Judge Jackson
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Judge Jackson

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Interview with Todd McTavish - Judge Jackson Still Going Strong"

Straight from the heart, Judge Jackson delivers 10 catchy tracks in all with their new soon to-be released album titled DRIVE. The new album is radio worthy and will have you playing it over and over again. It doesn’t amaze me that the group Judge Jackson have been around nearly a decade, the fact is their songs are well written and their music more than just pleasant listening, it Rocks!

Their music flows and the lyrics posses a certain memorizing effect. As in the song “Me Then You” first written for a fan, a friend that wanted a special song written for their soul mate. Singer-songwriter Todd McTavish nails it, and goose bumps is all you’ll end up feeling!

Movin’ up with “Letting Go”, Judge Jackson is bustin’ out, and are at the top of their game. With a new team of behind-the-scene players, there’s no stopping the Judge!

All Access got a chance to chat with Todd McTavish, and while reminiscing discovered that nearly a decade later, the LA based group known as Judge Jackson are still going strong. Their fifth album titled DRIVE on Curtis Joe Records will soon be released, and the group is gearing up to hit the road once again. So where will the road be taking the group known as Judge Jackson?

Todd McTavish: Eventually everywhere and anywhere, North America through Canada. As for now we have a preview CD release party scheduled at The Cat Club, Hollywood, CA November 13th .

Judge Jackson is a NO frills, NO thrills type of band. What you see is what you get. Great music with catchy heart filled lyrics. Music from the heart, as I like to say. So what keeps a band like Judge Jackson rollin along? What drives them?

Todd: The love of Rock n Roll, songwriting picks us up and we truly love what we do, what we’ve been doing. We’re not chasing the dream any more, we’re livin it!

For more than a decade, and countless shows, Judge Jackson has traveled the US and parts of Canada performing with artists like Gov’t Mule, Doobie Bros., Cheap Trick, Buckcherry, Army of Anyone, UFO and Joe Bonamassa, among others. If you could pick one artist to tour your new album with, who and where would your tour take you?

Todd: Buckcherry, and everywhere! Buckcherry is straight up rock n’ roll, like us. Maybe a little dirtier, but their attitude rocks!

Judge JacksonJudge Jackson’s hard rockin music has been heard on a variety of TV shows, including the Super Bowl, NHL and NBA playoffs, as well as NASCAR. And now nearly a decade later with their fifth album DRIVE, any surprises you care to share with our readers?

Todd: We have some exciting things in the works as we build up to the official release of “Drive”, I can’t say too much now, but our fans won’t be disappointed.

There are 10 songs in all on the new album titled Drive. Hard rockin sure-to-be hit songs like the title track, “Just Because,” “Radio” and “Letting Go”. And you’ll even find a little country side to the boys in the song titled “Meant to Be”. Produced, engineered and mixed by frequent collaborator John Hiler (Stephen Stills, Willie Dixon, Smashing Pumpkins). How has the feedback been from your fans on the new album? And the lil’ country song?

Todd: We have never been more proud of a CD, and seriously people do like the new album. We opened up for John Waite and it was a fundable response. Our lil’ country tune titled ‘Meant To Be’ was co-written with Julia Henry, and Judge Jackson fans are diggin it.

Judge Jackson remains true to their Rock n Roll beliefs, and the roots of JUDGE JACKSON can be traced back to 1995, when vocalist/lyricist McTavish, came to LA from Canada, where he once played in a band that featured Shania Twain as back-up vocalist. Then joining up with guitarist/songwriter Lee Jackson they performed in and around the Hollywood club circuit, and built up a devoted local following. By 1998, the band released its debut album, followed shortly thereafter by a second CD, 8068, (both albums are now limited editions). How can or can fans still buy these cds?

Todd: The first two albums are special rarities, but we have done reissues due to popular demand. We are definitely due for another round; at this moment though, all energy is focused on our new release DRIVE.

