IF YOU KNEW (JUST) JACK
By Carl Noone Jr.
If The Streets had a lot more soul.
If Dizzee Rascal weren't so jittery and
If you could combine the inflection and
tone of U.K. Rap with the polished, brooding
delivery of Eminem (and his slightly over-produced
catchy beats), into a nearly curse-less
rhyming masterpiece of a package, it would
If you heard Just Jack, then you would
know, and feel, what 28 year-old Jack
Alsopp feels. At times it hurts; most
of the time. But it can be fun and upbeat
at times. And it has a LOT of soul.
It is The Outer Marker, his spectacular
March 2nd TVT debut. Years in the making,
it is his opus to street life and the
working class, with a lyrical stab towards
the cause of heart-broken males everywhere...
done with surprising clarity and intelligence.
"I just make music. I just kind
of roll with it. If you make music for
a living, then you have to promote your
record. You just have to learn to "get
on with it' ", says Jack, about learning
to cope with the sales end of the creative
process during a recent visit to New York
And roll with it he does, with style
and grace... and a little help from Robert
Smith of the Cure. The legendary Goth
god himself approved the sample from "Lullaby"
which drapes the vocals of the obvious
first single, "Snowflakes-Cured by
the Temple of Jay Mix". The inventive
remix helps round-out an amazing first
at-bat for this Camden, England native.
A DJ since the age of 14, Jack has always
been influenced by what he calls "black
music of all kinds". ".....textured
Hip-Hop, with an ear towards 2-Step and
down tempo, ala Massive Attack....."
are only some of the comparisons being
made by the press and critics worldwide
about this heir apparent to the Throne
"If you get bothered by it, you
might as well give it up. Of course every
other single artist will come out and
be compared to someone else. Comparisons
are often to just let people know what
they are buying. If your friend asked
how a certain record was, you often use
another band as a reference point, so
(being compared to Mike Skinner of The
Streets) isn't too bad", he says,
referring to the often-made teaming of
their names in magazines.
But Just Jack is more. He has a bit of
that sneering cockney attitude, but (thank
god) not as much as Skinner, and is eerily
fueled by the ghost of Marvin Gaye. They
(my parents) listened to Carly Simon and
James Taylor; a lot of this hippy kind
of stuff. I listened to Fleetwood Mac
a lot. It moved from there to U.S. House,
then later, Soul he says of his many musical
influences. If Marshall Mathers and Smokey
Robinson were Gay lovers, and men could
give birth, then......
Well, you get the picture.
"Paradise"; "Eye to Eye";
"Triple Tone Eyes"; all catchy
romps with infectious lyrical snippets
of brilliance. Yet Jack remains shy and
thankful for the opportunity to bring
his music to the States. "It's amazing
having the chance to travel and meet people.
You know, some of it is really a blessing.
It's really great. "
And he says later about the whole breathtaking
experience, "I haven't been to the
U.S. since I was five and I've never been
to New York City before this. It's been
quite a "trip". I want to go
see the Empire State and Central Park
and all those tourist-y kind of places",
heard with an obvious sense of awe in
his voice during his two-day press blitz
held this past February 5th and 6th in
Manhattan. And I want to shop for some
records. Yeah, do some record shopping
for sure, he adds.
While in the States, he sang and DJ'd
for guests of the industry and members
of the media at a select few nightclubs
(I played some 80s U.S. and U.K. Hip-Hop,
some old 70s Soul and Funk he tells me
later) and completed a list of phone and
in-person interview requests, photo shoots,
and whatever type of demands the international
publicity of major-label debut CD required
I never planned any of this in the first
place. I never thought it would get this
far, he quips when I remark about long-term
goals. It was never part of a conscious
career path. Its just something I decided
to do because I love the music that much.
Honestly, I never considered myself a
performer. I have a degree in Furniture
Design and the music just happened to
turn into something. Its all still quite
shocking to me.
But the world is quickly learning to
love Just Jack. In 2003, after successful
summer gigs at the Leeds, Edinburgh, and
Reading (U.K.) Festivals, and sold-out
winter appearances at the infamous nightclub
Cargo, Jack was signed for distribution
in the U.S. and Scandinavia. Now currently
working on his second release, Just Jack
has broken onto American radio airwaves,
with Snowflakes now currently making a
mark on San Franciscos LIVE 105 and various
Los Angeles FM request lines.
The video has been re-cut, actually,
he tells me about the obvious MTV-bound
piece of visual propaganda for The Outer
Markers debut single. The single is for
the remix, and we just re-cut the video,
which Im actually going to see this afternoon,
he adds. Of course, I'd jump at the chance
to work with him, but I didn't make the
remix. I love the Cure. They made some
great records he tells me, referring to
his admiration for Smith, one of rocks
With such a quiet sense of professionalism
and heartfelt respect, Just Jack just
might be the next name on that list of
rocks living legends.