Live preview: Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes

The new Soultime! is your first studio album of all-original material in five years. Speaking as an older guy, making music is all I know how to do. Why would I consider stopping?

Soul is at the very heart of what your band do. It seems like you perpetually have the horn.

[Laughs] That’s very true. My last album, Pills And Ammo [2010], was angry about the economic collapse. This time I wanted something that might take people’s minds off their troubles, make them dance a bit.

You make the audience a part of the show. At a recent gig at Shepherd’s Bush a microphone was passed out to allow the audience to deliver a chorus.

If I can sing it, then so can they [laughs]. One of the joys of my job is directing how the audience feels. A lot of times I’ll go on stage with a preconceived notion of how things’ll go, only to realise I’ve got to change it up. I’m very aware of their mood.

You have thirty albums to your name. Which one would you recommend to an inquisitive SJ newbie?

Gee, that’s tough. I’ll maybe say one of our live albums, because that’s where the band really springs to life.

Do you ever look with some envy at your friend Jon Bon Jovi and think: “That could’ve been me?”

Naw. I don’t have those kind of cheekbones or butt. I learned early on from Bruce [Springsteen] and Jon that that kind of superstardom is way too much of a burden for a guy that does his own shopping and likes to go out for a few drinks.

Southside’s UK gigs are on April 27 and 28.