If you've seen Pulp Fiction, that's Jan Davis yelling at the top of his lungs during one of the film's key songs, Dick Dale's "Misirlou." Davis had been a busy session guitarist when "Misirlou" was recorded, called in whenever a song needed his rocking guitar or his crazy vocalizing. It was his ability to arrange and write music that landed Davis a gig with the popular B. Bumble & the Stingers, a group of studio musicians who released albums of classical pieces in a rock & roll style. A&M Records signed the guitarist and released his song "Fugitive" as a single in 1964. The Ventures quickly covered and had a runaway hit with "Fugitive," while the rest of Davis' own singles failed to climb the charts.
Davis switched to acoustic guitar and turned to lighter pop and easy listening. Flamenco music was his inspiration and his Latin-flavored instrumental "Hot Sauce" went Top Ten on Billboard's adult contemporary chart. On the other hand, the Hot Sauce album went nowhere, and Davis was once again looking for a change of direction. Arranger, old friend, and fellow B. Bumble & the Stingers' member Rene Joseph Hall got in touch with Davis and asked if he would be interested in playing solo guitar with an orchestra. Davis toured, playing Hall's arrangements with different pops orchestras. Davis' own Stone Tiger Records documented one of these shows recorded on California's coastline as Concert by the Sea, released in 2000. Stone Tiger also released Davis' new solo albums Diversified Genres and I Loved You Too Much, along with Rock 'N Flamenco, an album with his new rocking group the Spain Gang. In 2004, reissue label Sundazed released Boss Guitar: The Best of Jan Davis, a collection of his '60s recordings including the original version of "Fugitive." ~ David Jeffries