One Diamond, the bands' third album, marked the band’s multimedia breakthrough, with the song “Amazing” receiving airplay on more than 30 stations across the U.S., while “Times Been Changing” was featured on NBC’s popular comedy My Name Is Earl, and another track, titled “King,” (my all time favorite) became the theme to the Speed Channel NASCAR program, Victory Lane, viewed by more than a million fans every Sunday. This album along with the bands 4th and now 5th album can be found at Best Buy stores correct. Anywhere else?

Todd: Yes, We are finalizing a distribution deal that will help fans find us easily online in places like iTunes and CD Baby, as well as physical outlets including Best Buy and others.

From the band’s self-titled fourth album, re - All Access Magazine

"REVIEW: Judge Jackson, Drive"

Judge Jackson‘s 5th full length ‘Drive’ is blend of 70's and 80's stadium rock ala Journey and Whitesnake with bluesy guitar riffs, romantic rock dudes, smoky bars and wistfulness from the south.

With classic rock bands of our time there’s always the discussion about creative relativity and the hey-days long gone, yet this LA 4-piece skillfully execute their old-time love with a soundtrack that reminds of a great, cheesy 80s road-trip movie for college graduates.

The 10 chapters on ‘Drive’ welcome you to the ultimate male high-life with a top-down convertible heading down the sunset to an adventure of movie character lives. From beer, bar fights, strippers, football, love, heartbreak and the inevitable cliché ending, this record has it all. Furthermore, the thriving positive energy (a joie de vivre if you will) reminds of the old wisdom, that it’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Grooving guitars, a vibrant rhythm section and a frontman that sings like he’s seen it all make up a truly authentic and tight band with sound that made me hum for the wayward son. Judge Jackson can easily be put on one stage with the big 70s bands, yet where the stage might be located in 2010 is a completely different beer. - Audiotier

"REVIEW: Judge Jackson, Drive"

Judge Jackson - Drive
2010, Curtis-Joe Records

Judge Jackson holds the distinction of being one of two bands to ever be invited to play at the Hells Angel’s LA Chapter House. Touring with bands like Gov’t Mule, The Doobie Brothers and Cheap Trick over the past several years, Judge Jackson has caught the ear of many classic rock fans, but it’s the freshness of their sound that has gained Judge Jackson placements on such shows as NFL on FOX, MLB on FOX, NHL on FOX Playoffs and My Name Is Earl. With their fifth album, Drive, due on August 3, 2010, Judge Jackson have come fully into their own, mixing a classic sound and a fresh approach that is certain to dance across generations.

Drive opens with "Head Over Heels", driven with the energy of 1980's glam rock without all of the volume. Lead vocalist Todd McTavish can flat out sing, and the hooks and harmonies make this one of the better pop/rock hybrids of the early summer. "Radio" is a tribute that may have been more apropos in the 1980's than it is today. Guitarist Lee Jackson snaps off riffs in the style of Nuno Bettencourt and makes this song a winner. Things get a bit bland for a bit as Judge Jackson runs through tunes like "Pickin' Me Up" and the power ballad "Me Then You", but salvation comes in the form of "Just Because". With a hook so big you can't stay out of its way, "Just Because" is the sort of virulently catchy rock tune that you might be hearing all summer long.

"The End" is a blues rocker that opens and closes with riffs that could have been culled directly from a Jimi Hendrix songbook. The tune is a bit on the hokey side but full of fun and a likely fan favorite at live shows. Judge Jackson shows off their hooky side again on "River", a highly danceable bit of classic rock n roll that will have your toes tapping. Drive comes to a close with "Meant To Be", with Judge Jackson taking on a vague country feel and featuring Julia Henry in a duet with McTavish. This is by far the best track on the disc, and considering tunes like "Head Over Heels" and "Just Because" that's actually saying quite a lot.

