Okay, I exaggerate. It’s no exaggeration, however, to describe Juber’s prolific work as being of world-class virtuosity. Fusing folk, jazz, pop and classical styles, he creates a multifaceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument, and his résumé speaks of diversity and success.
“Before Wings, I was a studio musician,” he says. “My ambition growing up in London was to be a studio player. When the first James Bond movie came out, I thought, ‘How do I make a living playing twangy guitar in James Bond movies?’ In 1977 I played on The Spy Who Loved Me. It took 14 years to get to the point where I actually was making a living playing twangy guitar on James Bond movies. Shortly thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to join Wings.” That was an extraordinary break – one that he couldn’t turn down.
When asked if those three years define his career, he says, “I do appreciate the association. I look at it this way: I got my Bachelor’s degree from London University and my Master’s degree from McCartney. It’s a valid and informative kind of credit, a context for what I do in regards to being a pop musician. Part of my ambition was to be recognized as a composer and subsequently as an arranger, too. I’m happy with that perception. Wings was a door-opener, not the whole picture.”
The whole picture includes putting out albums on a regular basis – 18 in the last 20 years – and contributing to a variety of film, stage, television and documentary projects, like ABC Family Channel’s hit show The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the soundtrack of the upcoming Blizzard Entertainment video game Diablo 3, the score to the recent NBC Dateline documentary Children of the Harvest and in the Ken Burns documentary The Tenth Inning.
After Wings folded in 1981, Juber embarked on a career as a solo artist, composer and arranger, and met his wife Hope, with whom he has two daughters. Now that they’re grown, he’s touring more (“adding to my capability of glowing in the dark from going through airport security”) while collaborating with Hope on the creation of theater musicals: Gilligan’s Island: The Musical and their recent It’s the Housewives! She has also produced his last few albums.
In studio work he attends to the more introspective side of creativity, but admits, “The extrovert in me gets to go out, get up onstage and perform. I consider what I do to be ‘borderline everything’ – it all serves to entertain. It’s all a musical experience that’s channeled through the guitar.” And about playing the famous Rosendale Café, he says, “The thing for me in that kind of venue…unlike a more formal performing arts theater, these smaller, more intimate places allow me to go into areas I might not in a more controlled environment. I may be more spontaneous, just because I can.”
Two-time Grammy Award-winner Laurence Juber appears in Rosendale this Friday, April 8 at 8 p.m. Unreserved tickets are $20. The Rosendale Café is located at 434 Main Street. Call (845) 658-9048, or see www.rosendalecafe.com. On Saturday, April 9 he’ll appear at the Ritz Theatre in Newburgh at 8 p.m., and $25 tickets are going fast. Call the Ritz Theatre at (845) 784-1199 or go to www.ticketweb.com.