If you were to add up all the years experience Jac Dalton have logged collectively in the Rock arena, there wouldn’t be much change left from a century-and-a-half. Cutting our teeth at literally opposite ends of the planet, the hurricane of life tested and proved Jac (lead vox), Graham Greene (lead guitars, vox), Donna Greene (vox, percussion), Troy Brazier (drums, vox), Jim Awram (bass, vox), Annemieke Heijne (guitars, vox), Jason Dohrmann (keys, vox) – finally depositing everyone together at the same place at the same time for this chapter of the voyage. Each bandmember’s footprints along the journey have coincided with many of Rock’s biggest giants, and it is these experiences and inspirations that provide much of the thread for the edgy, melodic tapestry that is Jac Dalton.
Perth, WA has been home to some of the most successful rock icons of all time (eg AC/DC), and there is definite symmetry that this band’s depth and style would originate there also.
The band formed – attracted like powerful electro magnets – when Jac and Graham first met through a promoter who’d heard them separately but was hell-bent on getting them together – Graham from the hard rock arena, and Jac in the process of knocking the last bit of country from his sh*t-kickers. It was Graham and wife Donna’s mature evolved style of melodic/AOR rock that attracted Jac’s attention; similarly, it was Jac’s wordsmith abilities and heavy southern-rock background that struck a familiar chord with them. The first time Jac flew cross-country from Adelaide to Perth and recognized Graham and Donna across the luggage carousel, there was never any doubt of the direction, of what would be achieved, and with whom. All band members have enjoyed various castings with each other over many years and eras of Rock – and truth be told, the line-up was always destined to be a very short list, as these Titans are the absolute pinnacle of Aussie Rock – the nicest mates y’could ever meet. And they’ve all logged serious stage time with some of the biggest and most successful acts in the business.
Jac arrived to Australian shores originally as a Doctor, by way of North Carolina – quickly reconnecting with the music he’d had to put aside while studying. Burning the candle both-ends-against-the-middle with his double-life, the care ‘Doc Roc’ provides his patients is the fuel that ignites the passion of his music. Graham is called ‘Shaman’ for good reason – childhood experiences with Aboriginal mates shaped the fabric of his spirit in ways few would understand – but the result of which is unmistakable – for everything he does truly comes from another place – perhaps ‘dreamtime’. Donna is our ‘SistaHood’ – an absolute rock powerhouse with a range to challenge any R&B artiste, and the prowess and command of an opera-singer. Troy, is ‘Lumberjack’ as every stroke he makes is so thick and precise, he could easily crack tree trunks. Annemieke – ‘DragonLady’ – is proof positive that riffs can be lethal weapons wielded by rock warriors. Jim – ‘3D’ – intricate depth and delivery across massive dimensions – and he never ever misses the mark. Jason is our resident ‘Fireman’, tempering the band’s massive passion with just the right amount of ‘cool’ – this done between putting out real fires, and saving real lives.
This is the lineup. The magic created between us onstage is something that has to be seen and heard ‘live’ to be truly appreciated. The music sounds simple, but is very intricate – and the air of the open arena is the space wherein it breathes best.
At any point in the career and journey, one has to start with what you’ve got – what has inspired and colored your soul – what provides the spark – what you know. I was raised in the Southern US, next door to the country music capital of the world – and proximity to that hoofing, harmonious storyteller style was the first thing I heard when I began to play. I’ve always loved a great story – ‘eternal child that I am, hanging upon every word’. But the first time I heard my next door neighbor’s band practicing ‘rock’ songs – I was totally hooked, as something inside sprung to life with the crunching guitars, throbbing keys, pants-shaking bass riffs, and neighbors complaining. And rebel spirit that I am, I knew then and there that THAT’s where I needed to go. The first song that rattled our living room windows and made the dog howl was Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. Premonition perhaps…?
There have been many chapters to my journey since: concert violinist; bass player; acoustic guitarist; singer/songwriter. I’ve been an athlete, student, professional entertainer and dancer on many stages across the globe. One evening after completing a concert aboard a cruise ship, however, I realized it was time to give back to a world that had been very good to me, so I returned to the halls of academia.
