Flashback to 1980 — During his maiden session for Don and David Was, Randy Jacobs meets Sweetpea Atkinson on a cold night in the Motor City at Sound Suite Studio (the recording home of the fledgling band Was (Not Was).The connection was immediate and a bond was forged between the two artists. Their combined talents would help Was (Not Was) become a successful act during the 80’s and into the early 90’s cumulating with the worldwide hit “Walk The Dinosaur” co-written by Jacobs.

After their European tour with Dire Straits in 1992 the Was Band went on hiatus and Randy started writing songs for a solo project while earning a living in Los Angeles playing with or recording for the likes of Bonnie Raitt, BB King, Seal, Paula Abdul, Kris Kristofferson, Ofra Haza, Tears For Fears, Warren Hill and others.Sweetpea was also singing for his supper in Los Angeles adding background vocals to artists like Neil Diamond, Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo, and Bob Segar. Randy had been working with various singers looking for the right voice for his new band when Atkinson called to say that he wanted to be part of Randy’s brand new thing and so the journey began.

It was Bonnie Raitt who inadvertently gave them their name “Boneshakers” while they were working on her “Longing In Our Hearts” CD and in 1996 the two were signed to Pointblank/Virgin Records and produced two CDs for the label. “Book Of Spells” (1997) which included Randy’s rockin swing arrangement of James Brown’s “Cold Sweat” and the powerful “Shake The Planet” (1998).

After leaving the label Sweetpea decided to go on the road with Lyle Lovett. Jacobs pushed on releasing the CD “Pouring Gasoline” (2001) on his own Bad Monkey Recordings label featuring Austin, Texas singer Malford Milligan (Storyville, Double Trouble). Milligan had come to see the Boneshakers a few years before at a show in Austin via Randy’s pal guitarist Stephen Bruton. Malford became an immediate fan. When he heard that the singer’s job was available he called Randy who was excited at the prospect.

The guitarist had actually been asked to join Storyville in 1995 but had to decline because his commitment to the Boneshakers. Milligan turned out to be the perfect replacement for Sweetpea. The pair released one more CD together, the live in concert “Put Some Booty On It, Vol 1” (2002). When Malford left in 2003 to start his own band, fate stepped in to bring Sweetpea back to the Boneshakers. While working together on a session for former band mate producer Don Was, Sweetpea asked if he could rejoin the band and once again the originals were back. They released “Put Some Booty On It , Vol 2” (2006) featuring their first live performance in San Francisco from 1997. In 2014 while the Boneshakers were performing at The Hyatt Newporter Jazz Fest, Randy’s friend saxophonist/singer Mindi Abair joined them on stage and it was instant chemistry, her manager Bud Harner then suggested a collaboration and Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers born .

The group produced 4 stellar cd’s, Live In Seattle (2015), East/West Sessions (2017), All I Got For Xmas Is The Blues (2018), and No Good Deed (2019). Sadly Sweetpea passed away May 5, 2020 but, Randy has carried on announcing a new collaboration with powerhouse singer/songwriter and Blues Hall Of Fame member Jenny Langer (Moonshine Society), the first single “Let’s Spend The Night Together” is set for release Aug 5th, 2022 and the new album “One Foot In The Groove” September 30th, produced by John Wooler (Who originally signed the Boneshakers to Pointblank/Virgin in 1996). Twenty-five years and counting, the future is now so continue to follow updates here and at officialboneshakers.com. We hope to see you at a venue near you soon.

Contact the Boneshakers at officialboneshakers/contact