Pete Jacobs’ musical aspirations can all be traced back to — or blamed on — The Beatles.
He’s not entirely serious about the “blame” part. When he first heard The Beatles at age 12, growing up in Stamford, Delaware County, he was already proficient on piano and trumpet, but was inspired to pick up the guitar and begin writing his own songs. Soon, he had aspirations to write and play music for a living, though his father initially wasn’t too sure about the idea.
“It’s funny to me at this point, because now [my parents] are actually very supportive of this,” Jacobs said recently from Boston, where he attends Berklee College of Music. “I just remember at one point, my dad, he was very — he’d make fun of me for the idea completely. . . . It wasn’t so much resistance, more just leaning in that direction. There was a lot of under-the-table, unconscious, implied pressure to find something else.”
Pete Jacobs Band
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio, 339 Central Ave., Albany
How Much: $15 (doors); $10 (advance)
More Info: 465-5233 ext 4, www.wamcarts.org
For a while, Jacobs tried to do just that, attending Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and almost becoming a psychology major. However, he found himself gravitating toward music classes, and eventually transferred to Berklee two years ago.
LIke-minded band members
In those two years, he has assembled a band of like-minded musicians to play his classic rock-tinged pop, and self-released a debut album, “Thoughts Upon a Window.” Now that it’s summer, Jacobs is looking to use his vacation from school to play anywhere and everywhere he can.
His next performance will be at The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio, on Saturday night with his full band, which these days features drummer Dorsey “Sky” Parker, bassist Apoena Frota and lead guitarist Jameison Ledonio. Trumpet and flugelhorn player Gary LiCalzi and saxophonist Robin Ward will be joining the band for this show, helping to re-create the full sound of his album.
Parker was Jacobs’ main collaborator on “Thoughts Upon a Window,” recorded last summer at the pool house at Jacobs’ home in Stamford, and LiCalzi and Ward also played on the album. However, the rest of the band has only come together in the past few months — Ledonio is currently filling in for Jacobs’ usual guitarist Andre Vasconcelos, who returned home to Brazil earlier this year, while Frota has been in the band since April.
“I’m just proud to be working with guys that learn this quickly,” Jacobs said. “I’ve never seen such sharp musicianship — well, I’ve seen it, but I haven’t gotten to work with it until now.”
At least two of the eight songs on “Thoughts Upon a Window” date back roughly four years, to his years at Trinity College. Back then, he had no real thoughts of pursuing music as a full-time career.
“I originally had the song ‘Thoughts Upon a Window,’ and ‘Heavy Load,’ ” he said. “Right before I left for Berklee, I wrote ‘Go for a Ride,’ which was, having not done well at Trinity, and the recovery from not knowing what to do with my life, in that song. After that, when I got to Berklee, I wrote a bunch more songs over the course of about a year. Then I met Dorsey at home over the summer, and he coaxed the songs out of me.”
Their collaboration began with a show last summer at a Relay for Life event in Stamford, opening for Parker’s son’s band. Parker gradually began writing drum parts to all of Jacobs’ songs, and was the one to suggest recording a short album.
“It was very inspired, in the moment,” Jacobs said. “I was so excited that he had come up with drum parts that I never would have thought of before, but it was still like he pulled them out of my own brain. They were what I would have written if I could have done it.”
Jacobs’ influences on the songs range from his longtime favorite, The Beatles, to other ’60s artists such as The Doors, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, to more modern indie rock fair including Radiohead, Coldplay and The Shins. But his heart remains in classic rock. “It’s funny — when I was young, I thought that I was basically born in the ’50s, somehow,” he said.
His time at Berklee has helped to both hone his skills and introduce him to other people from all aspects of the music industry, from his band mates to producers, engineers and business people. He admitted to being a bit overconfident when first enrolling at the school, though that didn’t last for long.
“When I first came into Berklee, I thought, ‘Man, I’m so much better; I’m gonna be such a great songwriter,’ ” he said. “After I was here for two or three months, I realized — Oh my God, I’m nobody. I was humbled very quickly.”
In between semesters, he is hoping to hit hard with his new band promoting the album. He has shows booked throughout New York state, including a gig next Wednesday at The National Underground in New York City. His next goal is to start playing in Boston.
“I played a couple shows in Boston with a different band, a different lineup,” he said. “But this is the real band for me; I want to get these guys for Boston.”
Categories: Life and Arts