It’s Rock and Roll…and I love it!: An Interview with Jim Suhler

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Event: George Thorogood with Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat
Venue: Florida Theatre
Date/Time: Thursday Oct 6, 8pm
Tickets: Available on Ticketmaster $39-$49

Get ready Jacksonville! Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat are bringing their love for rock and roll back to us October 6th as they take the stage at the Florida Theatre alongside George Thorogood. Promoting their live album Live at the Kessler is not their only goal as they hope to create a musical atmosphere of warmth and love, great tunes, and a good time! I was given the incredible opportunity to talk shop with Jim about the new album, the vibes and energy of a live show, changes in the industry, and what he does to help up and coming talent.

Suhler expressed true pride and passion when talking about the creation of Live at the Kessler. “It’s been a long time coming but, I am really proud of it,” he says. He also tells me that the process of condensing two hours worth of music into a 70-minute recording time was no easy task, considering all of the material to filter through after years of playing and recording. When all was said and done, 13 of their best tracks that reflect being in the moment and some of the band’s favorites were chosen to create a brilliant album brought to fruition last November and released in stores in June.

Since I personally have never seen Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat or Jim performing with George Thorogood with The Destroyers before, I was curious about the atmosphere of their shows. Suhler describes performing as, “A challenge I embrace because I love it. It’s where the rubber meets the road. A live show should be really powerful. You can’t just play music, you have to entertain, too.”

Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat began their musical journey together 22 years ago, which is a long time of touring, selling albums, and playing shows. The music industry has changed throughout the years. Suhler reflects, “Music streaming has definitely hurt the industry itself. Making money is a lot harder. You have to tour and sell merchandise at your shows. You have to look for new business models and be creative. You have to work hard, and it’s in no way easy. It never was but, you see all of these changes, you have to be willing to change with it.”

Though the industry is fast paced and forever changing Suhler still enjoys rubbing shoulders with his influences both past and present. He enjoys sharing his wisdom with up and coming artists, but he is also learning from them. Whether it be a life lesson or a new guitar riff, Suhler says, “I like helping younger artists when I can. If I hear someone who is deserving and talented, I’ll do whatever I can to help, whether it be advice or help with a gig. I always end up learning something from them, too. It’s a reciprocal deal. You always have to keep learning.” It’s a valuable lesson both on and off the stage.

Be there with Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat when the rubber meets the road! You won’t want to miss the show powerful enough to breathe new life into classic rock, entertaining enough to help you to unwind from the stress of a workday, and memorable enough that the music and experience will stay with you for a lifetime! To check out the live album before the show and for information about the tour, visit their website: www.jimsuhler.com.

About Morgan Bates

october, 2021

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