Bassist Che Colovita Lemon was a longtime friend of Jimi HaHa when the singer asked him to help form an acoustic jam band in the mid-'90s. The group, Jimmie's Chicken Shack, released its latest album, Bring Your Own Stereo, in August.
Born Oct. 21, 1970, Lemon grew up near HaHa in Maryland. HaHa was in a band called Ten Times Big, before playing acoustic shows at small bars and open-mic nights in Annapolis with original Jimmie's Chicken Shack guitarist Jimmy McD.
HaHa asked his friend Lemon to join as bassist, and the rhythm section was completed with former Ten Times Big drummer Jimmy Chaney. Jimmie's Chicken Shack evolved into a punk/funk/metal-pop ensemble specializing in dark-humored songs.
Jimmie's Chicken Shack formed Fowl Records and issued Chicken Scratch (1993) and Spitburger Lottery (1994), which were recorded for a combined cost of $800. Tracks included "Inside" and "Virginia County Line." The LPs are now available as 2 for 1 Special.
The group toured endlessly around the Northeast to attract attention. "None of us really had any jobs, so we just lived in poverty and played," HaHa told concert-industry trade magazine Pollstar. Soon Jimmie's Chicken Shack created a buzz among alternative-music fans in the Baltimore area.
Giving Something Back chronicled the rowdy gigs the band played in Baltimore clubs before they signed with Elton John's Rocket Records. Cuts included "Return to Sender," "React" and "Vacuum."
Jimmie's Chicken Shack had sold almost 15,000 records on their own before signing with Rocket. On that label they issued Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope (1997). Featuring the popular single "High" (RealAudio excerpt), the LP sold more than 300,000 copies. It also included tracks such as "Another Day," "Dropping Anchor," "Outhouse," "This Is Not Hell" and "Spiderweb."
Jimmie's Chicken Shack also issued a collection of early recordings called The Original Recipe.
After Salmanilla, the band began touring nationwide (including gigs with Everclear) with new guitarist Double D (Dave Dowling).
Earlier this year, Jimmie's Chicken Shack returned with Bring Your Own Stereo, featuring "Let's Get Flat," "Spiraling" and "Lazy Boy Dash." The LP, like its predecessor, is anchored by Colovita's throbbing, funky bass. The band played the Family Values tour and is currently gigging behind the LP throughout the U.S.
Other birthdays Thursday: Norman Wright (Del-Vikings), 62; Manfred Mann, 59; Steve Cropper (Booker T. and the MG's), 58; Elvin Bishop, 57; Ron Elliott (Beau Brummels), 56; Lee Loughnane (Chicago), 53; Tetsu Yamauchi (Faces), 52; John "Rabbit" Bundrick (Free), 51; Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go's), 46; Eric Faulkner (Bay City Rollers), 44; Julian Cope, 42; and Steve Lukather (Toto), 42.