SPCLGST sat down to get to know one of Raleigh’s freshest blues/rock bands, Jack the Radio. Let’s take a listen and make sure you have tickets for their album release party at Lincoln Theatre October 16th!
So with all the different a genres of rock and roll out there how would you explain your sound?
A.C.: I’m all over the place when someone asks me this one, but I generally lean towards a mix of blues and rock. We’ve definitely sneaked some country in there as well, though.
Brent: As a drummer, rhythmically everything seems to evolve out of the swing of the blues + the foundation of funk for me.
George: I generally describe our music as groove heavy, indie-roots-rock with a touch of grit and country. However, it’s always fun to hear outside descriptions because people tend to find that part of the music that they connect with. We’ve been described as mud-rock, swamp rock, Americana and gritty-grunge-groove-rockers.
Tell our readers some of your influences? Anyone local you are feeling right now?
A.C.: Hard to not include some essential singer/songwriters: Dylan, Tom Waits. I’m a bit of a Radiohead junkie as well and I’d be lying if Jay-Z’s Black Album wasn’t a top record for me. Locally I’m really digging what Phil Cook is doing. Anything those guys work on just has a ton of soul. They really make you believe in what they’re doing.
George: Most recently I’m on a Jason Isbell kick and listening to The Arcs album but truly influenced by rock, funk, hip hop. I’m a sucker for anything with a good groove. Locally there is a lot of good music happening. I’m excited for the new Kooley High album, new Mount Moriah, new Jon Lindsay, and I have been enjoying American Aquarium’s “Wolves” and the Wild Fur EP.
Danny: Currently, I’m on a Dawes kick, and can’t get enough of Blake Mills’ two solo albums. Locally, Mount Moriah is a living, breathing embodiment of stellar songwriting, Phil Cook has put together one of the best all-star bands I’ve ever heard, and Wild Fur is creating some serious vibes on their new tunes.
Brent: Oldies like Zepplin, Hendrix, Radiohead, Spoon. Really diggin on the hip-hop vibe of Boulevards + Towers right now. They are playing together Nov 27th I hear so I might be hanging in Raleigh for Thanksgiving.
I’m a huge fan of diy culture. Having noticed most of your press pack, shirts, etc. is handmade. Do you find that it’s uniqueness is well received?
Brent: It’s harder than you would think. But it’s something we believe in. Making quality goods that last is a hard thing. It takes work so it’s good to tell people that. You really have to talk about it with people. “Hey WE made this.” Not some record label or producer out of Nashville.
George: I think it’s definitely well received and to Brent’s point people appreciate hearing about the process and generally find the value in the work we are putting in to things like hand drawn and hand screen printed posters, hand cut and hand printed (Raleigh Denim) denim patches, shirts, to the envelopes our press packs are in. We invested in some GoPro gear to document some of the by hand processes in action. I gotta say we are very fortunate to be able to do a lot of that printing at Ahpeele Studios with Adam Peele. I’ve learned a lot from him over the past decade and always appreciate his excitement when I bring in a new project. Last year we spent about 18 hours hand painting a 15 by 20 foot backdrop, which we’ve gotten a lot of positive comments on.
A.C.: Yeah totally. I can’t remember how many shows I’ve been at where someone came up to me and asked if our posters were hand printed. People really appreciate that and it gives the item a bit more “weight”. George is super talented when it comes to the artwork.
You guys had a chance to open up for George Thorogood!! Correct? What was that like playing with a wild legend like that?
A.C.: He came on stage during our sound check. Everyone kind of stopped playing and he said “I’ve just got one rule for you guys….” (long pause)….””I only have one rule: you guys can play better than me, but you can’t look better than me.” (laughs) Very cool guy. That show was a blast.
Danny: Seeing someone who has been going strong for the last forty years is pretty inspirational — the man has got some energy!
Brent: Mr. Thorogood has that blues attitude, if you can’t rip don’t get on stage. And by rip I don’t mean play a thousand notes at once. That’s intimidating at first, but it’s also honest. After the first chord it’s like jumping out of an airplane.
George: Epic seeing 40 years of experience on the stage. The guy is truly an entertainer.
Your new project (Badlands). Tell us at oak city hustle a little about this?
George: The Badlands album is over three years in the making and it’s been a journey just to finish the writing, producing and mixing. During that time there were several family losses, lost jobs, new marriages, children born and members quitting and coming back. And the journey is sometimes as important as the outcome.
We learned a lot about each other and ourselves as a band and I felt at least personally it pushed me to write and try new things and see who was there when it came time to record. Ultimately at the end the core group was all still there and I’m proud to say we are releasing the album together.
Brent: It’s a culmination of years + years of work as musicians, as friends as husbands and fathers. We’ve finally put together a 2 sided record that we were proud to press to vinyl. The time that it took to make has a lot of meaning + we feel the record’s diversity reflects that.
You guys also played hopscotch and threw your own day party at the busy bee. Who else was in this bill? Would you guys like to do more day parties not associated with hopscotch?
Danny: We were joined by three outstanding local songwriters and performers: J. Kutchma, Brett Harris, and Steven Fiore. Three names to check out, for sure! The day party format is definitely fun for both performers and fans, so who says it has to be limited to the “Hopscotch season”?
Brent: Yes. More day parties is always a good thing.
George: We were also joined by our pal and amazing magician, Michael Casey.
I saw a few comments online after Hopscotch asking for more day parties throughout the year and even noticed a band is doing a release show Sunday during the day coming up. I think it’s a great idea and hope we can work with more great locals artists and groups to figure out some daytime events that make sense.
Any upcoming event projects you have going?
George: We’ve got a lot in the works. We don’t have the ability to heavily tour so we are focusing on creating content to reach new people and keep our current fans engaged. We are finishing up our second music video now with some great local talent for “Ain’t So Bad” and plan to do some stripped down, unplugged performance videos in the near future.
We also had the unique opportunity to collaborate with Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC to brew (and can) Jack the radio’s Badlands Black Rye IPA which we plan to have at Lincoln Theatre next Friday, 10/16 and will be doing a party for out in Hillsborough at Mystery’s Public House on 10/17.
Five must have albums?
A.C.: Dylan: Time Out of Mind, Tom Waits: Mule Variations, Postal Service: Give Up, Radiohead: KidA, Jayz: Black Album
George: Parliament “Mothership Connection”, The Raconteurs “Consolers Of The Lonely”, Soundgarden “Superunknown”, El Ten Eleven “Self Titled”, Jimmy Eat World “Clarity”
Danny: Jeff Buckley “Grace”, Radiohead “Kid A”, Jason Isbell “Southeastern”, Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”, and The Beatles “Revolver”
Brent: Brent Springsteen’s Nebraska, Dylan’s Time Out of Mind, Radiohead’s Kid A, The Rolling Stone’s Exile on Main Street, Led Zepplin’s IV
Any last words?
George: Making this album has been a hell of ride and we can’t wait to share it with people. This album grew into a community and I feel fortunate we got to work with some amazing guest musicians, guest singers, artists, photographers, video teams, breweries, print shops and businesses. And excited we can collaborate with a non-profit organization like Band Together to use a portion of ticket sales at our release show for KidzNotes!
We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and love the look and feel of the magazine. It’s always great to see anyone with a voice support art, music and our city. To anyone still reading I’d say follow that lead.