Musician J. Geils, dies at MA home

Geils, founder and namesake of the band behind 1980s hits "Freeze Frame" and "Centerfold", has died at age 71. After a "well-being check" at the musician's house at around 4 p.m. EDT, Geils was discovered unresponsive and was declared dead at the scene, police said in a statement. Foul play was not suspected and a preliminary investigation suggests Geils died of natural causes, Palma said. Geils had a knack for finding talent and filled his band with luminaries Peter Wolf, Seth Justman, Danny Klein, Magic Dick Salwitz and Stephen Jo Bladd.

Geils spent his time restoring race cars in MA, a state he continued to call home.

In recent years, the band toured without Geils because of a legal dispute with his record label, which claimed ownership of the band's name, according to the Facebook page.

It switched focus in 1967, recruiting the energetic frontman and lead singer Peter Wolf and becoming the J. Geils Blues Band, with "blues" later being dropped.

In 1999, they reunited for the odd reunion show, but without Geils, who sued the rest of the band for using the group's name and for touring under it without him. Wolf departed company from the group to pursue a solo career and wouldn't appear on the J. Geils Band's final album, released in 1984.

The J Geils Band was sometimes compared to another MA band, Aerosmith, but did not have the same staying power. Their sole number one single in the US, "Centerfold", hit the top of the charts in 1981.

When news of Geils' death broke, fans turned to social media to offer condolences and to reminisce about the band's songs and concerts. Also, sadly, while the band has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they have yet to be inducted.

While J. Geils will be sorely missed it is certain his music will continue to populate the airwaves and inspire singalongs until the end of time. "The J. Geils Band remain one of greatest bands of all time", wrote Stevie Van Zandt. Geils served as the bands guitarist and vocalist.

  • Ernesto Newman