The Story Of Eddy Campy – The Jumpers Band Founding Memeber
“How could it be ANY better?”
I met a guy while playing at the St. Helens Blues Festival 2003 who came on our bus to talk about music with a real sense of humor. It was a lot of fun. His name was John Nyberg and he was a local bass player who was always saying, “How could it be ANY better?” John couldn’t play bass anymore. He was dying from Parkinson’s disease. I thought how could this guy have this good attitude in his condition? I realized he still had the passion for music in him even if his body wasn’t there. He really wanted to be doing what I was doing. It inspired me. I realized no matter how much hassle and bull the music business is, we are blessed to doing what we do as musicians and better be thankful for any chance to play. I’m thinking I’ve got a great old lady and kids, a good union job, a farm with a studio, and I’m playing music. God blessed I’d say, so I adopted John’s saying. He died last year and we’ll miss him.
I was born in the Cleveland area in 1955 the youngest kid and way behind all my sisters and brother so when I was little I had all their old rock and roll records to listen to. Kind of a little brother thing trying to fit in. That was until 64 when I decided I had to find a way to join the Beatles. They had all those girls chasing them and seemed like a better job than working at the Chevy plant like my old man. He hated the Beatles and he said I was never going to pick a guitar that he liked to call a “starvation box”. (I wrote a song about that name, but now I think he might have been right) Anyway I think that’s the reason why my mom bought my first guitar and amp was to piss him off. I cut up his classic antique radio trying make my amp bigger one day. I can see why my dad drank heavy.
I left Ohio the early 70’s to live with my brother John who was living in Eugene after my folks died. We had a house in a cool hippie area on 10th street around the corner from Ken Kesey’s film house. It had a bunch of guitars and amps and old films of the Dead and the Airplane that they would show outside on bed sheets. That’s when I met my oldest friends sax player Randy “Ratso” Reece and his drummer brother Ricky. Ratso lent me the money to buy first Gibson guitar for $95. He was playing in a band called Three Fingered Jack that had a lot of players go thru it. It had a piano player named Dave “D.K.” Stewart and some young kid harmonica player named Curtis Salgado.
There was a guy I went to South Eugene High with named Rob Thomas playing guitar, and is now well known as a jazz violin and bass player. I took some bass lessons from him when I started. He told me to play as simple and low as possible because it make’s the band sound bigger and it’s a tonal area that’s all yours alone. That’s why I think any bass player going pass the 7tH fret should be docked $10 from his pay. Rob played with people like Joe Henderson, Eddie Harris, Nat Adderley, and Nancy King. Anyway this band was always playing a dump called the Roman Forum and was my first exposure to a working band cause I could pass for 21 then. The band broke up one night after the club owner gave the band a bunch of reds and some passed out onstage.
Ratso, Ricky, and I started my first real band with my high school buddy Brad Ettling in 74 called AARO. We did a lot our own tunes with some Johnny Winter, AWB, and Allman Bros thrown in. We were a good band but too young and stupid to know how to book it. I met some guys who live across the street called the Robert Cray Band. They seemed to play all the cool places and worked a lot .I remember asking a club owner why Robert’s band got $50 more than us and we had five people and Robert had only four. He said, ” Hell, they’re a lot better than you and tell him why IS he hiring us anyway?” I told him it was just a rhetorical question anyway and just forget that I asked it. Cray and Cousins and Chris Porter used to come over and jam at our place cause it was the local commune, band house if you know what I mean back then. It was a big old house, loud music till midnight and the rent was only $125. We sometimes had 15 people living there so the rent was $8 each a month and half of them couldn’t come up with it. It was a lot of fun if you didn’t mind dirty dishes.
I was playing around Eugene thru the 70’s mainly with horns cause of Ratso and it was cool scene. The OLCC changed the laws to allow band to play taverns in72 so everyplace was having bands. Some of the bands were the Nighthawks, Robert Cray, and Bill Rhodes and the Party Kings were always playing Taylor’s. I was trying to go to collage on social security money but it didn’t work out. Five years and I was still a freshman. I tell everyone I was studying brewing, gynecology, and pharmaceutical recreation but never got my degree. I took jewelry, volleyball, nude Swedish massage, and wood shop. I made money in wood shop building speaker cabinets and soon was living on renting P.A. systems and playing. I was working roadie for a band called Shinola which had Mark Sprangler and Kip Richardson who later went Portland to play with Johnny and the Distractions and this black gospel singer named Robert Bailey who moved to Nashville and hooked up with to sing back up with lots of people like Wynona and Willie and ton others.
