Jimmy the Weasel2/6/2019
Blues band based its name on an original Italian drummer named Jimmy.
With names such as “Jumpin’ Josh” and “Jive Willis,” you’d think these Jimmy the Weasel band members were seasoned, talented blues musicians straight out of New Orleans. You would be right about the talented aspect, but they’re located in Des Moines.
Jimmy the Weasel was formed three years ago by Tom Buckmiller. The band based its name on an original Italian drummer named Jimmy.
“Regarding the nicknames, we thought it would be a fun way to pay respect to the traditional blues guys and honor the heritage of the blues,” says Tom, also known as “Tbuck,” a guitarist and vocalist for the group.
The current lineup includes: Sarah Ling, vocals; EZ Eric Smidt, bass; Jim “Jive” Willits, drums; Michael “Kos” Kosiak, saxophone; Philip “Dr. Styles” Herbert, keyboard;
Jumpin’ Josh Gorman, guitar; and Blind Bill Stone on harmonica.
The band plays blues, rock and soul, depending on the crowd. Favorite artists include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters and the Blues Brothers.
“Sometimes we play hardcore blues or more mainstream music. We’ll mix it up with some dance music. We adapt material depending on the vibe of the audience,” says Tom. “We try not to do the same thing over and over; we want to keep it fresh.”
They play mostly local venues and include favorites such as Mickeys in Waukee and The Whiskey House in Ankeny.
“Virtually every place we’ve played, we’ve been hired back,” says Tom. “We take pride in trusting relationships with the owners as opposed to transactional relationships.”
He credits the band members as a group of “genuinely good people.”
“We don’t have the typical band drama. Everyone knows their role and wants to keep the train on the tracks,” he says.
Jimmy the Weasel often features other blues musicians, such as Bob Pace and Matt Woods, adding to the band’s strength.
“When one musician is doing a solo, others really listen. It’s not showmanship or one-upping someone else. It’s like icing on the cake,” he says.
Most band members have day jobs. Tom is a professor at Drake, Sara is a family physician and Mike is a music director. Their current drummer is in his 50th year of drumming.
The band is appreciative of its fan base, called “Weasels.” Regardless of the crowd, they enjoy intimate venues where they can interact with fans and bring them on stage.
“Our simple goal is to perform at a high level and entertain whatever crowd is in front of us. Whether it’s 1,500 people or 50 people, it doesn’t matter. We’ll put on a show anytime we hit the stage,” he says. ♦