Blues rocker JJ Grey brings his band Mofro to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, Aug. 10, for a co-headlining concert with Blackberry Smoke. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Jay Simon
Photo: Jay Simon

From skate punk to southern blues rocker: JJ Grey at the Rose tonight

You wouldn’t know it from his recorded output, but before making his name as a southern-blues rocker, JJ Grey was a skateboarding, teen-age punk rocker with an affinity for the Dead Kennedys.

The Florida native recently discussed that revelation, songwriting and more during a recent phone interview in advance of his band Mofro’s co-headlining concert with Blackberry Smoke at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, Aug. 10.

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What’s happening with you today?

I’m working around my house. We have to rebuild after Hurricane Matthew came through. It didn’t destroy the house but it put five inches of water in it, which was enough for the city to say we had to lift the house and do this and that. We took the opportunity to update everything in it. My project is just my pump house, which is a miniature version of the house. I’ll be back over there in a minute working on that.

How does manual labor feed you creatively?

I’ve done all that stuff for a living at one point or another, whether it’s installing air conditioning, working on a framing crew or driving a truck, and that’s when a lot of the music would come to me. I can’t set aside time to write songs. The songs I like are the ones that seem to write themselves. It’s like whistling while you work, and the songs just kind of happen — so I like to stay busy.

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Speaking of songs, what are your plans for a follow-up to “Ol’ Glory” from 2015?

It’s like the trade winds, man, they shift when they shift and they change and blow from different directions at different times of the year. For me, I’m still in this mode of making up song ideas to build on later. I have the most of those I’ve ever had for any record, even more than when I started, so hopefully soon the winds will change directions and I can settle on some of them and get into a studio.

I heard you’re a Dead Kennedys fan. What can you tell me about your punk past?

Oh, yeah, I’m a huge Dead Kennedys fan. I grew up a skate kid in Jacksonville and that’s where I got introduced to hardcore punk. It was music of teen-age angst but (singer) Jello Biafra tried to be a little more in depth with what he sang about. I liked a lot of bands like that back then and it introduced me to a different way of looking at the world.


Who: JJ Grey & Mofro and Blackberry Smoke

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$60

More info: 937-228-2323 or

Artist info:

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