When he first started playing the blues, JP Soars had a secret he had to keep from the musicians he played with.
He had spent years as a metal head, playing around Florida in bands with names like Raped Ape, doing shows with Marilyn Manson and hanging out with the guys from Deicide and Obituary.
"When I was playing in metal bands I was already getting into blues," he said. "I had already seen B.B. King and even met B.B. King. When I started playing blues I kind of had to hide my metal past from the blues guys. It took me a long time to tell them about it."
He doesn't hide his past anymore, and in fact audiences can hear traces of metal even in down-home blues he specializes in now.
"It's accumulation I've learned over the years," he said in a phone interview from his Boca Raton home. "My music is firmly rooted in the blues, but I'm way into Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt, so I try to throw bits of jazz into my music. And I try to put some of the energy of metal into it, too."
Local music fans hear what that jazz/metal/blues hybrid sounds like when JP Soars & the Red Hots come to the Blue Rooster in Sarasota on Friday.
Soars plays guitar -- often a cigar-box guitar -- and sings. He's backed by a drummer and a bass player.
"It's a lot of stuff I wrote, but I throw in some obscure covers, too," Soars said. "I do some Muddy Waters songs. But I always try to throw my own little twist into them."
Details: 8:30 p.m. Aug. 2, Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. Tickets: $10. Information: 941-388-7539, www.blueroostersrq.com.
-- Marty Clear