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And why, at this stage and after all these years, is Lyon endeavoring to get back into the biz?
"I don't have any ambition, if that's what you mean," he laughed. "I guess I was brought up all wrong. I still have to work to make the mortgage payment. I don't feel like I have to make some grand statement. All I want to do is experience that golden moment when you're up there onstage and there's no more ego, the person is gone, and the music is a communion with the audience. It's not something you achieve every night, but it's the only thing I've ever really wanted. It's a very expensive drug."
Lyon says he'll be playing some of the old Jukes (non)hits, and he has a full brace of new material to lay on us, "kind of like old Jukes music, but a little darker-toned in some cases," he said. "I'd like some of it to sound like that old Memphis Slim stuff, blues stuff from the early '50s. But I don't wanna get retro. I want it to sound like the band capturing the essence of those days."
If Southside Johnny Lyon can capture the essence of 1976 (not to mention '56), a time when his music stood apart from the pack like some avenging warrior of cool, that'll be more than good enough for me.Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes perform with Michael Ubaldini at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Mon., 8 p.m. $23.50.