You'll pass through some slow moments on Drive, but Judge Jackson show they know how to rock and they know how to write great songs. The slow moments are made worthwhile by the better tunes on Drive, and you're certain to find yourself checking Judge Jackson's itinerary to see if they're coming through your town. This is the sort of band that can make a night memorable. - Wildys World

"The Judge Is In"

The judge is in

Judge Jackson plays biker-friendly rock ‘n roll at the Big Bear Choppers Ride the Mountain event Saturday, June 19. (Photo courtesy of XO Publicity)
L.A. band set to rev crowd at Big Bear Choppers Ride the Mountain

Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 7:38 AM PDT

It was 15 years ago when Judge Jackson lead singer Todd McTavish met guitarist Lee Jackson in the front room of his apartment. Jackson was at the L.A. home McTavish shared with a female bartender from the famous Sunset Strip bar Whiskey-a-go-go. Jackson was meeting with McTavish’s roommate’s boyfriend to learn songs for a hired gun-gig playing guitar on a six-week tour in Hawaii.

When the boyfriend got distracted with his girlfriend the roommate in the back room, McTavish inadvertently stole the man’s guitarist. The two started talking about songwriting styles and the possibility of working together after Jackson returned to the mainland. “We had immediate chemistry,” McTavish says.

The next day, Jackson stopped packing his bags. “He called the next day and said, ‘Screw getting back from Hawaii. Let’s do this,’” McTavish recalls. The two got to work matching lyrics with chords. Then they matched a name to the sound.

While the band isn’t necessarily a Southern rock band, they wanted a name that summed up the Southern flavor they identified with. As the two became acquainted, Jackson mentioned his father, a Texas court judge in Dallas, Judge Jackson.

The name immediately resonated. “It just sort of fell into place,” McTavish says. While Judge Jackson wasn’t immediately in favor of the idea, he’s grown to be one of the band’s biggest fans, McTavish says.

The band has a few more misleading habits. Not only will this be Judge Jackson’s third time playing Big Bear Choppers Ride the Mountain event come June 19 at Snow Summit Resort in Big Bear Lake, they’re veterans of other chopper-themed events, as well. They’ve played the Laughlin and Sturgis bike runs. But they’re not bikers.

So they are not Southern rock, not judges and they’re not bikers. What are they?

“It’s honest music for honest people,” McTavish says. “No smoke and mirrors, just the straight goods. … We do have a lot of songs about being out on the road, and I think that is where they (bikers) identify with the music.”

The band’s fifth studio album, “Drive,” out Aug. 3, offers straight-up rock ’n roll in the vein of Guns ’ n Roses, Lynard Skynard, Gov’t Mule and Buckcherry. Their amped-up songs have soundtracked everything from the TV shows “My Name is Earl” and the NASCAR reality show “Victory Lane” to the Stanley Cup finals, Monday Night Football and the NBA.

Judge Jackson evolved during the years, with McTavish and Jackson remaining the band’s backbone. The most recent additions are bassist Brian “Chuey” James and drummer J.J. Garcia, making the band complete.

“Any band will tell you it’s the relationship, the chemistry,” McTavish says. “When you get along, it’s a big deal. Half of it has been about writing some great songs and the other is about the boys club. We’ve always liked that feel to it. We are honored we get to play with each other. Every gig is the same gig to me—whether we’re playing in front of 50,000 people or five, we’re honored to play and give 100 percent.”

For McTavish, being a front man didn’t necessarily come naturally. He got into music because of his affinity for songwriting. But the elation that comes with entertaining and working a room did take root early. The first time he felt the call of the crowd was at age 15 as a camp counselor in training.

To entertain the kids, McTavish and the other counselors put together a stage show complete with air guitar and broom handles standing in as mike stands. McTavish gave Foreigner’s “Jukebox Hero” his all. The crowd went wild.

“It went off like the Beatles,” McTavish remembers. “I still remember the ringing of people screaming in my head. There was a moment when I thought that was pretty cool. That was a bit of a rush. There was this moment of performing in front of people you can’t help but be moved by.” It’s what drives him.
- Big Bear Grizzly

"REVIEW: Judge Jackson, Drive"

Issue #21.46 :: 06/09/2010 - 06/15/2010
Judge Jackson



Judge Jackson
Curtis-Joe Records

AUGUSTA, GA - I’m not one to complain*, but the stylistic gamut of albums coming down my review pipeline has considerably narrowed in recent years. I’m all too happy to fill you in on the latest '70s hesher throwbacks, or a reasonably talented group of Immortal worshippers, but I’ve got inch-thick files of press releases peddling “the most evil, filth-ridden flame-semen to spew forth from the gonads of Mammon” and frankly, it’s getting a bit old.

