TOMS RIVER – The Long Beach Island branch of the Ocean County Library (217 S. Central Ave, Surf City) invites music enthusiasts to examine the origins and trace the journey of a unique American musical genre as they present a free screening of “Chasing Gus’ Ghost,” a documentary film about the history of jug band music, on Saturday, July 14, at 7 p.m.
The film screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director, Todd Kwait, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Sebastian (from The Lovin’ Spoonful), who appears in the film and was involved in its planning.
“Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost” grew out of director Kwait’s chance introduction to jug band music when he attended a performance of Sebastian’s J Band in 2005. Sebastian is best known as the chief songwriter for ‘60s band the Lovin’ Spoonful but before that, he was a founding member of the seminal Even Dozen Jug Band.
Along with his cohorts Maria and Geoff Muldaur, the late Fritz Richmond, Paul Rishell, Annie Raines and Jimmy Vivino, Sebastian saw his J Band as an opportunity to reintroduce the genre to audiences who might have forgotten its whimsical charms amid the raucous beats and screaming guitars of the rock and roll years.
Kwait’s film traces the origins of jug band music, while also offering a poignant glimpse of the last days of jug player extraordinaire Richmond (the foremost jug/washtub player in the world) who convinced the filmmaker to end the film with the band’s journey to the Yokohama Jug Band Festival in Japan.
Photographs by Catherine Sebastian, including touching portraits of her husband John and the late Fritz Richmond, documented the making of the film. They will be displayed at the branch during the screening.