In less than three months Jam Cruise 8 will set sail from Ft. Lauderdale filled to the brim with amazing artists and the band fans who love them. Today kicks off our bi-weekly Jam Cruise Files column which profiles a band or musician scheduled to perform on the MSC Poesia between January 3 & 8. Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee is the subject of our first Jam Cruise Files.
[Photo by Jeremy Gordon]
Name: Joel Cummins – OHMphrey
Bands: Umphrey’s McGee, OHMphrey, North Indiana Allstars, Kick The McGee
Past JC Experience: 5 – JC1 (UM), JC3 (UM), JC4 (UM), JC5 (UM), JC7 (Yacht Rock)
2009: Umphrey’s released Mantis, OHMphrey released self-titled debut
Scott Bernstein: How much has JamCruise changed from your first cruise to last year’s cruise?
Joel Cummins: Anyone who was there the first year in 2004 remembers that wreck of a ship we were on. It was like a modern day old ironsides, just barely managing to still float. I know I almost took out the FOH console one night when the relatively small ship was getting tossed back and forth in the Caribbean. With the larger boat now, it’s generally a little more tolerable. I loved when it got to the point that we could build a real stage and production for the main stage. I think that makes the outdoor performance area hard to beat. Honestly though, there is a lot about JamCruise that is the same in that everyone is there to get down, have a great time and see some beautiful islands in the Caribbean during the coldest part of the year in the U.S. It’s a great feeling setting sail from Ft. Lauderdale and knowing that you’ve got five days of sunshine in your future.
READ ON for more of Scotty’s chat with Joel Cummins…
SB: What’s your favorite JamCruise moment?
JC: Musically, I’ve always loved Garage a Trois late night. Those guys play all the notes I want to hear. I had a blast playing with Umphrey’s past sunrise that first year. There’s a fantastic photo where the boat rocked back and the sunrise and ocean were behind us. I also had a blast with the Yacht Rock band last year. Getting to play music where everyone knows the words is an entertaining experience. My favorite non-musical moment had to come last year when we took an excursion into Belize and went cave tubing with about 50 people. It was one of the most beautiful, fun and weird experiences of my life, all in the jungle!
SB: Are there any artists on this year’s cruise that you are especially looking forward to interacting with?
JC: Honestly, there are a lot of people I enjoy listening to on this year’s cruise, maybe more than ever before. But yeah it’s been great getting to know people over the years and JamCruise is a place where we get to hang too. I’m psyched Zappa Plays Zappa and Maceo Parker are both on the boat. I’d definitely enjoy getting to hang and shoot the shit with Dweezil and Maceo.
SB: Any advice for those attending the cruise for the first time?
JC: Get crazy on the boat, but make sure you get off the boat too. There are some gorgeous places to visit near Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Georgetown in the Caymans will be a new stop for me, but I’m sure that there are plenty of things to do from going to the beach, snorkeling or diving to taking a hike through nature. And for you northerners, get some sun!