Enjoy Jagged Row:
1. I'd like to start by asking how you came up with Jagged Row? It invokes a certain jaded feeling. Did something happen in your lives that made you come up with the name?
We actually came up with Jagged Row from a previous band name! Originally I (Jaci) was a solo artist singing and writing a pop-style of music, and the guys became a back-up band for me. Chad, (the rhythm guitarist at the time...now our bass player) suggested they be called "Those Guys". We thought it sounded kind of catchy, so when people asked, we were "Jaci Butler and Those Guys". Only a few months after we got together though, we decided we'd start to write together. Matt, (the lead guitarist) and I wrote one song and we instantly realized we had good chemistry! We wanted to become a band and write more music together. We shortened the name to Jaci & Those Guys so it sounded more like a band, but people still kept thinking we were a solo artist! We had to come up with another name. It took us nearly a year to come up with a name we actually liked. During that time we started writing heavier music that the guys liked to play and I fell in love with singing rock music! We went through hundreds of names and even gave up for awhile and decided to stick with Jaci & Those Guys to release our first album under. Just a little while after the release, we got to thinking more about names. Chad suggested we just go by JAG, a acronym for "Jaci And Guys". The military already had that though. I suggested Jagged, but too many bands all over the Internet had taken that. We needed something fresh! We kept the Jagged and thought about where we were all from: Rowlett, Royse City, and Rockwall. Those three cities are "the three Rs" of our area. Jagged Row was born! :)
2. It's nice to hear a full four piece band with a talented female singer. Did your band always have five people? Or did it begin with only a few?
Thank you! Yes, Jagged Row has always had five people. There's Trevor Quiett, our drummer, Chad Ragsdale, our bassist, Matt Venhaus is our first lead guitarist, and Chris Lee is basically a second lead guitarist. We've always felt that with the music we play, it just wouldn't be as full sounding with out that second guitar part! I sing lead and Matt and Chad sing back-up.
3. Jaci, this question is for you. On stage you seem pretty comfortable. When did you first sing in front of a group?
Ah, I love this question! When people ask me this, I always tell them, "Since I could talk!" and that answer is the full truth! I used to stand up on the kitchen table at family gatherings and sing my heart out! The first time I actually performed in front of a crowd besides my family, was my elementary school talent show in first grade. I sang "Sweet Nothin's". I have always loved the spotlight and singing is my passion. Always has been, always will be. Being onstage is the most incredible feeling in the world! I've never wanted to do anything else in life but perform and I plan to do that the rest of my life as the lead singer of Jagged Row! :)
Wow! That's a hard question to answer. We'd have to say the State Fair of Texas this past year. On October 14th, 2011 we got to open for Finger Eleven on the Chevrolet Main Stage. It's probably our best show to date. There were around a thousand people just at the stage and even more walking around the whole fair. We got to play a set earlier in the evening then another one after dark. We remember so vividly right before we walked up the stairs and onto that stage hearing the whole crowd chant our name before that second set! The rush and feeling of that was mind-blowing! We got up on that stage and played and sang and performed our hearts out! By the end of the show people had thrown up notes and lucky bracelets, etc. that they wanted us to have! One of the notes read, "To Jagged Row, I love you! <3 Alvie!" (I have it stuck to my bedroom mirror still! -Jaci) After our set was over, and we played the last note, the crowd immediately started chanting to have us back. We threw picks and sticks and towels out to the crowd and had to apologize for not being able to play another song. (It was in our contract to stop at a certain time.) The best part about it was that the security guards backstage told us, "We've been working this fair for 25 years, and have never heard an encore for a band!" That night was the most adrenaline rushed, exhilarating show we've ever gotten to play! We just hope for many more in the near future!
5. Did you ever think you'd have such a track record after only a couple of years as a band?
We knew when we started this band that we wanted to take it all the way to the top. Did we think after only a few years, we'd be this far along? No. Are we happy we are? Yes! It's been a lot of hard work and there is just more to come but we're ready for it! :)
6. "Meant To Be" has such beautiful vocals and longing lyrics. Tell me, what heartache provoked these words?
I'm going to take this question! (Jaci) Matt wrote the music for this song and when I heard it for the first time, I fell in love. I knew this song needed passionate, strong lyrics. Trevor had just brought a poem to me that he had written. A line in it was "The distant thunder sings a quiet song to me...as my eyes close, I'm engulfed in a storm of dreams". Matt had originally envisioned there being rain at the beginning of this song since. I knew from the moment I read that poem, these words had to go in it. I took these lines of the poem and wrapped lyrics around it I had written. I based my lyrics off the words I was so mesmerized by in Trevor's poem. This was at a time early on when we first really grasped the fact that we all wanted the same goals, the same dreams, and we all wanted to accomplish them together. This song made me think of that. I knew that all of this was meant to be! Words just started flowing and the song became what it is today. I changed the words to "The distant thunder sings a quiet song to me and as my eyes close I'm engulfed with the fact, that this is meant to be". The bridge sings, "Lost in a storm of dreams, searching for anything". Storm of Dreams became the name of our debut album.
7. Your band reminds me of Flyleaf in their more lighter waves. Were they an inspiration for you?
We love Flyleaf! We've always liked that they were a hard rockin' band with female vocals fronting them. They were an inspiration to us in a way. Like you mentioned, in their more lighter waves. Jaci doesn't scream, but we do have a few songs where one of us screams along with Jaci's vocals. Bands like Flyleaf, Evanescence, and Paramore are wonderful and we'd love to be where they are at one day!
8. The band has so much presence behind it, a full sound that dominates the ear. Have you ever been told to tune it down during practice?
Haha, thank you Virgil! We actually practice at Jaci's house. The living room over there is our "rehearsal hall". Luckily, her house is in a neighborhood where the houses are pretty far spread, so that the neighbors don't complain. Although, the neighbors next door to her had a son that played the trumpet and the neighbors across from her had a drummer for a son, so no one really says anything about it! Jaci does have to sometimes ask us to turn down our amps though! We get a little loud every now in then! Hahaha
9. That's Great! (Laughs) I'm noticed you take great pride in writing the lyrics for your songs. Is it a collaborative effort, letting the whole band in on the feel of each song?
We do. What usually happens with the way we write, is Matt will bring us a song he's been working on and has recorded the music for in his home studio. Jaci starts working on the lyrics. When we start working on it, Trevor might put his touch on the drums, Chad will do the same for the bass and so on. Like we said though, Matt usually starts the ball rolling by bringing a song that he's already started arranging. When working on new music, we all throw out ideas and see which works best. We all have a really good chemistry together and usually can bounce our ideas off of one another. It's definitely a full collaborative effort.
10. Five years from now, who do you see yourselves touring with? Or should I say, touring with you.
We love this question! Well, five years from now we definitely hope to see ourselves at the Grammy Awards! ;) We'd love to be touring with bands such as Bon Jovi, No Doubt, Maroon 5, Foo Fighters and so on! We'd definitely like to be as successful as those bands for sure! We have fellow bands around the same level as we are from around the same area as we are as well! We'd love for them to go to the top with us and get to tour with them. Bands including The Lasting Effect, Crel, and This City Awaits!
If you'd like to buy Jagged Row's music, visit these sites:
Their music is also music is available on itunes and most music download sites!
I hope you enjoyed this candid interview. There will be more of Jagged Row in the coming months. So make sure to follow the blog using the link below.
This interview brought to you be Virgil Allen Moore, author of Demon Vampire, SSR 1192, Diffinity, and many other stories to come.
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Virgil Allen Moore