Gerald James McGee, was born in Eunice, Louisiana in 1937. His father, Dennis McGee, was a famous Cajun fiddler. His father, who inspired Gerry, lived to the ripe old age of 96 ... playing right up until he died. Gerry started his musical career at the age of 14. When Gerry was growing up in Louisiana, they all spoke Cajun French and anybody who was outside of Louisiana, Gerry said were Americans.
Gerry plays lead guitar, bass, accordion, banjo and harmonica, and does vocal work also. One of Gerry's first professional road trips was with Bill Mack and Buddy White, after they left Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps. Their trio, Bill, Gerry and Buddy began in 1959 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Buddy White and Bill Mack took Gerry to the Musician's Union and got Gerry a Union Card and off they went. The group was called Buddy White and The Knights. Buddy White and The Knights stayed together about four months playing a mid-west circuit. They were booked by T. B. Skarning and Joe Billo Entertainment Corp., the same agency that booked Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.
After they broke up, Gerry went back to Louisiana, Bill joined Paul Peek and the Peek-a-Boos, and Buddy White went back to Lufkin, Texas. Gerry left Buddy White and The Knights and went back to Shreveport, Louisiana. Gerry then got in touch with James Burton, Ricky Nelson's guitarist at the time. James said, "Gerry, you ought to come out to California." The following year, Gerry went to California. James Burton and Gerry are both from Louisiana. Gerry is from the Southern part and James is from the Northern part. Musicians from these parts seem to have similarities. Gerry met James in Shreveport when he was living there. Once Gerry arrived in California, everything immediately fell into place. Gerry began a solo acting career. As a sessions musician, he started hanging out at The Palomino Western Night Club in North Hollywood, California where he met a lot of talented musicians, writers, and singers, and most important of all, landed a lot of work.
Gerry recorded with The Hollywood Argyles of the song "Alley Oop." In the 60's Gerry recorded and actually produced many records and albums together with famous recording artists, such as Jerry Lee Lewis. He is the guitarist for the theme, "Great Balls Of Fire." He has recorded for Sandy Nelson, Elvis Presley, John Mayhall, The Monkees, Delaney & Bonnie, Rita Coolidge, Booker T And The MG's, Nancy Sinatra, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Paige and Emmy Lou Harris. His music is deeply rooted in so-called Southern music, Cajun blues, Rockabilly and Zadeco. He's been a solo musician since the early 60's and he has produced some of his own 45-rpm records and albums. One of the McGees solo recording projects was "Friends From A Distance."
Gerry at a Kris Kristofferson Show
Gerry has many solo albums to his credit. Gerry joined The Ventures in 1968 and travels to Japan every summer to play concerts with The Ventures. Ultimately, it's McGee's clean guitar work that sustains the record. On tracks like the rockabilly rumble of "Wham", the James Bond theme and nauseating "Wipe Out", the fender-driven McGee is successful at any project he sets out to do. Gerry did a stint in the Army and when his tour was completed, went to Atlanta, Georgia with a buddy. While in Atlanta, Gerry did session work with Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed, and Joe South.
Gerry settled down in Atlanta and commuted to New York to record with Teddy Randazzo. He had done some acting and has also some stuntwork. Gerry has had a very good career with his music and he is now living in California. He has raised three sons and is seriously thinking about moving back to Eunice, Lousiana. The first thing he wants to do is move back home. Then he has plans to go to Japan and Europe around June 2001. Here are some statistics on Gerry's guitar picking style and some of the instruments he uses. Gerry's finger picking is, well it's a combination of country blues, rock and rockabilly, just about everything you want to throw in. He kinda tries to incorporate the Chet Atkin's style with all those types of music. Gerry had some input in the design of the Japanese Fender Ventures model Stratocaster. He wanted the lace sensor pickups in his guitar.
Gerry has a Clapton model Strat, also he has a variety of Strat set-ups for concerts and recording studios. Occasionally he uses a telecaster for a little different sound. He uses Fender amps-Deluxe Reverbs in the studio. On stage he uses a Fender Hot Rot Deville with 4-10's and also a Telemaster occasionally. In Japan he uses Marshalls and Roland amplifiers, and sometimes he uses a reverb pedal or chorus pedal. When playing his guitar Gerry uses a thumb pick. When he plays bass, he uses a straight pick. Gerry is into jazz. Some jazz guitarists he admirers are: Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, and Joe Pass. Gerry has had a very rewarding career with his music. I'm glad to have him as one of my guitar picking buddies.
Blues band in Japan, 1997, Larry Taylor (with beard,bass); Gerry's son Drummer Kane.
"Born in Louisiana," Gerry McGee, 1977
Written by permission of Gerald James McGee by Bill Mack - Blue Cap.
Gerry McGee, guitarist (Ventures); Buddy White, drummer (Gene Vincent); Bill Mack, bassist (Gene Vincent). Buddy White and the Knights in action at Arnold's Amusement Park, Iowa, June 13-20, 1959.
Bill with Gerry McGee, 1960 in Iowa