Roy Jeans Explained

In the time before my beginning, my father, a member of the Army’s 75th Infantry Division, fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After we won the war, he spent a week in Paris on a three-day pass. My father knew and loved jazz and he searched for Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of Paris around town and saw and listened to some great post-war jazz.

After Paris, he spent two weeks in New York City, center of all things jazz. He said he saw and listened to the best jazz masters and bought them drinks. Two weeks barely scratched the surface of what NYC had to offer, but he had a wife and child waiting for him at home. 

After all this, my father made his way back to Martinez, his wife and three-year-old son. Ten months later I was born. 

My earliest memories from my young life was of jazz playing in our house. My father would ask me, “what instrument do you hear?” I got pretty good at it, I knew the difference between a trumpet and a flugelhorn, a tenor sax and an alto, and many others. Homeschooling at its best. 

We lived next to my Uncle Paul’s restaurant that featured live music, big band stuff, every Friday and Saturday nights. I was a bus boy there and I loved being in a room with live music. It stuck with me and I sought out live music for the rest of my life. 

During my high schoolyears pop music was pretty much dull, old school tin pan alley stuff out of New York. Mitch Miller and pretty voices. We did have Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and the Beach Boys, but not much else. Johnny Angel by Shelley Fabares and the like, were all pretty boring. Fortunately, my junior year at Alhambra High, The Beatles came out. Young guys singing their own fresh songs, and a lot of good music followed.  

I was drafted into the Army right out of high school; 18 years old and off to basic training at Fort Ord, then to AIT at Fort Gordon, GA. Fort Gordon was just outside of Augusta, Georgia where the Masters Golf Tournament is held, and also the birthplace of James Brown. My experience there in 1966 was of a dirt street with bars and segregation. My very first southern observations were of aggressive whites and very polite blacks. It was from the blacks, and only them, that I experienced Southern Hospitality while wearing an Army uniform. 

Fortunately, this time was followed by 31 months in Europe. The Beatles were still influencing all contemporary music there. I traveled to London twice in that period of time and sought out music there. Munich was a good music town also, and I spent a chunk of time there also. 

After the Army, I went to college and ended up in Chico at Butte College and then transferred to Chico State. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in my pocket, I got a job at UC Berkeley and eventually opened an art studio/framing business. It was a lot of fun, but not much money. I got married, had two children, a boy and a girl, and I needed more money. 

James Benney, the founder of a music festival entitled Two Day Town, a leave no trace, tree-hugging, family music, good time event, hired me. James had a high-end house painting business that covered Piedmont, Broadway Terrace and the like. I went to work for him and I’ve now been painting houses for over 40 years, the first 10 years with James. My son Hazel and daughter Martina have also worked for James. 

In 1975 I put together a High School Reunion at Alhambra High. I gathered three bands to play with Chris Isaac as the headliner. Over 300 people liked the show and I was encouraged to further my career in the music business. 

The next ten years or so I paid more attention to being a husband, and a father of two wonderful children. I was still very interested in music but, during this time, it was on the backburner. 

With my family getting older and more independent, I could now rekindle my love of music. This love manifested itself in bars and concert halls where I was always observing, listening and watching the live performances. When the band is hot and you are in the room, you are a part of it. This information was very important in the way I would later run my own music venue. Amongst other things, I learned that quality of sound and lighting was very important. 

Around the turn of the century I rented a two-story building in Martinez that was owned by a good friend, Joe Patrick. I lived upstairs and downstairs was a large room suitable for parties and live music. At that time, I knew a lot of musicians that needed a place to play and pretty quickly the space became a popular underground music venue. I built a stage and some sound equipment and, with the help of a lot of friends, Armando’s was born. From a humble beginning we grew into a music destination with some pretty great musicians being featured at little ol’ Armando’s in downtown Martinez.