BTD Radio Interviews, Jackslacks
BTD Radio Interviews, Jackslacks
BTD Radio presents…. Jackslacks! Welcome to the studio!
Yeah, let’s get this party started and crank up this interview with the San Diego band Jackslacks! Hey, were you effected by the fires? It was terrible over here.
Jackslacks: Howdy T Dawn…Jackslacks the “Rock & Roll Dinosaur” here–thanks for having me on-board for this BTD Radio interview.
Most of the fires here were 20-30 miles north of me. I live in the College Area of San Diego near SDSU (Go Aztecs!). Might have to pray for rain or at least do a traditional Indian rain dance…seriously. It’s crazy dry around here.
Time to talk shop… like music shop. I never get tired of talking about music, how about yourself? So I see you have a new EP released called, “Other Side.” How exciting! It also sounds like it’s wrapped with family love. I see your daughter, brother and nephew are involved. Please, tell us all about this.
Jackslacks: Yeah, music is truly a best friend: always there to encourage creativity, trigger a fond memory in space and time or shine a bright light into one’s soul.
Since “Other Side” is a very personal song for me, I though it appropriate to include as much of my family as possible to play on the track. My brother Bill steps in with some great guitar work, he’s a rockabilly cat from way back and adds a kind of Scotty Moore meets Dave Alvin vibe to the song. His son Billy sings a harmonious and rhythmic backing part reminiscent of old school R&B groups from the early 1950’s. My daughter Taylor bounces her violin bow with passages of Bariolage melodies and minor scales to create a somewhat ghostly element to the track. She’s a fine classical player and her parts are spot on; not only for executing the music’s structural progressions, but also because they fit nicely within the spirit of the song.
I was reading your father past away last year, I sure know how that feels. Sorry to hear that. Was he an inspiration to this new EP?
Jackslacks: Thanks for the kind words.It’s tough to lose a parent.
Dollar Bill (as we sometimes called him) was a cool cat. Once while I was still learning basic drum beats and patterns in our families basement, he came marching down the stairs in a hurry. I thought for sure, he was going to tell me to ‘give it up’ or at least ‘keep it down’, but instead he shared a great story of seeing Bill Haley & The Comets live in Germany, circa 1954.
So yeah, Jackslacks new EP “Other Side” (Shield Of Love) is indeed a tribute to my pops who passed last January. After he got sick, I would pilgrimage back east annually to visit with him at his home in Queens, NY. As I would prepare to leave I would say to him, “See you here next year, or on the other side”. He liked that one. Hope he’s smiling down from his perch and digging the new song!
Which song is your most favorite off this EP and why?
Jackslacks: I would say “Other Side” because I think, in some small way, it helped me and my family grieve together.
Secondly, and musically, I like “Come Home With Me” because it brings me back to my own rockabilly roots. I’m a huge fan of that period and love to try and emulate Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. I just love that sound; the sassy lyrics and echo-driven vocal style and the simple, straight ahead blend of big-fat semi-acoustic hollow body guitars, slapping upright bass, percussive acoustic piano and popping single-snare driven drums. Go cat go!
Where did the name Jackslacks come from?
Jackslacks: I took the stage-name Jackslacks from the 1957 Sparkletones hit song “Black Slacks”. If you’ve never heard the song, check it out–it’s great. The group is comprised of these four gangly teenagers who just rock it up, shake it up and tear it up. It’s corny as all get out, but the emotion of the song is undeniable.
I have a scenario, you are walking down town and you hear your music playing in a club. Would you stop in and tell everyone, “hey that’s my band” or just walk away and be excited about it…or something else?
Jackslacks: It’s funny you would ask that because I recently had the opportunity to hear some of music, quite unexpectedly, on the radio again. You know, it’s always a thrill for me to hear my own songs coming over the radio waves or being covered by another band. At first, I think it’s really funny! And then, I think it’s really cool. But it’s always an honor and a blessing.
How would you describe your music?
Jackslacks: I try not to pigeonhole my music if at all possible. there’s so many genres and sub-genres these days. Everyone wants to label or classify your music as this or that.
But I certainly hear familiar musical influences in my songs. As I’ve mentioned, I love the early rockabilly era. I’m also a huge Beach Boys, Byrds and Doors fan and have always been totally engrossed with the British Invasion bands. The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, Yardbirds, early Who and Rolling Stones and of course, my favorites–The Beatles. I’ve been a ‘John’ fan most of my life; now I have great admiration for Paul, George and Ringo too.
