E.J. Phillips grew up the third of six children in New Orleans’ Desire Housing Project during an exciting time—the 1960s. When he was 15 years old, he overheard a neighbor playing Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced album. It changed his life.
E.J. picked up a guitar and was soon putting on concerts in the courtyard. “When I was 20, I would come home from work, eat dinner and practice for four hours a night,” he recalls.
In the early 80s, Phillips played lead guitar for ska band The Sweat Socks and the punk band Disappointed Parents. In 1983, E.J. formed his distinctive Electric Blues Band and has been a fixture ever since.
For more than two decades, E.J. and his talented band have entertained patrons with lively blues covers, reggae and funk (the Funkadelics were another major influence). And, of course, there’s Jimi who’s etched into E.J.’s soul and regularly reappears during E.J.’s live performances.
“I’ll Never Forget” is the title track on E.J.’s latest CD, performed live at Bourbon Street’s Sing Sing Club in September 2009. It was inspired by Hurricane Katrina that E.J. barely survived with just his Bible, prayer beads and the clothes on his back.