Jackson’s simple roots grow big


From left to right, Julian Ness, Tyler Miller, Jade Jackson, and Jake Vukovich perform at Temblor Brewing Company on Feb. 23. Leo Garcia/The Runner

Vincent Perez, Features Editor

The ferment of IPA beer and country with a twist of rock guitar filled the back room inside Temblor Brewing Co. on Feb. 23. It was Jade Jackson and her bandmates who played their catchy country/Americana tunes to beer-swilling fans.

Jackson played songs off her Anti label debut, “Gilded,” and new songs from her forthcoming sophomore record, “Wilderness.”

She debuted the title track as well as her ode to a personal experience, titled “Tonight.” Jackson sang “Boys like you make me want to spend nights alone,” baring her soul in Temblor on “Tonight.”

She said between songs that her producer, Mike Ness of Social Distortion, pleaded with her to be more honest and more personal in her song-writing.

Although the crowd was smaller than their first time in Bakersfield, Jackson took her time to thank the crowd. She said during her set that the Temblor crowd was more polite than other cities that served patrons beer. Jackson previously played in Bakersfield at The Crystal Palace in December 2017, as an opening act.

This is where California-based Jackson, 27, wants to be: On stage sharing her soul.

Gig Life
She recently shared in a telephone interview, “Being able to connect with people [on stage] and have people listen to them is worth it to me,” said Jackson on her first-headlining tour.

“It’s challenging but I don’t find it hard; It’s the lifestyle I chose.” She said that the biggest challenge is cramming five guys and herself in one hotel room. Yet, she sees the bright side of touring.
Jackson said she feels blessed to be on tour with her closest friends.

For the past five years Jackson has been on the road touring, three as a solo act. It’s her origin that propelled her to start writing music.

Jade Jackson plays at Temblor Brewing Company on Feb. 23.
Leo Garcia/The Runner

She said that her parents did not have a TV or Internet growing up in Santa Margarita, a town of approximately 1,200, which is about two and half hours north of San Luis Obispo.
“It was pretty boring but that’s what pushed me into music,” said Jackson.

That type of environment and her father, Jeff, molded Jackson.

“The record player at home was where I hung out. My dad is a big fan of old country and punk,” said Jackson.

She said Buck Owens, The Smiths, Dwight Yoakam, and Echo & The Bunnymen were all featured in her childhood home.
Jackson named Merle Haggard, Yoakam and Hank Williams as her musical idols.

Jackson, at 13, began playing and writing songs on guitar. She debuted at 13 in a local coffee shop in Santa Margarita.

“I’d pick the guitar off the wall every Sunday and play for my family,” said Jackson.

She said in 2005 that a local musician saw her play and he offered an opening slot to her.

She graduated from the California Institute of Arts in 2015. Before that, for 14 years at her parent’s restaurant in Santa Margarita, she hosted, waited tables, and washed dishes.

Originally, Jackson planned on interning at a production company after graduation, but Mike listened to Jackson’s demo through his wife, leading to Jackson’s label signing.

Mentored by A Rock Idol
Mike, of legendary punk band Social Distortion, planned to shop Jackson’s demo around but not before giving first dibs to Epitaph Records president, Brett Gurewitz, a punk rock innovator and original guitarist of Los Angeles-based Bad Religion.

“A couple days later they called to sign me,” she said about signing to Anti under the Epitaph umbrella.

“It’s a family label. Nothing is corporate. People there treat you like a person, not a product,” said Jackson.

To have Mike as a mentor is a dream come true to Jackson. “It still is. He’s such an incredible human,” said Jackson. She added that Mike calls to check up on her.
Social Distortion has been signed with Epitaph since 2010.

The stage has gotten bigger for Jackson, but she’s glad she has financial support.

“We might not be making a lot but at least it’s not coming out of my pocket,” said Jackson. She enjoyed playing on CBS This Morning in August 2017, and throughout Europe in 2018.

Jade Jackson performs inside Temblor Brewing Company on Feb. 23. Behind her is the newest member, Julian Ness, on lead guitar.
Leo Garcia/The Runner

Jackson Strikes Oil with Guitarist
In only his second show with the band, Julian Ness, son of Mike, is becoming an essential part of Jackson’s presence on stage. His solos and riffs made the small back room of Temblor feel like a large rock venue.

Ness and Jackson’s families are familiar with each other, being friendly for years.

“Jade and I have known each other since we were babies,” said Ness.
“I’m loving it. It’s a super good project that I’m a part of,” said Ness after the show at Temblor.

“It’s out of my comfort zone. So, there is a transition period and I’m having a really good time,” added Ness.

Ness previously played live with his father, Mike, in punk rock icons Social Distortion. Ness also lent his talents to fellow punks bands Duane Peters and the Hunns, The Breakdowns and The Dead Relatives.

Ness said that his dad, Mike, saw the talent in Jackson from her demo and her songwriting ability. Thus, Mike mentored Jackson and produced her debut.

Ness was introduced as new lead guitarist via the band’s Instagram four days earlier. Andrew Redel was the previous lead guitarist. He recorded guitar, piano and mandolin on “Gilded.”

Fan Experience
Brandon Erikson, 26, was a fan of Jade’s prior to the show and even bought a record at the merchandise table. He said he discovered her online.
“Spotify. Actually, that’s bullshit. It was on YouTube,” he said.

“I typed in ‘Mike Ness’ to see if there was any interviews with him and a promotion for ‘Gilded’ popped up.”

He added about Jackson, “I was definitely impressed. I liked what I heard.”
“I listened to the album so many times; It was better live.”

Jade Jackson’s tour rolls through Phoenix, Arizona, on March 3, followed by dates in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico, before circling back to California on March 27 in San Diego.
Jackson’s music can be found on Spotify, Pandora, Bandcamp and YouTube.