Jazz Blues Guitarist Mike Armando Looks Back to His Days with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

  • "The hardest part of forming this band was finding the right singer to take Hawkins place on stage which is a tall order."
  • "You never knew what was going to happen from day to day while we were on the road."
  • Mike will be performing February 7th at the Bowery Electric in NYC.

Mike Armando was born in New York City. Mike was the guitarist for Screamin’ Jay Hawkins during the 1970’s. In February 1976 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins suffered facial injuries when he was burned by one of his flaming props while performing with his guitarist Mike Armando at the Virginia Theater in Alexandria,Va. (Reference wikipedia Screamin’ Jay Hawkins). Guitarist Mike Armando’s years with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins can be read about in a new book written by author Steve Bergsman “I Put A Spell On You: The Bizarre Life of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins” The book is published by Feral House and is receiving rave reviews.

New book release by author Steve Bergsman.

We asked Mike what was it like being in Screamin’ Jay’s Hawkins band back in the day?

MIKE: “Well this is a tough question [laughs]. It was like being in a crazy house [laughs again]. You never knew what was going to happen from day to day while we were on the road.

There is a new book out by author Steve Bergsman on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins life you will be able to read about it and it is shocking. It is a great read and put together book. On one of the pages I think it was page 156 which caught my eye. It says the band used to practice in Jay’s apartment which didn’t always go well with the neighbors. Can you tell me more about that?

MIKE: “Yes, a neighbor of Jays never liked our music so every time we rehearsed the neighbor would bang on the walls. Jay said don’t pay attention to him so we kept playing. One day when rehearsing it turned out differently. The neighbor banged on the wall than it stopped. The band paused when we heard banging on Jays apartment door. Jay opens the door and the neighbor yells ‘I am tired of hearing your music, I don’t like your music! Stop it. I can’t take the noise.’ The neighbor steps into Jays apartment and Jay hits him and knocks him to the floor. The police came but nothing ever happened after that.”

February 1976 Virginia Theater concert with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Wow now I can see why this is a must read book. A lot of crazy things happened with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. What are your plans moving forward?

MIKE: “I started a band called The Resurrection of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Band. We perform live shows taking you back in time to the music of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.  We even have a coffin our singer Shakar comes out of and a toilet bowl for constipation blues that Shakar sits on while singing the tune. This project is comprised of extremely talented and seasoned musicians.

The hardest part of forming this band was finding the right singer to take Hawkins place on stage which is a tall order. After searching and searching I found Shakar “TheRealShakar” Brumfield.  Shakar is a vocalist, actor, poet and writer from N.Y.C. TheRealShakar has performed on stages and all over the Tri-State area and the DMV. In late 2016 he won the Apollo’s theater’s Amateur Night Making a Star competition and performed on the world famous stage in a showcase featuring R&B Crooner TANK. Shakar is a great person, singer and performer. Some of the other group members are jazz\multi saxophonist Tim Price, Andrew Golba on bass & Gene Linefsky on drums.  All are extremely talented musicians.”

Resurrection of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Band.

Is the Resurrection of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Band performing anywhere in the near future?

MIKE: “Yes we will be performing February 7, 2020 in New York City at The Bowery Electric.

Some of the other musical accomplishments of Mike are. He produced 15 CDs on the mja Record Label with such artists as Grammy award winner Fred Lipsius from Blood Sweet & Tears, Nancy Monroe, David Allan Gross, Chris Clark. Pat Morrissey, Artt Frank. One of the tracks from Fred Lipsius, mja release “Better Believe It” CD was released and distributed throughout the world on MCA Records. mja recording artist, Artt Frank who was the drummer for the late great Chet Baker was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame on November 16, 2010. Mike Armando was the producer for all of Artt’s three CD’s. Mike has recorded with the jazz group In The Moment with bassist Andrew Golba and drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses. And Mike’s latest release The Countdown. Mike Armando has worked with Actress Sharon Stone along with drumming great Artt Frank on his CD release, Waltz for Sharon Stone. Mike was the producer for Artt’s CD. Mike has performed at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May, N.J. backing saxophonist Tim Price.

Mike has worked with other great musician’s in his recording and musical career with the likes of Eddie Gomez, Marcus McLaurine, Michael Cochrane, Mike Stern & Bob Moses.

For more information on the Resurrection of Screamin Jay Hawkins Band debut performance on February 7, 2020 at The Bowery Electric, you can go to: Information & Tickets

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Mike Armando

Jazz/Blues guitarist Mike Armando was the guitarist for Screamin' Jay Hawkins in the 1970's.

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