I am a resident of Scottdale, husband to a working wife and proud parent to a Museum School kindergartner. My wife works evenings during the week so I’m left in charge of our beautiful 6-year-old girl. I often rush out of work to get my daughter to her swim class at the Agnes Scott pool or to pick her up from ballet class, drop her off at play dates, soccer practice, the playground and let’s not forget the weekly outing to Leapin' Lizards, I’m sure you know the drill. It can all get a little hectic.
The thing that keeps me sane aside from having the most wonderful child ever is that I am in a rock band. Once a week in the room above my garage the amps go up to 11 because daddy has to rock.
The band is a power trio. Fellow Museum School parent, soccer coach and lawyer Patrick O’Conner plays drums; animal lover, business researcher and proud Prius owner Robert Blondeau plays guitar and as they say in the movie "I Love You, Man," “I Slappa da bass.” If you haven’t seen the movie I play the bass guitar while pretending I’m Geddy Lee of Rush.
We are not professional musicians by any means and we have the day jobs to prove it. We do however have a healthy respect for the music. We are an all-original band with Robert and I sharing the vocal duties and the song writing. We are called Jackwagon and we play local clubs and festivals like Smith’s Olde Bar which we are playing again on April 29th and the Avondale Estates Art-b-Que which we played last year and hope to play again this year. We play a kind of a blues based rock with a little punk, jam band, alternative and grunge mixed together to for the sonic concoction that is Jackwagon.
My daughter just calls it daddy rock.
I bet you’re wondering where we got the name Jackwagon, well when you’re locked in the death spiral that is choosing a band name it’s usually the name that offers the least resistance. I’m sure you’ve seen the series of Geico insurance commercials were a man in a suit asks the question “Can switching to Geico save you 15% or more on car insurance?” then he gives the answer in the form of another question, questions like “is Ed Too-Tall Jones too tall?” or “Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?” Then there is a short skit depicting the answer, which is always “yes” and is usually funny.
My personal favorite of these commercials features retired US Marine Corps drill sergeant and actor Ronald Lee Ermey. You might remember him as Sergeant Hartman in the movie "Full Metal Jacket." The commercial asks the question “Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist?" The scene begins with a man on a therapist couch staring at the ceiling talking about his problems as the therapist take notes, the man finishes a sentence "... and that’s why yellow makes me sad I think.”
Then the therapist says “that’s interesting, you know what makes me sad?”…. and in a full-on Drill Instructor bark he says, “You do! Maybe we should chug on over to mambie pambie land where maybe we can find some self confidence for you, you jackwagon!”
The first time I saw this commercial I remember thinking to myself “What did he call him?” A Jackwagon! What a great word and what a great band name. I pitched it to the guys and nobody loved it but nobody hated it either and that was something. We decided to go with it till we thought up something better and a year and a half later we are still Jackwagon.
“What does that mean?” was the question I most encountered while telling people my band's name and me saying, “It’s from that commercial," seem an incomplete answer. Clearly this was going to require some research, the more I found out about the word “jackwagon” the more I like it and as it turned out the word had a rich history and the commercial had given the word a bit of a resurgence. I am by no means an expert on etymology but this word had a story and I love a good story.
As I understand it the word goes back to the wagon trail days. The last wagon on the trail was usually the slowest and dirtiest and usually pulled by a mule. A female mule is called a Jenny and a male mule is called a Jack, so a wagon pulled by a female mule was called a jennywagon and a wagon pulled by a male was called a jackwagon. The cowboys on the trail started using the term jackwagon as an insult on one another in reference to someone who was moving slowly and not doing things right. They would say, “Get moving, you jackwagon!” Now what does any of this have to do with Rock and Roll? Absolutely nothing. We just needed a band name.
Come out and see us play.
Saturday March 31st
Saturday April 21st
Sunday April 29th
Sunday May 6th