The JAG
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The JAG

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock New Wave

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
21
The JAG @ Duling Hall

Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS

Nov
18
The JAG @ Howlin' Wolf Den

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA

Nov
17
The JAG @ Hey Joe's Record & Cafe

Cleveland, MS

Cleveland, MS

Music

Press


The only constant during the 10-year run that has spanned three bands and two cities for the Jackson friends Aaron Tyler King, Joe Regan and Gant O’Brien has been each other.

The key to creative success is conflict, not with individuals, but with your art form, O’Brien says. This is never more apparent than when listening to the trio’s debut LP release with their Nashville-based band The JAG, which also includes Scott Harper and Nick Vallas.

The band’s original EP was an homage to 1960s acid rock, but the LP “Pondermental Wonderment In Hypocricity” takes an orchestrated turn away from psychedelic into embracing Brian Eno-era David Bowie, Talking Heads and a hint of 1990s shoegaze.

“If we had to keep playing just psych-rock for the rest of our days, we wouldn’t last; we’d hate each other,” said bass player O’Brien. “On the new record, we decided to not have a form or be held down by genre, and we would play songs that we wanted to listen to over everything.”

The creative decision is a positive one for the band, which worked with producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff), to create an aesthetically pleasing album, one of equal parts slanty and funky bass lines, and occasionally brooding shoegaze distortion peaks through as King’s vocals shine as sort of Southern David Byrne.

“Bowie is one of his idols vocally, not just in the lyrics, but his timbre and vocal delivery. He is over trying to sound ‘pretty,’ so to say,” O’Brien said. “He wants to have depth to his vocals and lyrics.”

The album’s opening track, “Free & Cheap,” opens with a spooky guitar line from Regan, which Regan learned to play backwards, and then it was flipped in post-production.

“We wanted it sound really eerie,” O’Brien said. “It encompasses the fact the album is coming out in the fall; we wanted it to have fall vibes. The song is all about wanting to hang out with your friends, but you can’t because you don’t have any money and everyone is tired of you.”

The band’s debut was delayed after they were the victims of a robbery in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Festival in March, resulting in a loss of $11,000 worth of equipment. Austin police arrested a 17-year-old resident after a Craigslist post for a $250 Les Paul guitar led them to find about half of the band’s stolen gear.

“We got back everything expect two guitars and an amp, but those are two nice guitars and a very nice amp,” O’Brien said. “We got a lot of donations and stuff, so we broke pretty much even.”

The band survived through the kindness of others in the days and months after the theft. A Gofundme account helped them raise funds, fellow bands pitched in gear to help fill tour dates and an Austin lawyer took their case pro bono. The band is careful not to allow outside input impact their art, however.

“Everyone wants to try and make us super marketable and put us on a hashtag, so we came up with the dumbest, craziest album name, something you cannot throw in a hashtag as a stab back at it,” O’Brien said.

He said the album’s theme in general is that the music scene in Nashville has become “way too commercialized” and dominated by country music.

“There is a rock scene, but everyone is waiting for their ticket to get free pizza for life or whatever they give out for record contracts these days,” O’Brien said. “Bands here want to be instantly appealing with 15-second Instagram videos, but you can’t have depth when you do that.”

It’s a creative decision that pays off for the listener. “Pondermental Wonderment In Hypocricity,” challenges convention throughout as it mixes funky beats with the undercurrent of an ever-present psychedelic groundwork. The album is available Friday through digital retailers or on jagjagjag.com. - Jacob Threadgill


The Jackson, Miss. transplants have been busy with Andrija Tokic on their latest, and it's a refreshingly lush take on psychedelic rock; think My Morning Jacket with touches of Jefferson Airplane rather than Thee Oh Sees. It's not that one take is better than the other, but there's recently been an absolute glut of garage-y psych bands, so the road less-traveled is particularly inviting. The Jag make pretty excellent tour guides. - Nashville Scene


William Faulkner said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” To understand American music, you also must first understand Mississippi. After all, the roots of our nation’s music run through the Magnolia State. Whether it’s the father of country music Jimmie Rodgers, the father of the Delta blues Charley Patton or the King of Rock ’n’ Roll Elvis Presley, Mississippi’s impact on music is immeasurable—the state’s musical heritage is as rich as Delta soil. As Robert Plant said, “Once I heard the music of the Mississippi Delta, I was no longer English. I was a man of the world.”