Absolutely loved The Traveling Wilbury’s Volumes I & III (there was no volume two!). I suppose you could say I’m a child of the sixties…
This new EP you just released is your seventh album, could you tell us about your previous albums and which one is your most favorite and why?
Jackslacks: Personally I like my first solo release Jackslacks “Rock & Roll Dinosaur”. It features some of my favorite original songs and showcases some great players as well. Buzz Campbell from Hot Rod Lincoln, Billy Bacon from Forbidden Pigs, my bro Bill Giorgio & Nobody’s Business, Tommy Byrnes from Billy Joel and the ace studio production of Stray Cats legendary doghouse bassist Lee Rocker. What is it that they say, “you never forget your first time?”
Popular opinion though is my 2011 release “Lucky Man”. People are just drawn to that EP and specifically the title track. Plus it’s my moms favorite! Hi Barb.
Let’s talk about your song writing. Who writes your songs? How long does it usually take for you to put a song together?
Jackslacks: I’m the primary songwriter for Jackslacks, although if I’m recording with a certain group of cats who want to collaborate, I’m all ears. I don’t try to ‘tell’ people what parts to play on their instruments…that would be counter productive and limit the creative process.
I usually start with an acoustic guitar and simple melody lines and work it up from there. Occasionally, I’ll have specific lyrics in mind, like I had with “Other Side” and work it the opposite way. Some songs come along real easy and fast while others can take weeks or even months to complete.
I will say that once the song is ready to record that a great producer can make all the difference. A song is just a song until you get into the studio. I’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented people who aren’t afraid to add their input to the process. I was very lucky to find Mike Kamoo at Earthling Studios here in San Diego who has co-produced my last 3 releases. The guy is really a genius when it comes to turning the nobs, a ‘master blender’ if you will.
OK, we have to know, what has been your silliest memorable moment that you can tell us about during a performance?
Jackslacks: I’ll admit there have been many. I’ve done the whole, do a show, jump in the van, get the dumpy motel, eat at the greasy spoon, do another show mantra. I’ve also had the privilege of opening sold out shows for some of my hero’s including Carl Perkins and lots of others. But usually the main gigs are the hometown jobs where people get to know you a little and think they can take certain liberties.
One such venue was owned by a crazy little fella who used to like to come up on stage between songs and take over the microphone! You couldn’t really stop him either; it was a great place to play plus he was the one paying you. Thing was, once he got going it was anyone’s guess when he would stop. Nutty, silly stuff, really funny…but very very awkward too. I believe he was one of the first guys to combine a stand-up comedy routine with live music. Doesn’t Dice Clay do that now?
What does Jackslacks do on a day off from music, you know… your chillax time?
Jackslacks: Chillax, I like that. Living in San Diego, I have the luxury of picking and choosing from many different possibilities. I enjoy the beach; I’m a jogger and body-surfer. I also go to a ton of sporting events…please don’t ask me why the Padres can’t hit again this year. Then there’s fishing and hoop netting for lobster, plus the mountains and usually something going on at the university further on up the road. Certainly good visuals all around (wink, wink).
Are there any future projects coming up for Jackslacks that you can tell us about?
Jackslacks: We’ve got a new live project called Flipside Burners, a little rockabilly trio featuring very talented guitarist Mark Fahl, boomchucker extraordinaire Bill Grubbs on upright bass and yours truly on drums. We all sing.
I’m also working with a talented singer/songwriter/guitarist named Chris Cote. We hope to be in the studio this fall to record some Appalachia style originals.
God willing, I’ll crank out a new Jackslacks record again next spring 2015.
Have you ever been on stage and forgot your lyrics? What have you done to recover from it?
Jackslacks: Really? Your asking a pro-fessional like me that? No just playin’. Yes, of course! Sometimes I just sing gibberish in place of the forgotten lyric until I can regroup. Other times I’ll nod to the guitarist or piano player hoping they’ll take a solo and buy me some time.
We would love for you to tell our listeners where they can find your music? If you have any special shout-outs, please feel free to do them now.
Jackslacks: Thanks for the plug, and again for having me along for this interview. I dig your station and your music, you rock.
Shout outs to all my family and friends especially on Long Island in New York, the Detroit, Michigan area, north of Boston, West ‘By God’ Virginia, SW Florida and most of California. Thanks to Tommy Crowley for all the great press. Oh, yeah…hey Walter!
You can find my new release “Other Side” at: http://jackslacks.bandcamp.com/
Most of my discography is available at I-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jackslacks/id291028570
My website is: http://www.reverbnation.com/jackslacks