Jack West - For The Record

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Jack West - For The Record
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 8:15 PM
Cafe Wha, New York, NY
  • All Ages
  • Two item minimum
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Show Details
  • Ticket Price: $10.00
  • Door Time: 8:00 PM
  • Show Type: Live Music
  • Restrictions: All Ages
    Two items minimum


For The Record

“What I can get/Is bigger than I am right now” - “What I Can Get”

Sometimes it takes youth to lead us to the next place, to revive rock ‘n’ roll by taking the old and putting a new spin on it. Fourteen-year-old Jack West conjures memories of Kurt Cobain with his lanky, shoulder-length hair and piercing gaze. It’s no mistake that he’s performed with grunge-rock icon Eddie Vedder before 30,000 at a concert in Nashville or that he collaborated with renowned Seattle producer Barrett Jones (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Jawbox) at his famed Laundry Room Studio on West’s debut, eight-song offering, For the Record.

Take a listen to West’s impressive bow, and hear elements of Neil Young, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors and Nivana. After all, his father first turned him on to Pearl Jam when he was all of two, and he was four before he became fascinated with Jim Morrison. It wasn’t long after that Jack West retreated to his bedroom, where he obsessively laid down the piano, guitar, bass and drum tracks on Logic, eventually compiling 18 tracks, eight of which he and Barrett Jones chose to make For the Record, a nod to both old-school vinyl records and Jack’s first official recordings made public.

“That’s what I listen to,” he says of the influences on his first record, “My favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though I realize there’s not much of them in my music... maybe just a little.”

Like Neil Young, Jack West is at his most comfortable alone in his makeshift studio, dealing with his own self-imposed isolation through music. “None of my friends are into this kind of music,” he laughs. “They’re all into rap and stuff, know what I mean?”

The songs on For the Record are about preparing to take flight, but at the same time, wary of plummeting to the ground. The opening track, “Won’t Look Back,” sounds like a lost outtake from Dark Side of the Moon crossed with After the Gold Rush, while the plaintive David Gilmour-ish guitar riffs in “Look Out Below (How Long)” offer a paean to surfing and the thrill of catching the perfect wave.

The country-flavored “What I Can Get” perfectly captures the pangs of a roller-coaster adolescence: “Life is like an elevator going up/Times you stop and let some people off/It’s hard to do.” An homage to his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., where he still lives, “The Flower City” is a slice of ‘60s psychedelia that refers to the city’s annual Lilac Festival and the flour shipped through the Erie Canal from the shores of Lake Ontario, while “Unsinkable” has that unmistakable Springsteen fervor in its vow to rise above the world’s chaos. The glam-rollicking “Revival” manages to channel the spirit of Ziggy Stardust and Mott the Hoople – as well as Foo Fighters and Jack White – with whimsical flower power sentiments like “Don’t scare away the monarch butterflies.”

“I have no idea what some of these songs are about,” admits Jack, though others

are about very specific issues gleaned from today’s news headlines.

West touches on the threats of global warming in the chilling apocalyptic, end-of-days Crazy Horse refrain of “Into This Lifetime,” then shows support for war veterans and gun control in the acoustic blues of “Leave Us Behind.” “You can’t help but see this stuff every day on the evening news,” he says.

The encouragement from Vedder was a turning point, and then the experience working with Barrett Jones was yet another sign that he had the talent to pull this off. But in many ways, Jack West is your typical teenager. Itching to get out in to the world, explore, experience new things and new places.

“I love Rochester, but when I’m 18, I’m out of here... know what I mean?” he says. “L.A. is where I want to live.”

Before that though, he will continue to perform live wherever and whenever he can, with his five-piece band includes a number of local, veteran Rochester musicians, including the big Napa Valley, Memorial Day weekend festival, Bottle Rock.

“Now that I’ve landed far between the lines/You can’t look down enjoy the ride” - “Won’t Look Back”

Now that Jack West has wings, it’s time to fly.

“I’d like as many people as possible to hear this music, but I still want that indie credibility,” he says.

For all those who thought rock was dead, Jack West is here to say its demise has been greatly exaggerated.


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