Hi Jack, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been alright given the circumstances. Like everyone I’ve been stuck inside because of the pandemic. I’ve been trying to write, read, do work on the backyard, and walk the dog.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Right Hand Man”?
The song is loosely based on a story a buddy of mine told me while working as a prep cook at a deli. There was this guy who was a hit man who worked for some Gulf Coast mob boss who killed a politician in Mobile. When he went to prison, somehow or another, he got friendly with the warden and his wife. After twenty years he got out and ended up marrying the warden’s wife who was a millionaire heiress of some southern fortune. Immediately after he told me that story, I was like, I got to write a song about this. So the song is about never knowing where you’ll end up. You could be in jail one day then be a millionaire the next.
Any plans to release a video for the track?
Not at the moment, but definitely not out of the question.
The single comes off your new album Notes of a Drifter – what’s the story behind the title?
I thought it accurately reflected the intent of the material on the EP. All four songs are about lows and highs, travelling, escaping, reuniting. The term “drifter” I think can apply to anyone’s life. Life is a journey even if you stay in place for all of it. No matter what, the only constant in life is constant change. When I was writing these songs a great deal of change had just occurred in my life, my former band Museyroom had just broken up after almost 8 years of being together, I had just moved to New Orleans from New York, and money wise I didn’t have a pot to piss in.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording was done in two days at a practice space called the maze in New Orleans. The band and I recorded it live (except for vocals) with a good friend of mine Ross Farbe from the band Video Age who I had recorded a great deal with when I had previously lived in New Orleans with a band called Country Club.
The writing process in general for me is a constant editing process. I have multiple drafts and versions of songs, ideas, notes written in the margins, so it’s always a work in progress.
What role does New Orleans play in your music?
New Orleans plays a huge role in my music. Although I grew up in Brooklyn, I came to college here when I was 18 so on some level I feel I’ve grown up here. I’ve played more gigs here than anywhere else, which I think has influenced my writing to a great extent.
How has the 90s influenced your writing?
I love Nirvana.
What aspect of the American Dream and freedom did you get to explore on this record?
The American dream or American experience is not a one way street. The dream doesn’t exist without the nightmare. America is all about extreme highs and extreme lows, it’s a gambler’s land, home of the stock market and the riverboat casino. It’s a bubbling jacked up powder keg of possibility and heartache, of risk and reward, of love and loss.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Musically the song is influenced greatly by the Rolling Stones, Springsteen, and Strokes. Lyrically, I was reading a lot of Cormac McCarthy so I think he probably influenced some of the writing.
Any plans to hit the road?
I was going to go on tour for a week in April, but it’s likely to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. All gig planning is on hold right now because of the current situation.
What else is happening next in Jack Sledge’s world?
I have a new album that’s being mixed right now entitled Flash of the Spirit which I’m excited to share soon.
For more info on Jack Sledge:
Benjamin, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a weird …