As part of our continuing 50 States Project, below are 12 bands with Mississippi roots worth checking out, ranging in genre from gospel to punk.

The JAG
Hometown: Jackson
Band Members: Aaron Tyler King, Joe Regan, Gant O’Brien, Scott Harper (originally from California)
Current Album: Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour (2012)
King, Regan and O’Brien met in the summer of 2002 in their hometown of Jackson and formed an indie rock band shortly thereafter. The band’s lineup went through multiple permutations over the years until the original three decided to start from scratch in 2011 focusing on a retro southern, psychedelic sound. Recently, the band supported Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on their Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio tour dates.
- Paste Magazine


Between Nashville and New Orleans, there’s a stretch of road that’s all too familiar to Nashville-based gritty Southern rock band The JAG. It’s so familiar that they named their 2012 EP, Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour, for it. “We used to take acid on the way home to Nashville after family visits in Jackson or shows in New Orleans,” says vocalist and guitarist Aaron Tyler King. “We’ve encountered that stretch of road millions of times. I just remember how everything felt and looked– the highways, how desolate they were, and all of the pine trees hanging over into the road practically. It’s very beautiful, and when you’re tripping, it’s really cool.” The JAG plays Circle Bar on Sunday night.


Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour is a dirty, rumbling, blues-inspired testament to Southern rock ‘n’ roll. It's the first “legit recordings” of the band, King says. And just last month, The JAG released a 7” that features two singles from the EP. “I think you really appreciate the music on a deeper scale with vinyl,” King says. “All of my CDs are fucked up. I haven’t bought a CD in a long time, and none of them work.” Nashville is all about vinyl right now, King says. He recently purchased a new record player and has no complaints about the LP comeback. “It’s an investment of care,” he says. “I can guarantee that my vinyls will work years from now. They’re getting a lot better treatment.”



Nashville might be known as the country music capital to most, but King says the reason why he and his two bandmates left their hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, was for its underground rock ‘n’ roll scene. “The country music scene and the songwriter scene are definitely predominant in Nashville,” King says. “But behind all of that, and above it and beyond it, is rock ‘n’ roll. It’s recognized worldwide now that some of the best rock ‘n’ roll comes out of Nashville, and bands like Kings of Leon and Jack White have attached their name to the city. Nothing was really happening in Jackson as far as the music business was concerned, and we wanted to become a part of a community of rock ‘n’ roll.”

King, guitarist Joe Regan, and bassist Gant O’Brien have played in various bands together since 2002, through their high school and college years. But now that they call Nashville home base, they have more freedom to tour the Northeast than before. Only a few weeks ago, The JAG joined Grace Potter and the Nocturals for their Pennysylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio tour dates. It was pure coincidence that Grace Potter and her band stumbled upon The JAG in the first place, King says. “Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were at the Howlin’ Wolf Den watching their bass player play with his side project, Ice Cream,” he says. “After they were done, we took the stage and they happened to stick around see us. A few months later we got an email, and we were able to play a show with them.” It proves that you just never know who you’re playing to. “We get pretty stoked about every chance we get to play with them now,” King says. "We had no idea they were in the audience." - My Spilt Milk


If you haven’t heard, we’re teaming up with Third Shift Lager and some of our pals Electric Western Records, Elevent Productions, and East Nashville Underground for a one-night, two-stage, ten-band bill celebrating the diversity of Nashville’s independent music scene, and to send off the bands that have been selected to represent Nashville at South By Southwest 2013. The show is March 2nd, admission is totally free, and there will be a free beer sampling provided by Third Shift. For the next two weeks, we’re going to spotlighting a different artist on the bill each day. We’re kicking things off today with The JAG.



