4 Jax
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4 Jax

Republic, Missouri, United States

Republic, Missouri, United States
Band Pop Cover Band


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Simpson remains on quest to prove his powers"

For the most part, people have stopped asking Jake Simpson what it feels like to be a star.
That's fine. He says he wouldn't know anyway, and didn't know what to say to those who asked.
"I felt like saying, 'I'm no star — I did one thing,'" he says, referring to his big win on "Star Search" in February. "Trying to become a star — that takes your whole life. I'm still trying to discover if I've got what it takes to get there."
What it's going to take, among other things, are some great original songs. Simpson knows that.
So do Justin Ward, Donnie Inman and Bart Kelley, the musicians who along with Simpson make up 4 Jax. The band has drawn hundreds of Springfield fans by playing late '70s and early '80s cover tunes.
Then Simpson moved to New York to pursue a singing career, auditioned for "Star Search," and was catapulted into the national spotlight when he won $100,000 and a recording contract singing covers of '70s soul music.
Simpson has since moved to Hollywood and plays with the Jax whenever he returns to the area. The Jax perform Saturday for Southwest Missouri State University's homecoming. They'll play a short set after the football game, then a full concert at 7 p.m. in McDonald Arena. Call 836-7678 for tickets.
They won't just be playing their usual set, songs that were hits for The Police, Journey, Stevie Wonder and Dexy's Midnight Runners.
Instead the set will include original songs penned by songwriters Simpson has met in Tinsel Town, and by the four band members.
"The stuff he's come back with has been pretty impressive, and I've been pretty pleased with the stuff that we've been coming up with as a group," says Jax guitarist Ward.
Ward admits playing the new material is a bit of a risk in a city where their reputation has been built on other people's songs.
"It's a little nerve-racking, but I'm really excited to get it out there and see what the reaction is," he says.
I hope the reaction is a positive one, but that depends on the songs. It also depends on local fans' openness to new material from a group that has essentially played the same 25 songs for four years.
Anyone who's been to a Jax show knows the vast talent these guys possess. In a way, it's been a shame for them to waste it on music that is not their own. This is the next logical step.
Of course, fans will still get their dose of "Come on Eileen." Expect the second set to be mostly the '80s tunes that are the group's bread and butter.
"In Springfield, people are always going to expect us to play certain songs," Ward says, "and to neglect those people would be the wrong thing to do, because it's all about making people happy."
Whether those songs could help the Jax as a whole rise to stardom is still up in the air. Their skills and passion are unquestioned, but Simpson is living on the West Coast and the other three live here. Any major-label recording Simpson does in the near future is likely to include studio musicians backing him up.
He'll have to keep the ball rolling a while longer in order to build up the clout he needs to bring Ward, Inman and Kelley into the bigger picture. If he gets there, that's exactly what he'll do. His loyalty to his old friends is as undeniable as their talent.
Right now, however, Simpson is essentially back at square one, though he does have some assets in his favor. He has a high-profile agent in Ken Kragen (who guided Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie to stardom, among others). He has the exposure and the eight-song album afforded to him by his win on "Star Search."
But his contract with Sony was just for the one album and was really a contract with CBS more than a contract with Simpson.
The 28-year-old singer is trying to get Sony Records to pick up an option on the contract. In other words, he's trying to convince the label he's worthy of a shot at a real album.
"Star Search Winner: Jake Simpson" was well-produced and included five original songs, along with his three "Star Search" covers. But it wasn't an album that showcased Simpson's capabilities.
Simpson says he's happy with the songs he's already found, and wants his next album to say a little more about the world and about real life.
"Now is when the all the work starts," he says. "The last nine months have been a lot of fun mixed with a little bit of work. Now it's like, 'OK — time to prove yourself.' ... With the next record, that's what I really want to do."

- Springfield News-Leader

"Ozarks Native in Spotlight"

Could the next superstar the world's been searching for come from the Ozarks?

In the semi-finals of the star search competition Thursday night Crocker native Jake Simpson wowed judges, inching one step closer to sealing a record deal.

Fans, friends and members of his band The Four Jax watched him at the Springfield Brewing Company.

They were beside themselves with excitement. No one at the brewery watch party could stay in their seats when Jake showed the world what was going on, by singing the Marvin Gaye song "What's Going On?"

His friends say he never has an off night. And while he's living his dream, the men who usually sweat it out on stage with him had to sweat it out in Springfield.

Four jax drummer Bart Kelley says Jake is something special and deserves this shot at fame.

