• David Ullman

NJs and The Jeff: 2008 Spring Tour Diary (Sizzle Reel)


Where were you 13 years ago today? If you were rock power-trio NJs and The Jeff, you were hitting the highway for a Spring Break Tour. My friend Brian Yost was NJs’ drummer, and he brought along his Canon ZR40 MiniDV camcorder to capture some memories on the road from Akron to Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Charlotte, and back.


I became aware of these tour tapes while sorting through pictures for the 10th Anniversary Remaster release of the band’s self-titled record. I kept seeing shots of Yost holding this camera, so I texted him, "what happened to those tapes?" He told me they were in a box at his parents' house in Ohio, but he'd never watched them.


What?! Speaking as a guy who has had much of his creative life filmed for decades and made into documentaries, this was unfathomable to me.


"I need those tapes! I'll edit them together for you," I replied and sure enough, he shipped them to me the next time he visited his folks.


Over about a month in the fall of 2017, I organized the five hours of raw footage into a two-hour travelogue documentary.


From the first moments on tape one where the guys load up (bass player) Taylor's Silver Dodge Grand Caravan and toast to the adventure ahead to the closing moments on tape five before the final show when everyone is sick of each other but elated by an unexpectedly effective impromptu semi-acoustic performance at a dive-bar in Massillon, the viewer has the most intimate cinéma vérité access imaginable.


Through Yost's POV camera, viewers are part of the formation of new catchphrases and in-jokes being born. There's a remarkable candidness and a disarming combination of both unaffected and performative behavior—likely because no one on-or-behind camera thought anyone would ever see the tapes.


I consider it a privilege to have been gifted these tapes and the proverbial keys to the caravan—to have the opportunity to include this band in the larger story I’m telling.


You can see and read a lot more about the project @ https://www.davidullman.net/njstourdoc