Mike Jacoby Interview with Radio Guitar One

Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.

After I released my third solo record “Long Beach Calling” in 2019, I wanted to put together a band to play the songs live. I’ve played with bassist Don Read for years and it took us a little while to find a drummer. We lucked upon the great Mike Levin – it was apparent from the first time we got together that us three have a real musical connection. So I wanted them both on the new album – it came together really nicely.

What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician?

Here are a few:

Beatles – “Revolver”

Rolling Stones – “Exile on Main Street”

Neil Young – “Harvest”

Bob Dylan – “Highway 61 Revisited”

Springsteen – “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

Clash – “London Calling”

Lucinda Williams – “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”

Drive By Truckers – “Decoration Day”

John Hiatt – “Bring the Family”

Todd Snider – “The Devil You Know”

Old 97s – “Fight Songs”….

Richard and Linda Thompson – “Shoot Out The Lights”

(really could go on forever with this…..too many to include)

Is there a particular song that has resonated with you for a long time?

A few examples come to mind:

Jason Isbell – “Elephant”

Lori McKenna – “Halfway Home”

Chris Stapleton – “Parachutes”

U2 – “One”

Warren Zevon – “Keep me in your heart”

(Again, this really could go on forever with this…..too many to include)

How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past?

I brought in the trio to play with me on this album. Having a great drummer and great bassist made a huge difference – the songs and the recording are more vibrant and alive.

How are you continuing to grow musically?

I’m striving to write better songs – universal songs that connect with people. Songs that resonate and are tied into all aspects of the human condition. Good times, bad times, happiness, sadness, joy, regret, sorrow….

Tell me what your first music teacher was like. What lessons did you learn from them that you still use today?

My first guitar teacher was a man named Ted Paris (who sadly passed away about a year ago). He saw immediately that I was completely bored with learning “the notes on the high E string – the notes on the B string” and doing all those exercises in the Mel Bay guitar book. I was way more interested in chords and how chords fit together to create songs. Really, I just wanted to learn Beatles songs. So….he obliged. He realized that there was no one way of learning – and to adapt to the student.

What strengths do you have that you believe make you the musician you are?

Hopefully, the ability to learn from mistakes. I feel I’m a better songwriter, performer, engineer, producer than I was years ago…..because I can learn from mistakes.

Do you have any anxiety about performing live?

Not really. I’m pretty comfortable with performing….whether doing solo acoustic gigs or band gigs.

Describe your creative process when you write new music.

Usually, the chord pattern and melody pattern come out of jamming on the guitar – when I realize that there’s a “song” there. After that, I come up with a title and lyrics. I spend a bit of time thinking about what I’m trying to say in each particular song….and I consciously try to think outside the box….to come up with a unique twist on a concept. After that…it’s pages and pages of drafts…. And after that….I have to learn the damn thing! hahahaha

Give us some advice for new musicians just starting out in the industry.

Care about what you’re doing. Practice your art. Develop a level of confidence in your art where what people say about it doesn’t matter. Appreciate those who support you.

How do you prepare for your performances and recording work?

I try to “know my song well before I start singing” – to quote Bob Dylan.

What do you like most about your new album?

This particular batch of songs are amongst my finest work. And working with Don and Mike made each one of the songs special. I believe that there is “magic” in each of the songs. The magic that transcends and enhances the performances.

What's next for your band?

We’re working on a 5 song EP of older Mike Jacoby songs which feature the band. I’m also planning the next Mike Jacoby Electric Trio album. I have a few songs for that one already.

What are your interests outside of music?

I’ve been a distance runner for many, many years – I’ve run 3 marathons and countless half marathons and 10ks. And I'm very slow …. I don’t win any awards but I find it very relaxing.

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