JJ Cruise


J.J. Cruise

vocals, acoustic guitar

Topaz • Scorpio

When they say, “It’s the journey, not the destination,” they are talking about our frontman, our voice, our lithe and lyrical lead vocalist…Jon Jeremy Cruise. 

But you can call him Jon. Or you can call him Jon J. Or you can call him J.J. Just don’t call him the “singer.”

Because J.J., like David Bowie, is so much more than a singer. He is a masterful force of melody, a man whose inner cool can’t be contained. And that much was clear, even in his first run at the music industry as an accordion technician for Weird Al Yankovich’s 1985 tour. 

You see, J.J.’s parents were doing their part to break into the Iron Belt Polka scene in Rock Island, Illinois, in the late ‘70s. They couldn’t afford a professional accordion technician, but they did have a child too young to get a work permit yet old enough to do what his parents told him. (It’s a good thing J.J. was also a quick learner.)

So while his parents didn’t make the cut for stardom, J.J.’s raw talent finessing the output of the Stomach Steinway got him noticed in faraway California by the biggest accordion fan to ever walk the stage: Weird Al Yankovic. 

He was hired on as lead tech for Weird on the 1985 tour. Then fate (or rather poor time management) intervened when J.J. was left behind after missing the bus while searching for vintage clothing in Omaha’s Old Market. 

J.J. was nothing if not industrious. Because at that point, he realized he was much more than a tech. He knew that a heart of smooth beat within his breast. 

If you’ve ever seen what a man needs to do to survive on the streets, like in the film Midnight Cowboy, J.J.s experience was nothing like that. Instead, he took up the mandolin to earn his keep. Realizing that there was little call for a mandolin player, he learned the guitar and soon found that his inner smooth begat outer success. 

We could talk about J.J.s experiences playing up and down the Midwest. His brief fling with another young chanteuse from Chicago. Or the hostile run-in with his former boss. 

But all you need to know is what you hear when he belts out the smooth on stage. 

As J.J. likes to say, “This timeless music will last forever because the smooth is bigger than one man…it’s bigger than me. Let’s enjoy the smooth together.”