It looked 50/50 whether the Magnetics could hold it together long enough to get firmly on the road to Europe with the jump blues. Right in a moment of hesitation the band members of Jr Cadillac approached Steve. They were losing their current key board player, a wild man named Tommy Katica and after checking out all the key board players in town Steve was their man of choice. This came as a total surprise and an exciting opportunity for Flynn. Jr Cadillac was a hugely established, work all the time for big bucks band (well in comparison to what musicians usually make). One would not think this would be a hard decision for a musician with a family to make, but Steve was really working to make things work with the Magnetics, and so this was not an easy dicision . Then all of a sudden appeared blue sky. It became clear the Magnetics were not strongly knit and Steve was free to join Jr Cadillac, one of the best band in the entire Northwest with a distinctive sound and character all their own. As an extra bonus they worked full time and the majority of clubs were in town! Delilah liked that a lot. It was perfect for the new family! Jr Cadillac made sure Steve felt like a first class member of the club. Who could resist? The days of loading his own equipment would be over for years to come this band traveled in style with roadies and lights and sound men! They had a huge following and Cadillac prestige!
Check out the Seattle Times Pacific Magazine cover story on Jr. Cadillac
Jr Cadillac, or JC originally came out of Spokane Washington in the year 1972. The band had derived its name from a Norman Greenbaum song. Of the current members, Ned Neltner on lead vocals and guitar, has been in the band since the beginning. Next came George Rudiger on drums and then Les Clinkingbeard on sax. The bass and key board players changed the most over the years. Jimmy Manolides and Tommy Katica were before Steve on piano. Buck Ormsby was the original bass player (from the Whalers fame). He left for a momentary replacement by Gary Shelton (at least one year) and currently Don King.
The band is tuned up and ready for dance. Hop right in and theyll give you a ride. Cadillac is power steered by Ned Neltner's smoothly textured comfortable vocal style, and distinctive guitar playing. The dependable driving rhythm section never lets you down. Les Clinkingbeards virtuoso sax playing adds the polish and shine while beneath the hood hes working closely to embellish the notes of the guitar. Steves boogie woogie key board style will take you cruisen down bourbon street. There youll stop by Tipatinas for a night cap with their most recent addition; Jeffrey Beals on the baritone sax and often Brian Steiner from Kid Afrika fame, on congas and percussion.
The band is known for doing a ton of original songs over the years mostly written by Neltner and Flynn. They dont play covers very often of other bands' material. They play the song on the other side of the 45. This gives them an original sound quality. Steve, Les and Donnie sing a few songs and they all do background vocals. They play Louie Louie of course. Every Northwest band does that, and JC does it best! (Louie Louie almost became the Washington State anthem in 1992, Jr Cadillac recorded a 45 toward that effort.)
The band had produced five albums before Steve and Gary joined the band in 1983. They were anxious to record something now with their new players. Thus the recording of All Night Long was made into a cassette rather than vinyl (right before CDs came into the picture) in 1986. Two of Flynns best songs are on that Album: Slip Away and Fast Eddies. A song called Attitude written by Neltner was released into a 45. The art on the cover of the 45 featured the band members up against a wall with little Laura Rose standing there in a hula skirt. The recording was produced by Steven Flynn and Don King.
After that came:
Jr Cadillac 20th Birthday Party Live, released in 1990
Rock and Roll House Party a 3 CD set, released in1995
For Sale released in 2001
Jr Cadillac played the Rainbow Tavern, Pier 70, Parkers, the Seattle Mural Amphetheater, and the Jolly Roger, a lot in those days. They played Bumbershoot, all the fairs, festivals, Christmas parties and corporate picnics in town. They could reach across the board and speak to every generation the longer they stayed together. There is hardly a person alive who has been living in the Northwest for the past 33 years that isnt familiar with Jr Cadillac.
The band is rockin! They've backed up Merilee Rush, the Wilson sisters from Heart, opened for Bo Diddly, John Lee Hooker, Played for President Clinton, Mayor Royor, and almost Princess Diana and Prince Charles. They played the opening of Seattles Experience Music Project. They won the Jimmy Hendrix Music Award and back up Chuck Berry whenever he comes to the Northwest.
Chuck Berry has a reputation about being pretty particular about a number of things, but in fact Chuck appears to kind of like playing with Steve. When Chuck hits the stage he sends everyone packing. He just wants a drummer, a bass, and the key board player up there with him. He lets Steve solo and they both play the piano together. Ned calls Chuck the Poet Laureate of Rock and Roll.
Rocking Behind the Iron Curtain
Seattle has one of the first and strongest sister city relationships with Tashkent Uzbekistan within the Soviet Unions borders. They were coming up on an anniversary celebration of the two cities' successful relations and planned an international conference that Seattles mayor Royor and his wife Roseanne were intent on attending. A member of Seattle/Tashkent Sister City Association (Laurel Gray) suggested to Mayor Royer to bring American Rock and Roll to Tashkent as a good will gift . What better choice than Seattle's longest lasting and most popular rock and roll band than Jr Cadillac! This was in the year 1989, when the Soviet Union was still the Soviet Union.(The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and 1991 everything opened up.) So Jr Cadillac went to Moscow, Tashkent and Leningrad. Things were just beginning to change for the soviet citizens. Visiting the Soviet Union was an eye opening experience that not many people had been privy to experiencing. This was like going to another planet for a close encounter for both sides. It was truly an amazing and surreal experience.
They got all the way over there and the Taskent concert almost didnt happen because they couldnt get enough electricity to put the show up. Then someone got the bright idea to unplug a little kiddies carnival down the street for a couple hours so they could draw enough juice for the show to go up. It went up in the nick of time and Seattlelites found themselves listening to their beloved home boys; Live from behind the Iron Curtain. It was truly an amazing moment! You dont know how lucky you are, boys back in the USSR/CCCP
Buy em! (Steve's music too)
Tacoma news article by Rick Nelson
Jr. Cadillac Today
Current members are Ned Neltner lead vocals and guitar, George Rudiger drums , Les Clinkingbeard on sax, Steve Flynn organ and piano, Don King on bass, Jeffrey Beals on baritone sax, and sometimes Brian Steiner on conga percussion. Lots of musicians sit in from time to time: Freddy Hubbard, Julienne Priester, Rube Tubin, Robert Cray, Richard Cousins, and Northwest music celebs.
The band is still rockin' and has no desire to stop. Today everyone has a pretty wholesome life style. Ned lives part of the year in Mexico. Hes a part time radio host on KPLU and a few other gigs on the side. He has a son named Richard. George sells real estate and is married to Sarah Jane and has a daughter named Sady Jane. Don King has a recording studio. Les has a day job and is married to Sally who is an absolute hoot. He has two daughters, Jennifer and Julie. Not sure what Jeffrey Beals does all day. Just kidding! Jeffrey owns Thunder Quest Records. Brian Steiner sells real estate and has two boys. Steve and Delilah have Visionary Dance Productions and their two daughters, Laura Rose and Victoria. Rock and roll has been good for everyone.