When John Carleton died last February, the victim of a traffic accident, he left a legacy in his former home state of Vermont. A drummer who played with numerous groups around Burlington throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he touched a lot of lives with his powerful playing. He also will be recalled for having an audacious sense of humor and adventure.
Carleton will be remembered — and may very well be there in spirit — tonight at Club Metronome when old musical pals throw a John F. Carleton Memorial Jam, aka "Johnny Jam," in his honor. The "house band" will include Aaron Hersey, Martin Guigui, Russ Lawton, Joe Moore and Guy Burlage — and whoever else shows up to play.
Hersey, a bassist, shared this sentiment with Seven Days:
"We were all blindsided by the sudden loss of John Carleton to a traffic accident (of all things) this past February. John and I were the best of friends, more like brothers, through our twenties and early thirties: roommates, band mates, and running partners; one never more than arms' length from the other for the better part of a decade.
"As young wild ones often are, he was a bit of a handful at times, I suppose we all were, but when push came to shove, that boy was true blue and always had my back.
"I've been listening back to our old recordings and, man, nobody but nobody could lay it down like Johnny Boy. Equal parts Gene Krupa, John Bonham and Phil Collins; everything he played had a big-band swing and blues sensibility that seemed so obvious, yet it was all his own, 100 percent authentic and straight from the heart. Honestly, it's weird getting used to the idea that that drum groove is gone.
"So some of the old buddies are getting together at Club Metronome on May 20 to sing and play, have a beer or two, tell some Carly stories from back in the day, and try to lay some grooves in there the way he would have done for any of us. It's sure to be a great night.
"Come on down, we'd love to see you there!
Tonight, doors at 7 p.m., Club Metronome in Burlington, $5.