Category Archives: Music

A Busy Year Behind and More to Come!

A busy Autumn and that’s just the way I like it! Sept. 23 Doug James and The Pocket (DJP)  will be sharing some great reworked music from my all time favorite band, LITTLE FEAT! We’ll be doin’ our FALL TILT BOOGIE at Mac’s On Slade, 117 Slade St., in Palatine, IL. from 9p-to whenever we decide to stop or Mac run’s out of Gumbo! Whichever comes first!  http://www.macsonslade

For me, no band before or since had the sense of rhythm and groove, insightfully clever lyrics, strong musicianship,  Live performance and vocal sharpness & ingenuity that Little Feat has displayed from their very beginning. They’re still together today albeit without Lowell George and Richie Hayward, my two favorite members whose passings have not kept this band down!

Growing up diggin’ Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and artists that emanated from the Southland, plus an affection for Dixieland music instilled in me by my Mother who played piano in such bands as well as Big Bands, fueled the funky flame and an overall big sound. She made sure I learned to play piano, had me first singing when I was four, put me in the Community play of  Show Boat, then bought me a coronet at 10. I was always exploring and willin’ to jump into the “party” atmosphere. That became even more evident early on when I heard Sam Cooke & Jackie Wilson. I was dancin’ and singin’ almost all the time. Then when I first heard James Brown and artists on the the Stax/Volt label, it all satisfied something deep within and believe it or not, I’ve pretty much walked around with a smile on my face ever since!

October 7, The Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen show I formed 7 years ago now will play in Northbrook, IL in Marcello’s Banquet Room. You must hear Derrick Procell channel Joe Cocker. He is amazing.

The next night October 8th I’ll be singing with Hamburger Dave and the Condiments for a one night stand at Norton’s, 1911 Sheridan Rd. in Highland Park, IL.


Joe Cocker Tribute

When I put this show together for the 40th Anniversary of The Mad Dogs & Englishmen Concert from the Live album at the Fillmore East, I wanted to capture the essence of that deliriously great summer of 1970. Cocker had KILLED it at Woodstock in August of 1969, and when Leon Russell and Joe’s manager put the Mad Dog Band together with a cast of future superstars backing up Joe well, it was magic! For us, the summer of 2010 was a lot of fun and I can honestly say we made some great music.

Now, 5 years later after his untimely death, I brought back the show with a few from the old cast and some new top notch players!

Saying goodbye to Pat Smillie who’d performed as Joe Cocker in the show was not easy! But Pat moved back home to Detroit and so the search was on for someone who could bring back the “sound and soul” of Joe Cocker! That’s when I turned to an old friend and asked the amazing Derrick Procell to sing “Sheffield’s Blueeyed Soul Man’s” music! Derrick is a seasoned veteran of the music scene and is well known throughout Chicago as a first call jingle singer. He’s also an accomplished songwriter having written for several TV shows.

It’s pretty cool that we now also have Iron Mike Bogart playing trumpet in the band! Mike’s resume is about as impressive as it gets, having played with Tower of Power for 9 years!! You’ll find him on 3 albums and he’ll be the guy with all the slick moves even when he’s NOT blowin’ the roof off!!

Another new and I’m proud to say world renowned player joining MDE is Percussionist Kalyan ‘Johnny Bongo’ Pathak! When he’s not playing with Aretha Franklin or other heavy hitters when they come to Chicago, Kalyan brings  his global presence to MDE!!

The rest of the Mad Dog Tribute band includes;

Ken Johnson & Jay Martini on Keys, Scott Leff-Guitar, Rick Demski-Bass, Dave Harris-Drums, JB Bustillos-Sax and our backing vocalists Bonnie Brenner, Heather Wood, Deb Petritsch & yours truly.

We’ve added a second set to the show! In between Sides 1 and 2 of the Live album, we perform songs from Joe Cocker’s library of great music. Including Grammy winner You Can Leave Your Hat On and his hits, You Are So Beautiful and his only #1 song and Grammy winning, Up Where We Belong. It is powerful and moving and clearly shows why Joe Cocker was such a force in music for decades.

Below, our poster from the Taste of Lincolnshire performed earlier this summer.

Mad Dog TOL


Summer Time ROCKED!

How can I put this…Summertime 2015 is just a blur in the rearview mirror! Man!! Maybe it’s a combo of growing older and stuffing 20 lbs. of fun into a 5 lb. bag!! But it was here and now it’s gone. Blues, Rock n’ Soul is my mistress and she didn’t disappoint me these past three months!

It started out with spending a day with the good folks at the Windy City Blues Society during Chicago Bluesfest! Working the tent and meeting people from all over THE WORLD was great! Needless to say, I re-upped my membership!

There were solo singing gigs like hosting the Jam at The Wooden Nickel in Highwood, singing and playing with Lovehouse at Taste of Glen Ellyn, plus the Mad Dog Tribute Band at Taste of  Lincolnshire but that only scratches the surface!

Taste of Park Ridge, and Sweetcorn Fest out in Iowa kept DJP Runnin’! As well as FUSION, The Rock n’ Roll Marathon, Abbey Pub, Reggies & multiple jams! We had a little disappointment when the first Abbey Pub gig was postponed due to a personal family matter. Then guitarist Dave Steffen ripped 3 tendons in his shoulder. He gritted through a few gigs but we had to pull out of the Taste of Wisconsin which disappointed not only the fans we’ve gathered over the past 4 years but also the band because we finally had made it as the headliner. Hell or highwater won’t keep us from doing it next year!!

Thanks to everyone who came out this summer to party with me and my cohorts! LOVE YOU ALL!

Up Where We Belong

Okay so you’ve heard it said before about hundreds if not thousands of beautiful people, the beautiful and talented blah blah blah. But I really mean it this time!! Heather Wood is a songbird, and she also happens to be a beautiful peson!! This duet with Pat Smillie in our Mad Dog Tribute Bands homage to Joe Cocker won a Grammy and an Oscar for ” An Officer And A Gentelman”.


The Weather & the Music are warming up;

May 15 – @Taste of Glen Ellyn w/ LOVEHOUSE on the Main Stage 5:30p-7:30p

May 23 – @FUSION/Kenosha, WI DJP unplugged w/renowned percussionist Kalyan Pathak showtime 8p-9:30p

June 24 – @Abbey Pub DJP 7p-8p with guest musicians Greg Diethrich /drums (Just Groove) and Dave Steffen/guitar (Mad Dog Tribute Band)

July 11 – @Taste of Park Ridge DJP  5:30p-6:30p Bringin’ American Hip Shakin’ Music

July 19 – @Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon DJP in Grant Park on the Chicago Lakefront


Headed for The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival at the Logan Theater Saturday April 18th to see the documentary Sam Lay in Bluesland about Chicago Blues Legend Sam Lay! Friends John Anderson directed and Starr Sutherland produced! Sams’ was the voice on I Got My Mojo Working with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and he also provided the beat for PBB among many others. His drumming to this day is flawless! See Sam and Corky Siegel live at the City Winery April 30!

Doug James and The Pocket

DJP logo 2014 large

Coming up next is the unplugged gig back at FUSION in Kenosha, WI. Don Miller, proprietor is a musician himself and this is the perfect intimate venue for our 90 minute acoustic set.

Played a private party at the Park Ridge Country Club April 10. New drummer Billy Shaffer sat in for the first time and was awesome as expected! Taking off the rest of the month and part of May to record but we’ll be  hot on the Festival trail throughout the summer!

Check out the bands website @