Q&A: J.R. Gibbs

March 17, 2014

gibbs371x225Name: J.R. Gibbs

Age: I am 60. Soon to be 61.

Hometown: I grew up in the San Diego area and left California in 1977 for good. Currently reside in Arkansas.

Occupation: Retired Air Force combat veteran as a Boom Operator on the KC-135 Jet. Boeing 707 converted to military specs. Been around the world both ways several times and over the north pole several times. Lived 3 years in Japan during that time. I have an associates degree in Aerospace management. Never found anybody that needed there aerospace managed so I did other things in life. Retired police detective. (Don’t worry though, I am not a snitch.)  I am now a state licensed PI. My law enforcement work focused on crimes against children and violent acts.

How long have you been a fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: I have been a fan of ESMZ for 3 years. Heard ‘Home‘ and since I live in Arkansas, me ears perked up. Started finding out about them and found them to be magnificent. Reminded me of the 60s. The entire concept was genius, as is every talented member of that group. I went to see them about 2 years ago at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. My kids were still in college, and we were all hooked. I was the oldest person there. I have been togging to live musical events since I was 12 years old so, that does not bother me in the least. My cousin was a country singer (Roger Miller), and I know he loved fans of all ages. As I have watched the last few years, I am seeing more and more old and young mixing in the crowds. When they announced the Big Top event, I was telling a friend about them. We bought tickets and booked hotel and flights and attended. You know the story with Sarah Moumblow and how we connected through her art and being such a great fan.

How many times have you seen them perform: I have seen them live twice. I am going to see them for a third time in June and bringing my daughter and her wonderful fiancé. I have seen a lot of music in my day. What ESMZ do is beyond explanation. People ask me, ‘Why do you love that group so much?’ I tell them unless you have seen them perform, you would never get it. I try following not only ES but projects they all do individually, and I am a big fan of people that have worked with the band and gone on to do their own projects, like my dear friend Aaron Embry and Tyler James of Escondido. They may not like people using the word genius when describing them, but they are. They have big hearts and they care about their fans that shows as well. I feel peace and love from them.

Additional comments or stories:  Since the Big Top, I found out I have cancer, and I am working through that now. I have had one chemo treatment so far. It is an all-day thing. To pass the time, I listen to all my ESMZ music. Boy does that help?


  1. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing. I feel as though you have put to words what most of Edward Sharpe’s fans feel deep within.

    I felt the need to say a word, I wish you the best of luck and outcome with your cancer and know that everybody who reads this will be sending love your way. I sure am.

    Take care J.R.!

  2. Unfortunately, our dear friend JR lost his battle with cancer this morning. But all who knew him will remember that he was a wonderful person and this is just a peek into the kind of man he was. always helping others and supporting the youngsters. RIP JR, you will be missed, but we know you know longer suffer and are in a better place looking down on all the young musicians of the world.

  3. J.R. passed away yesterday morning in the VA Hospital in Fayetteville AR. He left this world peacefully in the arms of a loved one. The world is slightly dimmer now without his light. He will be greatly missed. He will be buried with full military honors at the Fort Smith National Cemetery.

  4. I was the friend who flew with JR to see the concert in California under the Big Top. I was amazed and transported to another time . Loved the show! JR loved loved the Band and was soooo proud and humbled to meet the members. His passing puts a hole in many hearts. Thanks for your music . It really helped him during his battle. RIP my dear friend .

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