Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson

Tim was born April 29, 1949 to a family passionate about theater and the arts. His mother, Polly, was an artist and her father a successful painter and watercolor artist in Boston whose family arrived in 1620 on one of the the Mayflower ships. His father William, from Brooklyn, was a blue-collar worker who worked his way up as an ad man who lost his job at age 50 because he had never earned a high school degree. He was a hardworking funny guy with a full-blooded Passamaquoddy Algonquin Indian grandfather from Maine. His brother, Dennis, is a radio station owner and brother Will was a music writer for Sweet Potato Magazine in Maine currently teaching English in Rhode Island prisons.

From earliest childhood, acting was his main focus. Jackson’s first role was as ‘Little Black Sambo’ in the first grade; in his own paleface instead of blackface. He performed on Merv Griffin’s quiz show ‘Play Your Hunch’ when he was ten; and acting was all he wanted to do. He joined the band and orchestra in middle school because there was no drama department. His father had jazz 78’s and bought him his first snare drum at this time. Tim was also in the audience of The Ed Sullivan show on Feb. 9th, 1964 when The Beatles made their first appearance in America.  ‘I played on the back of a chair with thumbtacks on my sneakers in order to hear my foot and copied everything I heard on rock records,’ Tim notes, ‘which was probably the drumming of Hal Blaine.’

Within a year, he was in his high school’s top rock band. They opened twice for The Young Rascals. Jackson recalls: “Dino Danelli was my hero. I had seen Joe Morello and Alan Dawson with Dave Brubeck, who lived in my hometown, and that was inspiration but I stole everything I could from Dino. Sit up straight. Be precise. Hit the cymbals from the underside, and twirl my left hand where many drummers twirl with their dominant right hand.’ Later, Richie Haywood of Little Feat and Billy Cobham became inspirations. He was studied jazz drums with Jim Chapin in the early 70’s and with Alan Dawson in the late 70’s while pounding out new wave beats with Robin Lane & The Chartbusters.

Tim Jackson is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics writing for The Arts Fuse, an online journal. He was an Associate Professor at the New England Institute of Art where he was awarded the first Distinguished Faculty Award. Tim developed and taught classes in Film History, Acting and Directing, Mass Communications, and Art History.

Currently, he is busy rehearsing a one-act play, editing a book on interviews on filmmaker Wes Anderson for Mississippi Press and shooting for a museum style installation piece of nonagenarian oral histories. Films he has written and directed include film documentary ‘When Things Go Wrong: The Robin Lane Story:’ a feminist rock and roll saga. Other films are Chaos and Order, about the American Repertory Theater, Radical Jesters a profile of 11 pranksters and culture jammers, American Gurner, a short on his competing in the British Gurning Festival, and Joan Walsh Anglund: Stories, an first person oral history by the best-selling children’s author. He is also hoping to put together a club show with Vas Deferens and The Young Rationals with poetry and video.

Tim Jackson will be remembered for always looking forward, having made some difference in people’s lives and having a great time doing it.


* THE LOVED ONES- 1965-7: There were several legendary concerts at his own Staples High School. One was The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck AND Jimmy Page and they used Tim’s band’s sound system. Steve Tallerico (before Tyler) And The Chain Reaction opened the show.

* ABRAXAS- 1968-9: Pre- Santana; the name comes from Herman Hesse. Tim took one year off to study drama at Ithaca College. He met Larry Hoppen and they started this killer band his sophomore year. Larry later became the lead singer for Orleans and you can hear him sing on their big hit ‘Still The One.’

* BENEFIT STREET- 1969-71: Tim dropped out of college with a year to go to join this Rhode Island band. They became one of the top groups in the state and missed out on signing a Roulette Records contract by inches; opening up for The Chambers Brothers, B.B.King, Grand Funk, and The Stooges.

