THE JACKS building up a rep for good rock and roll music

Published on July 23rd, 2019
The Jacks: Photo by Ashley Osborne

By Jim Dail

In the modern era of the music industry, getting started can be a huge challenge. It can be hard to find a record label ready to take a chance, it can be hard to get any kind of airplay, and it can be hard to succeed with your own niche.

However, with a band like THE JACKS, they are showing how it can be done as they work on their second EP as they prepare to put together a full album. The band’s self-titled EP was released on June 28.

“It’s going extremely well,” said bassist Scott Stone of the band that will play Friday, July 26 at The Troubadour. “Streaming is already at a million plays and social media has really had a good strong reaction to us.”

The band is Stone on bass, Jonny Stanback on guitar, Tom Hunter on guitar and Josh Roossin on drums. And to this day, people try to define their sound and label them.

“Yeah, people are always asking us how we define our sound, and it’s just rock and roll,” he said. “Maybe it’s an oversimplification, but too many people try to put us in a genre or a subgenre, but we are just a straight ahead rock and roll group.”

In fact, it’s part of the reason for the band’s name, since their musical stylings make them “jacks of all trades.”

It did cause some problems.

“I was the studio manager and booking guy for the past 2 ½ years, and booking gigs was tough because people would say ‘Oh, you are a rock band,’” he said. “We played a lot of dive bars and 4-hour shows just to get our chops up to get good at playing live. Once people started to hear about us and saw the crowds, we started to get a more natural response.”

As the band continues to find success, Stone credits social media and the bands constant touring.

“I think it’s a combination of social media, which is a main factor for our fans, and the fact that we are growing the base by just touring, playing crappy dive bars and some stadiums and our live shows have converted people into our fan base.”

And the EPs have been a vital part of it.

“The idea is to get our music into the hands of people quickly and more digestive,” he said. “EPs are a little more approachable inspiration.”

The band started in Stone’s garage with him and Tom Hunter, who were childhood friends. That was middle school, and then the band continued to grow in high school and then college.

“Thomas and I played together in middle school, doing covers, playing 8th-grade graduation, things like that,” he said. “I was into The Who, especially John Entwistle. I did see them live without John and Keith, but I love the way he plays, and I just grew up listening to rock and roll and going to shows. There wasn’t a choice for me. It was rock and roll.”

That doesn’t mean he figured on being a rock star.

“I didn’t know I was going to be pursuing a career in music until the end when Jonny and Tom came together with the band,” he said. “I did have the college degree, but I wish we started earlier and hit the ground running. However, it taught us a lot about maturing and stuff, so it was a good thing.”

There’s no doubt in his mind about his career choice.

“Now that we are in our career mode, I feel I am doing what I should be doing,” he said.

His parents have been supportive, though uneasy about the choice at first.

“I talked to my parents, and they were hesitant, and none are musicians,” he said. “I had a good sense, and I looked at them and said let me try it for 6 months and we will re-evaluate it. I didn’t have the intention to stop at all, but then I saw a little success and they said do what you want to do. They are supportive.”

When it comes to songwriting, Stone points out that songs mean different things to different people.

“Every song is different, and each song is a personal life experience,” he said. “Each song has a different meaning within the band.  “For example, ‘Hello My Friend’ is about a close personal friend going through stuff, and I didn’t know how to help him and I shied away and I kind of lost a friend to that situation. For Jonny, Tom and Josh, they have a different meaning. We just hope that people want to get their own meaning and make their own statement about the songs.”

It’s a group effort.

“Jonny or Tom come in with an idea, but the lyrics usually aren’t finished,” he said. “Musically, they are verse and chorus, and we finish it or they are mostly done and we just improvise to make it all a Jacks song. The lyrics are very collaborative and it is a really fun environment. It’s not just one person doing every single thing.”

The extensive tour schedule allows them to explore how the songs that have not been released go over.

“We mix it up and include songs that we’ve done awhile or ones we plan to re-record and some new things, so it is exciting to see how they go over,” he said.

Stone feels the timing it right as well.

“The rock and roll scene was down for a while, and now there’s a great community resurgence happening,” he said. “We are thrilled to be a part of it.”

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