In May of 2019, I was in the process of moving from Los Angeles, California to a tiny podunk town in Nowhere, Oregon. It was a time for me that was both exciting and sad. I was very excited about moving to a new state, but sad to leave Los Angeles behind, for a huge number of reasons.
The reasons why I had to go were bigger in areas that could not be denied, so changing my mind and staying was not an option. Still, I could not just up and leave without doing something really cool and memorable.
No, I didn’t go to the beach, or to tourist traps like Disneyland. For me, it had to be bigger, better, and music-related.
So I went to Ireland’s 32, a small bar in the San Fernando Valley, to catch yet another performance by a “Supergroup” known as JackiO.
WHAT IS A “SUPERGROUP?”
A supergroup is a band comprised of top-notch musicians who have carved out a huge name for themselves via the reputation they’ve gained with their music in recording and performance. These players typically come from other bands and get together to form a new band that takes music to a new level.
David Raven has been a studio drummer since the early 80s and has played on thousands of recordings. Steve Bartek and John Avila have both been involved with Oingo Boingo for decades, among other things.
Ira Ingber has been a performing and recording artist, as well as a producer. He has been producing and mastering a band that I have been involved with named Noodle Muffin for a really long time, and has been a solid friend of the band. Ira has also worked with artists like Bob Dylan in a capacity of great significance.
You can learn more about the band and the individual band members on their official website [link opens in new tab].
WHAT MAKES JACKIO GREAT?
I have seen a lot of bands in Los Angeles, from 1986 to 2019. In experiencing LA bands, both as an audience member and a band member, I have acquired a taste for what is good and what is bad, regardless of genre.
In this band you have four A-List, top shelf musicians who understand concepts like playing for the song, or making the rest of the band sound better. While other bands might deliver the appearance of individual musicians struggling for the spotlight on the stage, JackiO presents as a cohesive entity where each band member works to lift the entire thing off the ground.
They go sky high.
Their musicianship and presence is welcoming, open, and inspires participation. Experiencing them perform at a place like Ireland’s 32 is rewarding for anyone who makes the effort to show up. The venue has a specific atmosphere that can work well enough on its own, and JackiO takes that and expands it about five miles in every direction.
The band members are also very approachable and personable, as people go. I had known Ira for years, so any chance I could get to say hello and have a brief conversation was something I would cherish.
But during my final visit, I got there early enough that the band had not yet set up. Steve Bartek showed up, and actually sat at my table. I talked with him a bit about guitar, and the conversation was friendly. I refrained from geeking out and talking about gear, so I still want to know more about his Matchless amplifier.
This was a big deal for me, as I had been listening to Mr. Bartek’s music since 1981, when Only A Lad was released. Any time I get the chance to talk with a musician whom I’ve admired, I am grateful when they take the time and are cool about it.
WHY JACKIO IS THE BEST
To put it simply, it’s a band with solid musicians, fantastic musicianship, cohesive sound, impeccable performances, outstanding arrangements, and more. With all of that, they bring an environment or aura to the venue that is second-to-none.
IN THE END
Anyone who has been reading my blog knows that I can rattle on forever about a topic. Today, I want the music to speak for itself.
Below, at the end of this blog entry, is a video that I shot of JackiO back in August 2017. This was during their first set, when they dedicated Me and My Monkey to Noodle Muffin. I was so excited by this, that I didn’t even pull my phone out to record it until the first verse had already passed. And it takes a lot to affect me like that.
However, this clips is VERY worth watching, because each of the performers gets to take their own solo within the context of the song. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and hear a band of this caliber perform live.
If you use Facebook, then I recommend looking them up. And if you’re in LA, I’d recommend checking them out live. Tell Ira that “DrumWild from Noodle Muffin sent me,” and he will know.
ONE FINAL THING
Before I left, Ira told me, “You better come back to LA and visit!” I swear to Odin, should we all survive this mess, I will be returning to LA. I will be seeing JackiO perform again. Hell, I might even ask to sit in for a song on the drums.
I will return, Ira, and you’ll know it when it happens. Thank you for the open invitation!