Los Angeles’ THE JACKS–Jonny Stanback (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Tom Hunter (lead guitar, vocals), Scott Stone (bass guitar, vocals), Josh Roossin (drums/percussion)–stand by that claim, thanks to a heavy influence from the British Invasion of the ’60s and ’70s mixed with Southern Rock.
To blend those influences seamlessly, the band joined forces with legendary producer Matt Wallace (Faith No More, Maroon 5, Blackberry Smoke) and mixer Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Hozier) at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound Recorders for their self-titled debut EP, which is being released June 28 on EDGEOUT Records/UMe, the label is spearheaded by veteran music executive Tony Guanci who signed an exclusive global deal for the new label with UMG. The first single, “Walk Away,” will be available today at 9pm PT/12pm ET on all digital retail outlets.
A lyric video for the song premiered today, which will be streaming on the band’s official YouTube page starting tomorrow.
“Working with Matt Wallace was an incredible experience. He was able to take our vision for our songs and record them exactly how we’ve imagined for the past few years,” says THE JACKS. “And it was a true honor to work with the legendary Andrew Scheps. We couldn’t be happier with his influence on the upcoming EP. We now have an amazing team with EDGEOUT and UMe, and are so excited for the world to hear our music.”
As Wallace remarks, “THE JACKS deliver up lean, rugged rock & roll with songs that feel like instant classics that make you want to move, with earworm hooks and melodies that will have you kinda upset when you find yourself unintentionally and inappropriately humming their songs at work, in church, in court, or at wakes. If the Strokes, Cage the Elephant, and the Stones had an equally talented, but more handsome baby, it would be named THE JACKS!”
The mix of songs on the EP is fitting since THE JACKS got their name from a fan telling them that they were “jacks of all trades” when it came to playing different styles and blending their songs with those of their idols at their early concerts, and each of these tracks shows off a different side of the ensemble. From the hard-edged rockers to the more melodic numbers, you can hear how the band members have poured their hearts into each of the songs.
And the way they see it, playing rock at a time when pop and hip-hop are dominating the charts is an act of defiance. If any band is poised to help bring authenticity back to rock & roll, it’s THE JACKS. The quartet has been making a steady ascent since forming in Los Angeles in the summer of 2016, selling out gigs at legendary hometown venues like the Troubadour, Roxy and Viper Room, supporting legends like the Doors’ Robby Krieger (who told them personally that he liked their music) and playing big festivals like Aftershock and Louder Than Life. At one gig, they ran into John Fogertywho told them, “It’s cool to see some rock & roll again.”
“We’re trying to push the boundaries of the rock & roll genre by incorporating modern elements, but still keeping the core structure of a four-piece band,” Stanback says. “We are creating a sound you’ve never heard before but feels familiar.”
Since the quartet has been able to test-drive their songs on the road, they zeroed in on five that exemplify THE JACKS experience for the EP. Lead single “Walk Away” has a big, catchy chorus and lyrics about feeling stuck and trying to move on. “That song is about a very frustrating relationship, where you keep falling into the same routine even though you know you should just get out of it,” Stone says. “It’s time to get out of it, but you keep going back to the same thing over and over and it’s frustrating that you keep doing that to yourself.”
Hunter and Stone started jamming together on Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC covers in middle school. They kept it going through their college years at USC (Stone majored in Philosophy, Hunter majored in accounting), and one day when Stone was running sound for an open-mic night, he spotted Stanback (who also graduated from USC with a Master’s Degree in Geology). “He had a natural stage presence and a unique voice,” the bassist says. “His singing could be growly, but also very sultry.” The next day, Stone called up the singer-songwriter and said they were supposed to play a house party at the end of the week and asked if Stanback would play with them. Soon the three of them and their drummer at the time discovered that they shared a unique set of influences — the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who, Oasis, the Black Keys. They got together on a Monday and played their first gig that Friday. They eventually recruited Roossin, who’d gone to high school with Hunter and Stone, to join them on drums when their previous stickmen left to pursue another career path. “The day I left school (Univ of Boulder where he majored in psychology), I flew home and had my first rehearsal, right off the plane,” Roossin says. “I finished up my first semester of grad school and committed to fully doing music.”
On the strength of these early live performances, eventually the band entered a local radio station’s battle-of-the-bands competition in 2017 – and won a recording contract. Instead, they passed and continued to tour and work on their songs. Earlier this year, they were tapped to perform at the NFL pre-Super Bowl and NHL Winter Classic events. For the remainder of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, THE JACKS’ music has been chosen to be heard during the games’ broadcasts, highlight reels, and commercial bumpers.
As the OC Weekly hailed, “… THE JACKS are positioning themselves as an emerging live act with an uptempo brand of no-frills rock.” While Earmilk.com praised, “THE JACKS deliver the kind of infectious ’60s British invasion rock sound that you can’t help but turn the volume all the way and leave on repeat.”
“There isn’t an end goal for us, we just want to continue to write the music we love, share it with as many people as possible, and hopefully be remembered for it,” guitarist Tom Hunter says. “We hope that we can one day inspire other musicians to do the same. Oh … and we want to sell out Wembley.”
On Friday, May 17, THE JACKS will be performing in Columbus, OH at MAPFRE Stadium as part of the first-ever Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival along with Foo Fighters, The Cult, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Hives, The Struts, and many others. Their set begins at 12:45pm on the Echo Stage. Stay tuned for more news about their forthcoming U.S. tour dates.