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With the arrival of Three Bad Jack’s new CD Pictures & Memories From Home, the band forcefully asserts themselves as true, renegade rock & roll prophets. From the propulsive, high octane opening track “I’ve Been Around” to the brooding closer “Pricks & Thorns” the album never falters, charting fresh new territory with ebullient authority. Their hard hitting aggression, anchored by a throbbing gutbucket bottom end and topped off with bandleader Elvis Suissa’s passionate vocals, unfailingly pulls the listener in. High impact, soul deep, thoroughly original, this is uncut rock & roll expression that goes upside the head with stunning force.
Such a dynamic achievement is the result of a hard earned perspective. One of Los Angeles’ hardest working bands–and biggest club draws–Three Bad Jacks have been pounding it out, non-stop, since the late 20th century. Typically averaging over 250 shows a year, selling out rooms from Hollywood to New York City and headlining on numerous European festivals, the groups’ dedication and rebel spirit have long since been honed to perfection. It rings true in every note that singer-guitarist Suissa, bassist Ruben Ibarra and drummer Adam Jones strike, each of whom display a mastery and understanding of the underground American big beat heritage. Variously labeled in the media as both rockabilly and psychobilly, with Pictures & Memories From Home the band has delivered a genuine rock & roll statement, one that not only expands on previous releases Made of Stone and Crazy in the Head but also rates as an important step forward in the artistic exploration of an increasingly bastardized art form.
“I’m really excited about this record.” Suissa said. “It’s a straight-up rock & roll record that draws from that transitional period of the late ’50s-early 60s, but it’s also as modern and original sounding as we could make it.” The album echoes with trace influences from garage primitivism to stomping Deep Southern rockabilly, yet all of it is filtered through the bands own unique prism, resulting in a sound that “original” scarcely begins to cover. Produced by Suissa, mixed by studio veteran Dave Schiffman (Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down), mastered by Howie Weinberg (Clash, Iggy, Ramones) and featuring key contributions, on keyboards and strings, from Rami Jaffe (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters), the disc has a gloriously full, unruly tone, yet shifts to tender balladry with effortless, fully realized ease (striking examples here are the bluesy “Beautiful” and the heartfelt family-themed “Noah & Jacob’s Song”).
While use of the word “mature” may seem the contradictory to Three Bad Jacks international reputation as rock & roll wild-men, their mix of the sensitive and savage is impressive, and the ability to navigate such a broad musical spectrum is even more so.
Again, it’s all about experience, and with records sales topping 150,000 to date, numerous songs placed on television and video game soundtracks and having long since graduated from selling out hometown venues like the Troubadour, House of Blues, Galaxy Theater, Fonda-Music Box and Key Club to sharing bills and touring with the likes of Joe Strummer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, Social Distortion and Bouncing Souls, Three Bad Jacks are nothing less than a force of nature. All of that wild bandstand action–and after-hours philosophy–brings them an almost supernatural insight that has critically enhanced the band’s indisputable natural talent. Just one listen to Pictures & Memories From Home will drive that fact home–loud and clear.