The ensuing years of study were tough on many levels – not the least of which was because there was no way I could complete a Doctorate and continue to pour passion into my true love – my music. It was during that separation that I started to recognize and realize a great deal about the musical journey. Hence the question of why this particular genre isn’t just a question of preference, taste or familiarity – but rather harbors a deeper, more Universal truth and reason that needs to be acknowledged, as a re-awakening is starting to happen throughout the music industry and world right now. WE are part of that – embracing the depth, breadth and affect that melodic/AOR music has upon our collective souls.
We believe it comes down to a desire – a need – to nurture our hearts and the backbeating within our chests once again. Music is the universal language of the soul – something inside each of us knows this, even if we don’t participate or acknowledge it. And souls need sustenance just like our bodies.
For many years, the pop music dominating our environment has offered little to our spiritus. Styles ruling FM stations that 9-5ers and teens listen to as background at school and the office was intentionally formulated to take advantage of the repetitive way our brains work – with but a single goal of those controlling the airwaves: liberating pocket monies from young inexperienced, impressionable hands who pay neither rent nor taxes. From a business perspective, this goal is brilliant – as trillions of dollars have changed hands over the last few decades. The problem is little has survived in the wake.
A rift in the plan has started to develop in recent years however because minds formerly absorbing the controlled, limited sounds ‘literally dumbing down our ears’ have become bored and uninspired by these sounds. Y’can only fool folks for so long. Minds constantly yo-yo back and forth as part of our very nature – curious about pretty much anything interpreted as different or interesting. However, minds – spirits/souls – need nourishment. And certain styles of filler – knee-jerk-momentary-emotional-regurgitation types of music – are failing to curb the hunger – the awakening – and are quickly falling by the wayside.
Little of lasting value or inspiration has been created for quite awhile. Remember all those classic albums and bands from the 70s and 80s – the ones you still play, remember every word to, that make you feel good when you hear em? Those bands, times, songs had something to ‘say’ that touched – resonated – with something deep inside us. There were messages in both the lyrics and the music that filtered down to the depths of our very souls – instead of just piquing or irritating fleeting surface emotion. The world is screaming for that type of message, passion – nourishment – once again. We need reminders in times as uncertain as these. For reminders instill ‘hope’; and with hope, we rise from the ashes. Artists and bands – audiences – feeling this are starting to emote, create, listen again to the backbeat of their hearts. And the soul nourishment we’re creating isn’t just plastic junk food. It’s a veritable banquet for the senses and emotions that celebrate our human-ness. Life has a purpose for each of us. Often – especially in times like these – it’s hard to see, feel – even believe. But no matter what happens to us on a frustrating daily basis – the most basic, essential part of the human journey and condition is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Some steps are muddy and stinking; some cut our soles all the way to the bone; but eventually, we come to places beside the road where the sand is warm, the breeze invigorates, and the waters quench. And THAT is what many bands are reconnecting with at the moment. Jac Dalton is part of that remembering – creating and conveying the true nature of ourselves once again. Big, phat, harmonious, driving songs – a veritable rock orchestra coming together – with superb, melodic flow, pinging accents, squealing edge as exclamation marks – are our message – inlaid with sentiments not so unlike the inspiring and challenging tales of old. Such are the murmurings that stirred our first album, ICARUS – and have inspired us even further, deeper, larger – more poignantly – onward and upwards in the journey to our current album: ‘Can’t UnRock Me’.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements:
I’ve always had a passion for observing, describing as best I can, things I wish to remember about life, the journey – things I’ve found to be worthwhile. It’s easy to forget in times as crazy and challenging as these that along with the uncertainty of it all – wouldn’t it be great if each of us could find our own special way to leave this place just a little bit better than we found it? To instill this concept into us kids as we grew up, each time our family went camping, my parents insisted that we clean not only our own campsite, but the ones on either side as well – before we could depart. Amazing how such a simple metaphor has had the influence it has on the way I live, think – and compose.
I describe murmurings happening to me at the time. Making my observations, I try to convey them in a way that no one else has done yet, hopefully getting enough of the words in the right order so the lyrics resonate with listeners the same way they do with me. The best exercise I’ve found for honing this process is writing children’s books. To date, I’ve completed a dozen such stories, and the challenge is picking as few simple and correct words as possible in order to convey the sentiment in all its color and glory. With each story – as with each song and album – the process gets easier, the choices better – and the result rings truer to the observer, with hearts more deeply touched.
I suppose the message of our new album can be summed up in two words: ‘the Lessons’ and ‘the Love’.
