Terry James


Bass and Vocals

tjamesTerry James was born in Zanesville,Ohio, and his father was his biggest influence in music.  He says, “As I was growing up my father was a musician and his band opened for a multitude of country entertainers like Hank Thompson, Little Jimmy Dickens,  Wanda Jackson, Tex Ritter and Gene Autry. He shared the stage at the West Virginia Hay Ride with Red Foley, Bobby Lord, Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs and the list goes on. Being exposed to all of this music, I knew I wanted to be a musician at an early age.”

Terry started taking guitar lessons when he was 7 years old and formed his first high school band, The Rising Sons, in 1964. They played after game dances at high schools and Saturday nights at The Grove in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  In 1970, not long after graduating from high school, he joined a band that was looking for a bass player, The Alex Fox Group. Terry adds,

“We booked our first bar gig at Blossom Lanes in Benton Harbor and  played Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights.  A little over a year later my old friend and drummer, Jim Fox, came home from the army and joined the band.  We played bar gigs for about a year.”

It was about this time that Carol Keptner, a local lounge entertainer who played piano and sang heard that Terry and Jim Fox, the drummer, were looking for work. She offered them both a job and the new band became Carol Keptner and the Sounds of T ime. Carol kept them working three and four nights a week at hotel lounges, clubs and private parties for over five years until she moved to Meridian, Mississippi, to be with her family.   

Terry James and Jim Fox then formed a new band called Better Daze. They played the bar circuit in southwest Michigan for a couple of years before being joined by keyboard great, Wayne Nelson. Jim Fox, Norm Oorbeck (later replaced by Dave Sprung), Wayne and Terry became The Park Avenue Band and played the bar circuit for the next thirty years!

Commenting on the music business in general, Terry added,

“I’ve always felt a little cheated by the fact that I didn’t take a few years out of my life to go on the road and live as a musician. When Jimmy contacted me about joining him and Danny Diaz on this project with an opportunity to play some festivals and jobs other than local bars, I was very excited. I can’t wait to get on the stage with these guys and play some material that most bands aren’t playing these days. Jimmy is an exceptional guitar player and Danny is a great time keeper. There’s no stopping The Mortals  now!”