J.A.R. in the NEWS!

SOUTHTOWN STAR Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On any given weekend, Jose Rivera can be found fronting the popular Southland rock group, Five Guys Named Moe.His day job, however, is about as far removed from music as one could imagine. While it’s the same tune the Oak Forest resident has played for years, he’s performing in a new location.Rivera is president and chief executive of J.A.R. Industrial Sales, a Tinley Park-based manufacturer’s representative for industrial fastening tools, including bits and sockets.Made by Apex, a unit of Cooper Industries, the tools are used in assembly lines at automotive plants throughout the Midwest, including Ford’s assembly plant on Chicago’s Southeast Side and its stamping plant in Chicago Heights.Rivera had sold the same products for 20 years with another firm, Norman Equipment, until the division he headed in Bridgeview was eliminated in February because of the slumping economy, he said.”I thought, ‘To hell with that; we’ll do our own thing,’ ” Rivera said.Rivera’s wife, Alicia, also was with Norman, as were five other longtime employees. All now are working for J.A.R., which opened for business March 2.While automakers have reduced output because of plunging sales, J.A.R. has “been very busy,” Rivera said. “We had a really good first month.”While the crummy economy forced a change in Rivera’s dayside job, it hasn’t hurt bookings for Five Guys. The band will do as many as 120 performances a year.”People still need entertainment,” he said.Rivera’s known as Big-Moe, and others in the group are Bob Muraida (Slow-Moe), Jack Inglis (Am-Moe), Frank Capek (Franken-Moe) and Chuck Acosta (Wham-Moe).The band has been around since 1988 and takes its name from Louis Jordan’s song from the early 1940s of the same name. The song was covered in the 1980s by Joe Jackson.Their first gig was performing at a cabaret held at St. Damian Catholic Church in Oak Forest. They actually had six members at the time, and the band’s logo remains a hand with six fingers.”We only knew 12 songs back then, and we kept playing them over and over,” Rivera said.Born in Junction City, Kan., near Kansas State University, Rivera played trumpet in the Marine Corps Band and also plays the horn with Five Guys. While in the Marines, he played for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon and got to perform alongside boyhood idol and fellow horn player Al Hirt at the opening of New Orleans’ Louisiana Superdome.His son, Jose III, manages the SuperTarget store in Tinley Park and occasionally sits in with the band, playing trumpet, percussion and piano.Mike Nolan can be reached at mnolan@southtownstar.com or (708) 633-5952.