Havoc Jack
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Havoc Jack

Band Rock Alternative


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Still working on that hot first release.



The origins of Havoc Jack lie within the weary walls of the music school at Penn State University. In a spring 2008 chance encounter through Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national music fraternity, Pete Macartney and Joe Engers laid the foundations for what would become their greatest musical endeavor. The convergence of the duo lead to a number of jam sessions, which concluded with three finished songs: “Time,” “Love Songs,” and “Well Anyway.” Those songs were performed at the end of that semester for the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha’s Alpha Zeta chapter. The positive reception of the songs solidified Macartney’s and Engers’s transcendence from Rachmaninoff to Rock and Roll.

Macartney and Engers reunited at the onset of the fall semester of that year, and they had written and—for the first time—recorded the song “Almost,” by the end of the second week in September. They began to write and record a song nearly every Tuesday and Thursday for a month as well as recording the 3 songs from the prior semester. As the material disseminated through their circle of friends, their success and drive gained momentum. The two named the group “Havoc Jack” as a combination of their fraternity nicknames, and they began to play at open mic nights both on and off of Penn State’s campus. Finally, toward the end of the semester, Drew Bastian was recruited on drums after hearing the duo’s music and coming forward. They concluded the semester and year with a performance in a basement show. The success had a profound effect on the group, and it set the path for the next semester. Before going on break, the trio recruited Tony Hemming, having formerly played with Engers, to play bass for the gigs they were lining up for the spring.

On January 31, 2009, the full band played their first show at the Phi Rho chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity to a packed house. They continued to play at events ranging from Penn State’s Founder’s Day celebration to benefit concerts for organizations including Relay for Life. Even through the summer they continued to play sporadic graduation parties and other celebrations. The next semester, artistic differences paved the way for Cale Plute to replace Hemming on bass, and the group has continued to grow since. Notable performances after the switch include Penn State’s Homecoming celebration and a benefit concert for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They are in the midst of self-producing higher-quality demos than they could in 2008 to get their music out to more professional recipients, ranging from festivals to producers.

Each member of Havoc Jack has an eclectic taste in music that differs from the other members’ preferences in music just as significantly as their tastes overlap. Engers’s most prominent influences include: The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Weezer, The Mars Volta, The Decemberists, and We Are Scientists. Macartney’s most prominent influences include: Fall Out Boy, Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora, and Tim Reynolds.

Havoc Jack’s music parallels particular aspects of bands including: Fall Out Boy, Incubus, OK Go, Rooney, and Weezer.