About

So who’s actually causing all of this trouble?

Trouble In The Heartlands is a Colorado based Bruce Springsteen tribute band with a focus on Bruce’s 70s and 80s glory days.

Vocalist John Jesitus and rhythm guitarist Jeff Wingo started the group around late 2012. Backed up by Dusty “Soda” Fountain on the Drums,Paul Cohen on Bass,Steve Meier on the Keyboards,Chris Marcus on lead guitar and Jason Leher on Saxophone, flute and glockenspiel we bring the full E Street show to you.

The band has performed around Colorado, as far and wade as Kremmling, Northglenn, Littleton and Idaho Springs, and at events and venues such as “Leftapalooza,” Taste of Colorado, the Oriental Theater, and The Dickens Opera House.

For a trip back to the boardwalk with that ragged E St. swagger contact Trouble In The Heartland for your next gig or event!

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John Jesitus — Lead Vocals, Harmonica

Why did you join Trouble in the Heartland?

I was between projects and looking to do something that was more “me” than your generic classic rock band that tries to be everything to everybody. My brother had been suggesting I do a Springsteen tribute for years, and I just dismissed the idea. Didn’t know tributes would become so popular, or that people would actually pay me for singing songs I’ve known by heart since I was a teenager. In late 2012, Jeff and I worked up 4 or 5 songs almost as a joke, but once we heard the results it quickly became serious.

Favorite Bruce song?

Too many to pick from. Probably “Backstreets,” off the Born to Run album. Followed by “For You.” Bruce wasn’t writing many love songs in those days, but he nailed these 2.

Favorite Bruce album or show memory?

My friends know I am all about Darkness on the Edge of Town. That album just hit me at the exact right moment in my life to mirror things that I saw happening in my family, my community and my country. Stern, bracing. Don’t worry, we won’t be playing it in its entirety unless some deep-pocketed patron makes us an offer we can’t refuse!

I also have this indelible memory from a show at the Richfield (Cleveland, Ohio area) Coliseum, late 70s or early 80s. In “Prove It All Night,” at the end of the second chorus, the band pulled a dramatic stop as Bruce and Little Steven both shouted without any accompaniment, roughly in the vicinity of harmony, “Prove It All Night for Your Love!” Yes, I’m going to make the boys play it that way.

Other artists you like/follow?

I’m partial to the heartland rockers/songwriters – Bruce, Mellencamp, and Tom Petty fits in there for me. Some Seger, too. But I have lots of favorites in various styles –Jim Carroll (Catholic Boy!) And the Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Billy Idol, Del Amitri, Thin Lizzy, The Cult (not that wussy Blue Oyster Cult – I’m talking Pure Cult Cult! Love Removal Machine! She Sells Sanctuary!) Lately I listen to a lot of The Hold Steady and The Gaslight Anthem.

How long have you been a musician?

I started in fourth grade on the slide trombone (insert joke here). When I was in high school, a friend taught me some guitar chords and we were off and running. I think “Born to Run” was the first song I learned to play beginning to end. I am ambitious like that.

What other interesting or notable musical projects have you worked on?

The Dante Band (classic rock). Steel River 3 (stripped-down folk and mostly acoustic). What’s that, you haven’t heard of them? I’m also working on a 5 song EP of my own songs – my first original product in nearly 20 years.

Your day job?

Freelance medical writer and editor. A great freelance writing gig, and it took a long time to get here.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

In my early 20s, I was briefly a banquet server at a supposedly posh country club in a Cleveland suburb. Nice place if not for the owner, who would smile his greasy head off among the guests, then barge into the kitchen area – cursing the employees out at the top of his lungs. A grown-ass man kicking around milk crates, throwing temper tantrums! And the manager was so surprised when I quit.

1 item from your bucket list?

Own a dog that outweighs me.

Something people would not guess by looking at you?

I have no fingerprints – ask the Colorado Department of Education and the Adams County police. Only with great regret am I passing up a life of crime.

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Jeff Wingo — Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals

Why did you join Trouble in the Heartland?

John and I have a pretty long history of playing together in multiple bands, and we have a chemistry performing together that you don’t come across every day. He and I formed the band as a way to play the music that we love, and to play up the strengths that we each bring to table.

Favorite Bruce song?

I would have to say that my favorite song from the Boss is “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” I actually fell into this song backwards. The first time I heard it, it was the version that Rage Against the Machine did. I couldn’t get over how moving the lyrics were for a group that rarely tells a story. When I found out that it was originally a Bruce song, I couldn’t stop listening to the original.

Favorite Bruce album or show memory?

