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Jackslacks Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Jackslacks Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Answer:  Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m Jackslacks, an American roots-rocker from San Diego, CA USA. In a nut shell, Jackslacks music is a no-hold-barred romp, entegrating sounds from the original rock and roll era 1954-1959 through today. There are elements of rockabilly, blues, and country neatly tied together with a sort of pop sensibility.

Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?

Answer:  Really good, thank you. I recently returned from a lengthy South Florida engagement. I am looking forward to the summer festival season here in San Diego to support my new album Jackslacks - Earthling Sessions.

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Answer:  Jackslacks -  Earthling Sessions is being released April 30th (2018). We have been getting our fair share of pre-release airplay here in the US, in Australia, and Europe; mostly England, France and Spain. The feedback has been good; the early promotional reviews have been kind as well.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name?

Answer:  Yes. We have been recording our Jackslacks music at Earthling Studios in San Diego, CA for the past few years and felt it was appropriate to include the name in the title.

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?

Answer:  Yes. I wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the new CD.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Answer: Jackslacks - The 92107 starts the new album off with a bang! It’s kind of a neo rockabilly track in the vain of Stray Cats, Shakin‘ Stevens, Matchbox or The Blasters. From there, we turned to the Blues (or Blues-a-billy if you will) for the track Your Time Has Come. Next is Lucky Man, a bouncy Country number and then the poppier Generations Hypnotized. There are 11 tracks total on the new record.
My influences mostly come out of that same golden era of rock n roll that I mention above. I’m a huge fan of Sam Phillips Sun Records and the artists who recorded there: Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and my musical hero, Mr. Carl Perkins. I also enjoy Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, The Rock n Roll Trio, Chuck Berry and a few of the British Invasion groups like (early) Beatles, Stones and Kinks.

Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?

Answer: Well, I have been alternating between solo records and band projects for most of my musical journey, so it’s not that cut and dry. For example, I did a record with a group called Dead Engines in 2010 and that was sort of a cowpunk thing. I have also been doing a live (side) project in recent years. It’s cool for me because I get to engage with so many different muso’s, playing different styles (generes) in diverse settings. That being said, Jackslacks continues to move me...

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?

Answer: That’s great! I believe both Jackslacks - Your Time Has Come and Jackslacks - Invisible are currently in rotation. I suppose that my vocal style is unique... people comment that they can hear some of their favorite bands when they listen to our songs, which is a great compliment for sure.

Lamitschka:  What will your next single be?

Answer:  Probably going to release Jackslacks - Never Go Back as a single from Earthling Sessions next. As for new material, I’m stil still bouncing idea’s around at this point.

Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

Answer:  Good ones!
I write through a combination of pure human emotion, honest self examination and scrupulous social observation. I can usually format that into whatever genre I like, although the more serious topic’s usually find there way to more moderate tempo’s whereas the lighter subjects are generally more likely to be rockers. I just try to take each song individually and see where it leads me.

Lamitschka:  You did a duet with Eric Hutchinson. How did that happen to come about?

Answer:  Yeah, I wouldn’t call it a duet though. Singer/guitarist Eric Hutchinson has been part of our group since 2012. He provides most of the harmonies (along with bassist Dave Votel) and sometimes we sing a duel vocal together (i.e. Invisilbe). The cat has incredible range. 

Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?

Answer:  That’s a hard question. I really like the Jackslacks track Other Side because it’s in memory of my pops who passed a few years ago. It includes my daughter Taylor Giorgio on violin, my brother Bill Giorgio on guitar and my nephew Billy Giorgio on backing vocals.
I used to visit my dad in New York every summer... and then he got the Alzheimer‘s. So horribly sad to live your entire life and have absolutely no memory of it. Towards the end of his life, as I was wrapping up my annual visits, I would say to him, See you here next year or on the other side. 

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?

Answer: A lot. I mean, I would never tell anyone I was collaborating with what they could or couldn’t express. Nor would I presume to instruct any of the musicians on what to play or how to play it. I’m open minded to what the other players are bringing to the table. To me, that is part of the creative process. Plus, I always surround myself with the best muso’s I can find.
That said, I am heavily involved in the mixing process which allows me some control over what’s in and what’s out, what I feel works and what doesn’t.

Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Answer: More than a few fans have told me they can relate to some of my lyrics, especially the Jackslacks track Lucky Man. For whatever reason, it comes across as an everyman type of song.  

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Answer:  Like I said, Carl Perkins is my own musical hero. I had the honor of opening for him a few years before he passed and he really left a lasting impression on me. Before the show, a mutual friend of ours (ex-Sun Records lablemate Johnny Powers) took my brother and I back to his bus. He introduced himself and spoke of his personal faith before launching into some funny rock n roll stories. This man, the King of Rockabilly, was the real deal.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer: I like some of the newer alt-country crossovers. Oasis was cool. So were Wilco and The Black Keys. Hank III...
It’s wierd that today’s music scene still includes huge, sold out stadium tours by Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, The Who, John Fogerty and other dinosaur rockers. I’m like where’s the modern day competition?

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music industry?

Answer: Still shady... and the internet is a curse and a blessing. A blessing because you can have your song around the world in a couple of clicks and a curse because you ain’t getting paid a dime.

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

Answer:  Musically, I like to write and record. I also enjoy singing and banging the crap out of my 1966 Black Diamond Ludwigs. Personally, I love church, the beach, the mountains, to bodysurf, hike, jog, play hoops, fish and drink beer.

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Answer: Trust me, I’d like to work with Rick Ruben or Danger Mouse, cats that know how to go outside the box and get incredible results doing it.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become an artist?

Answer: Heard Elvis Presley’s Golden Hits and Beatles Meet The Beatles in second grade.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?

Answer: Listening to John Lennon’s first solo album Plastic Ono Band. The record unabashedly displays his honesty and artistic integrity. A very emotional experience for me.

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Answer: Getting to open for 3 of my all-time favorite artists: Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website?

Lamitschka:  How do you feel about being winning the second grade talent show?  What has it done for your career?

Answer:  Well, actually, I took second with Trini Lopez‘ Lemon Tree. My buddy Tommy Byrnes won with a rousing acoutic version of CCR’s Bad Moon Rising.

Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?

Answer:  After playing The Central on Sunset Strip in LA one night, we jumped in the van and headed back down the 5 towards San Diego. Needing a rest stop badly, my mate Billy Bacon and I jumped from the back of the rolling vehicle and into the freeway medium ice plant shrubs to relieve ourselves!


Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de ) for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show