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INTERVIEW: The Jackstones

How would you classify your music?

(Rick Lorenzini) The songs that we’ve covered as a band are classic rock. We played around Southern California performing that genre for years. When we wrote the first album “what Brings you Here” we tried to be more contemporary with our sound. I guess it could be labeled New Country, but it still had plenty of rockers. The new album rocks just a bit harder

(Andy Machin) It’s hard for me to really define our music. We all come from rock backgrounds. Well Bjorn came from the punk rock thing. Lyrically we tend to be storytellers so that’s why the country thing gets thrown in. We tried to label our sound one time as “classic country arena rock” or something ridiculous like that (pauses)… that didn’t work out. I just say “rock”.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

(RL) Eagles; early Asylum records bands, The Allman Bros, great guitar work from Duane and Dickey Betts, The Rolling Stones, The Faces had a bar on stage. What well-oiled rocker doesn’t need that? Santana.

(AM) For me it was all about the guitar. That’s all I cared about. Get me to the solo. So there’s Clapton, Santana, Robin Trower. That’s all I listened to. Later Hendrix and SRV. Of course, then there’s everything you hear on the radio. Beatles, Beach Boys, Eagles. That would help me later as a songwriter.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

(RL) Whatever they need. We tend to be story tellers, generally writing songs in-character. We write quite a bit about the relationship you’re in or used to be in. The first record was really written like a rock opera. It opens when our hero, who we named “Avery Man”, meets the girl of his dreams, again! The album takes him through a series of screw-ups, bad luck, loss and then eventually his ending. It’s what we’ve all gone through. On “Love Badly” nobody was safe. (Ha). I am sure the listener can find him or herself in one of our songs.

(AM) When they listen to our cd’s I want them to REALLY listen, like how I discovered different bands, and still do. Not just background music. We’re not trying to change the world, but we tell some good stories, and on several songs we throw in something a little deeper to think about. The other thing is the music, the instruments. That’s something that’s lost in a lot of the music today. It all seems to be about artists and producers, and not bands.

How’s the music scene in your locale?

(RL) We live mostly in San Diego County. The music scene doesn’t know what it wants to be. There is a singer/songwriter population here that is strong, and it has the assortment of beach bars and downtown clubs, like most big cities. There are plenty of places to play. It just doesn’t have a definition in the industry. We are certainly grateful for those that promote the local music artists. I wish there were more of them.

(AM) Rick pretty much nailed it. We’re a loud rock band, so we like to play bigger venues. We are exploring our softer side and doing some acoustic shows now. But we still can’t help but get revved up even at those type of gigs.

What is the best concert you have been to?

(AM) I was at the Grammy’s a few years back and saw Pink sing “Glitter in the Air”. It was unbelievable! She sang that song spinning, upside down, getting dunked in water. And she sang it perfect! Breathtaking really. The athleticism, beauty. I love it when someone can pull off that kind of a performance by themselves. Without a 30 man dance troop.

(RL) Led zeppelin 1973 at the Forum in Inglewood. They were already at the top of their game.

What do you like most about playing live?

(RL)When everyone’s in that same space on stage, when the crowd is giving back, when the moon and stars are aligned, there is no better feeling you can get for a couple of hours in a row.

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

(RL) I really like the groove we built on “Rotation”. I brought the song with that R & B feel to Andy, and the lyrics focused on a woman who goes through men frequently, you know, chews them up, spits them out and then moves on. Our fellow in the story is so enamored with her that it’s alright with him to be one of those men, as long as he can have her when she wants him. We then took the lyrical idea and incorporated it into a record (LP) collection. Your favorites only get played and you disregard the rest.

(AM) For me it’s Apple. Or I should say Every Apple Does Get Bitten Eventually. I wrote this song with my wife Margaret McClure a few years back. I’m really proud of it and love listening to it, which is unusual for me to want to listen to something I produced. The puzzle of this song is it’s written around the strings of the guitar. You’ll have to listen to it to figure it out. Margaret’s a brilliant lyricist. It took her one day to write seven verses. Then I took 3 months to finish the music that follows the pattern. At one rehearsal George said we needed a ballad for the album. I said how about Apple. The band had heard the song and said yes. I’m so glad we got it on the album, and in true Jackstones style… nailed it.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

(RL) Our songwriting is stronger. It was a bit easier to finish a song this time around. Our playing is more experimental today. Even our covers. We are stretching in the type of material that we are learning. You always have to be growing, learning, pressing. It don’t come easy, as you know.

(AM) Unfortunately for me, I don’t feel I’ve evolved that much this last year. I have, however, really enjoyed watching Rick evolve.

Since you mentioned it, describe the songwriting process.

(RL) It starts with ample refreshments…Generally what happens is I will bring a song in from a stack I have been working on, or an idea that just started percolating. I will have a chord progression, verses, chorus, bridges, breaks, the works. Andy and I convene at Bigrock Studios. I then play it for him and he carves it up like a thanksgiving turkey. (laughing). I tend to be a little long winded in the lyrical category. Andy has a way of boiling it down to a story that makes sense in three or four minutes. A verse becomes a bridge, a line in a verse becomes the first line of the chorus. He is also brilliant at finding that one chord, turn-around, or pattern that makes the tune better. We will often anguish for a hours over one line, or even one word to make sure it is as good as it can get. Bjorn (deBoer, bassist) brought in what turned out to be “Dirty Stuff”. In the initial version it was blast on everyone that descended from their ivory tower. It was an angry number. That one got rewritten a few times until we found something that all of us could agree on. Andy’s guitar line on that one really drives the bus.

(AM) pretty much what Rick said, just add beer and sunflower seeds. Rick’s a very prolific writer, which is great for me cause I’m more of an assembler or arranger, and it takes me waaaaay too long to write a song by

myself. For example take Ball of Thread. The song’s about a man leading two lives with two separate families. Complicated enough for a song. But then Rick had verses about two of the kids from the different families were long lost identical twins, a whole verse about how the dad died in a car crash, how he’d take the pet dog back and forth

(RL punching Andy) No way (Rick laughs in his typical weezing fashion)

(AM) OK, maybe I made up the part about the dog, but the point is we couldn’t fit all that into a song. You had enough for a entire movie, or mini-series.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

(RL) I would have liked to have written a song with George Harrison. I can’t imagine it getting any better.

(AM) My first reaction would be no one. I wouldn’t want to be disappointed or lose the mystique about them. The few times I’ve worked with artists of that stature it was either very normal and uneventful or deflating. Probably haven’t met the real cool ones yet. But if I had to pick, I’d probably say Taylor Swift. She seems like she really cares about her fans and is nice and fun. I wouldn’t want to get to know her so we’ll that she’d write a song about me though (haha)

What’s next for you?

(RL) Keep at it. Keep playing, keep writing. Film or TV placement for a tune we have penned or having something covered is our plan.

(AM) I really want to get out and play live in support of the new record. Rick and I are already working on some new songs for the next album. I want to try some new things musically on it. Pass the seeds, and beer.

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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