Endless Boogie

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Endless Boogie


Back in the ’70s, Major was growing up in St Louis when he was swept up in the punk craze that emanated from the nearby cities of New York and Cleveland. Major formed his first punk band, The Mouldy Dogs, in the late ’70s. “That was one of the first punk rock bands in St Louis,” Major says. Dissatisfied with the St Louis punk rock scene, Major headed west to Los Angeles to see what was happening there. “The weather was great out there, but the punk rock scene hadn’t really kicked in, so we went across to New York instead. The weather wasn’t as good there, but the music scene was much better,” Major says.

Major’s first band in New York departed from the raw punk rock of The Mouldy Dogs. “I had a band called The Sorcerers, and we played Mötorhead and Hawkwind,” Major recalls. “We’d do these really long jams.” It was a style that would eventually carry over into Endless Boogie. Taking its name from a John Lee Hooker song, Endless Boogie started out as simply a regular Tuesday night gig in a local New York bar. “A friend of ours said we should just play jams together on Tuesday nights,” Major says. “We already had the name worked out, and it was just a bunch of friends jamming out.”

Being that little bit older than the average young band meant that Major and his band mates were not beholden to pretensions of career development. “We really had no thought of a career as such,” Major says. “For a long time it was just a case of doing it for fun.” After a while Endless Boogie had attracted enough attention to go into the studio to record its first album, Focus Level. Once in the studio, Endless Boogie was determined not to mix with its proven formula: long jams based on a basic riff, with the members of the band feeding off each other, both artistically and psychically. “We decided that because what we were doing on stage was working, we’d just do the same in the studio,” Major says. “We record albums pretty well the same as we play on stage. We take out some of the riffs we’ve been playing on stage and jam them out. We create our albums with a lot of improvisation, but making sure the songs are the right length to be on an album,” he says.

Endless Boogie has been describe as the ‘finest exponent of chooglin’, a term derived from the Creedence Clearwater Revival track Keep On Chooglin’.  Major describes ‘chooglin’’ as a “groove” upon which a jam can evolve and flourish.  “It’s really a groove, rather than a set of chord changes,” Major says. “It’s the groove, it’s letting the colours come along. It’s consistent, and it keeps coming at ya,” he says. While psychedelic-styled bands such as The Grateful Dead constructed a multi-dimensional musical aesthetic based around a free-flowing jam, Major says Endless Boogie is more limited in its focus. “We’re more one-dimensional than The Grateful Dead,” Major says. “For us, songs are mainly diving boards that we jump off. Most of the time our songs go to a different place – but we try not to just noodle about.”

In the context of his impending Australian pilgrimage, Major refers to the special qualities of Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, and Billy Thorpe and the (Sunbury) Aztecs in creating a special rock’n’roll spirit. “That stuff is different to what was going on in other parts of the world, but I can’t articulate it too well,” Major says. “There’s something going on with bands like the Coloured Balls. At that time there were lots of bands in the world getting into technique, and people like Eric Clapton were losing their way. But those Australian bands had more of the original rock’n’roll spirit in them.”