and Witness. It was during that key period that Jeff got to know Kenny, Daryl and Spider a little bit but even more importantly he got to see just how good those guys really were. Needless to say that when Streetheart finally broke onto the scene Jeff was a huge fan and followed their career very closely. So it was no surprise that when the opportunity came to audition for the band Jeff knew this was his chance and it was his passion and enthusiasm for the band that most likely got him the job. Jeff’s debut album with Streetheart was the self-titled "Streetheart " album which would go on to be the bands biggest seller of all time. Jeff co-wrote all of the songs along with Kenny, Daryl and Spider and it was the first in a series of platinum records that he would subsequently earn.

After Streetheart broke up in 1984 Jeff returned to Vancouver which had been his home since early 1977. He was doing studio session work there when he was asked to play guitar for Australian singer Jimmy Barnes. What started out initially as a 3 month American concert tour grew into an 11 year career that saw Jeff moving to Australia and touring the world with Jimmy, spending several years in Europe, earning numerous multi-platinum records as a writer and guitarist as well as doing festivals and shows with The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, ZZ Top, Sting and INXS.

Jeff returned to Canada in 1997 and got back into studio work as a writer and arranger for Disney and in advertising for radio and television. He had been doing a few Streetheart shows on and off until late 2003 when Jeff and Kenny agreed to have one more pedal down go of it and Jeff has been back full time with Kenny Shields and Streetheart since then. Jeff brings his considerable experience and influence to the stage every night of every show and after all this time it’s still easy to see the clear dedication he has towards his bandmates, fans and his craft. When he isn’t doing the Streetheart stuff, Jeff works as an arranger and independant music producer. He is actively involved in artist development with new and established acts, intends on breaking par and now knows that two of the most important things about being in a rock and roll band are to always remember where you come from, and, if you get lost...stop soloing and get back to the groove.

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