JoBu to jam at Hangar 9 tonight

By Gus Bode

The lifespan of a local band is generally a short one: a band is formed, it jams at small venues for a while, maybe makes a demo, has some kind of dramatic falling-out and disbands.

Fortunately, this is not the case for JoBu, a four-man jam band formed in Carbondale in 2005 and has since relocated to Champaign with the hopes of making it big. The group returns to its roots tonight with a show at Hangar 9.

JoBu hits the stage at 11 p.m. tonight with acoustic guitarist Ben Grant providing the opening entertainment. There is a cover charge for this performance.


The band debuted in Carbondale three years ago after three of the members – bassist Andrew Neel, guitarist Matt Hines, and guitarist/vocalist Aaron Vanvooren – met through the classical guitar program and began playing together, Vanvooren said. Drummer Evan Ryan joined the band in August 2007.

“We started off playing parties and smaller venues in Carbondale. We weren’t really doing it too seriously,” Vanvooren said.

He said the name JoBu comes from the movie “Major League,” in which one of the players on the team worships a god named JoBu. People still come up to the band during shows and quote the movie, Vanvooren said.

Eventually, though, JoBu’s popularity grew, and the band began playing more shows at bigger venues in the region. They now tour the entire Midwest.

In the past year, JoBu has played in six states and performed more than 100 shows, Vanvooren said.

“This is our job. This is what pays the bills. We’re fortunate enough to have it be what we love doing,” Ryan said.

The four members of the band live together in a house in Champaign, according to Ryan, and having Vanvooren is something that contributes to the success of their music.


Ryan said the band members spend 80 percent of their time together, whether they’re eating, watching TV or driving to one of their many shows.

“We’re all best friends,” Ryan said. “What we strive to do is create music of best friends … you need to know somebody inside and out before you can really play music with them.”

Jobu cannot be placed in any one musical genre, Ryan said. He said they are mostly categorized as a rock/reggae band, but they also play bluegrass, fusion, jazz, punk and R’B.

“Our motto is creating positive music for positive people. We just want people to have fun, get down, enjoy and be with friends,” Ryan said.

Most of the songs the group performs live are original tunes, though they do perform two or three covers a night, Vanvooren said.

Ryan said the goal for their shows is to have fun, and they hope everyone in the audience has a great time, too.

“Coming back to our hometown – Carbondale is where it started. The crowds there are insane. We need to bring that atmosphere everywhere,” Ryan said.

To learn more about JoBu or to hear their music, visit their Web sites at or Their album, “Stop Time,” is available on iTunes and

Audra Ord can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or at [email protected].