We often describe artists as retro, or channeling an old rock and roll aesthetic. That description just wouldn’t do The JAG justice. The band (which consists of Aaron Tyler King, Joe Regen, and Gant O’Brien), appear to have just stepped out of a time machine from the early ’70s. Their musical style, recording aesthetic, graphic design, song titles, and right down to their clothes and hair are all consistent with their obvious love for the good old days of rock and roll. The most important part, though, is that they’re really, really good, so don’t even think about writing them off as a gimmick. The band hails from Mississipi, but uprooted to Nashville. And trust us, there’s as much fun live as you’d expect! - No Country for New Nashville


2012 meets 1973’s dirty south soul movement in The JAG. Their supercharged album Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour may be only six songs long, but don’t be fooled into thinking it won’t absolutely blow you away. Featuring plenty of Townshend-esque power strumming and scorching slide guitar, The JAG sound like a 70s AM radio dream come true. Opener ‘Talk At Me’ will knock you out of your chair and the rest of the tracks won’t let you recover. ‘Why Do We Stick Around’ has a sick groove that just won’t quit, and what self-respecting southern rock band wouldn’t have the blazing church organ featured in ‘I Don’t Need It’?
Sounding like J Roddy Walston on speed with some Mississippi mud thrown in for good measure, this album rocks harder than you can believe. It sounds like it was recorded live, so what do you think that says about their ACTUAL live show? Do yourself a favor and see them at 9:30 on TONIGHT opening up for Grace Potter!
-Kelsey Butterworth - 9:30 Club Washington D.C.


The final act of the evening, The JAG, are a band we’ve written about on numerous occasions, and one who even played our SXSW Send Off party last year, but, somehow, remained an act I’d never had the chance to watch live. Emerging from a break on Acme’s second floor (seriously, make a point to venture up there if you haven’t; they’re even adding sushi soon!), my first thought was: they look different. It only took me a moment to piece together that frontman Aaron Tyler King had traded in his memorable Zeppelin-esque ‘do, which I’d come to know from the group’s various press photos, for a bleached blonde, clean shaven look. It suited their vibe, which was decidedly less retro than I had expected. Sure, they still look the part (I definitely spotted some bell bottoms on that stage), and definitely brought to mind some ’70s psychedelic influences, but, as a whole, The JAG are a melting pot of styles, and are louder, more in your face, and are more timeless and unabashed rock and roll in their stylings than their recordings (or image) might suggest.

Performing mostly originals, the group worked in some covers of Talking Heads and The Moody Blues (which they introduced as a Beatles song- a joke, I hope), the latter of which proved to be one hell of a powerful finale, showcasing the group’s ability to turn a fairly downtempo track into a loud, energized, and resonant moment. King spent a chunk of the set on guitar, but also managed to roam around the room, interacting with audience members and prompting crowd participation. With the aid of a keyboard player and percussionist, The JAG’s sound was thick and well-rounded, and their performance, which ran overtime (always great to see a band who love playing so much that they throw in some extra material), was beyond memorable. All things considered, I think the three-band format, especially three such diverse bands, was a success, and, hopefully, is something we’ll be trying for you again very soon. - No Country for New Nashville


I absolutely, positively, LOVE a man in bellbottoms. Sweat and polyester. Meeooow.

I have a theory that the louder the music is–the tighter the pants get. What could be better than that? Not just one..two…or even three…but FOUR gents fitting this description is the reason I crossed the river and went hiking up a dark, crooked street toward a Christmas light decorated porch last Sunday night….

Yes, I’m talking about The JAG. Remember them from our post back in February? Originally they were Mississippi boys, now they live here. Before you curl your lip at the fact they aren’t natives, consider our friend Linus Hall, owner of Yazoo who made the same voyage almost 10 years ago. You have a bottle in your hand, don’t you? The Weeks, a band buzzing with local popularity lately–Ditto. Mississippi has been goooood to us. . . .
As I stood in the crowded bungalow, swirling tones of psychedelic rock floated in the air to accompany a voice that takes us to the era of The Guess Who, Steppenwolf, and Jefferson Airplane. Listeners circled around the band to sway and sing along because Aaron Tyler’s bangs demand eye-contact, baiyatch. I swear I saw them flutter in tandem with the vibrato in his voice. BwahWAHwahwahwahwahwah.

Joe Regan, givin’ us the bends. Gant O’Brien serves the bass in yo’ face. JAG Swaggaaaz.