I have always been a big fan of music that is raw and unpolished, with the emotion behind it doing most of the work. The Nebraska album is the epitome of that to me. Every time I sit and listen to any songs off that album I hear another “error” that adds to the overall charm of it. Behind it all, the story and the emotion behind each song are what it all comes back to, for me.

Other artists you like/follow?

My musical tastes are all over the map, from rap to punk to metal to classic rock. Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain and Les Claypool are always in heavy rotation in my IPod, all for different reasons.

How long have you been a musician?

I was, more or less, born a musician. But it wasn’t until my early teen years that I started really working hard at it. I think my first time performing in front of an audience was about 20 years ago. It’s all a blur.

What other interesting or notable musical projects have you worked on?

I have my own YouTube channel where I play and sing some of my favorite song and do requests. Shameless promotion, I know.  🙂

Your day job?

I work for a financial firm as a pseudo-executive number cruncher/dreamer.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

Well, there was that one time on the street corner… What I meant to say was that managing a fast food pizza place on New Year’s Eve was just about as horrible as it sounds.

1 item from your bucket list?

Playing on the stage at Red Rocks is really high on my Bucket List. Some of my favorite concerts I have ever seen were there, when the moon is full and it’s getting dark. Words can’t even describe that feeling.

Something people would not guess by looking at you?

I teach music lessons on over 10 different instruments. And, at any moment, I usually have more technology on me than NASA had when they landed on the moon.

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Paul Cohen — Bass Guitar

Why did you join Trouble in the Heartland?

Favorite Bruce song?

Favorite Bruce album or show memory?

Other artists you like/follow?

How long have you been a musician?

What other interesting or notable musical projects have you worked on?

Your day job?

Worst job you’ve ever had?

1 item from your bucket list?

Something people would not guess by looking at you?

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Chris Marcus — Lead Guitar

Why did you join Trouble in the Heartland?

Because I love playing music and liked all of the guys in the band. I think when musicians are on the same page and share a goal, that’s when special things can happen.

Favorite Bruce song?

Currently digging the Detroit rock medley. Although as I play the songs more and more I continue to find beautiful parts in each one.

Favorite Bruce album or show memory?

Actually haven’t seen Bruce yet (despite being from NJ:). Looking forward to it tho especially after getting to know his music so well.

Other artists you like/follow?

I’m a big jamband guy and love Phish, The Grateful Dead, and a bunch of the other jambands out there today. Saw String Cheese Incident for the first time this summer at Red Rocks and was blown away.

How long have you been a musician?

About 3 and a half decades now. My folks stuck me on the piano when I was little, which I didn’t like all that much at the time, although in hindsight maybe they were right about that one:)

What other interesting or notable musical projects have you worked on?

My baby is an original jamband called Mr. Hunter. It sounds like a mix of Phish, Pink Floyd, and Beethoven. Good times…

Your day job?

Mainly music and vlogging about the coming collapse of the dollar.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

Had a job stuffing envelopes in college. Not so bueno….my tongue got really dry, and I think I got fired after the second shift.

1 item from your bucket list?

Playing a sold out stadium show!

Something people would not guess by looking at you?

That I was a belly dancer in a former incarnation:)

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Steve Meier — Keyboards

Why did you join Trouble in the Heartland?

Springsteen’s sound is distinctive, and many of his songs have these legendary piano and organ parts and that are a feast for any keyboard player. For me, this is an opportunity to have great fun, and hone my own keyboard playing skills. Trouble in the Heartland, like any great tribute band, puts the music first and brings a legendary sound to life. Springsteen is an American music icon who ranks right up there with Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Bob Dylan.

Favorite Bruce song?

Bruce has so many great songs that for me to say I love one over the others is tough, but “Born to Run” and evokes a certain nostalgia for me and takes me back to when I was in the prime of my own youth looking at that long road ahead of me. Lyrics in Springsteen’s songs speak to me in a very personal way.

Favorite Bruce album or show memory?

I remember listening to the record album The River over and over again. The first reason was that it was a double record, so this made it twice as good. The second reason was that I could crank “Cadillac Ranch” up really loud on my dad’s new stereo.

Other artists you like/follow?

It depends and the time of day and the day of the week, as my playlist is quite large. I listen to classical music. There is a place in my heart for the legends from the jazz and blues era, and the classic sounds of Sinatra, Nat King Cole, or the likes of Tony Bennett. I love all songs by the Beatles as a group or as solo artists. I like the keyboard sounds of progressive rock bands from the 70’s like YES and Electric Light Orchestra. I appreciate classic folk rock like the Eagles or CSN, and also jam to the synthesizer sounds of 80’s music, be it Split Enz, Roxy Music, The Fixx, Howard Jones, or Tears for Fears. I also dig the big arena rock bands like The Who, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, Def Leppard, Queen, the Police, Heart, Journey, Foreigner, STYX, or U2. I also praise the great songwriting and performing talents of solo artists like Billy Joel, Elton John, Bob Seger, or Sting. There are too many more to list, as my list goes on and on.

