JAMES INTVELD (By Tapio Väisänen)

James Intveld was born in Venlo, a town in Southeast Holland, not far from the German border, but was raised from age 2 in Compton, California in a house filled with music. When James was eight his dad bought him his first guitar. Nowadays this guy's a singer, actor, composer, front man and sideman, who happens to play about every instrument you'd ever need to make roots rock. James lived in the black neighbourhood for ten years before his parents decided to move to Garden Grove. In 1978 James and his brother Rick saw "The Buddy Holly Story" and that changed their lives, James learned all the songs in Buddy Holly songbook. Through that movie and The Elvis Sun Sessions album, James and his brother discovered rockabilly.

James started out in the early 1980's rockabilly scene fronting the Rockin' Shadows and had a minor hit in rockabilly scene with MY HEART IS ACHIN' FOR YOU/YOU'RE MY BABY, A-side was reissued on "L.A. Rockabilly" (Rhino/Rockhouse) and covered by Sonny Burgess. The Rockin' Shadows played all over Los Angeles and Orange County with bands like X, Blasters and Social Distortion. During a gig at the now-defunct Palomino club Intveld was approached by director John Mark Robinson about using his song "My Heart is Achin' For You" in the 1984 film "Roadhouse 66," starring a young William Dafoe. Intveld also landed an on-screen role in the movie. After that James just sort of caught the acting bug, he went on to study method acting for 8 years and worked with his late friend River Phoenix, and Sean Penn. In 1983 The Rockin' Shadows opened for Ricky Nelson at The Rumbleseat Garage in Long Beach. Ricky was so impressed that he invited James's brother Ricky and Pat Woodward to join his Stone Canyon Band. On December 31, 1985, en route to a New Year's Eve show in Dallas, Texas, Nelson's burning DC-3 (which was previously owned by Jerry Lee Lewis) crashed in a field near DeKalb, Texas. Rick Nelson and his fiancée Helen Blair and his band including Ricky Intveld and Pat Woodward were killed (the pilot and co-pilot survived). The death of Rick Intveld pushed James to take a different path, "the music thing, I sort of wasn't doing it that much, because my heart was not really into playing, I was really sad about what was going on in my life."

Life took a nice little change for the better when, in 1987, he met Rosie Flores. Rosie inspired James to write the song "Crying Over You". James sent a demo of the song to Rosie, who liked the song and when she got a record deal from Warner Bros. it was released as her first single. James and Rosie started playing gigs together which lead James playing bass for her. In 1989 James recorded a Christmas 45 with Dale Watson: "Christmas Without An Angel"/"Christmas Just Ain't Christmas Without You".

Through the eighties and nineties James played also in backing bands for Ronnie Mack, Rosie Flores, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Campi, Johnny Meeks, Dee Lannon, Gary Hirstius, Billy Swan, Repo Men, The Nelsons (Ricky's sons) and Bobby Mizzell while finding time for solo work and some acting in movies ("Roadhouse 66", "A Thing Called Love", "Shake Rattle and Rock", "Indian Runner", "Cry Baby", "In the Heat of Passion II", "61*", "The Beach Boys movie where he played Hal Blaine (!), ...) and television (F.B.I. Untold Stories).

He has also done extensive movie soundtrack work including an odd little indie film that came out a few years back called "Clay Pigeons". Most notably, he was the singing voice of Johnny Depp in the movie CRY BABY (other interesting people in the cast were Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, and Traci Lords). By the way, the competition was stiff, James auditioned for John Waters with the likes of Billy Burnette and Colin Winski. The soundtrack CD on MCA is great and should be easily available. In between, he played drums in an R&B band, Lester Butler & 13, led by the former Red Devils front man. Intveld's resume as a sideman also includes a 2 1/2-year stint in the mid-'90s as lead guitarist with the Blasters, one of California's leading roots music exports. Phil Alvin's second solo album "County Fair 2000" was released in 1994 on Hightone Records, the two songs attributed to the Blasters, County Fair and Blue Line, include the then current lineup of the band with James Intveld on guitar. James played also upright bass on Phil's side project The Faultline Syncopators.

Around this time James put a little swing combo together, the band was called Jimmy & the Gigolos but soon they changed their name to Swing Sinners who were a catalyst to the 90's swing circuit. The band played '40s and '50s R&B, jazz and swing music (the Gigolos played Thursday nights at the Derby in Hollywood ). Intveld is Jimmy, decked out in a fedora and a colorful suit and tie, fronting a horn driven, eight-man dance band through renditions of songs by the likes of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner, Fats Domino and Frank Sinatra. James is still selling Swing Sinners CDR on his website.

In 1995 Bear Family asked James to do a song called "Barely Hangin' On", for a 20 years anniversary compilation that Bear Family records of Germany was releasing. They were so impressed with the song that they turned around and asked him to do an album. Bear Family released Intveld's first album in 10" and CD format (different tracks) and the album won the award for the best country roots CD from Music Connection for 1996. Later in 1997 twelve of these tracks were reissued in the USA on the Innerworks label. After that James had one CD on his own label "Somewhere Down The Road" (Molenaart), it is more country than the Bear Family/Innerworks albums that contain some of the best rockabilly songs from the 90's. "Somewhere Down The Road" is his last album, but there are some compilations, his version of "Folsom Prison Blues" was recently on "Dressed In Black" CD on DualTone and "Toodleoo" a duet by James Intveld & Rosie Flores is on the Bozo & Pals soundtrack. James also contributed to Wanda Jackson's latest album "Timeless Love", "Walk With Me" was written by him. "A Town South of Bakersfield volume 3" features James Intveld playing lead on several tracks including some of his solo work and Harry Dean Stanton's "I Hope I Never Get Too Old (To Rock 'n' Roll)" (not a rocker but nice country, featuring author Billy Swan on guitar and James Intveld on lead guitar). James has toured at least in Japan, Russia, Norway, Australia, New Zeland, England, Germany and Finland. I saw him in Los Angeles in 2002 when he played an "unplugged" gig at McCabe's guitar shop. It was just James with a steel guitarist and two acoustic guitars. Great set and after the gig he talked to everyone who was interested in shaking his hand. Real nice and extremely talented guy whom I would like to see in Finland someday. Intveld's songs have such great depth and feeling that I am totally suprised that he isn't a bigger star. Last I heard about him was in May when James Intveld and The Flaming Aces had a gig in Los Angeles, he's also been playing drums for Kid Ramos and producing records for artists like John Coinman and Troy Olson. James is currently filming "El Charro", a horror flick where he plays the Arch Angel Michael, the movie is due out Halloween 2004. He has no record deal, hopefully there's a record company out there that realizes this.

Recommended listening:
"My Heart Is Achin' For You" single/L.A. rockabilly album
'Introducing James Intveld' Bear Family B10 10001, 10", 12 tracks
'Introducing James Intveld' Bear Family BCD 15900, CD, 10 tracks
- you need to have both to get all 14 tracks, well done Richard Weize :-)
'James Intveld' Innerworks, CD, 12 tracks from above albums.

This album demostrates an equal and impressive facility in writing, singing and on all instruments. (James wrote, sang and played all instruments on all tracks.) This is a truly great album... after that you'll want everything else he has recorded.

More info:
Rockabilly Monthly magazine, April 2004 issue, interview

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
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please contact Dik de Heer at

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