The JAG tips their hats (well, HAIR) to the Mississippi blues for a mellow contrast against edgy guitar riffs. Their recent album Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour (2012) is an incredible kaleidoscope of colors mirroring retro and modern influences. In their song, “White Horse”, the lyrics submerge you into to the fantasy, surrealism, and meditative qualities we love about the late 60s-early 70s. “Talk At Me” blasts a crunchy rock melody supported by confrontational bass lines. Hoochie Koo, Gant…

I’m already feeling a little JAG-Lagged…can’t wait for another show. Their next performance will be at the Eastside Hootenanny, a new East Nashville music fest, on May 18th. Until then, close your eyes and dive into the JAG. Mr. Tambourine Man will surf on a voluptuous swell of rock and roll alongside you. - No Country for New Nashville


For The JAG, a psychedelic rock band founded in Jackson, April was supposed to be a celebratory month.

Instead of promoting and rejoicing over the upcoming release of their debut LP, the band has pushed the album release back and had to regroup after $12,000 of gear and personal items were stolen while at Austin’s South by Southwest festival March 16.

Among the looted items were guitars that members Aaron Taylor King, Joe Regan (both of Brandon) and Gant O’Brien (of Terry and Crystal Springs) have used since they began playing in high school.

“We had been playing those forever,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been in three different bands with those guitars. They stole all of our clothes too. Everything we had on us. We basically had a week to survive with no clothes and no gear.”

The band managed to play the final show of their SXSW sets thanks to Bowling Green, Kentucky, band Buffalo Rodeo. They played a show at the Hi-Tone in Memphis a few nights later after friends drove down from Nashville with spare equipment.

A page set up on the crowdfunding GoFundMe (gofundme.com/savethejag) website shows $7,340 of the $12,000 has been raised as of Wednesday afternoon, but the band is in need of another round of support, O’Brien says.

“We got a lot of people in Austin to help us out,” O’Brien said. “Probably half of the donations were from people who haven’t even heard us.”

O’Brien said they band will probably not be able to play any shows for the next month, or until their equipment is replaced. The timing of the robbery has caused the band to push back the release of their, as yet untitled, LP until early summer.

Tyler King (vocals, guitar), O’Brien (bass) and Regan (guitar) were students at University of Southern Mississippi beginning in 2008 and moved to East Nashville in 2011, where they hooked up with drummer Scott Harper. They eventually added keyboardist Kar Zeno.

Working with producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Benjamin Booker), the group released EP “Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour,” in September 2012, as an homage to 1960’s acid rock sound, O’Brien said.

After the addition of Zeno to the line-up, the band again teamed up with Tokic is produce their EP and help evolve their sound. Zeno has helped push the band into what O’Brien now describes as 1970’s Brian Eno-produced Talking Heads. Throw in a mixture of 1990’s shoegaze from bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, and The JAG has flourished under Tokic’s mentorship.

“(Tokic has) really taken under his wing and we’re really happy about the new record,” O’Brien said.

As the band waits for donations on their GoFundMe page, they are not giving up hope of finding their childhood gear. The item’s serial numbers will pop up in a database if taken into a pawn shop.

“We’ve heard stories of people getting their gear back two and three years late,” O’Brien said. “We’re trying to stay hopeful.”

Contact Jacob Threadgill at 601-961-7192 or jthreadgil@jackson.gannett.com. Follow @JacoboLaSombra on Twitter. - The Clarion-Ledger


Sedate: How did you all meet?
The JAG: The three founding members (Joseph Regan, Aaron Tyler King and Gant O'Brien) met in Jackson, Mississippi while still in High school circa 2004. In 2011 we headed to Nashville after forming and dissolving a few groups. We felt the need to grow. Mississippi could no longer help us take on higher artistic endeavors.
We didn't look far for our drummer, Scott, the next door neighbor... he casually jumped our fence to crash our first shindig in Nashville. Shortly after, we picked up Nick Vallas, our auxiliary percussionist, from a rival Mississippi band.
S: You are releasing a brand new full length album this fall; can you tell us a little bit about it? Any important influences? Any anxieties?
TJ: "Pondermental Wonderment In Hypocricity" is our most important first attempt to break away from our roots. We have become indifferent towards the industry influenced Nashville sounds. We consider this a transitional album, as it begins to appeal to our diverse taste and musical obscurities. Our anxieties are typically those of the financial variety, being we are still independent completely.
S: What do you find to be the hardest when distinguishing yourselves from all the other bands, specifically rock bands in the music industry? How did you find your sound?
TJ: We wear our influences on our sleeve as if we're comfortable in our own skin. You know, Talking Heads comes up a lot…
S: Other than the release of your new album this fall, what is next for The Jag? Any tours planned?
TJ: We are busy recording demos in preparation for a winter release. Fall tour dates will be announced shortly. We'll be seeing you at CMJ for sure.
S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today's youth culture?
TJ: "You must not act the way you were brought up." Think for yourselves. Be a team leader. Smoke some acid. Whatever works for you? Stop breeding. - Sedate Zine


