Interview With Buddha From Shackle Jack
Holland, Michigan's SHACKLE JACK is everything that you want in a straight ahead metal band. They seem to understand how to keep it heavy but melodic and even have a 70's throwback sound going for them, yet still managing the heavy handed skull-crush of PANTERA or BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. They have a new full-length album out, "Jack In Irons", available online and in select West Michigan Stores. The band is made up of Eric 'Buddha' Evenhouse on vocals/guitar, Jesse Davis on bass/backup vocals, Justin Glover on drums and Dustin Rae on lead guitar. They are loaded up with many live show dates throughout the remainder of the summer and seem to seriously have things rockin in the right direction for them. I broke out my trusty formula of questions for their extremely engaging front man, Buddha.
Rocket: Are you originally from Holland, Michigan?
Eric: Nope. I was born and raised in the Detroit area until I was about 12. Then we moved out to Phoenix and I lived there for about 6 years. Came back to Michigan to go to school, then I dropped out and went to San Diego to play in a punk band called Bad Mamajamma. But we sucked bigtime so I bailed after a year, finished school and landed in Holland Michigan. But it’s kick-ass out here. Lake Michigan is my playground.
Rocket: You can't beat that. So when did you start singing?
Eric: I started singing when I was about 10 or so, but I was just singing along with the radio and didn’t take it seriously. But when I hit high school I realized that chick’s dig lead singers, so I started focusing on it.
Rocket: Have you taken any formal lessons?
Eric: No lessons for me. I learned from my idols…just singing along in the car trying to imitate them. Then later, I stopped trying to imitate and just started singing what came naturally and that’s what you’ll hear in Shackle Jack.
Rocket: Who would you say are your three biggest singing influences from past or present?
Eric: My three biggest influences as far as actual vocals are Scott Weiland from STP and Velvet Revolver, Brad Nowell of Sublime and Neil Fallon of Clutch. Those guys all just have (or had in Brad’s case) a mastery to their own specific vocal styles. As far as the lyrics go, Scott and Neil are both great writers. They always have something interesting to say and know how to tell the tale from start to finish in a way that I admire. Junior Brown was also a big influence on my writing believe it or not. He’s clever with the way he words things and he’s always using double meanings that get the mind working. Other influences would include Henry Rollins, Lynn Strait of Snot and Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies.
Rocket: I know you handle the guitar as well. How long have you been playing?
Eric: I’ve been playing guitar for about 13 years, but I really don’t consider myself a guitar player. Dustin, our lead axeman, is a REAL guitar player. I just try to keep up.
Rocket: Yeah, Dustin is very talented. I look forward to interviewing him for sure.What kind of guitars do you play on stage and in the studio?
Eric: I keep it simple with a Gibson Les Paul with a Seymour Duncan pickup. She’s been with me a long time and when I play something else, I feel like I’m cheating on her.
Rocket: What kind of amp rig?
Eric: I use a Peavey 5150 head and halfstack. It’s a really reliable rig with some big nuts to back it.
Rocket: What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on stage?
Eric: Probably the same as most other metal singers…got shitfaced and fell off the stage! It was when we were first starting out so luckily there weren’t many people there to witness it! I kept singing through it though…gotta keep it moving right?
Rocket: Hell yeah or you're in real trouble. Haha. Tell me, what's your favorite metal album so far for 2006?
Eric: It would have to be Rebel Meets Rebel. DAC and the CFH??? You can’t beat that shit.
Rocket: Well said, brother. Man, that is a killer sounding album. Now Shackle Jack seems to have a killer following developing on MySpace. Do you take time to answer all of your fan mail?
Eric: Absolutely. We’re pumped every time we hear from a new fan and we love to hear what they think whether good or bad. It lets us know what we’re doing right and what they want to hear in the future. They are our energy force.
Rocket: Who are some of the other local bands on the Michigan metal scene that you are impressed with?
Eric: The best band we’ve had the honor of jamming with is no doubt the Soldiers of Scrape. Those dudes throw down and are true artists. Another West Michigan band that I’m in to is Hillbilly Nightmare. They have a great sound and really put on a show.
Rocket: Yeah, I must say that I am pretty damn honored to be managing Soldiers. Mick's about as good as they get, musically and business-wise. What are some of the upcoming Shackle Jack shows we need to watchout for?
Eric: Our next show is August 12 at The Rocker in Grand Rapids. That’ll be cool, it’s our first time there so we always have fun on a new stage. After that is the Carnival of Chaos on August 18. That’s a killer two day outdoor event. There are a million great bands, some suspensions shows, free camping and a wet T-shirt contest….it doesn’t get better than that. Check out our myspace page for a complete list of our upcoming shows. The URL is www.myspace.com/shacklejack.
Rocket: Right on. Listen, thanks so much for doing the interview. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Eric: Angie, Britt and Arlo of Third Wheel Management. They are our biggest supporters by far. They’ve been with us from the start and they rarely miss a show, even if they have to drive 3 hours there and back in the same night. Tammy from RockTheMadhouse.com. She is always throwing our name around and has helped us book some great shows. Most of our support comes from our friends and family though. They always come to the shows and bring a crew of drinkers with them. So Cheers to them. I also just wanted to let you all know that our new album is now available online at http://cdbaby.com/cd/shacklejack. Thanks!
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