The Lesson of ‘Can’t UnRock Me’ is a resounding reminder and encouragement to all of us sharing this small blue ball to stand fast and hold tight, believe in ourselves and our very nature, weather the storm of craziness crashing all around us – focus on the positives. For despite all the seemingly overwhelming challenges affecting us at the moment, two things are certain if we persist: (1) we will survive; and (2) we will learn valuable things from the process.
Stepping back, this has been the essence of mankind’s existence since the first person formed the first thought. Presence. Conflict. Resolve. Perpetuation. No matter what ‘stuff’ changes hands on a daily basis – the value perceived of tangibles – there are two things that can never be wrenched from us: the lessons we learn, and the love we harbor in our souls. I suspect that’s all we take with us when we return to the hereafter too.
The ‘Love’ aspect of the album is the optimism necessary to succeed with the journey – committing our thoughts, abilities, dreams to that which leads to a better place, a brighter future – perhaps even the object of our heart’s desire. While performing and promoting ICARUS the past year, I finally met my soulmate. And as all the soppy, cliché observations go, I embarrassingly admit that there are certain undeniable truths. For one really does ‘walk three feet off the floor’, ‘have stars in the eyes’, ‘forget everything’ by way of distraction when the heart leads. My one-and-only literally ‘blew me away’ the instant I met her. Such sentiments are reflected in the band’s new trax. And once ‘Rocked’ – its hard to be ‘UnRocked’.
This album is a milestone for the band in that it’s the first album we’ve done completely together. With ICARUS we didn’t have our own bass player or drummer. ‘Can’t UnRock Me’ is 100% what we are, who we are, and what we sound like – live. Graham has written the music to every track. I’ve penned the lyrics. Each brother and sister in the band has composed and captured every note and riff you hear. And every track was recorded collectively in the studio with everyone playing at the same time. Industry stalwarts are already commenting on the refreshing ‘live-esque’ feel to the trax – reminiscent of the way things were done for vinyl in the 70s. This technique works well for us, because with so many layers to the guitar and vocal tracks, this genre/style screams for heaps of ‘aire’ in order for the trax to breathe – and that arena feel is what we were able to achieve working this way.
Ideas about the album:
Are we happy with the result? Y’could definitely say that. Because of the depth, maturity and intricacy of the band’s first collective – ICARUS – we were cautioned by industry stalwarts involved with the project that we’d be hard-pressed to achieve that sort of result again – as we succeeded in expanding the definitive 80s sound and vibe beyond the boundaries of that decade. However, the same stalwarts unanimously agree that ‘Can’t UnRock Me’ eclipses ICARUS. And if this is the baseline for the band – our debut project with this line-up – I suppose the biggest limitations for all projects that follow will be budget and imagination. Plenty more magic on the horizon though – already underway. And by shooting for the stars, if we happen to fall short, at least we’ll make it to the moon!
To date, the only track we’ve ‘teased’ audiences with is ‘Roll With The Punches’ – scheduled for official release next month (June 16th) as the first single off the ten-track smile-maker. The album itself isn’t slated for release until later in the year – likely August/September. But certain release platforms like Haulix and iPool are already charting noteworthy download stats for the single, with some major FM stations across the globe already reporting promising attention from their listeners.
Next step; live or studio:
While we love both spending time in the recording studio, and the freedom and excitement in front of our fans – the focus at present is primarily aimed at raising the profile – physical and social presence – of the band in order to attract invitations to international Festivals we’ve targeted. As well, we’ve got our eye out for the perfect synergy with a record label, booking agency and distribution contract for certain noteworthy projects already in the works.
One of these projects is a track we’ve written as a follow-up to Rick Springfield’s 80s HIT ‘Jesse’s Girl’. For more than 30 years, jealous, confused guys the world over have been unable to figure out ‘…where can (we) find a woman like that…’ The cheeky, sexy video we’re storyboarding should provide a bit of much welcomed illumination on the subject. We’ve been trying to get hold of Rick himself to see if he’d like to ‘don the leathers again’ and join us for all the mayhem of the shooting. If someone happens to get this part of the interview to him, both the song and the video are definitely worth consideration – you have our word!
Another of our new tracks will feature the Australian Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball team as the heroes. When not on stage, Jac is a ‘crackerjac’ (haw) Chiropractor and has been approached to look after the team when it competes in Brazil at the 2016 Olympic Games. Things are already in motion for the band to accompany the team with a Rio tour coinciding with the Games.
