Johnny Northrup

I had the privilege of playing on Pipeline! multiple times in different bands I was in over the years (thee Electric Bastards, Pet Genius, Steve Brodsky’s Octave Museum, Clouds, J/Q, etc). I don’t remember which band played first or exactly when I first got to know the man behind the golden set of pipes that I would hear on the left end of my radio dial every Tuesday night, but Jeff was one of the best friends the Boston / New England music community ever had. Forget about his voracious love for music … I was fascinated by his quest for and knowledge of the best ice cream spots … haha. Every time I talked to him, I’d always ask for an update on the latest hole-in-the-wall ice cream place he had found out in the middle of nowhere that had the best mint chocolate chip in New England or whatever it was. To me, it was such a strange thing to be passionate about!

He was the nicest guy and always made you feel welcome in the studio. It’s always a little weird to try to bring that live energy into such a controlled environment, but Jeff and the guys over there who were working the sound and doing setup were super pros. I remember when Clouds played, our drummer broke his kick pedal in half in the beginning of our set. Like, not the chain or whatever … but the actual metal part where your foot goes (which … was not the first time that ever happened, which tells you a lot about his playing style!) We had no idea what to do .. but the engineer who was there (I think it was Mike Reed) somehow dug up a big metal file and duct taped it to the kick pedal to piece it back together and shockingly … it actually worked! Nice to have MIT guys hanging around, I guess! Anyway, we were able to finish the set, but before that there was a pretty significant delay while we were figuring out what to do.  So while this was all going on, Jeff was running delay, filling time basically doing play-by-play on the mad scramble that was happening in the control room. Hahah … in all honestly, this was all probably way more exciting to listen to than our actual set — real-time radio drama! I think one of the things I appreciated most about Jeff was his patience … we were always absolute goofballs during the post-set interview.  I cringe to think about it now, but Jeff just took it all in stride. I loved going to see him and the occasional catch-ups we would have via e-mail over the years. I still kind of can’t believe that he’s no longer with us. He touched the lives of many, many artists and listeners and gave a LOT of bands a shot to get on the air and show what they could do when there really weren’t many opportunities to do that on radio with some of the other left-end college and local stations completely abandoning local music to play more acapella bullshit or whatever it was. Jeff was the man. Simple as that. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities he gave me to get in there and play and be a goofball on the mic … and the friendship we sparked up around that. He was a beautiful human.

appearances: Oct. 4, 2005 (Steve Brodsky’s Octave Museum); Nov. 22, 2005 (thee Electric Bastards); May 1, 2012 (J/Q); Jan. 30, 2007 and Aug. 5, 2008 (Clouds)

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