One time I rented all our band instruments and my old ambulance we moved our stuff in to the people who where making Animal House in Eugene. I took the stuff to the place where they were filming the toga party in the basement. They hired about every black musician in town to play as Otis Day’s band the Knights. They had Robert Cray (on bass), Robert Bailey, Tommy Smith, Ron Steen, and Sonny King on sax. I don’t know if Sonny was cool with the whole loud crazy scene cause he was hanging by himself in the corner kind of messing with Ratso’s sax. Soon Sonny worked it into a slow, soulful ballad and the whole set just stopped for about five minutes as if everyone was hypnotized. When he stopped everyone realized what he just did to the place and went wild and clapped. It was a powerful moment for me. Sonny was always nice to me when just starting as a kid and looked up to Sonny and Nancy and their music.
In 1979 I started playing bands with Karen Dumont and we played all over from Alaska to Nevada. We had a 7-piece horn band called Street Talk with a great keys guy named John Workman. He taught me a lot about music and I’ll miss him. One of my greatest blessings from God was a head-on collision with a log truck on the way to a gig. My brother bought me car insurance that morning and by 6 p.m. I was in the hospital with a broken back. Insurance covered everyone and everything. A real God shot. The funny thing is that I didn’t get out of the hospital 3 days when we got a house gig so I had to play. Here I am sitting in a huge Hawaiian shirt and a body cast and the drummer Dave Delzotto’s got two broken arms. People didn’t know what to think so they started to call Street Wreck.
The band broke up in1981 we ended up in Portland. I built a studio on 39th st and was working in the studio and playing. One day get a call from Curtis Salgado and In YO Face if I could fill in for their bass player and if I had a P.A. system that would be even better. I recorded the first night on a little cassette and by the next gig three days later I knew all the songs. That was a great band cause we were all still young and some nights Curtis was just on fire. Sometimes I would lose my place watching him sing. Lloyd Jones was playing guitar and that was real cool. He would just grind out some old slide blues that would blow your mind. Joel Foye played guitar and Johnny Moore was a groove monster on drums. We had a lot of fun and got to open for people like John Lee Hooker, Son Seals, Jon Harmond, and Albert King.
I also got to play with The Lloyd Jones Struggle on the first Mondays he had at the Dandelion Pub. The place was so small then people would walk between me and the drummer to use the bathroom. In Yo Face was a real blues and soul band and these guys seemed like purist at times. I felt odd man out sometimes cause I liked everything from Rock to Country. I got some cred with these guys onetime when Stevie Ray Vaughn and Richard Cousins came in to a place we where playing and sat in with us. The band knew Stevie was coming in so I had him sign some records for me. He was opening for Men At Work and things weren’t going so good. He said he’d been listening to stuff that was helping him get thru tuff times and we all thinking it must be some cool old blues he had found. He came back with an old George Jones tape and I felt exonerated for my Hillbilly side.
I always said Country was just soul music for us dumber white people. Anyway when Stevie sat in it was like a man choking a snake. He played with such intensity it was scary. He broke 2 strings on Joel’s guitar so he switched to Lloyd’s later and broke a couple there. He was used to that low Texas tuning I think. Later, when Cousins got up and it was Joel’s turn to take a solo and he must have been inspired cause he just ripped. After the solo Stevie raised his hands and bowed to him. It was really funny cause Joel was a real mild and quite guy and you wondered where did that just come from? In all it was a very cool night and I’m always grateful I had a chance to play In YO Face for a while.
Eventually I felt I had to leave the band cause the Blues scene partying was getting to out of hand and I was getting caught up in it. I had became a new dad and my sister had died young so I question the where I was going. I wanted to record in my studio more than get loaded and I didn’t see that happening. I credit my son E.J. with saving my life cause I came home one morning in bad shape and I told him I was sick. He gave me a picture of Jesus and said he’d pray for me to get better. He was 3 years old. God Shot number two.