"His dream his whole life is to sing and make records and this will give him that chance," Kelley said.

Justin Ward plays guitar with Jake in the band. He says seeing his buddy rock Star Search is surreal.

"Watching him do a great job in front of millions.. this is the guy I had beef jerky fights with on road trips in Lake of the Ozarks... unbelievable."

Dozens of fans and friends piled in front of the big screen at the brewery... overjoyed with every note Jake nailed.

"When I saw him perform I had tears in my eyes," said fan Angie Curian. "I don't think I breathed he was the Jake we know and love and everybody got to see it."
Jake showed the judges he 'is' what's going on, and earned himself a perfect score bringing the judges to their feet. and at his stomping grounds in Springfield.

"Jake got up there and killed! A perfect score... it just speaks for itself," Justin said.

"It's like watching your best friend win the superbowl," Bart said.

Jake will compete in the finals next Thursday night on KOLR-10.

If he wins, he gets a record deal with Sony and a $100,000 dollars cash. The other band members say they are just cheering for Jake right now and they'll figure it all out later.
- Crocker Missouri Online


4 JAX Live @ The Springfield Brewing Company
Star Search Winner: Jake Simpson
Star Of Wonder (Popular Christmas Songs)
My Song - Jake Simpson's Solo Album



4 Jax

4 Jax began to take form in the fall of 1998. While performing in the funk band Clockwork, bassist Donnie Inman and guitarist Justin Ward were asked to find a replacement keyboardist. Inman had recommended keyboardist Jake Simpson, with whom he had jammed in an acid-jazz band. Jake arrived at the gig that weekend with “about 4 keyboards and a B-3”, recalls Ward. The vocalists in Clockwork were having a rough gig, and requested the rhythm section play an instrumental. Simpson announced he could “sing a little bit” and called out a Stevie Wonder tune. A little turned out to be a lot as Simpson blew the roof off the club with his unique style and incredible range. The addition of Simpson instantly made the group a huge draw in the Midwest.

In October of ’98, management at Springfield Brewing Company approached Inman. They were looking for a Band to fill Wednesday nights. Donnie approached Ward, Simpson, and their original drummer if they were interested. “We had always talked about the concept of an ‘80’s band. So now we had an excuse to check it out.” After 2 weeks of intense rehearsal, 4 Jacks and a Jill made their debut performance. “Our original name was in homage to Spinal Tap. The role of Jill was played by an inflatable sex doll mounted on a mic stand,” recalls Ward. “I figured we would make some extra money for Christmas and get fired”. Lines around the block started forming a few weeks later, and the group shortened its name to 4 Jax. “The sex doll had a hole punched in it, and I didn’t want to by another one”, said Inman. For the next two years, the group completely dominated Springfield, MO and most of Southwest Missouri with catchy tunes and stellar musicianship. The ensemble was made stronger with the addition of drummer Bart Kelley in 2000.

The band decided to call it quits in 2001, playing their farewell show in June. The breakup did not last long. The 4 Jax began playing shows again in November. Even though Simpson lived in New York City and Inman lived in St. Louis, the group played a full schedule through the beginning of 2003.

The Big Break:
Singer Jake Simpson was chosen to be a part of the revived talent show ‘Star Search” in February of 2003, and won the Best Adult Male Vocal category. A self-titled solo album released on Sony records followed his victory. Several high-profile gigs for Simpson and the rest of the Jax followed. A highlight was returning to Springfield and performing at SMSU (now Missouri State University), the group’s alma mater. They were also Grand Marshals of the Homecoming Parade. Simpson went on to another Star Search win at the end of 2004.

The 4 Jax took another extended hiatus at the end of 2005 to persue other personal and professional avenues. Jake toured with Jim Brickman and performed solo gigs in the LA area. Bart joined the Mark Chapman Band, who released a live CD in 2007. Donnie became a “gun for hire”, playing with some of the top acts in the St. Louis area. Justin joined Lost Highway, one of Southwest Missouri’s most popular acts.

In the spring of 2008, the Jax were back again! A reunion show at the Springfield Brewing Co. (where it all had begun) was a huge success. “We still have it”, said guitarist Ward. “The crowds were amazing and the band never sounded better”. The excitement and success of the show prompted the 4 Jax to reform again. Bart Kelley put it best, “We are back and better than ever!”

4 Jax are currently booking for 2012 so check the schedule and come out and see one of the best four piece bands in the land!

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