J. Geils Band founder charged with drunken driving in Concord

John Geils.
John Geils. (Robert E. Klein for the Boston Globe/file 2011)

The founder and namesake of the 1970s and ’80s-era rock group The J. Geils Band is facing drunken driving charges after he allegedly rear-ended a car in Concord while intoxicated early Tuesday afternoon.

John W. Geils, 70, who lives in nearby Groton, was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, which would be his second offense, according to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan. He also faces an allegation that he failed to use care when stopping, police said.

John Geils
John Geils(Concord Police)

According to a police report, Geils was driving a “red antique car” when he hit the woman’s Nissan sedan on Elm Street about 1 p.m. Officers said Geils was unsteady on his feet, smelled like alcohol, and could not complete field sobriety tests.


A breath test given in the field indicated that he had a blood alcohol content of .168, police said, more than twice the legal limit. At the station, other tests allegedly gave a reading of about .14.

Geils told officers he was not drunk, but the document also alleges that “he said he was slightly sober.” One officer reported finding a Diet Coke bottle containing a liquid with a “strong smell of alcoholic beverage.”

The driver of the other car complained of back and neck pain, according to the report, but police said there were no serious injuries.

Geils was released on personal recognizance at his arraignment Wednesday, and Concord District Court judge Lynn Brendemuehl ordered him to refrain from drinking, and not to drive. His license was suspended following the incident, according to state records.

Geils was the lead guitarist of the band, which was founded in the late 1960s but reached its pinnacle in the early 1980s with hit songs ‘‘Freeze Frame’’ and ‘‘Centerfold.’’

In recent years, however, Geils was embroiled in a legal dispute with the band that bears his name, and other members have toured without him.


Philip W. Summers, the Acton attorney who represented Geils at his arraignment, said in an interview that his client disputes the narrative presented by law enforcement.

“These are allegations at this point,” Summers said. “Nothing’s been proven, and he will vigorously defend himself against these allegations. “

Concord Police Chief Joseph O’Connor urged members of the public to keep vigilant about drunken driving.

“It doesn’t matter what time of day, there are individuals that are operating under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “Our department is committed to getting them off the road.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Andy Rosen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @andyrosen