Jackson Pain
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Jackson Pain

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"Speakeasy with Jeff Lawson of Jackson Pain"

Speakeasy with Jeff Lawson of Jackson Pain

by Danica Johnson

Local rock band Jackson Pain will be playing the Battle of the Bands at the Patio on May 25 and will be “hopefully” releasing an EP later this summer.

Q: How is Jackson Pain best described?

A: We’re an indie rock band with a horn section, but that doesn’t really say anything besides the fact we have a horn section. I guess if you took Coldplay and Doves, and mixed in a bit of Ben Folds, you’d have a really kick-ass band. If there was a tribute band for that band, that’d be us.

Q: Do you get many who are skeptical about horns with their indie rock?

A: Actually, I’d say the opposite is true. Most people seem to be pretty into the fact that we have horns. They’re not always quite sure where we’re going with it before we hit the stage, but I think most people enjoy it.

Q: Influences?

A: Coldplay, Travis, Doves, Oasis are our standard listing of influences, but I don’t really think we sound like any of those bands. When we first started out we got put/put ourselves into the “Brit pop” category, but we really don’t fit in there, plus we’re not British.

Q: What do you do to combat getting too close to the line of your influences when writing?

A: We really don’t think about stuff like that when we’re writing. Sometimes we’ll take concepts, or rhythms, or chords that we really like and try to make them our own, but I don’t think there’s a single song we play that someone can point to and say, “That sounds just like that one song by that one band.”

Q: How are you guys feeling about your Battle of the Bands chances?

A: This year’s Battle of the Bands is an odd one. There’s a lot of new bands and out-of-town bands, which is great, but it seems attendance has been a bit down this year. It just so happens that we drew a night with three other well-established Indy bands. So it feels like we’re playing a second round night during the first round. As long as we don’t draw first this time (we drew first in the first and second rounds last year), I think we’ll have a decent chance of making it to the second round.

Q: Why do you think so few established Indy bands chose to participate this year?

A: I don’t think there’s any one reason. The event is in its fifth year, and a lot of bands have been doing it since the first or second incarnations. Our first one was BOB III, so it’s still a bit newer to us. It seems a lot of bands are concentrating on playing fewer Indy shows, and playing more out of town shows. We just want another chance to figure out that “perfect Battle cover.”

- NUVO Newsweekly

"Midwest Music Summit 2004"

Midwest Music Summit 2004
Indiana’s biggest music party

NUVO staff report

With a list of bands that would make any independent music fan’s “must-see” list, a bevy of industry panels and enough parties and showcases to dizzy even the most ambitious socialite, the fourth annual Midwest Music Summit kicks off this week with its most ambitious undertaking to date.

You want buzz bands? Try The Sights, Brando, The Villebillies or one of literally hundreds more. You want music-industry chat? Execs from Sony, Universal Music and ASCAP will be on hand to gab it up on topics ranging from promotion to radio airplay. You want camaraderie with fellow music fans? Thousands will populate Broad Ripple and Glendale during the three-day event. Other, more far-flung venues include the all ages clubs: The Emerson, The House and United States of Mind, along with the not-so-all-ages club, The Melody Inn.

Benchmark Records, organizers of the MMS from the beginning, has worked non-stop (and, in these past few weeks, literally around the clock) to try and make this year’s MMS accessible to as wide a spectrum of people as possible.
“If you forget about the panels and trade show, you are left with 276 band and solo performers ranging the genres from folk and bluegrass and indie rock to hardcore and hip-hop,” says Benchmark’s Josh Baker. “I would suggest you invest in an all-access MMS badge so you can hop from club to club and check out all the bands without ever having to take out your wallet.”

The primary difference between MMS 2004 and previous years is that most of the events are centered in the Broad Ripple Village area, Baker said. The industry panels and trade show will take place at Glendale Mall, which will also feature a live music stage. The showcase performances will take place in the Village as well, although other key venues around the city will also be involved.

Music-industry bigshots will also meet and greet with the public at a series of VIP parties, including Friday’s NUVO-sponsored bash at the Patio, which will feature performances from Indy kingpins The Slurs and Louisville’s red-hot VHS or Beta.

For more information about the panels, showcases, showtimes, badges and individual performance tickets, visit midwestmusicsummit.com.

“Take a chance on a band you have never heard of,” Baker says. “You may just find your new favorite artist.”



They have that neo-brit pop sound that brings frequent comparisons to bands like Oasis or Coldplay. They’ve played the side stage at Verizon several times this year — most recently for Dave Matthews Band and Alannis Morrisette. Earnest songwriting combined with solid musicianship has earned them a local following here in Indy.
- Wayne Bertch

"Acoustic Pain"


Indy-based band gets shot at big-time record deal

by Phil Kijak

The amount of noise Jackson Pain creates without the aid of distortion, forming a solid wall of sound, doesn't seem like it could be coming from an acoustic set. Senior Mike Chapman's vigorous guitar and vocals, along with the combination of senior Rob Stogsdill and Kyle Gobel's horn section, create soaring melodies backed up by Jeff Lawson's crash-filled drums and Andrew Caito's bass. All of these elements come together to form a sonic anomaly where it's hard to believe there is barely any electric influence on stage.

