John Warren Geils Jr., the artist known professionally as J. Geils, founder of the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his Groton, Massachusetts, home Tuesday. He was 71.
USA Today reports that Groton Chief of Police Donald Palma Jr. confirmed the death, adding in a press release that a preliminary investigation “indicates that Geils died of natural causes.”
Palma said that Groton police went to the home around 4 p.m. ET in response to a well-being check and found Geils unresponsive.
Geils was a vocalist and guitarist for The J. Geils Band, which he formed in Worcester, Mass., in 1967, when he was attending school at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Their third album, Freeze Frame, was No. 1 for four weeks in 1983, and its hit song, ‘Centerfold’, was No. 1 for six weeks on the Billboard Top 100. ‘Freeze Frame’ and ‘Love Stinks’ were also hit singles for the band with the latter song recently re-recorded by former J Geils Band vocalist Peter Wolf on his latest album.
The band broke up in 1985 but got back together for reunions regularly.
In 1992, Geils joined his old bandmate Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz to form the band Bluestime, which released two records: the self-titled Bluestime (1994) and Little Car Blues (1996) on Rounder Records.
The J. Geils Band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time last fall but again was not selected as part of the 2017 class.