I started The Jumpers in the mid-80’s with Jeff Barnes and Jeff Thompson as a trio playing ZZ Top, George Thouroughgood and new rock and old blues. We were having a lot of fun but I realized I was pushing 35 so I ought to think about getting a job. I got a degree in robotics that led me becoming a union electrician. The next 20 years The Jumpers would change from rock to country to blues and back again and again. I don’t mind playing any kind of music as long as it isn’t the same stuff every night. Once Spangler, Richardson, and I had an all instrumental- surf- fusion-reggae band called the Big Guise. You can’t get more outside than that. Half the players in town seemed to have played at least once in The Jumpers. The most important thing to me with musicians is personality and having fun. I’d rather play with a bunch of friends than play art with a bunch of buttheads. Sometimes you educate an audience, sometimes you entertain them. I can work for money, but when a band isn’t getting along and not having fun it kills the spirit of the music and it shows on stage. I’ve got to play with a lot of other bands and players too like Bill Rhodes and the Party Kings with Jim Cochran, Shine Beck with Johnny Moore, D.V.S., Tom Cross & Bongo, Tru-West, Norman Moody with A.C. Porter, Jon Byner and Mel Solomon, Bad Motor Scooter with Big Chief Sheldon Wong, Rae Gordon’s Gospel Show at the Beale Street, and with J.R. Sims. J.R.Sims has that same fire I saw when Stevie Ray Vaughn played that night.
It was at a jam with J.R. that I met a Karaoke singer named Jeanette Lopez. She had a lot of talent but she was too green to lead a band at that time. I helped coach her and gave her the nickname “Kid” so the Kid Lopez Band got started. We had the ever-popular Boyd Martin on drums with Gordon Hermanson and Ray Davis on guitars. I pushed booking the band a lot then and did spotlight features with Paul Delay, Jim Mesi, Lloyd Jones, Ellen White, Scott and Lori Bouck, Russ Finley, Mike Brummel, and brunch others. Nathan Olson replaced Ray on keys when Ray moved to the coast. Kid eventually went on to other things. Nico Wind came on board to sing so The Jumpers surfaced again. Nico is a road tested veteran singer that I met in Alaska in 1979 and she stepped right in for a nice smooth transition. The band was doing pretty good but I was starting to suffer from burn out leading the band. The bandleader is under a lot of pressure to work every night or you’ll lose your sidemen to other gigs. That’s why I had to have 2 or 3 backups for each chair in the band to keep things going. Between that and dealing with club owners, it’s a lot of work for the same money and sometimes less money that everyone else in the band gets. So in 2006, God gave me an opportunity to make a career change from electrician to part-time electrical inspector, which is a lot easier on this old .fat guy’s back and feet. I cut down on booking a little.
The Jumpers changed back to a five-piece horn band with Ray Davis back on guitar, Allen Jackson on saxes, “Heart attack” Joe McCarthy on keys and trumpet, and killer drummer Jim Buix on drums. It’s one the best kind of line-ups I’ve had in year’s cause everyone can sing and with the horns it sounds really big for a 5-piece. We’ve got a C.D. out and I should put another one together soon. Lately I’ve got a chance to play in the Terry Robb Band with Jeff Minick on drums or Dave Mathis on harps. We’ve done couple gigs and I pull Terry in to play on Jumpers gigs sometimes. People love him. He’s a great guitar player and it fun just to watch him play sometimes.
A few years ago a friend Randy Boykin and I built a 24-track recording on the farm. It’s called A.P.A. studios. Randy is a real hard worker recording and has been in it for 40 years. I appreciate his efforts greatly. We record other people’s projects and I’ve been able to put out 7 C.D.’s in five years. Maybe it’s not Sony studios but it’s not bad having that in the back yard. So as it is now I ‘m working part-time, playing part-time and hanging out on the farm with Cherie and the animals. Couple years I’ll be able to start to pull out my retirements The latest song I wrote is “This Getting Old is Getting Old”, but you know it’s better than the alterative. I’m blessed more than I deserve and God willing I’ll find out what he wants me to do. ” How could it be ANY better than that?”