Jeff Babko, Piano
WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
I’m not sure it was the very first, but there was a Mothers’ Day luncheon in Friendly Valley, a desert retirement community in Southern California. My good junior high pal and I collectively owned a small slew of affordable 80’s synthesizers. We dazzled the elder moms with some obscure British New Wave numbers. We were not asked back the following year.
WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
Summer 2003, for a segment of the October Road tour.
WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
Just after graduating from University of Miami, international crooner Julio Iglesias recruited a bunch of us young and malleable musicians to become his hip new band. I traveled the world sporadically with this rag tag bunch and the handsome Spaniard from 1994-1997.
WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
I always have a little framed picture of my wife and son that I put bedside in the hotel.
WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
No routine really, but I get into a weird quiet, reflective zone just before a gig. Maybe I’m saving focus or energy for the upcoming show. Or maybe I’m just weird.
WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
I love watching and listening to James perform songs that, in some cases, he may have performed tens of thousands of times, and is able to revisit and present to an audience with the same passion and sense of wonder lyrically and musically as if it’s brand new. That’s fascinating to me and inspiring. Also, James is such a kind and giving human being, and this generosity is displayed with his audiences, too.
Also, being able to share space with one of the greatest backing bands ever assembled is truly mind blowing. I often call it “fantasy camp”.