How long have you been a musician?

I started formal piano lessons in the 4th grade, and those lasted for 7 years. Then I started to play more for my own pleasure and started to imitate the keyboard sounds I heard on the radio. I also picked up the guitar after college, and I can do the occasional Johnny Cash impression.

What other interesting or notable musical projects have you worked on?

I have played with a Christian rock and worship band called The Fishtones for about the last 10 years. That band has morphed over the years as different members have come and gone. I have also composed a few original songs on my own.

Your day job?

I have taught English and American literature, college level composition, the arts and humanities, journalism, video production, and film studies, all at the high school level in Jefferson County for the past 20 years. Go ahead, ask me a question about Hamlet.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

Believe it or not, back in the early 1980’s I was vacuum cleaner demonstrator/salesman in a warehouse store. Now that was a job that really sucked.

1 item from your bucket list?

To travel to the Greece and visit the Parthenon.

Something people would not guess by looking at you?

The first is I grew up in the heartland: Aurora, Illinois, and was a huge Chicago Cubs and Ernie Banks fan when I was a kid. Also, I love to ski, bike, and take my yellow lab jogging along the South Platte River.

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Jason Leher — Saxophone

Why did you join Trouble in the Heartland?

Favorite Bruce song?

Favorite Bruce album or show memory?

Other artists you like/follow?

How long have you been a musician?

What other interesting or notable musical projects have you worked on?

Your day job?

Worst job you’ve ever had?

1 item from your bucket list?

2 things people would not guess by looking at you?

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Dusty “Soda” Fountain — Drums

Why did I join Trouble in the heartland?

I seen an add for a Bruce Springsteen drummer on Craigslist. I have been looking to play in a tribute band for quite sometime, So I replayed to the add. When I enquired, the position had been filled. Jeff, John and I keep in contact. The position became open, and they contact me for an audition. My audition was a live gig! Which I must of passed, because I’m still here! I’m the new guy, In a group of great guys who are fantastic musicians!

My Favorite Bruce Song?

Thunder Road! I love a song with a BIG endings!

My Favorite Bruce Album/ Show Memories?

My favorite album is actually a Blu-Ray of a live concert 🙂 “London Calling: Live in Hyde Park”. Live is alive! Live concerts! That’s where you get the real deal!

Other Artists You Like? Follow?

My all time favorite Band is the one and only, the legendary Pink Floyd! Back in 1994, when the massive Mirrored Ball came out during “Comfortably Numb” during the show in Oakland! I saw Jesus him self walk across the field that night! I also followed the Grateful Dead for a grip!

How long have you been a musician?

I started playing drums on paint cans, and Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets as a kid. I earned my 1st drum-set at the age of 15, and never stopped. 37 years now, and still killing it!

What other interesting or notable musical project have you work on?

Back in the late 80’s till the mid 90″s I worked for Bill Graham Presents concerts, all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Then moved to Denver, and worked at Red Rocks, and the Pepsi Center on and off for 20 years. Now days I’m very active in my union, the IAM. For the IAM, I play a music program called “UnioNation”. We create “labor music”, for “the working class”. Please check us out, and give us support, www.unionation.com. I’m also a volunteer fund raiser for “Guide Dogs of America”. Security, Independence, Freedom, Companionship, Finding The Way Together! www.guidedogsofamerica.org Please, Please Help! Thank You from Trouble In The Heartland, UnioNation, and Fountain Productions!

What is your day job?

My day job is Ramp Service for United Airlines at Denver International Airport. I love my job! Great people, and an all around great place to work!

Worst Job I ever had?

Being unemployed! That Sucks! I worked at Casa Bonita’s for a few months. That was way better, then being unemployed! Fun too!

One from your bucket list?

I always wanted to own a bar with entertainment in Nigrl Jamaica.

Something people would not know by looking at you?

That I have been to over 500 live concerts, or that I have been a drummer for over 35 years, because I don’t have not one tattoo!

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One Response to About

  1. Dennis Hiatt says:

    Are you still looking for a bass player?

    Here is a sample of my playing:

    https://youtu.be/bJgvgJsjKxQ

    I have been listening to Bruce since 1978…thx Dennis Hiatt

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