By Harriet Kaplan
Alt/blues rocker Jack Berry has released a new single,”The Bull,” from his forthcoming EP, Mean Machine, set for a Spring 2016 release. According to those in the know, Berry is destined for great things. Maybe becoming a “arena headliner” is in his future. His music is potent and delivers what has been described as knockout punch aka “Mike Tyson.” The scary clown makeup smearing down his face on the single’s intimidating cover is downright frightening and menacing. Clearly, Jack Berry “means” business. BoC recently spoke with this serious customer and Jack Berry gets right to the point answering questions with short and succinct answers about his musical background, his influences, sounds, songwriting and what’s next.
Can you tell me when you became a musician and is your family musical? Did they inspire or what inspired you to become a musician?
Jack: My family is very musical. From my grandparents and church to my aunts being in the high school band, there was always music. My pops has been touring in a funk band called Jelly Bread for quite some time now as well. Myself, I’m only just getting into the thick of things.
Were you in other bands before going solo? What were those experiences like? What you take from that becoming a solo artist?
Jack: I’ve always been solo in a sense. I’ve had players rotate in and out to fill the band. I never necessarily wanted to be solo, a band was always preferable – I just couldn’t convince anyone to join up.
Who are your influences and why? Do you think they shaped your sound and songwriting?
Jack: I draw influence from a lot of different people and only in parts. I love Zeppelin and Elvis but I only interpret and reinvent parts of what they are. Bits and pieces here and there over the years and I’m always fine tuning. The one thing I can’t seem to trace back is the way I write my lyrics. That’s just the voice in my head that’s always been there.
Is Mean Machine your first album? Does the album have a theme? How did you come up with the name?
Jack: It’ll be the second effort. The name derives from my depiction of my mind and my heart always being at odds against each other and physically I’m just a working cog between the two. The record follows that battle and those victories.
Will you tour in support of Mean Machine? If not, what is next for Jack Berry?
Jack: Looking like SXSW and the release here in Nashville will kick off this year of touring. Let’s hope there’s little downtime.