The Reefermen is a 4-piece Detroit band, a real rock and roll institution. Always consisting of Bobby East on guitar and James Wailin on vocals & harmonica, the rhythm section has been a bit of a revolving door during the group’s 18 year history. Phil “Greasy” Carlisi and Mike Bertrand have held down the bass chair for most of those years, and on drums, Jeff “Shakey” Folkes and Todd Glass have been mainstays. Other notable musicians who have recently been a part of the band’s line-up include drummer Skeeto Valdez and bassist Roger Noonan.
Every Tuesday for about 15 years The Reefermen played to packed houses at esteemed Royal Oak club Fifth Avenue. They recorded a live CD in the 2000’s chronicling their tenure there, showcasing the band’s ability to go from hard rock to R & B classics while always keeping the dance floor PACKED.
The Reefermen have been the opening act for many great acts like the Meters, Cactus, War and more. When they played with Tenacious D for their first ever Detroit appearance, James Wailin sat in on harmonica, leading Jack Black to say to the audience “That guy could shred!” The Reefermen headline regularly at the massive Arts, Eats & Beats festival and at the annual Detroit Winterfest. They also are one of the few Detroit acts that regularly play blues mecca Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.
James Wailin is a first call studio vocalist and harmonica player and used to lead the popular Wailin Inc. blues/rock group in the late ’90’s. Bobby East has been arguably the finest guitarist in Detroit’s blues/rock scene for over 20 years. He led Atlantic Records act Hemigod in the early 2000’s and has played with everyone from Scott Morgan (of the Rationals) to Harmonica Shah to The Toys to Kid Rock. That’s East playing the Drop D Keith Richards riffs and then the incredible solo on the Kid Rock track “Low Life” from the album ROCK AND ROLL JESUS. East toured as part of Rock’s band for a time in the 2000’s, playing for the troops in Iraq and appearing on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”.
In late 2012 The Reefermen released the 4 song vinyl only EP SUNDAY MORNING SMOKE on Hanzie Records. Recorded at Tree Farm Studio and featuring 1960’s garage band classics, “Psychotic Reaction”, “7 & 7 Is”, “Talk Talk” and the Stones’ psychedelic era tune “Citadel”, the band’s performance literally EXPLODES through the speakers. With Todd Glass and Mike Bertrand in tow, these guys created a record for the ages!
The band is looking to have a great 2013, traveling the States and Europe and hitting the festival circuit promoting SUNDAY MORNING SMOKE and the unique Detroit sound that IS The Reefermen!