Jackson Pain is setting its sights on Bloomington, with its local debut tonight at Vertigo, playing with 83 Feet, and Bloomington regulars Stranger Lazy and Mohlmin. Doors open at 9 p.m., with the show starting at 10 p.m.

Jackson Pain has been together for just over a year, yet they have already earned lots of support from the Indianapolis music scene, playing regular gigs around the city and winning a spot in the semi-finals of Benchmark Records' battle of the bands this past summer.

Their sound can be best described as loud, melodic rock with influences from artists such as Ben Folds, Coldplay and the Flaming Lips, primarily created through use of only acoustic instruments.

"It's in-your-fucking-face acoustic," Chapman says. "I feel like I can be just as intense playing acoustic as anyone playing electric. A lot of people think that if you want to be loud and rockin,' that means electric guitars. And I think we kind of fight that."

Their years of training and the multitude of influences, including backgrounds in classical music and jazz, help the guys gel onstage

"I think a lot of that also stems from the fact that we all really know each other... not just musically, but personally," Chapman says.

Lawson agrees.

"We've always seemed to play pretty tight, which isn't too common, but we've known each other for about eight years," he says.

The band has earned a strong reputation in Indianapolis, gaining new fans with every show. Despite the fact that the band is young, one look at the turnout of their latest shows would prove otherwise.

Lawson has handled most of the band's promotions and speaks highly of the support of its fans.

"When we started, our audience was our friends and our parents," he says. "Now, our friends are our best fans, but with a lot of bands, your friends will support you for a while, but they'll start missing a show here and there, until they don't come at all. We've been lucky enough that our friends keep coming to as many shows as they can."

Tonight's show is huge for the guys of Jackson Pain, not only because it is their first exposure to a Bloomington audience, but also because representatives from ATO Records (Dave Matthews' record label, whose artists include Ben Kweller, My Morning Jacket and David Gray) will be attending the event to see them perform in front of a college crowd. ATO attended their last show in Indianapolis as well.

"It's weird looking out while playing and then seeing someone that you know is judging you, and that this person can makes things happen for you. It makes you excited," Chapman says. "The best thing that we can do is play with energy, because that is what will come across the most."

Lawson says he understands the incredible odds Jackson Pain is up against.

"Out of all the bands in the world, there are only so many bands that 'make it,' so the best we can do is play the best we can," he says.

The band doesn't seem to be too affected by the fact that they could be on the cusp of possibly getting a record deal, but they are thinking about the realities of where opportunity could take them.

"The thing about getting signed is that it will mean that we will have more going on," Chapman says. "Some of us will have to make priority decisions, but I'm pretty confident in the band if that were to be an outcome. I think everyone is pretty die-hard about this thing we've created."

There are countless bands out there that have played for years and have never even come close to the opportunity that Jackson Pain has, yet the band remains modest in the wake of success.

"I wouldn't say we've paid any dues," Chapman says. "Every time we play, I have a great time and it's something that I never thought would happen when I was sixteen. So that in itself makes me keep perspective. We haven't lived it rough."

Even if things don't work out with ATO, at least Jackson Pain can say they've gained some Bloomington fans.

"They're a really great band," says senior Mike Sebeckis. "I've seen them two or three times up in Indy and they've always delivered an amazing show."

Senior Cameron Oehler says he is happy to see them taking gigs in town.

"I'm glad they're starting to play in Bloomington," he says. "It's surprising that they would get the attention of a record label so fast, but they deserve it. Their music is just awesome."

Regardless of what happens tonight, Jackson Pain will still play with the same intensity tomorrow. Their priorities remain in the band itself and nowhere else, but their hopes still look toward the future - and tonight may be their night. They are ready to give anything up to take a chance to make Jackson Pain even bigger.

"That's why we do it right. For that one shot," Chapman says.
- Indiana Daily Student

"Artist of the Week"

April 29th - May 5th: Jackson Pain gets their chance to play to a younger crowd when they take part in the IMN MP3 CD Release Party Friday, April 30th at the Emerson Theater. The show is free, and it kicks off at 6pm.


Jackson Pain
Interview by Ryan Williams

Jackson Pain draws in influences from several diverse musical acts, and it seems the band has more to say about what they aren't than what they are. Saxophonist Rob Stogsdil says "It is difficult to describe our music style. It is an acoustic style with a horn section, but I honestly can't name a group to compare us to. Many tell us that we have a sound like Chicago or Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Personally, I think they say that only because we have a horn section. I don't see a comparison whatsoever." Singer/guitarist Mike Chapman echoes Stogsdil's sentiments about Chicago and BST, adding ska to the list of styles Jackson Pain doesn't embody. He also points to a sound drawn from across the pond. "I would say that our music is a straight blend of all our different styles. We've all enjoyed bands such as The Doves, Coldplay, Travis, Oasis, (and) Radiohead. But then you have to take those influences and jazz them up a tiny bit with the horns."

