INTERVIEW: Alt/Blues Rocker Jack Berry

Hi Jack, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Just fine, thanks for asking.

Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨The Bull¨?

When I was a kid my grandpa would take me to the Reno Rodeo. It was a spectacle. Reno is a cowboy town. We had horses, my step dad rode bulls, you get the picture. At one of these rodeos the rodeo clown joked with the announcer about having a black jack problem and I found it funny and kept it. Just picturing this clown with the mob over his shoulder and a ton and a half of beast in front of him…it was entertaining. Also, I hate clowns.

Did any event in particular inspire the song?

I was in my living room scribbling some lyrics with this huge poncho of a blanket over my head. My heater bill was killing me so I had it off in the bone cold of a Tennesee winter. I got the idea the only heat in the old house was hiding up in my dust covered creep cage of an attic so I went up there with my guitar and wrote The Bull.

The single comes off your new album Mean Machine – what´s the story behind the title?

I think I was bottle deep in some existential argument with myself and the analogy of the scenario came to me as a fist fight between my heart and my head, these two relentless cogs in both my functioning and dis functioning. I’m just this mean machine at the mercy of my guts and gumption.

How was the recording and writing process?

I met Luke Forehand through a friend and I took the boys (Tyler and Casey Ritter) in to retrack “Kiss Like” to be on an episode of a Showtime show. Well, we tracked it live in twenty minutes and Luke looks at me and he says, “Well, you’ve got the whole studio (Blackbird) for the day…want to play anything else?”

Two more days at it and we were wrapped. Bang bang. Maybe three of the tracks we came up with on the spot, the rest we had played live a few times over the few months prior.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Language. I’m obsessed with the way people talk and the verbiage they use. You’d be surprised how much poetry is in everyday conversation, or late night banter. I might not chime in much, but I’m always listening.

Any plans to hit the road?

I plan to hit the spit out of the road, right on the chin. This record and my career is going to live and die by the live show.

What else is happening next in Jack Berry´s world?

It’s funny because I set my calendar to album releases. I think most people wait for holidays, but I’m living release to release, and I don’t mean my own.

From The Arcs, Dead Weather, Alabama Shakes To Monophonics, Bowie and Cage The Elephant this last year, my world circles around new music. So to answer the question, I’m hoping for a new Sturgill Simpson record.


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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