Catch up with Nashville based rocker Jack Berry and look for his forthcoming LP, Mean Machine, to be released Spring 2016.
What got you started in music?
Jack Berry: That's hard. I grew up in a religious family that sang in church, so I guess that's where it started, singing with my grandma in church, but that didn't necessarily get me interested then; I guess it took a lot longer than that. The Beatles, I guess, and Rage Against The Machine were my first loves in music and that kind of actually started an infatuation.
Which other musicians have you been influenced by?
I'd say everyone from Elvis to Ben Harper. I'm a really big fan of funk music - Monophonics, Parliament, Funkadelic. I love Queens of the Stone Age and The Arcs' newest records. Jack White's whole neighborhood of sound is killer. The Dead Weather, Raconteurs, Allison Mosshart. Then the opposite end, I love classical piano or even old Elvis gospel.
You said you collect records, do you remember the first record you got?
I don't know what the first one that I got was, but I was raised by my grandparents on a horse ranch and they had a huge, armoire sized record player in their basement, but they only had three records: it was Elvis, The Jungle Book, and then some random church gospel compilation record, and those were the only three records that they had. So, when I would be in the basement playing around or doing whatever, we'd put on the records and it'd usually be one of those first three.
I read you were part of a duo, why decide to go solo?
It wasn't a duo necessarily. I wanted a bass player at the same time but I couldn't find anybody - so after we recorded that first record, the guy who played drums on it, Shawn Holman, him and I got along pretty well and wanted to play out. And so it started - Loaded Loot is what we called it. Guitar and drums. Bare minimals.
Which words would you use to describe your sound?
[Laughs] Ruckus; convictions; onslaught.
What was the inspiration behind your single and the single art for "The Bull"?
So, like I said, I grew up outside of Reno, so a lot of things that are around that town are very based around the cowboy lifestyle, so to speak, and the Reno Rodeo is called the richest rodeo in the West and that was like a huge event. My grandpa would take me to Reno Rodeo each year and I'm terrified of clowns - like a freakish amount of terror will strike me when I see a clown, even to this day - but, anyways, we were at a rodeo and the bull riding would take place Friday or Saturday and those are the days we'd go and I just remember being tripped out by these clowns that were running around inside the arena and they were always mic'd up and they'd talk to the announcers and stuff and I remember the announcer had one of these jokes that were along the lines of this clown had a gambling problem and I thought that was really funny and it kind of stuck with me, obviously, for a long time. Then, when I was going to write a song, just with the chords that I had and the music I had, that's the first thing that came to mind. I thought it'd be interesting to have a different take on my rodeos, I guess. And, of course, the cover art, that's all it was - I thought it'd be funny to put on some rodeo clown make-up.
That's off your forthcoming album, Mean Machine; what can you tell us about that?
The reason I named it 'mean machine' is because I feel like I'm a working cog between this battle of mind and heart, as most people are. You kind of display it one way or the other but one side has more control so it's if I was to separate myself from my heart and my mind, all of these songs are either an argument with myself or an argument against some relationship in the world, whether it be with someone I love or someone I hate or some idea of what's going on in the world or in my immediate world. It's kind of just this constant journey of figuring this back and forth out and so a lot of these songs are pretty much that exactly: more of a protest against certain things and then a kind of testament to other things.
What do you hope your listeners are able to take away from your music?
I feel like there's a difference between music being catchy and then music that sticks to you. I just really hope that this music is the latter.