The Jets are recharting their course.
A hitmaking group of the 1980s, the family band has lost three members and added two new ones. And the group may even change its name."We're not sure if we'll call them the Jets," says manager Don Powell, who has always been the pilot of the group. "We're having a long think about that. It's part of the curse of having success at an early age.
"The name is lumbered with a kiddie image. We have tried musically, graphically and visually to have them grow up."
Powell says the band, whose repertoire has been split between middle-of-the-road ballads and pop-soul dance numbers, will return to an R&B direction on its forthcoming fourth album; the recording will start in Los Angeles in two weeks with MCA Records executive Louil Silas Jr. producing.
The Jets, which consisted of eight Minneapolis brothers and sisters ages 18 to 26, decided last fall to undergo a makeover. Bassist Haini Wolfgramm, percussionist Eddie Wolfgramm and singer Eugene Hunt Wolfgramm left the band and moved to Salt Lake City in November. Eddie and Eugene are adopted Wolfgramms. Haini is the only one of the 17 Wolfgramm children who has a child of his own.
Powell, a former business adviser to Stevie Wonder and David Bowie, discovered the Jets, whose parents are from the South Pacific island of Tonga, performing at a Twin Cities hotel in 1983. He helped guide them to a half-dozen Top 10 singles, including "You Got It All" and "Rocket 2 U," and the group performed at the White House and the royal palace in Tonga.
However, the Jets' third album, released in 1989, failed to produce a significant hit.
The group hopes to soar once again with new members: drummer-singer Aaron Watene, 16, a Wolfgramm cousin from Salt Lake City, and multiinstrumentalist Jim Limborg, 19, from Minneapolis. The new lineup debuted in St. Paul at the Winter Carnival Fun Fair and has continued since, performing an occasional concert.