Raw Nerves – Jack the Stripper
Written By: Saúl A. Zavarce
Their rituals begin in the morning, restringing bass guitars, tapping rubber drum pads. One will run an early morning half marathon and another will isolate himself in a booth to warm up his voice and ready his mind.
At exactly 4.45 Jack the Stripper take to the stage like an epileptic surgeon with a rusty scalpel eviscerating the space around them with kicks and lunges of guitar heads. Seemingly wild and erratic the performance is amplified by the throwing of guitars and a complete disregard for the personal space of each performer. They sound like a cacophony of rotting tones, distorted by a morbid and intriguing pleasurable pain, like picking at a scab to see what is underneath.
To the average onlooker, Jack the Stripper would seem to be no more than a group of men screaming into microphones and throwing around their instruments. Cuts, bruises, blood and broken bones are all common occurrences in this botched musical surgery. But to the kids in the show and to the jealous yet inspired audience of fellow performers the message is very clear, there is nothing unintentional about their performance.
Jack the Stripper come across as four incredibly violent individuals with anger problems. Off stage they are certified menaces, individually however their double life as heavy metal monsters is not immediately apparent.
Jack the Stripper is made up of four individuals. Luke Frizon sings and is a personal trainer, on guitar is Julian Renzo who owns and runs Legion Studio Productions in Williamstown. Abe Miller plays bass and manages a phone store while on drums is Shane O’Brien, a session drummer currently also playing in I Killed The Prom Queen, previously in bands Confession and Buried in Verona.
Sitting down with just Luke and Julian you can instantly recognise how humble they are as individuals in spite of the acclaim their musical endeavours have brought them. But together as a band they are devils of the touring scene.
“We probably have more fun together than we ever do separately, I know I do any way. The dynamic is pretty funny, one guy might get picked on for bit, then it might rotate onto another guy, there’s a lot of outlandish fun stuff” says Julian.
Upon being asked for specific examples they’re both clearly quite embarrassed at the question, ashamedly looking at each other.
“I guess the last time we set fire to some things… In the hotel room… Just crazy drunken stuff, always pranks on other bands, often horrible stuff,” says Julian.
“The ones that haunt you in your sleep,” replied Luke, both clearly still somewhat ashamed at the way their fun appears in hindsight, sharing a laugh at a memory neither seems to want to openly revisit.
There is more than alcohol fuelled fun. The secret behind the band’s performances rests in their structured regime of practice, personal fitness and artistic focus.
“It’s very regimented and scheduled once it comes to a show. The rehearsals are the most structured that I have seen while playing in bands in the last 10 years,” says Luke.
The individuals practice at home alone, group rehearsal consists of a quick set up of 10 minutes and one run through of the set.
“In a live performance you’re not going to get time to adjust to the room,” explains Julian.
In the lead up to the writing and recording of their second album Raw Nerve, Luke built an isolation booth to write vocals in. This personal space of isolation proved not only to be a musical asset but a personal space of expression.
“After Luke built his isolation booth, it was one of the few times that I was able to record vocal take from start to finish, and that was the take. It was an amazing advantage for keeping the spirit of the aggression and expression of legitimate feelings, as opposed to just trying to get a sound out,” says Julian.
“The music is the only true source of catharsis I’ve felt in my life. As a result it’s highly aggressive,” Luke explains “I put a lot into the words that I am writing down. I understand that for some bands it is a way to have fun, reference their favourite horror movies, but for me it’s not really that at all.”
Personal expression and musical release is what Jack the Stripper gets out of its violent performances. To some they are purposelessly violent performers, but to anyone who can relate to their music, the message is clear: They are self surgeons, purging out the negativity of their lives through artistic expression, with rusty scalpels, picking at their scabs to release what is underneath.
Jack the Stripper release their second studio album Raw Nerve 23.09.2013
For more information and music visit https://www.facebook.com/jtsmusic
About Saúl A. ZavarceVenezuelan-Australian journalist and international relations academic.
Saúl is a Venezuelan born, Australian human rights advocate.
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