Our Story

Lem Roby - Guitar Theremin Vocals Whip

Jon Rogers - Bass Vocals

Jerry (DA YETI) Spiering - Trumpet Vocals Abominableness

Mark Lester - Drums Boy Soprano


(Professor Trombone) Dave Ramey Trombone Vocals Waiting for the Rabbi

Inderjeet Sidhu - Drums Tablas Lookin Good without a Shirt

Barrett Tasky Guitar Keys Vocals



Jack Salamander coalesced out of rehearsals held at James Cornolo's Apartment in Chicago back in 1991.

James, Bruce Mak, Tony Dimartino, and Dave Ramey had met a few times before Dave invited Lem Roby to come out and jam. James and Lem had met on a riverboat in New Orleans a few years before. Dave and Lem had attended Webster University together. As Lem and Bruce had attended the Academy high school for the performing arts together, the spectre of Frank Dawson gave the fledgling project the wings of destiny.

The band debuted at the venerable Woodlawn Tap (Jimmy's) in Hyde Park that year.(Immortalized on the JackBoot DVD "Spank down the Whammy Bar and Lick it Off"-Out of Print). Jack continued gigging around Chicago until Lem took the guitar chair in New Crime Theatre's production of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Working sometimes as Trombone Dave and the Lawn Clippings, the band carried on while Lem underwent a self-imposed exile to Minneapolis.

Returning to Chicago to mark Muddy Water's birthday with a trip to his grave (the 6 beers in 6 cities roadtrip), Lem first encountered the seminal Root Boy Slim CD "Root 6," opting not to buy it because "it'll be in the cutout bin soon enough." That same day, the group met at Dress Rehearsals Studios in Chicago to record the eponymous "Green tape," finding a kindred spirit and engineering genius in Don Grayless.


damnin kids ! What ever happened to Glitter's " rock and roll PT. II ?" - Oh, F@&*in' Lem needs to get the rights to it so we can hear James Cornolo's crafty Cornet sola-ya know, when the Bulls were winning! Lem, remember to be the ball -the bouncing guitar toolings dripped densely off the end of his guitar onto the stage, on which the roadies we don't have slipped gracefully!!!!. -T

Another memorable gig came on June 25th, 1993, when Jack took the stage at Biddy Mulligan's. Jon Rogers had taken the Bass chair after Bruce Mak left to pursue his unique genius. Jon and Tony's band The Overtones were opening for us, and recording the gig, so it became Immortalized "on DAT and Videotape." The tracks "My Condition" and "Thank you Miles" from ACGOJ were recorded that night (as well as the aforementioned Glitter Rock).. Whoever has the DAT, give it back.
We were rehearsing at Don James' studio in Humboldt Park, allegedly as Don's band, Vatican Roulette, but really as Jack. Security was very tight and the alarm system faulty and one night a jam was interrupted by firemen crawling through the studio windows! Um, Tony, park the hookah somewhere, O.K.?

Then a series of gigs at the venerable Town Hall Pub
(where To the Ozone, Gentlemen was bootlegged, memorably...) introduced Jack to Chuck Pinney. Chuck and Lem discovered they had a Birthday in common (shared also by Kalei Roby who played Drums with us much later...) as they toured the first of many Alleys behind bars. Chuck buggered off to Word Bongo, but came back to fill the Bass chair when Jon Rogers split for Law School.

Another great gig: opening for Guilty who we met that night for the first time, through James, who played bass with them for a time. In the middle of our set closer, Swami, in walks blues legend Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes.(R.I.P.) "I was just about to take off my guitar and start whipping it, when I realized that Booba was either going to really enjoy the spectacle, or he was gonna kick my ass..." recalls Lem. Booba was supportive, and actually took a solo on the end of Swami while Lem ran through the bar telling anyone who would listen "it's fucking Booba up there, man!" Afterwards Booba said:'You guys'll do all right. You just gotta stay together..."

We believe him


Tony rants on and on and on and on and off go off go off, and on and on!!!!!! 'cause he ain't got no much to say today. Lem just got in the shower (by his-self -awe) going to reen-to-teen to nee-nu-nee some catar at the copy band (don't tell noone) house! do you miss me already? I'm back and I got some (see second word in this sentence)!!! Jason , the latest salamandra talent, belts gentlely the ominous 'Emma' by Hot Chocolate. Somehow he has been able to make it a HAPPY tune, even with the origin'al lyrics! He plays pre'vert keys, clarinet, Barinet and closet Bass Catar. Oh, and who can forget that he plays a mean, wack rhythm BOX!!!!!!!!!!!! Love Tony....LOVE ME!!!!!!

One fine evening a guitar student of Lem's (Hi, Joe!) took him to see a coworker's band at the venerable Ginger's Ale House. Through Nefarious Means (he offered) this student conspired to put Lem into a thoroughly snockered condition. (My Condition was VERY good that evening - L). Thereupon wangling Lem a chance to sit in with the band, Joe could relax and enjoy the spectacle. While The Juice Dogs, I mean The Heaters, I mean...whatever the band is no longer in service, this served as the introduction of George "The Emperor" Norton to the Amphibian Arena. A man of tremendous tensile strength, George plays his guitars with the highest action allowable by law. The law of averages, that is. Above and beyond his mighty blues chops, George's ability to conjure up guitar skronk worthy of an unholy crossbreeding of Gilmour and Barrett won our hearts and a place in the Salamander Pantheon. It would be some months before that position became official, as James went off to anchor Roots Rock Society.

A recommendation from Edgar Gabriel to play a Last Minute New Years Eve duo Gig brought the amazing Suzanne Lansford into the Salamander fold. Capable of technically astonishing violin work and real stanky fiddle, Suzanne brightened our stage and studio work for a too-brief year before disappearing into Lake Okechobee. Some of her work can be seen on the
Tom Bonick Concert Series Video (out of print) as well as the infamous appearance on The Big Fat Nude Hippo Show.

Lem was drafted to play guitar with MWC, and came back with Utility man Barrett Tasky and DA YETI on trumpet/vox. In April 2011, Lem opened The Possum House Recording studio and work began on the NEW! JACK! CD!  Tracking is finally finished on te disc, and release of the new single is imminent. Check the site for updates, coming soonly!

Watch this space for the Continuing Saga...