Pondermental Wonderment in Hypocricity, the 2015 EP from Mississippi transplants The Jag, offered a cosmic take on psych that was pretty refreshing, considering that many of their contemporaries were focused on the grittier, proto-punk-y side of the spectrum. Since then, the group has evolved in an interesting direction.

"A Star Is Born," a single recorded with Andrija Tokic and released in October, is some grade-A art-pop, a meditation on celebrity and perceptions of otherness with sonic elements that nod to glam, disco and post-punk. Today, we're very pleased to premiere the group's video for the track, in which ... an alien Elvis falls under the influence of a sex cult? The concept sounds corny as hell on paper, but the end result is delightful. There's nothing graphic, but there is some brief nudity, so keep that in mind if you're watching at work.

“ ’A Star Is Born’ encompasses many different perspectives concerning fame and its influence on an individual person and popular culture," says vocalist Aaron Tyler King in an email to the Cream. "It's seedy and playful, dark and vibrant. The song's content is engulfed with fantasy straight out of a sci-fi novel and is highly relatable to anyone who craves greatness.”

The Jag doesn't have any local dates on the calendar in the near future, but you can get the 7-inch in your favorite local record shop or get your digital fix here ("Dead Animals," the track on the B side, is right here). - Stephen Trageser


Guys, we found the key to Music City. No strangers to the game, The JAG has the inside scoop on making it in the biz here in Nashville... or so the psych-rockers would have you believe. Check out their hilarious parody to Nashville band success in this step by step spoof, and enter to win tickets to their vinyl release show Saturday night with HR_Lexy and Dedsa at Mercy Lounge!

We had the chance to listen to their 2 new tracks -- "A Star Is Born" and "Dead Animals", and they do not disappoint. Truly their best work yet, we're so happy to share it with you below! - DO615


Discography

2012 - "White Horse/Talk At Me" - 7" Single

2012 - "Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour"

The debut EP boldly showcases the bands ability to infuse soulful, southern vocal styles and melodies, with ballsy, sometimes psychedelic guitar sounds. When listened to loudly, the album effortlessly embodies the band’s live sound, with a raw edge followed by a tight feel.

2015 - "Pondermental Wonderment In Hypocricity" LP

"...there's recently been an absolute glut of garage-y psych bands, so the road less-traveled is particularly inviting. The JAG make pretty excellent tour guides." - Nashville Scene

Photos

Bio

By name alone, The JAG may suggest hard corners and sharp edges, but their baroque moods comprise more winding curves than straight lines.  Founding members Aaron Tyler King, Joe Regan and Gant O’Brien are going on a 10-year history of musical collaboration spanning three bands, originating in the Southern Gothic heat of Jackson, Mississippi.  Finding themselves in Nashville, TN in 2012, the three joined with Scott Harper to form The JAG and have been evolving in fascinating ways ever since.

Starting with an informed homage to 60’s acid rock and early glam, the band quickly progressed into a rare mix of influences.  Singer Aaron Tyler King tangos like a bayou David Byrne, calling out opaque aphorisms with the same clarity and conviction.  Highly composed, slanty keyboard hooks and bass lines pay clear respect to the likes of Brian Eno in his famous work on Bowie’s Heroes.  Brooding shoegaze occasionally peeks in the door, Marc Bolan tips his enormous top hat, and the ever-present psychedelic groundwork ties the music with a fancy bow into a compelling whole.

This potent mix has garnered significant attention within the Nashville rock scene. After touring with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and collaborating with Ben Trimble of Fly Golden Eagle, The JAG recorded their sophomore album with the Bomb Shelter’s Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Fly Golden Eagle, Benjamin Booker).  Although officially composed of five members, the live lineup fluctuates Brian Jonestown Massacre-style, boasting up to eight members in various configurations.


Band Members