Band Bios


The J. Silverheels Band (JSB) was formed in the summer of 1976 by Joe Geremia, known as Smokin’ Joe by all his friends and fans. Joe put an ad out looking for a singer. The first person to respond was Tom Wilson from Vallejo. He walked into Joe’s living room, opened up his guitar case and sang ‘Baby I love your way’. Joe and his brothers looked at each other and they all had that raised eyebrow look and head nod, and the J Silverheels Band was born. JSB started out primarily a private party band playing Top 40 Pop, Rock, & Country. The band took a break after just one year in 1977 while Joe toured around the Bay Area for two years as lead guitarist with the popular High Energy Rock Band, Exxe. But in 1978 the JSB was back on the road, and playing every weekend, hitting all the clubs in the Napa Valley and surrounding areas. Napa’s O’Sullivans, Nite Cap, 300 Club, Soscol House, Moose, & Elks Clubs all took turns breaking new records every time the JSB was there. There was also Alfredo’s, Rainbow Bridge, Overon, Napa Bowl, Lamplighter, Red Hen, Moscowite Corners, Spanish Flat Inn, Putah Creek and other smaller places that came and went. But of all the clubs, they are probably most known at the very lively Fireside Lounge in Vallejo and the Sundowner in Benicia. These two rockin’ places packed the house every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and the JSB kept up on all the new top 40 pop & country hits as well as the huge rock hits from the 70’s and people just couldn’t get enough of them. And then there was R Ranch. If anyone was an R-Ranch member in the 80’s, they will no doubt remember the wild and crazy times there with the JSB. There were nights that the audience cheers became so loud you could not hear the music. “We felt like the Beatles”, Joe says. “We got goose bumps all the time on stage with our tight band and harmonies”. It was a powerhouse of a band with Joe on lead guitar & vocals, Tom Wilson on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Mark Madden on bass and vocals, and Gary ‘The Animal’ Minadeo on drums, tables, floors, walls, and vocals. In the early 90’s, Joe and best friend and front man for the band, Tom ‘Crash’ Wilson decided to go separate ways after 15 years together. They spent over a year planning the split which finally happened at a huge New Years Eve party. Tom went on to write and record songs in the L.A. area, and Joe took a U-turn and transitioned his band into one of the best 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & 80’s classic rock & roll oldies band in the entire area, and in less than two years, had to quit playing night clubs because of all the private events they were getting. Many bass players and drummers later, eventually he snagged long-time friends and former Exxe bandmates, Jim Lang (drummer) and Rick Joens (bass) who teamed up and produced the perfect beat for the style of music Joe wanted, and that was 50’s rock ‘n roll oldies with the big 70’s rock sound. In the year 2000, Joe teamed up with Greg Allman & Friend’s horn section leader, Mark (Mailman) Showalter, who played with both Greg and Joe for about a year, but eventually left Greg and started playing saxophone and piano with the JSB full time in 2001. This quartet was one of the best versions of the JSB with a long 10 year run. Nowadays, on Saxaphone, Harmonica, and Vocals is Rich (Richy) Avila from Hercules Ca, on Bass & Vocals is Napa’s own Big Kirk Brown, on Drums & Vocals is Lowell (the Joker) Stephenson out of Vallejo Ca, and still, ‘Smokin’ Joe Geremia on Guitar & Vocals. On larger shows you will see their piano player, the best piano player in Northern Ca, Doug McKeehan. And on huge shows, a complete horn section accompanies the 5 piece band into a rock solid powerhouse band. The J. Silverheels classic rock & roll & oldies band, otherwise known as ‘Napa Valley’s Ultimate Party Band’, and also ‘the Rolling Stones of the Napa Valley’, still continues to be one of the most popular bands in the Napa Valley and surrounding areas, and will continue to entertain for many years to come.


Tom ‘Crash’ Wilson

Rick ‘The Stick’ Osborn
Gary ‘The Animal’ Minadeo
Big John Heaverlo
Curtis Hansen
Dave McClure
Craig Greer
Steve Trovao
Jim Lang

