GREG "JEEP" BLOOM

  Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, “Jeep” was influenced early by a neighbor friend who had just been given a Martin guitar by his father. It wasn’t long before he obtained a “Ukulele” and his musical career had begun.

Growing up in Northeast Lincoln (UNI-Place) on Baldwin Street, the neighborhood was alive with music, and many a jam session was held “on the porch”. He met up with Jim Akin, a young guitarist who was also a whiz on piano and lived up the street from Nebraska’s First Rock & Roll singer, Bobby Lowell.

Akin had played guitar, at age 16 on “Umm Baby-Baby” released by Bobby Lowell & The Rock-A-Boogie Boys on ROTO Records in 1956. In early 1957, Bloom and Akin formed a 3-piece Rock-A-Billy Band. Akin played guitar, Bloom on bass and a drummer. They played “Sock Hops” at the newly built Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, NE and the usual “porch gigs”. They frequently performed at a Pavilion at 27th & A St. in Lincoln during 1958.

During this time, he and Akin also performed with the very popular “Charlie Bonds & The Cherries”. Bonds’ band played mostly RB and Blues. Akin, Bloom and Bobby Lowell were among the first “white musicians” to integrate black RB and Blues bands and also among the first to play in black clubs such as the Elks Club at 9th and “N” St. and at Lincoln Air Force Base.

Bloom said many of the black girls in the clubs used to call them “Grey” – white musicians playing black music.

Bloom entered the military at age 18, in 1959 and spent most of the time in Germany. From 1959 through 1962, while in the military, he honed his musical talents both on guitar and learning the bass – playing at Gastehaus’ s throughout Germany.

Returning to Lincoln in 1962 he joined one of Lincoln’s finest early rock bands – The Invaders, again joining Jim Akin whom played lead and keys, and Arnold Reeves on drums. For a time, Jay Tracy, a Country-Western guitar player from Fremont, NE joined the band along with many different horn players. The Invaders were a very popular Club Band around the Lincoln area, playing frequently at the 1140 Club. They also played the Elks Club (at 9th & N St. in Lincoln) as well as The Alibi Club in Fremont, NE (3 weeks a month) for 2 years.

Bloom’s musical direction took a turn in 1972, jumping head first in County-Western Music by playing bass with The Double-L’s for 2 years at Scarlet O’Hara’s “Nothin’ But Country” Bar on lower Main St. in Fremont. (Scarlet was also known as Ruby Gianetti and before retirement to Fremont to open “Nothin’ But Country” had toured the US and Air Force Bases in Newfoundland performing a single act as a bawdy comedian and pianist ala Rusty Warren). Nothin’ But Country was the toughest bar in town and only lacked “chicken wire” in front of the stage because the bands liked to “mix it up” as well as the patrons. Many a musician had it out with patrons during the breaks, only to jump back on stage a few minutes later to finish out the night.

In 1974, Bloom joined the very popular “Nora Porter & The Prophets” and played in Nora’s band through the early 1980’s. Although inactive from performing music in recent years, Bloom also appeared with Jim Akin & Brandy at The Speakeasy in Lincoln, The Haywood Wakefield Band, The Junk Yard Dogs, The Smoky Mountain Band, “Common-Bond”, “Mr. Bluster”, The Blue Diamond Band, The Carroll Lee Band. & Shakedown.

In addition to being a fine bass player, Bloom is also an excellent vocalist, not only able to sing everything from hard country to “new rock”, but also known for his ability to mimic the vocal styles of singers with distinct voices, such as Willie Nelson. He is also known for his comedy routines, frequently assuming the role of “Gabby Hayes” in uncountable situations and predicaments.

The Hall of Fame looks forward to hearing Greg “Jeep” Bloom perform again at his induction to The Nebraska Music Hall of Fame in June 2001. His roots go back to the dawn of Rock & Roll with his neighborhood buddies and musicians, fellow inductees Bobby Lowell & Jim Akin. His induction is long overdue.

 

 



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