“Hey James, I thought you were just a computer geek! You can really play, Dude! Very happy for you; what a band! My wife Carol was with me; she had never seen or met you but felt good about you from the second you came on stage and started talking.”
“Naperville is home to one of the Cryan Shames co-founders, James Fairs, 62, who is also the current CEO of IMI Innovations, a technology firm in Naperville at 556 S. Main St. The company was launched in early 2003 and is the genesis, to some degree, of a musician’s mind.”
Naperville Sun-Chicago Sun Times
“James Fairs would be both the Paul McCartney and John Lennon of this endeavor, but to his credit, James is his own person and that is the biggest compliment to his intense, cutting edge artistry. He will go back, but he alone knows when the timing is right. Something, it may be perceived, with all respect, due to his restless searching of the heavens and the deltas for what he will unfailingly turn into a tantalizingly delicious, new cosmic brew. That’s evident in James’ music and you will hear it Saturday when his own Jamez Band takes the stage.”
Article on the Cryan’ Shames website, by Randy Baran
“Always an amazing Show! How can one explain tonight to those who weren’t there?”
Group of Fans
About the JamezBand
How do you become a legend? In the case of James Fairs you achieve the centerpiece of your dreams by the age of nineteen and then you simply walk away. Fairs was the principle songwriter, producer and guitarist for 1960’s regional wonders The Cryan’ Shames, Midwestern legends who ruled the charts on Chicago radio station WLS between 1966 and 1969. While The Cryan’ Shames never quite duplicated that level of popularity on a national level, they did land no less than seven singles on the Billboard charts in their four year run and have become a cult favorite amongst fans of 1960’s garage rock bands.
As a songwriter with The Cryan’ Shames, James Fairs showed himself apt at penning and producing crisp and catchy pop tunes, but the simplicity of pop music was never completely satisfying for Fairs, who was also drawn to the classical guitar, bagpipes, flute, keyboards and the Chapman Stick as outlets for his creative drive. Fairs spent some time writing for Chaka Khan, touring with and producing Gregg Allman, and working with other notable artists before going underground. Fairs continued to compose, play, and study for the next forty years while maintaining a low profile. In the mean time he has become something of a technology guru, embracing and mastering recording technologies early on and sharing his knowledge with other artists.
Much like his early experiences in music, once Fairs showed himself able to master existing trends in technology he found himself yearning to create something new. In the age of internet, he saw the potentials of enabling computer users in various places around the world to fully interact in their computer environments. As CEO of IMI Innovations, Inc., Fairs has overseen the development of Control Layer Technologies, an innovative way of interconnecting computer users from any locations and allowing them to work simultaneously in the same computer environment. The end result is that a musician anywhere in the world could record over the internet with a top-flight producer in L.A., New York or Nashville without ever leaving the comfort of their own home. This is one of many potential uses; one with the potential to revolutionize the way artists and producers work together. In the larger sense, Control Layer Technologies offer the potential to revolutionize the way the global community works.
Through it all music has always been James Fairs’ first love. He’s initiated a handful of reunion shows for The Cryan’ Shames over the years, but Fairs suffers from the same musical wandering spirit as artists such as Sting and Bob Dylan. Every song, even his classic material, is more of an ongoing conversation than a static creation. Consequently, when Fairs plays the hits of yesteryear, they become more of a continuing dialogue that does not necessarily sound the way it did the first time around. Fairs continues to create new classics as well. To honor this ongoing musical genesis, Fairs has formed The JamezBand with a cast of world famous and award-winning musicians and a line-up including drums, bass, keys, and full vocal and horn sections. While it is difficult to pigeonhole The JamezBand with a specific sound, there are elements of Peter Gabriel’s world-music fusion and Johh McLaughlin’s complex machinations in Fairs’ muse.
Of course if you ask Fairs about the reason for all of his success, he’ll tell you an interesting story about four days spent in a New York City studio with the late, great Jimi Hendrix. Fairs got to watch and listen as Hendrix created studio magic and even got to give the occasional bit of input regarding production. So what is it about the experience that Fairs carries with him to this day? Its how exceedingly polite and gracious Hendrix was throughout the entire process. Fairs will tell you that he’s carried that lesson with him to this day, making it a point to be gracious and grateful in all that he does. It’s made all of the difference.
In that spirit, and in spite of Fairs’ complexly creative personality, perhaps the thing that stands out more is his ability to engage others. Whether in front of a crowd of thousands or talking one-to-one, Fairs makes you feel like you’re part of the moment. There is honesty in Fairs’ communications, whether in words or music, that speaks of integrity and art. Fairs is fully committed on stage; every song and every moment. This is what has been bringing fans back time and again over the past four and a half decades. It is the reason that even now, with Fairs embarking on a new musical venture at the outset of his seventh decade, that music fans and critics alike get a bit giddy over The JamezBand. In a world of pop/rock music built on cynicism and recidivism, it is refreshing to find someone who is still creating purely for the love of the music. When you see or listen to The JamezBand, you’ll feel like he’s creating for you.
Written by Wildy Haskell