THE GRAND POOBAH!
GOLDMINE|April 2021
SINCE THEIR INCARNATION in the early 1970s, the band Poobah have recorded over a dozen albums with various lineups, while openi ng for some of rock and roll’s biggest names.
ALAN BROSTOFF

The one constant in Poobah, though, is guitarist/singer Jim Gustafson, who has led the band for five decades, directing them through rock music’s many trends, yet holding ground with a classic guitar rock feel.

With Poobah, Gustafson has a great story to tell. A band that might not end up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but did perform a record 12 times on those sacred grounds in Cleveland. Lately, the band’s leader is quite proud of the latest Poobah accomplishment: the album evolver/revlove, released in 2020.

GOLDMINE: The new album, evolver/ revlove, is quite eclectic as it spans several different music styles. One thing that you have left off this record is politics, which many bands are covering in recent years.

JIM GUSTAFSON: That is true. I’m not into spreading my beliefs or anybody else’s about politics. They got enough of that on Facebook.

GM: Explain the name of the new album and where it came from.

JG: Well, I thought about how my playing as a guitarist had changed from the time I was 13 years old until now and I just thought I had evolved, and that’s where the “evolver” part came from. Then I noticed that there were other things called evolver, so a friend of mine who works in film said, “Why don’t you just call it revlove?” which is evolver backwards. I said, “Well, that’s a great idea.” So, I just put them together and used my idea — and his — and switched it from being evolver to evolver/revlove.

GM: With album cover artwork of a monkey evolving into a rock guitarist.

JG: I thought that was a great idea. The artist did a terrific job taking my idea and making it look really cool.

GM: The band has been around since 1972, correct?

JG: That is correct. That was when the first album was released. I got called Poobah as a nickname prior to that. Actually, me and the bass player (Phil Jones) used to tease each other and call each other Poobah as a joke. We picked up the name from someone … everybody said she was biker chick that would beat up men, but I don’t know if that’s true. That was her nickname, Poobah. And that was why we thought it was funny, because she was like a senior and we were freshmen. Yeah, everybody feared that girl. The rumor was that she’d poke you with a rattail comb if you pissed her off.

GM: Does she know that you ended up naming the band after her?

JG: Yes, and the rumor that she would beat men’s asses scared us, because she showed up at one of our shows and we were thinking that one of us was going to get it. Truth was, she was one of the nicest people and it was probably one of those stupid high-school drama urban legends.

GM: Your first album, Let Me In (released in 1972), now sells for over $140 oversees.

JG: Well, I saw one the other day for $2,200, an original copy.

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