Joel Franklin Kinney born 1967 child of the Vietnam War. Guitarist and vocals for the Salem OR band JFK. High energy and big production band representing the hard FM rock of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Picked up the acoustic guitar in 5th grade learning Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver and Jim Croce songs. Grew up on all the classics, Elton John, Billy Joel, Queen etc. when in 1978 found a record in older sister’s record collection of a little known band named… Van Halen. It was all over after that point. It was all “Big Rock” from that point forward. 1981 was my first concert. Van Halen “Fair Warning” tour at the Coliseum in Portland June 9th. That point forward I was going to be a Rock star, trading in my football cleats for a microphone and a PA system. Never a natural guitarist, my focus was on vocals and being the front man performer. It was always about the show. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, UFO, MSG, Scorpions were the many flavors of those years .

Fronted a couple Salem and Portland bands all through High School and after. Left for Hollywood in fall of 86 only to return a year later, starving, broke and dejected. Joined a circuit band for a year learning how to pace myself 6 nights a week playing top rock hits of the day traveling the west coast. Decided to get serious about guitar once and for all, and started my own three piece thing doing originals ala Kings X meets Black Crowes called Thunderjelly. Had a couple of our CD’s chart in the NW and open for David Lee Roth, Yingwie Malmsteen, Pat Travers and Foghat at various Roseland Shows mid to late 90’s.

2000 I was absolutely burned out and completely quit music when I opened my company and store Apex Pro Audio. At a friend’s urging reformed Thunderjelly for a friends 40th bday seven years later and JFK was born. Got some great shows once again opening for Pat Travers and Randy Hansen, would have Kelly Lemieux from Gold Finger/Buckcherry join when he was on break, had Deen Castronovo for about six months on break from Journey and it all took off again. Now it’s a monster that won’t stop. It’s all about the Show.

2 replies
  1. jdm
    jdm says:

    I first saw Jeff Labansky in 1980, in Woodburn, OR, where they were playing on top of a flatbed truck at the local PayLess drug store, on the corner of 99E and 217. He just dripped “rock star” cool. I distinctly remember him saying, “Here’s a little song I learned picking cherries….” and launched into Wild Thing….


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