Jackie Belts Out Riveting Riffs, Stirring Lyrics

There are so many variables that need to come together for a band to arrive at some plain of cohesion while achieving a high level of musicality. This is where many acts falter, some even stumbling out of the gate. Then again, there are those few that persist with a fiery determination to make it work while they continue to hurdle obstacles that are commonplace in their business. Jackie is one of these diamonds in the rough.  In a league where clones and studio masking are all too common, Jackie casts those weights aside to show what originality and talent sound like.       


From left to right: Donovan (bass), Patrick Ols (guitar), Jackie LaPonza (vocals), Mike LaPonza (drums), Matt LaPonza (drums)          

Sure, there are hundreds of bands that make it to the big show and get an album to the masses via national marketing.  And for every one of those bands, there are hundreds more that fall by the wayside due to lack of effort and/or talent.  Jackie is on their way to the former.  Formed in the early 2000’s, the band has roots that stretch much deeper than that.  The band is a family affair, with lead singer Jackie LaPonza sharing performing duties with her two brothers since they were kids.  Their dad Sam also got involved, serving as their manager, who has guided them on their current path to greatness since their days in grade school.  Granted, they’re no longer kids, but Papa LaPonza is still there overseeing the band’s national tour, studio work, and creativity come together for one hell of a rock band experience.  The band’s music has evolved over their short time together, culminating today in what is best described as a mix of Evanescence’s dark overtones with Paramore’s aura and overall sound.  At the end of the day, it’s a note-laden recipe that Jackie cooks up to make it their own.         


The band got its name in sort of a default manner.  They didn’t have a solid identity yet and as they readied to play gigs, and their name was just sort of bestowed upon them.  When all else fails in thinking of a title, go with the most recognizable band member; the lead singer.  There are moments when the whiskey-hinted sounds of Jackie’s voice, solicit a calm a before the storm until the drums explode with a thunderous announcement of percussive presence while the lead and bass guitars enter the fray with Jackie’s lyrics leading the charge.  Such is the case with one of their songs, titled “Always.”  Standing in the audience after our interview,  I drank the lyrics and inhaled the emotion that the band spilled forth, creating one of those moments where the hair on your arms stands on end and you just get lost in the music.  When is the last time you can say that happened to you at a live gig?  I went to an Ozzy concert recently and had a blast, but never once while I was there did I get the downpour of adrenaline that I got from this band.          


The energy this band unleashes on an audience is like an ever-expanding ring of shockwaves from a detonation.  It envelopes you like some audible drug that makes you an immediate addict for more.  Still, the band does have one serious drawback.  Their shows end.  This may not be the best parallel, but remember when you were a kid and your mom called you inside because it was late out but you were still having fun?  That’s a Jackie concert.  Hey I’m a taxpayer!  Get up there and play more tunes!  Ah, but as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  The personalities of each band member make these concert experiences just that magnetic.  They’re a group of down-to-earth musicians who love to do what they do, and do it well they do.  When they approached the stage for their set, you see this transformation take place from a sense of serenity to this increasingly amped vibe.  You can’t just succeed at playing music to wow thousands of people at a show; you need to excel at it.  And you can’t just excel at playing music; you need to perform it.  Whether it’s one of the LaPonza brothers hammering away on the drums or sister Jackie singing her heart out and romping from one end of the stage to the other, this quintet knows how to get it done.  They don’t sing.  They don’t play instruments.  They perform.  The instruments are nothing more than an extension of the high octane musical energy that’s waiting to bust open the floodgates and flow into the spectating souls in front of them.          


Drummers Mike and Matt LaPonza split duties on their tools of the trade with a fierce intensity.  Bass guitarist Mike Donovan owns stage left with a confident smirk as he plucks away while lead guitarist Patrick Ols mans the opposite side, putting his abilities up there with the best in the business.  Then there’s Jackie LaPonza, donned in rebellious punk attire, belting out note after note, while commanding the stage with a piercing gaze, strong vocals and enough sex appeal to make a construction crew switch from wolf whistles to crooner’s tunes.  Get these traits in the same room and you’ve got yourself a musical force to be reckon with.  They may share similarities with other artists out there; the aforementioned Evanescence, even a hint of vocal similarity to Pink but a tad higher on the note scale, but at the end of the day Jackie is its own driving force, not copying, not borrowing, but paying homage to and introducing the world to their own powerful style.  Combine an iron horse work ethic with an arsenal of talent and the equation equals what this band has to offer.          


So what’s the band like off the stage?  What started off as an interview, morphed into a twenty-minute relaxed and entertaining roundtable discussion with the bandmembers of Jackie.  They talked about coming together as a group, their experiences on the road, and last but not least, their music.  If there’s one last thing I can add before you move on to the audio clips below, it’s this.  I know talent seekers in the music industry can’t be everywhere at once, but come on, guys!  You’ve got a gold mine sitting here.  Record labels are doing themselves and fans around the globe an injustice by keeping this band a secret.  Jackie deserves nothing less than to be in venues like the Staples Center and on program powerhouses like MTV.  It’s been a long time since music of this genre got my adrenaline going and that’s when Evanescence released Fallen.  With two albums under Jackie’s belt and four-song EP coming in February, not only am I onboard, I want to pilot the damn ship.  So without further ado, here is Why So Blu’s interview with the band Jackie…         



For more information on the band, check out their official website at http://www.worldjackie.com         


Above photography courtesy of Discovery Photo / Scott T. Morrison        

 For a little audio appetizer from the band, check out their single, The Choice:       



2 Responses to “Jackie Belts Out Riveting Riffs, Stirring Lyrics”

  1. Scott T. Morrison

    Gregg, I could not agree with you more. This was my first experience with Jackie, but I’ll tell you it will not be my last. I loved them.

  2. Brian White

    Awesome! Would love to check this band out one day 🙂

    I remember Patrick from good old Gatlin! Hopefully he still remembers me.