Jim McIntosh

Lights and Diodes

Jim McIntosh

History of Rock Music, Adjunct Faculty, Rock Music Studies


Born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, McIntosh grew up in the small town of Temperance, Michigan, where his family moved when he was seven years old. He played French horn (on an instrument given to him by Duke Ellington, a close family friend) in the junior high school band before picking up the guitar at age 14 and beginning private lessons the following year. “I was a Beatles fan as a kid until I saw the Rolling Stones’ movie ‘Gimme Shelter’ in 1970,” he recalls. “At that point I became a huge Stones fan. That became an influence that’s lasted to this day.” In 10th grade, he began studying with John Justus, the local jazz guitar guru in Toledo, Ohio.

McIntosh attended the Berklee College of Music for two years and later got a bachelors degree in music arts with a major in guitar performance from the University of Michigan. In 1981, he moved to Las Vegas, a place with deep roots for the McIntosh family. “In 1905, my grandfather built the first saloon in Las Vegas, a place called The Arizona Club, which was literally the first permanent structure in Vegas,” he explains. Since relocating to Las Vegas, he’s been an in-demand guitarist on the music scene.

Over the years, McIntosh has played with R&B singer Doris Troy (of “Just One Look” fame) and Little Anthony & The Imperials, backed up Buddy Hackett and Ben Vereen, and also had a longstanding gig with the popular Vegas show “Legends In Concert.” He has also included work on more than 40 national tv shows, appearing in the house band for Penn & Teller’s “Sin City Spectacular,” which aired for 24 one-hour episodes on the FX network (performing with the likes of Slash, Lyle Lovett, Weird Al Yankovic, Eric Idle, Jennifer Holliday and Clarence Clemmons). He also played in the house band on Comedy Central’s “Viva Variety,” and The WB network Ron White show. From 2003 to 2008, McIntosh played for The Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia and moved over to Jersey Boys (Las Vegas) in spring of 2008.

For 15 years, McIntosh also played in a popular after-hours band called the Lon Bronson All-Stars Band, a powerhouse horn band that had a longstanding weekly residency at the Riviera, where they entertained crowds ‘til the wee hours and featured such special guests sitting in as Tower Of Power, former Doobie Brothers guitarist and producer Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, guitarist Joe Walsh, comedian (and sometime trumpeter) Drew Carey, Penn Jillette and The Tonight Show guitarist, bandleader and Jay Leno sidekick Kevin Eubanks.