Jeffy Checkers & The Shizams reunion at 505 Jan. 2

Once upon a time they were called Jeffy Checkers & The Shizams, and then eventually the group cut it down to merely The Shizams for convenience. There’s a lot more history of change in the group once pegged “Rockford’s only rock-steady ska band,” but it’s too much to dwell on. Either way, after a too-long hiatus, they will take the stage at Club 505/Little Italy once again, Friday, Jan. 2.

The band is headed by Jesus Correa on vocals, whose reputation in the arts and music precedes him. Dave Pederson returns on bass, just back from soldiering in Germany. Jason Judd of Egan’s Rats is on rhythm guitar, Reed Sjostrom is on drums and Matt Ulery is on keyboards (head man of The Narnia Groups). All return as what’s left of the original members (Luke Hulick, R.I.P.).

Jeff Gamlin of 15 Minutes Music in the IGA Center (previously called Mad City Music, but now closed down) once wrote of the group that he wouldn’t trust them in a dark alley at night—an apt description at the time by an avid fan, but times change.

These RAMI Award and Best of Rockford winners make up the band that got banned from HisCup, (and a few other locations), and who performed every prestigious venue in the area, such as On The Waterfront, the Block 5 Party, the RAMI Awards, and nearly every bar in town. The Shizams made an impact on Rockford’s music scene in a way that has not been replicated since. A visit to Guilford High School’s football games back then revealed the cheerleaders practicing a routine behind the bleachers to the group’s far-too-frequently requested “Monkey Sabatu,” while the Shizams’ shows had fans from ranging from ages 12 to 92.

Volumes could be written on the group and the various shows and “incidences,” but those can be chronicled in some other local archive. Come down to Club 505 around 10 p.m. on Friday. There will be commemorative pins available that evening. Opening act is slated for Carlie’s Day Out, which frequently shared the stage with the Shizams in the past. Cover is $2. Club 505 is at 505 E. State St., and can be reached for information at 963-0099.

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