And yet another track is being presented to one of Australia’s finest film directors with the intent of producing a poignant, gut wrenching video re-defining Australia and her role both for her own eyes and those of the world. The song is called ‘One Heart/One Land’ and truly does celebrate our country’s virtues – a necessary and worthwhile reminder in uncertain times like these.
To aid us in achieving these projects, we’ve attracted the attention of major PR firms both domestically and overseas who are but awaiting hardcopies of the new album to arrive to pull the trigger. Definitely some worthwhile things on the plate.
I was born in New York City – but raised in the South – and can think of no better place I’d rather be from. My musical roots are undeniably country in flavor, yet solid ROCK in attitude and performance – something that appeals both to the audience, and is fulfilling for the band. After all, every song that touches us deeply enough to record (and only the ‘killers’ survive) carries with it due consideration for the audience’s likely response. Because of the spectrum of flavors, maturity, simplicity and familiarity of melodic rock, there are heaps of folks all across the globe who can relate.
The first singing I ever did was gospel, so the thick rich nature of these sorts of harmonies has been a major love and ingredient with our songs. Phat, melodic lead guitar solos and tasty riffs are another familiar Southern Rock factor. Add to this the underlying identifiable throbbing presence of killer rhythm sections (bass, drums, keys, rhythm guitars) and you’ve got the makings of force-5 hurricanes to be reckoned with. The music, the bands, the influence of all this is still alive and thriving deep down in my roots. So it’s no doubt that overflowing and intermarrying of styles has had the effect it has upon myself and my contribution to the band.
Inspirations all band members agree upon include: Molly Hatchett, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, Dio, Bon Jovi, Journey, Toto, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Humble Pie, The Who, BTO, Bryan Adams, John Cougar Mellancamp, Bad Company, AC/DC, Meatloaf, The Eagles, Crosby/Stlls/Nash&Young. As I’ve shared, I love a good story – and Country music has always had the best stories. It’s ROCK however that imprints a very large size 12EE boot to collective ass and drives it home. Each song I write is a mini story, as the plot is either something I’m observing firsthand, or a drama playing out in my mind like a vignette. Our new video ‘For Your Love’ depicts perfectly what my mind sees when I’ve found just the right lyrical hook to hang my soul upon. It’s safe to say that the roots of the band’s beginnings are as diverse and colorful as the diametrically opposed ends of the earth that inspired them.
Early in my career, through a total fluke, I once got to play bass guitar with James Brown. As well, I harmonized one misty autumn afternoon to ‘Fire and Rain’ on the steps of my GrandDad’s church alongside James Taylor before anyone knew who he’d become. I’ve recorded with members of bands that everyone everywhere knows, and consider these icons to be true friends. These are but highlights – eternal snapshots upon my soul – and I’m thankful beyond words to have had these special experiences with these truly amazing people. But this has not helped the world much.
Accomplishments, to me, are something one does without thought for self – aimed at participating in the journey, helping things along, leaving the world a little bit better for the opportunities that come our way.
Though this band collectively is something massive and special – with tremendous experience, abilities, passion, potential – we, as yet, have not been able to arrive into the big spotlight alongside our iconic peers. That part of the journey is still to come – we truly believe this. But any time artists put heart to paper, gather their talents in a studio or upon a stage, take passions to the public – we have joined the journey of becoming. And everything of true value we give and take from that process happens along the way – not at some preconceived platform or destination – for that is but an end. And why would anyone want to cease doing what makes their spirit soar when they do it?
Our biggest accomplishment – our contribution to the world, as it were – is our staying power; our determination; the love we have for, and our commitment to the journey and all its awesome experiences; our belief in its destiny – an example for those who become discouraged, who need reminding, or who are about to give up on a truly exceptional part of their life. Einstein once commented that ‘… the number of human beings who gave up on their dreams while being but inches away from success would have to be monumental…’
We are not only a band; we are as well a band of dreamers. And the world needs dreamers – these days more so than ever – the kind who refuse to quit against the waves the hurricane constantly tests us with. Truth is, the hurricane knows exactly where it’s going, and the moment we stop struggling and allow it to carry us, is the moment we become true artists.
Someone very wise once observed, ‘a musician can never fail – for to be a musician at all is already a success’. The rest is but where we’re at – at any given point along the hike up the mountain.
We thank you sincerely for the chance to share a bit about ourselves and what lies between the notes gluing it all together.