The Associated Press reports Groton police officers had responded to Geils' home around 4pm yesterday for a well-being check and found him unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead at the scene. In a statement, the Groton Police Department said, "A preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes."
Geils formed the band in 1967 while attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The J. Geils Blues Band, as it was originally called, also featured bassist Danny Klein, "Magic Dick" Salwitz on harmonica, trumpet and sax, drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and lead singer Peter Wolf, who was a DJ on WBCN/Boston. Keyboardist Seth Justman was the final piece of the puzzle, joining the band shortly before they released their Atlantic Records' debut album in 1970. The J. Geils Band was initially influenced by soul and R&B music, but had moved more toward pop and rock by the time Love Stinks was released in 1980. The band's 12th album, Freeze Frame, hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart for four weeks in 1981 and remained on the chart for 70 weeks. The single "Centerfold" reached No. 1 for six weeks and the title track, "Freeze Frame" made it to No. 4.
The J. Geils Band famously broke up and reunited several times in various incarnations since the mid-'80s, but Geils' involvement with his namesake band ended badly in 2012 -- The J Geils Band was scheduled to embark on a short U.S. tour in August and September 2012. However, the band left on the tour minus Geils, who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against his bandmates, claiming they "planned and conspired" to continue touring without him, and were unlawfully using the group's trademarked name. After this incident, Geils permanently left the band.
Obviously, the band was never the same after the departure of Peter Wolf. I was the PD at WPGU in Champaign when the first post-Wolf J Geils band album appeared. I knew it was all over for them right then and there.
To me, this is my favorite JGeils Band song. It got me through some rough times in college...