The Story of "JKS"

What do the J, the K and the S stand for in JKS Music? Well, there is a story to it, and since you asked, here goes...

In 1995, when Scott Johnson and I were working on the "Music of WYLAND" CD, we needed to come up a company name for several different reasons tied to the project. During our drive to the Blue Devils Memorial Day weekend camp that May, Scott suggested we come up with a name that had to do with a certain moment that happened between us in 1987. Because of the nature of the incident, I needed to make sure he was OK with this. After being told MANY times that he was, we settled on the name JKS Music. Here's the story...

Ogden, Utah, Summer - 1987. The teaching staff of the Blue Devils always played some sort of sport during lunch and dinner breaks while the corps was on tour. One of these sports was baseball, and one of the staff members was Scott Johnson. During lunch one day, the staff was playing baseball as they were approached by a young Soprano playing soloist who proposed a challenge to any member of the staff who would accept. 5 bucks he could strike one of them out. The staff all chuckled at this 16 year old and Scott Johnson playfully agreed. Once everyone regained their composure, the duel was set for dinner that night.

Word had spread that John Meehan had challenged Scott to a pitching duel, and not wanting to miss this bout between staff and a member, a crowd began to gather. As John was tossing his warm up pitches, Scott and the rest of the staff were all smiling and enjoying the speed (or lack of it) which was being produced during these pitches. Finally, the youngster announced his readiness and Scott stepped into the batters box.

The crowd, which now contained most of the drum corps and some of the other staff, was beginning to eagerly anticipate the event. As John threw in his first offering, Scott swung (ready to end the whole thing) and fouled it off to the left. Surviving the first pitch, John got the ball back and prepared for his second. The next two balls were outside and the count was now 2-1. Knowing he had little room for error against Scott, John dug in and hurled what would be his fastest pitch of the afternoon and got Scott to once again foul it off. More nervous now than performing in front of thousands of people with his horn, John contemplated the situation and what he should do next. Although he had done some pitching in Little League, John only had one pitch with any movement on it, and even then it usually didn't work. Realizing he still had two bad pitches left in the count, he decided to go for it and throw his sinker.

Scott was ready for the pitch as John went into his wind-up and released the ball. Seeing the ball come right down the middle, Scott licked his chops and prepared to hit it, Babe Ruth style. As his swing went into motion, Scott noticed the bottom fall out of the ball and drop below the strike zone. Unable to make a quick correction to his swing, Scott whiffed and the crowd went crazy. John, the clear cut underdog, had prevailed!

John and Scott at NAMM, January 2017

Later, during the same dinner break, John was getting a well deserved rub down on his right arm from his father (DCI Hall of Fame member Jack Meehan) when a crumpled up $5 bill was thrown at him. As a smile came over John's face, the story behind JKS Music was secured.

J = John, K = Strikeout, S = Scott — JKS

Well, there you go! As it's been almost 30 years since the event took place, some of the actual moments in this story may have been "embellished" and "exaggerated," but hey, that's what makes history so exciting!