BEFORE THEY WERE MIDNITE JAMMER...
As a teenager growing up in the small Denver suburb of Lakewood, David Lance Murphy’s passion for music drove his future ambitions. After picking up his first guitar in the late 70’s, David endeavored to become an accomplished musician and to create great songs like those from the iconic bands he idolized. Influenced greatly by the music of bands like Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, and Bad Company, he honed his skill and technique and began to write his own songs. It did not take long for him to amass a decent portfolio of his work and his attention turned towards assembling a band which could perform his original material.
His first attempt at this was partnering with longtime friend, bassist John Jurassic, to create a band which they jokingly called Burnt Toast. Creative momentum quickly pushed the two young men into a more serious group which David titled Passage West. However, just like Burnt Toast, Passage West was only to be a temporary moniker for the band. At this point the band consisted of members like Mike Smith - lead singer/drums, and Phil Anderson - keyboards, as well as the founders Dave and John. The music of Passage West had become popular locally and the band was getting noticed. Hours of practice and late night “jam” sessions became increasingly commonplace until one day an acquaintance of Dave’s teasingly dubbed him” the Midnight Jammer” which Dave in turn wrote a song about. The name struck a chord with the rest of the band. Despite Dave’s resistance the other band members insisted the band name be put to a vote. In the interest of fair play and band democracy, Dave begrudgingly agreed, fully aware that the die had been cast. In a three to one vote, Passage West was no more and Midnite Jammer was born.
WEST IS BEST.....
By the mid 1980’s Mike, Dave and Phil were married with children. Family life had not cooled their dreams however and it soon became clear that the ambitions of the members of Midnite Jammer had outgrown the Centennial State. Their music had continued to gain popularity and demonstrated interest within the record industry had increased as well. It was the group census that the time had come for the band to seek their own manifest destiny and expand. At this junction in time, the rock n’ roll movement had completely taken over the LA music scene. Big hair, big parties, big personalities and big opportunities were flooding areas like West Hollywood and the now famous nightclubs of the Sunset Strip. Beckoned by the fame and fortune of the musical elite portrayed on MTV and in the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine, Midnite Jammer made plans to go west, and most, but not all of the band mates would end up making the trip.
Due to creative differences, Phil and the band parted ways and longtime friend and cofounding band member, John Jurassic, chose to remain in Colorado to get married. Not wanting to let their dream die, Mike Smith and David Murphy quickly recruited Mark Hendrix to replace John as the bass player, and the trio moved with their families from landlocked Colorado to coastal California.
IT TAKES A WOMAN...
Once in California, the band initially struggled to find their place in the L.A. music scene.
However, that soon would change in large part due to David's wife Heidi. Once the band was settled in California she began to study and learn the ins and outs of the music industry and the L.A. rock scene . With her fearless personality, sharp wit, and unbending resolve, she made contacts, learned the ropes and began booking Midnite Jammer all over L.A. Soon the band was appearing at various well known L.A. clubs and venues like the Whiskey, Troubadour, Club 88, Gazzaries, Madame Wong’s, Goodies, and Jezebels to name a few. Heidi became Midnite Jammer's band manager, booking agent, press agent, etc., and with her directing the bands efforts, Midnite Jammer 's rise to success began to gain momentum once more.
As their manager, Heidi created opportunities, managed schedules, arranged bookings, and distributed music and promotional media for the band. Her skill and initiative was so impressive that she ended up gaining notoriety in her own right amongst the movers and shakers of the L.A. music scene. Soon she was not only managing Midnite Jammer, but other up and coming bands throughout L.A. under the business name Ma'Lady Management . Over the next few years Heidi worked with many L.A. music clubs by handling promotions and talent bookings. By doing this she secured performance spots and created countless opportunities for Midnite Jammer.
(Today, if you ask Heidi about her part in Midnite Jammer's advancements and accomplishments, she will tell you that the music sold itself. However, if you ask the band, they will tell you they owe much of their success to Heidi Murphy.)
AN UNEXPECTED BREAK...
The next big break came from Mike and Dave’s day jobs in flooring installation. In Colorado Mike was in the carpet trade and Dave came from a long line of tile setters. Once in California they both found jobs in these trades to cover their living expenses as well as save towards the future recording expenses they knew they would encounter. One day, as chance may have it, they ran into recording engineer Keith Wechsler who mentioned to Lead Singer Mike Smith that the studio owner needed the carpet in the studio replaced. He suggested that maybe they could barter with the owner - work for studio time. This suggestion paved the way for the band’s first record. Soon Midnite Jammer was in Sound Solutions recording their first album Deep In The Night.
