Colorblind James Experience were an alternative roots/pop/rock band founded in 1980 in San Francisco, California . Bandleader and singer/songwriter/guitarist “Colorblind” James Charles Cuminale was originally from Rochester, New York but assembled early versions of what would become the Experience in Oswego, New York before relocating to San Francisco. After a couple years of mixed results there, the band regrouped and moved again–back to Rochester, which remained its home base until Cuminale’s premature death in 2001.
The band enjoyed a brief flirtation with fame in the UK and Europe after BBC DJ John Peel gave the Experience some exposure, and their music has made a deep and lasting impression. Their “Dance Critters” single reached number 10 on the UK Indie Chart, while their albums Colorblind James Experience and “Why Should I Stand Up” reached numbers 5 and 13 respectively. Often humorous and parodic–and just as often laced with a profoundly questioning spirituality–their music blended elements of polka, country, cocktail jazz, blues, rockabilly, Tex-Mex, rock & roll and other genres. The band’s sound was to a large extent inspired by the “old, weird America” famously chased by Bob Dylan and The Band during their Basement Tapes period, but other prominent influences included Ray Charles, Randy Newman, and Van Morrison.
Colorblind James Experience Red House release, Solid! Behind the Times (1992) was a witch’s brew of jug band and Stax/volt-era rhythm and blues laced with country, jazz, and manic rock guitar leads. A profound and sometimes humorous album, Solid!… captured the human relationships and bedraggled American experience.