Danny Palos
Mark Madden
Rick Joens

Jerry Gilgren
Mark Showalter
Rik Munson

Scotty Dean

Mike Hamilton

Joe Geremia

(Smokin’ Joe)
Guitar/Vocals/Band Leader

Joe started his musical career at age 13 with his brothers. They grew up back east and ended up in Ewa Beach Hawaii to spend their teenage years surfing, skim boarding, and playing music. They moved out to California in the 70’s and soon after, entered and won a Battle of the Bands contest in downtown Napa with their band, ‘Homegrown’, playing songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, Foghat, Bad Company, Doobie Bros, CCR, and even one of their own, ‘Blueberry Jam’. Joe started playing with another band of brothers, the Bueno Bros band, playing private parties in all the halls and campgrounds in and around the Napa Valley. After just a couple years, Joe was discovered playing his signature song ‘Freebird’ and was asked to join the band Topaz who later formed into the very popular High Energy Rock Band, Exxe. Joe and the band Exxe played lots of big shows all around the Bay Area, SF, Berkeley, State Prisons, High Schools, & Concerts, opening for bands such as Sons of Champlin, Greg Kihn, Y&T… It was crazy fun, but after two years, Joe decided to go his own way and start his own band and the J Silverheels Band was born. Joe is proud that even though it seems all his friends went to the Blues, he stuck with Rock & Roll. Through the years he had to learn some pop, some country, and even some blues, to keep up with what the people wanted in the night clubs. Nowadays, he sticks mainly with Classic Rock ‘N Roll & Oldies with some great Top 40 Pop, Country, & Motown songs thrown in as well. His major musical influences were and always will be Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR, Beach Boys, Ten Years After, Montrose, UFO, Kansas, Thin Lizzy, Johnny Winter, Hank Jr, AC/DC, Joe Walsh, Chuck Berry, we could go on and on and on all day so lets just say classic rock and oldies bands. Of course his dad’s rule, no TV on Saturday nights, just records, and his mom singing and humming every day while cooking, planting, and puttering around the house didn’t hurt none. Joe’s first concert was at the HIC in Honolulu Hawaii with his mom, brothers, and sister where they saw John Fogerty and CCR. Joe’s motto is ‘Live and let live’ and his favorite saying is ‘Keep on Rockin’. His pet peeve is all those bands that say, “Are you ready to Rock”, and then they play everything but Rock. “If it doesn’t Roll, it doesn’t Rock”, says Joe. “Music soothes and heals. Turn off the TV and turn on the Radio, and the world will be a better place”.

Rich Avila


Rich grew up in San Leandro Ca and started playing harmonica in the 70’s. In the 80’s, Rich picked up the saxophone. As a member of the Bay Center for Performing Arts (EBCPA) jazz band, he started playing all over the Bay Area and has since been a part of a number of bands, mostly in the East bay area. He has also performed for many music programs at Los Medanos and Diablo Valley College, and has played with the famous Taj Mahal on a cruise ship. His musical influences include Tower of Power, Wilton Felder and the Crusaders, Grover Washington Jr., King Curtis, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Paul Butterfield, Lee Oscar, Little Walter, Charlie Musselwhite, & the Blues Brothers. His favorite quote is ‘Let the good times roll’ by BB King. He claims that his favorite food is a Chefs Salad, so we still cannot explain seeing him sneaking out the hotel rooms every morning warming up a Big Cinnamon Roll at the hotel café’s. Rich is a great and personable guy and always says that “Life is to be enjoyed, live to the fullest, and be kind to one another”.

Kirk Brown

(Big Kirk Brown)

Kirk was born in Baton Rouge Louisiana and grew up in Napa California. He started playing at age 9. He plays bass but also knows his way around the guitar as well. He was involved with music all throughout High School and is very well educated in music theory. In his younger days he could be found every weekend playing all the Napa Hot Spots with his good friend Leigh Wyckoff in his band ‘Traces’. He can be heard on several jazz recordings with Wine Country Music and has recorded with other well-known recording artists. Kirk is a big guy but sings like a bird. Beautiful harmonies and can play bass to any song you throw at him with no practice and no warning. His nickname should really be the Bass Magician Musician. His top musical influences include Steely Dan, Tower of Power, Doobie Brothers, and Fred Flintstone. Kirk is a very no nonsense bass player with tons of control and a huge presense, but once you get to know him, he’s like a little puppy dog. Kirk has very hairy arms but nothing compared to his back. When he’s not out playing he’s eating lasagna and when he’s not eating lasagna he’s building cabinets at his Napa shop, Kirk Brown Wood Products.

Lowell Stephenson

(The Joker)

Lowell was born in Kingsville Texas. He grew up in Alameda California and has since settled in Vallejo California. He fell in love with the drums in the 5th grade. He played in the High School Band and also the Navy elite band during his enlistment. He has a minor in Music from UC Berkeley and was on staff as a drummer on the Princess Cruise Ship (The Love Boat) in 1977. He has since played all over the Bay Area with not only the J Silverheels Band, but bands such as Retro Rock It (R&R), Total Eclipse (80’s), The Voltones (Surf), The Special Guests (Classic Rock & Blues), The Donna Plummer Trio (Jazz), & The Darlyn Pearl Trio (Jazz). He loves being the driving force for the band. His musical influences include Pat Metheny, Bonnie Raitt, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, & Tower of Power. His favorite drummers are Stewart Copeland (The Police), Art Blakey (Jazz), Steve Smith (Journey), Jeff Porcaro (Toto), & Bernard Purdie (Studio Drummer). Lowell loves his drums, and you never know what mood he’ll be, but it’s usually Pearl or Gretsch. Please ask before you touch, he Really loves his drums. When not playing drums you will find him eating Chinese food. His favorite quote is, “If my enemy does me wrong, I’d buy each of his children a drum set”. Lowell is a great guy, everyone loves him, and what he really wants is for everyone to Always have music in their life, and preferably live music.

Contact and Booking Info:
Joe Geremia
(707) 252-0486
Napa, CA

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