*Yes I am.

So thank you, Judge Jackson, for the breath of fresh air. On their MySpace page, these guys list as influences “Lynyrd Skynrd, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Guns n’ Roses, Tesla, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Allman Brothers, and Stevie Ray Vaughan” and damn it, I believe them (except maybe Maiden; where’s your twin-guitar leads, boys?). The songs are catchy as hell (“Radio”), the riffs beefy and sufficiently whiskey-fueled (“Head Over Heels”), and vocalist Todd McTavish strikes a near-perfect balance between '80s-era bombast and Scott Weiland sleaze. The fact that the whole affair is capped off with a porch-stompin’, dobro-laced honky-tonker with the inimitable Julia Henry lending guest vocals just sweetens the deal even more.

And if the rhymes are a little pedestrian — “You’re New York and I’m L.A./You love to work, I love to play — and the lyrics occasionally cringe-worthy — “We met along the boulevard of broken hearts” — just remember that this kind of thing comes with the territory. Enjoy, you jaded bastard.

- Metro Spirit

"REVIEW: Judge Jackson, Drive"

If you want to know what TENACIOUS D would sound like with a Southern accent and no sense of irony whatsoever, here is a perfect example. It's boogie rock '70s style, making no pretensions of being anything but some dumb backyard barbecue with a six-pack fun. Really silly lyrics like "Romeo and Juliet / were alone and then they met" help to seal the deal.


"REVIEW: Judge Jackson, Drive"

They walk among us. Los Angelinos Judge Jackson have long been infiltrated
by lead vocalist Todd McTavish hailing from (you guessed it) Canada! These
SoCal good timers have played over a thousand concerts through five albums
during the past decade and it shows. This band is tight. The power-ballad
card sometimes gets overplayed, but ask Guns N’ Roses, that’s just part
of the scene. You’ll be up in the attic digging for your Molly Hatchet
and Blackfoot records. Get some UFO and Black Crowes while you’re up
there, too. Judge Jackson’s scored soundtrack time on NASCAR, Fox Sports,
and (most bitchin’ of all) My Name is Earl. If you fit this demographic,
then Drive is boss hog this summer. Bust a can loose from the 30 pack and party on. - Pop Rocket Magazine


One Diamond (2004)
Self-Titled (2007)
Drive (2010)

Speed Channel Theme Song
My Name Is Earl
Hollywood & Wine (Chris Kattan, Pamela Anderson)
College Football Saturday (Weekly Open - FSN)
MLB on FOX (incl Playoffs & World Series)
Formula 1 Racing
Sports Stadiums, US & Canada

KLOS 95.5 - Los Angeles, CA
KIBZ 104.1 - Lincoln, NE
WRKC 88.5 - Wilkes-Barre, PA
KOMP 92.3 - Las Vegas NV
CFBK 105.5 - Huntsville, ON
106.9 The Eagle - Palm Springs, CA
KNEWS 94.3 - Palm Springs, CA
KSQY 95.1 - Rapid City, SD
KCVM 96.1 - Cedar Falls, IA
KHDR 96.9 - Barstow, CA
KCAL 96.7 - Redlands, CA



If you’re a living, breathing rock and roll diehard with a pulse just about anywhere across this great country of ours—no one embodies that drive, determination and lifestyle better than JUDGE JACKSON, whose balls-to-the-wall classic take on a noble tradition is the soundtrack to your life. For more than a decade, through four albums, a thousand shows (celebrating that milestone, appropriately enough, at the 27th Laughlin River Run), and tours with Gov’t Mule, Doobie Bros., Cheap Trick, Buckcherry, Army of Anyone, UFO and Joe Bonamassa, among others, this hard-driving quartet’s music can be heard on a variety of TV shows, including the Super Bowl, NHL and NBA playoffs, as well as NASCAR.