Now with a record in hand, Heidi ensured that the album was successfully promoted and distributed. Deep In The Night was played on National College Radio Stations as well as local shows, After Music Connection Magazine gave the band their first rave review in 1990, the band was back in the studio recording Moonlight Calling. The release of Midnite Jammer’s sophomore album led to even better gigs and more airplay. Like Deep In The Night, it was a favorite of the college radio scene. At Pepperdine University, Moonlight Calling made their top 10 playlist and stayed in the # 5 slot for well over a year. One track, "Time Of Your Life" was specifically selected by an independent cable music show, Rock & Roll LA, and used as the show’s opening song.
THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF ROCK N ROLL...
After Moonlight Calling, the band went through another upheaval when lead singer/drummer - Mike Smith, abruptly returned to Colorado. The Midnite Jammer roster changed yet again. David Murphy and Mark Hendrix retained their positions and recruited three new members to round out the bands lineup. Donnie Pottger took over on drums, Erik Von Ploennies played guitar and keyboard, and a young singer, Jim Viviano took over as front man.
The band's next single album, Back In The Fight, was a hit. Despite the new lineup, the group managed to maintain the Midnite Jammer sound that the band was famous for. Record labels and publishing companies continued to bring in offers, however none was decided on and the band chose to remain unsigned, largely due to David Murphy's refusal to compromise the music or allow it to become commercialized. Remaining independent, the Jammers popularity continued to increase. They were playing amidst the biggest names at the most coveted venues and their music was airing on both national networks and international stations. It seemed like the sky was the limit.............
Sadly, by the time the band was preparing to record their fourth album, tragedy struck. Heidi, David's wife and the band's manager, was diagnosed with cancer, and she and her family returned to Colorado.
THE LONG ROAD HOME...
Being the fighter she is, Heidi refused to let the cancer take her. For years she fought the disease. During this time, Dave diligently trekked back and forth from Colorado to California. Determined to see the fourth album come to fruition, Dave returned whenever possible to continue recording with the band he had left behind. Many of the songs that he recorded are inspired by his experience watching his wife battle her disease,
Finally in 2001 the time and sacrifice had paid off. Lifeline, Midnite Jammer's first full length album, was released, and Heidi was cancer free. Lifeline would be the last album that featured the same lineup as Back In The Fight and it was received with high praise and reviews. However, the band inevitably disbanded because David and his family simply could not return to California. Despite this, David continued to write, play and produce music.
KEEP KEEPIN ON...
Back in Colorado, without his band, David Murphy looked for new opportunities to do what he loved, write and perform music. In the years that followed his return to Colorado he was involved in various new projects. The recent hardships which he and his family had faced and mercifully been delivered from, had renewed his faith and spirituality. As a reborn Christian, Dave began to focus more of his talent and creativity towards creating Christian Rock. Eventually he wrote and produced two separate albums under the name JC Player. The Long Road Home and Heavens Day are both albums which beautifully merge David Murphy's rock n roll edge with his new found faith.
Additionally Dave continued to write and produce rock and roll. Reviving Midnite Jammer with new members yet again, he wrote an released a fifth album, Beware of Dog. Not long after, he founded the band DNAB (band spelled backwards) which enjoyed some success and even secured a spot on the 2004 Zippo Hot 100 Tour. Despite DNAB's accomplishments, the more horn-driven style of the band's music was simply not the same as the music David had loved to compose and play in Midnite Jammer.
THE RETURN OF MIDNITE JAMMER
Unable to leave the Midnite Jammer legacy unfinished, David Murphy reunited with the original lead singer/drummer, Mike Smith, and the band returned to their roots. Accompanied by bassist Peter Hill, the Jammers are preparing to release a brand new single album in 2019, aptly titled Can't Teach An Old Dog New Licks. The songs "Where I Want To Be" and "Play To Win" are edgy anthems reminiscent of the band's raw and powerful rock style as heard on their first two albums.
Today, the band is back in the studio with a talented new bassist, Chris Dumott, recording a brand new, full length rock album that promises to deliver. The album release will mark the forty year anniversary of Midnite Jammer and the decades of hard rockin' music the band has created. Eagerly anticipated by Jammer fans everywhere, this next album is a testament to an inarguable truth-
Rock and Roll Never Dies!!!!