Given that their influences come to the band from long distances, it seems only appropriate that distance is also involved in the band's lineup. Bassist Andrew Caito is from Lafayette, Chapman and Stogsdil live in Bloomington, and trumpter/keyboardist Kyle Gobel and drummer Jeff Lawson reside in Indianapolis. Given their geographical distance, it may come as a surprise the level of success they've been able to achieve in the year they've been officially been a band. However, Chapman says their ties go back further than that. "I met Rob, Kyle, and Jeff all in high school. We all played music together. So most of us have all known each other for a long time before the band." The band says they are careful to maximize the time they have available for rehearsal, and sometimes the distance also plays a part in managing shows. Caito relates that one show was a particular problem. "I live in Lafayette, so I had 2.5 hours to drive to get there. I had an exam that night until 9, so I didn't get there exactly on time - I had to jump out of the car, take care of the extra liquid from the coffee/tea/Red Bull that was keeping me running, and then run out and jump on stage and start playing. After our set, I took a little break before heading back. When I went out to my car - it had been towed. A little tiny sign behind 4 snowed in cars on the other side of the parking lot said 'Customer Parking,' then there was an even smaller sign that gave a phone number. I didn't end up getting home until 5 or so. I had class at 7:30 so I just stayed up. So I guess that wasn't so much weird as it was a pain in the ass."

At least it's a good sign that Jackson Pain remains busy. The band has seen a series of high-profile local shows since their inception, including an opening slot for Kansas and a live performance on Fox 59 In The Morning. Lawson says the band is looking to expand this year. "We haven't really played any all-ages shows yet. I really want to start doing that. The bar scene is great, but these younger kids love music too and we want to be able to play for them as well." So given that Jackson Pain is for the kids, what would Stogsdil say to a child who wanted to learn music? "That's great! Start now and tell you parents you want to take lessons. It doesn't matter what instrument you want to play. Don't let anyone stop you. I mean I wanted to play saxophone because I saw it on Sesame Street. I was 19 at the time. Kidding!"

Jackson Pain is also producing an EP and looking to work with a record label in the future. Lawson says "It's taken a bit longer than we anticipated, but we want to do it right." One of their recorded tracks will make an appearance on the Indianapolismusic.net MP3 CD compilation being released this week. Lawson adds "I know there are tons of good music acts in Indy, regardless of genre, so I think it's a great honor to have been asked to be a part of it."

Jackson Pain gets their chance to play to a younger crowd when they take part in the IMN MP3 CD Release Party Friday, April 30th at the Emerson Theater. The show is free, and it kicks off at 6pm. - IndianapolisMusic.Net


Still working on that hot first release.



While 80% of Jackson Pain has known eachother since high school, it was another 4 years before they started playing together. Mike Chapman, Kyle Gobel, and Jeff Lawson began playing together in January 2003 with their friends Adam on keyboards and Austin on bass. Initially playing mainly covers and a few originals, the band started to write their own material. In May of 2003 Adam and Austin left the band and Rob Stogsdill and Andrew Caito joined (along with keyboard player Tiffany).

Jackson Pain's first show with the new lineup was the Benchmark Records Battle of the Bands, where they finished in first place. Over the new few months the band continued to write new songs, and over Labor Day weekend the band experienced two milestones on the same day. Jackson Pain was invited to play the Rib America Festival and open for their first major national recording artist. While Kansas may not be a perfect fit with Jackson Pain, the exposure was great. Unfortunately, this was also Tiffany's last gig with the band.

The fall of 2003 was the first time Jackson Pain had been without a keyboard player, and Kyle Gobel stepped up, taking over the keyboard playing, as well as playing the trumpet. Mike Chapman, who had been playing 95% acoustic guitar before, was now playing electric guitar as well. The band's sound was evolving and they were writing new songs, retiring old songs that no longer fit their sound, and reinventing older songs that today sound nothing like their original counterparts.

In early 2004 Jackson Pain gained interested from ATO Records (Ben Kweller, Jem, My Morning Jacket) but after months of nothing moving forward, the band moved on. The summer of 2004 the band earned the chance to play with O.A.R., Dave Matthews Band, Alanis Morisette, Barenaked Ladies, The Spin Doctors, Cowboy Mouth, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters.

In 2005 Jackson Pain began their 3rd year as a band. They've decided to scrap the material they'd be recorded, and start fresh with new material that is more indicative of who they are. Look for the debut EP from Jackson Pain this fall.