With their fifth album, Drive, JUDGE JACKSON have put all that road work to good use, with an eclectic collection that doesn’t just show off their patented hard rock rave-ups on songs like the title track, “Just Because,” “Radio” and “Letting Go,” but demonstrates the band’s roots in funk-blues (“The End”), acoustic folk (“Me Then You”) and even country-twang (“Meant to Be”).

Produced, engineered and mixed once more by frequent collaborator John Hiler [Stephen Stills, Willie Dixon, Smashing Pumpkins], Drive wears JUDGE JACKSON’s passion for music and the camaraderie of rock on its sleeve. From guitarist Lee Jackson’s slashing power chords, J.J. Garcia’s pounding drums and Brian James’ bass rumble of “Just Because,” as singer Todd McTavish relates the tale of a stripper “who does what she does/just because it pays the rent,” and the revved-up joys of home in “The River” to the Black Sabbath-meets AC/DC gnarly guitar pyrotechnics of “Radio,” about the thrill of hearing your record on the air, to the Guns N’ Roses flair of “Letting Go,” with its vow of “letting go to what I’ve left behind,” Judge Jackson remain true to their rock and roll beliefs.

The roots of JUDGE JACKSON can be traced back to 1995, when vocalist/lyricist McTavish, who came to town from Canada, where he once played in a band that featured Shania Twain as back-up vocalist, joined up with guitarist/songwriter Jackson in L.A. to tirelessly play the town’s club circuit, where they steadily built a devoted local following. By 1998, the band released its debut album, followed shortly thereafter by a second CD, 8068. Drummer Garcia joined the group shortly after the release of JUDGE JACKSON’s third CD, One Diamond, which marked the band’s multimedia breakthrough, with “Amazing” receiving airplay on more than 30 stations across the U.S., while “Times Been Changing” was featured on NBC’s popular comedy My Name Is Earl. Still another track, “King,” is now the theme to the Speed Channel NASCAR program, Victory Lane, viewed by more than a million fans every Sunday.

From the band’s self-titled fourth album, released in March, 2007, “Lift the Bottle” and “Rock N’ Roll” have been featured on several Fox Sports Network promos and programs. In addition, the group wrote and recorded a brand-new song, “Get Busy,” for Fox Sports’ college football telecasts.

And while they’ve been the best-kept secret on the L.A. rock scene, JUDGE JACKSON is starting to get some recognition. The group’s last album was named “Best CD of the Year” in the 5th Annual All Access Magazine Awards. Since then, the group has added bassist Brian James, formerly of The Rocking Scoundrels and Stone, to replace longtime member Ryan Rogers. On his rare time away from JUDGE JACKSON, the band’s songwriter McTavish has been collaborating with other artists, including Motley Crue’s Mick Mars.

Drive offers conclusive proof JUDGE JACKSON still has their eye on the prize, with a powerful set of songs that runs the gamut from the joys of friendship (the Journey-meets-The Who anthem, “Pickin’ Me Up), the road (“Drive”), home (“The River”), traveling music (“Radio”) and falling in love (“Head Over Heels”) to the sorrows of regret (“Me Then You” “Meant to Be,” with a gorgeous duet featuring Julia Henry) and breaking up (“Letting Go,” “The End”), expressed as only a rock band knows how—with soaring vocals, churning guitars, and a rhythm section that punches you in the gut.

The album is the perfect accompaniment to the warm weather, which, come to think of it, means 12 months a year in sunny SoCal. “I drink too much/I like to cuss/Always good at getting down and dirty/And having fun/In that summer sun/Chasing girls that are all so purdy,” sings McTavish, and you couldn’t come up with a better description of the way listening to JUDGE JACKSON’s music makes you feel. It’s rock and roll the way it’s meant to be.