VISUAL TALES: Hi Jack! Thank you so much for spending a day doing the shoot for us. It was great that you brought along your guitar. Which is a great place to start our chat. Tell us how your love of music began and memories of you learning how to play this legendary instrument.
JACK WEST: Thank u for having me. Growing up in Rochester, New York, there were always toy instruments throughout our house, whether it be drums or pianos, guitars, etc. and when I was 7, my parents bought me a real guitar from a garage sale. I started learning my favorite songs on the guitar from that young age and it just slowly progressed from there. YouTube helped me a lot to learn as well.
VT: How many guitars do you own?
JW: I have like 7 guitars but I only use like 2, mainly my acoustic Martin and yellow Telecaster.
VT: Do you remember the first concert you went to that really made an impression on you where you would go, I want to be up there performing for a crowd?
JW: Well, I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2016 and got the chance to meet them. So as a young kid, I was definitely inspired by that concert, thinking “Yeah, I could do that one day in a big arena like this!”
VT: Do you recall your first gig? We read that you once performed with Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam live on stage?
JW: My first show on stage wasn’t too impactful for me cause I had been doing open mic nights prior to that. The thing that really changed things for me was when I ran into Eddie Vedder on the street in Nashville and asked him if I could sing with him that evening. The stars must have aligned that time for me cause for some reason he said “Yes!”. Later that night, I got to practice with him backstage, followed by singing on stage with him that night in front of 30,000. Definitely was the moment in my life where I knew 100% music was what I wanted to do.
VT: What are some key albums in your essential listening lists? Where do get your musical inspiration from in terms of songwriting? Are most from personal experiences?
JW: Some impactful albums are “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk; “Torches” by Foster The People; “Rolling Papers” by Wiz Khalifa and “The Getaway” by the Chili Peppers. These 4 albums are the soundtrack of the last 5 years of my life. Hearing what they have to write about in their music inspires me greatly to also write about personal experiences.
VT: For new listeners who aren’t familiar with your music, how would u describe your sound?
JW: Hmmm…It’s a weird combination. Cause there’s one side of my music that’s got an electric/electronic sound to it, on the other hand, it’s infused with a Jack White style guitar with punk rock power chords. It’s quite an odd mix. At heart, I’d say I’m a rock artist, who likes playing with different sounds and genres.
VT: You recently graduated from high school, Victor Central Schools, which prompted you to make a video shoot and release a one-off remake track of Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me). Share with us why u chose that song as a remake and shot the scene-by-scene remake of the classic John Hughes film.
JW: Last October director Clay Patrick McBride and I discussed shooting some sort of music video, we didn’t know what for until I suggested the idea of recording a version of “Don’t You (Forget About Me) and sort of recreating key scenes from the John Hughes’ classic film, Breakfast Club in my hometown high school. At the end of the video, we did a scene of my band and I performing the song live to the senior class all up in there in caps and gowns which was quite special. Props to my principal, Brian Siesto for coinciding with me and the director for almost a year up to the shoot.
VT: You are about to go on tour and have plans to release some new music. Can u tell us what’s in store coming up?
JW: Yes, I have about 8 or 9 songs in the can that I have been writing for almost two years now. Honestly, I took some time away from recording this year after the release of my last album NUMB, but do plan on finishing up these songs by the end of the summer. I’m really into producing and recording my music myself, but I think with this upcoming project, I want to find some like-minded individuals who can help me make them the best that they can be.
VT: What’s your view of the music industry as a whole? The way music is being presented these days is so different than the days of Pearl Jam or Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Does it make it easier or more challenging for indie artists like yourself?
JW: It’s changed a lot with the fact that there’s TikTok and Instagram and people are going viral every day. It’s honestly easier than ever to become successful as a musician. But people often think because people go viral overnight that you don’t have to put any work into your craft. It still takes someone who is driven and creative to be successful.
VT: You are also dabbling into the world of modeling. How did that come about?
JW: I was staying at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood back in early 2022 for a show at the Viper Room. When Kelly Cutrone came up to me in the hotel lobby and asked me if I was a model. Fast forward a few months later and she hooked me up with an agent by the name of Greg Chan. Through Greg, he has connected me to One Management which I’ve since signed to. It’s honestly been a string of connections that’s led me to modeling.
VT: If you had to choose some brands for your stage fits, which brand would you choose and why?
JW: I really like Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Dior Men, and new designers like Jkeefer that I'm wearing in this photoshoot. I know it’s stereotypical but I am into the shoes, chains, and crew necks. Oh, and I LOVE Supreme. Onstage, I usually like to wear black jeans, high-top sneakers, a crew neck, or a black bomber jacket. It’s not so much about brands, as long as they are comfortable and make it easy for me to perform.
VT: If you can choose a recording artist (past or present) you can jam with, who would it be and why did you choose this artist?
JW: Josh Klinghoffer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He played guitar after John Frusciante, who originally left the group in 2006. Even though Josh has only played on 2 of the band’s albums, I’ve seen him live and love his style of playing. Since then, I’ve followed him extensively and his solo career. He is a great guy overall. I would love to work in the studio with him one day.
VT: Which song best encapsulated Jack West?
JW: “Finer” or “Forever”
VT: For young hopefuls who want to follow your path to be a recording artist, what advice would u give them, knowing what u know now?
JW: Play and write the music that you want and make sure nobody out there tries to change your vision. Although “tweaking” is good.
VT: If somebody asks you to come up with a song that best describes how you are at this stage of your life. What style of music would it be and what the song title would be?
JW: Good question. Probably “Work hard, play harder” and it would be punk rock style!
Recording Artist/Model – Jack West