* JOHN PAUL JONES- 1972-73: a basso folk singer. They opened for a full week of Little Feat shows and for The Wailers at Paul’s Mall in Boston. There were also gigs with NRBQ at Max’s Kansas City in NYC, in Hartford with The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and with Springsteen in a high school gym in R.I.

* BLUE SKY- 1973-74:  a pop band with Jeff Southworth, Jack Bone (from Martin Mull’s band) and Jeff Lorber, now a fusion jazz super star. THAT was an interesting combination.

* THE SPLENDIADS and THE SPOONS- 1975-6: These bands were odd blends of seventies pop music and comedy songs. They played Jack’s, Brandy’s, and the Oxford Alehouse a ton of  times. Fun fact: The Splendiads’ name came off a napkin dispenser in one of those many all-night after-the-gig diners.

* Tom Rush– 1976-8: Larry Luddecke was the music director. The bass player was Leigh Foxx (Patty Smith, Blondie). Tim: ‘That was one funny band. Tom was patient.’

* THE NIGHT VISITORS- 1978-1979: with the late Bard Richmond from The Road Apples, and Tony Gilroy, now the writer of the Bourne movies and the director of the film Michael Clayton.

* THE CHARTBUSTERS- 1979- present:  Tim was drafted by Robin Lane who had seen The Night Visitors. The band landed a contract with Warner Brothers and became the eleventh band broadcast on MTV with their song ‘When Things Go Wrong’ on August 1, 1981.

* THE GRAY BOYS – Led by the late ex-Chartbuster and songwriter Asa Brebner, the band experimented Asa’s songs and classic R&B and rockabilly.

* THE YOUNG RATIONALS- 1982: Tim: ‘A great band perhaps too cerebral for Boston tastes.’

* VAS DEFERENS-1982-2007: These cats were a unique art/punk/rock/blues poetry band until the front man and lyricist, Nelson, passed away form ALS. The other guys essentially became The Band That Time Forgot.

* LAVERN BAKER 1990-93: We did the a European tour, the Montreux Jazz Fest, and gigs in New York and Boston until her death.

*THE BAND THAT TIME FORGOT- 1983- present: Tim: ‘ I thought of the name first, then the concept: a Sha Na Na for sixties music. Nobody was doing this yet. I didn’t want to travel anymore, but wanted to play with my kids who were just being hatched, get back to acting, to teach, and make films. I was in six bands at the same time and finishing an undergrad in English and a Masters in Education. Heady times. I called all my favorite guys and we learned two songs a week for six months. I found the world’s greatest go-go dancer, We had a light show run by an old friend who had worked for Foreigner doing lasers. Within a year we had a Best of Boston Award and lines around the block. And we still sell out shows!’


* YOUNG RASCALS –  Hartford/Westport, Conn.- 1966

* THE WILDWEEDS –   Bushnell Auditorium- Hartford, Conn.

* IGGY & THE STOOGES – Providence, R.I. Jail- 1969




* HALL AND OATES – The Orpheum- Boston, MA.

* BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-  Rhode Island Auditorium- 1972


* B.B.KING – Montreaux Jazz Festival





* THE TURTLES- City Hall Plaza- Boston, MA.


* NRBQ- Max’s Kansas City- NYC



* MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA- Bushnell Auditorium- Hartford, Conn.

* SPLIT ENZ (tour)







* THE WAILERS- Paul’s Mall- Boston, MA.


* THE CARS- Wang Center- Boston, MA.

* THE KINKS- Providence Civic Center






  • Robin Lane and the  Chartbusters – 3 Records
  • Unreleased Jonathan Edwards and Tom Rush Albums
  • Bill Staines
  • David Mallett
  • Daring and Stahl
  • Young Rationals
  • Live at Montreux (European release)


  • Always a Bridesmaid (Documentary) (musician: drums)
  • Outside Providence
  •  Limbo
  •  Lone Star
  •  Ed and His Dead Mother
  •  Return of the Secaucus Seven

(by A.J. Wachtel)

Published On: June 12, 2019