The Jungle Rockers
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The Jungle Rockers

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Times of Acadiana's best of the week's entertainment - Lafayette"

For fans of The Clash, Buddy Holly, malt shops and the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, the Blue Moon Saloon presents The Jungle Rockers. For a hint of Austin's rockabilly group's dirty garage sound, visit Clap along to Shake It and shake it to Hot, Soft & Sweet. - The Times of Acadiana

"(cover story) From Diddley to The Clash. The Jungle Rockers combine textbook influences for an undefinable sound"

It is the sound of Link Wray howling and gasping his way through a Jimmy Reed cover. It is the sound of John Lee Hooker bending his low E beyond recognition in “Huckle Up Baby.”
To plagiarize and bastardize Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be [jungle rock]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I [hear] it.”
The Jungle Rockers are an emerging local band that combines Bo Diddley primitivism with the swagger of the Clash. Their self-described style of music is based around simple chord changes and the raw power of a hypnotic groove. The official quartet is made up of Jason Leonard on guitar and vocals, Mike Molnar on lead guitar, Josh Williams on stand-up bass, and Adam Buxton on drums. This lineup is augmented live by the Jungle Brothers, an unofficial revolving list Austin musicians that join the band on maracas or congas.
The Rockers’ back-to-basics approach is a fresh alternative to a local indie scene often based on pretense over rhythm.
“We really burned out on the indie music scene,” says guitarist Mike Molnar. “We like playing rock and roll. If you bring too much professionalism into it, you can lose the fun.”
Frontman Jason Leonard echoes this outlook. “We’re a rock and roll band,” he says. “We cut our teeth playing dances and parties.” This history correlates with an electrifying live show that recently packed the floor of the Continental Club.
Members of the Jungle Rockers started playing together as teenagers in Clevelend. When guitarist Mike Molnar scored a gig with rockabilly legend Ronnie Dawson, he was exposed to the roots music scene in Austin while on tour.
“A lot of the local roots bands are more country-based. We wanted to do something different, with one foot in black musical traditions and an emphasis on Bo Diddley,” notes Molnar. “To me he is way better than T.S. Eliot. Bo Diddley was a great poet, and his swagger and gunslinger attitude really inspired the band.”
Just like Diddley’s, all of the Jungle Rockers’ songs are highly danceable. The combination of a swinging beat behind the kit with congas and maracas creates a trance-like rhythm. As a result, listeners just can’t help but be compelled to shake their hips and stomp their feet. “We just wouldn’t sound right with a normal drum setup” says drummer Buxton. He’s right: the Rockers don’t even use a hi-hat.
The band’s debut EP, Shake It, will be released in time for South by Southwest. Recorded at a friend’s house in South Austin, the tracks capture the spirit of a Jungle Rockers live show. Their originals on this disc draw heavily on 1950s musical traditions, often sounding like they could have been written a half-century ago. They combine elements of rockabilly and Chicago blues with Scotty Moore tele-licks and a punk ethos.
What results is an effort that is both instantly recognizable and totally fresh, as the Jungle Rockers offer a shot of adrenaline to a tired musical form. They respect American music’s history without sounding derivative, but they write songs edgy enough to appeal to the Red River rock crowd.
“As guys from back East, we love Austin, but not nearly enough UT girls have been coming to our shows” jokes Leonard. “Come check us out for a swingin’ good time.”
- Daily Texan

"Caught 'Em in Autumn"

What does Austin sound like right now? Well, to answer that question, which someone posed recently, you have to think about what it looks like right now. On Red River and surrounding areas, condos and hotels are springing up, buildings are being bulldozed down, and traffic cones and barricades line the street, guarding the ever-present rubble. There's an element of danger – you might be crushed under an errant crane – but there's also a surreal commingling of old and new and an uncertainty as to what lies ahead for the area.

The music scene on Red River is at an interesting tipping point, as well. Many of the "big" Austin bands of the last few years have outgrown the clubs, and there's now a unique and diverse influx of younger groups and musicians rubbing up against the old Austin guard. Red River's facade is undergoing a transformation, and while everyone's debating about responsible growth and the noise ordinance, the live scene is growing under the surface.

This is a small sample of some of the bands rising above the din of demolition and construction, and while this group only represents a fraction of the noteworthy bands out there every night, it's of a snapshot of Austin right now. Get ready to rumble. These old-school rockers are so genuine their vinyl collection even smells like 1958. It's Bo Diddley by way of the Ramones, just technical enough to show their prowess but sweaty enough to prove their move from Cleveland to the South was warranted. The Jungle Rockers are sexy and dangerous, quiet and mysterious, the kind of boys who would've sent your mother to the priest for counseling. Last summer's eponymous debut EP introduced the boys to the River City, and in a matter of months, they exploded. No surprise; Austin loves them some bad boys who can swing that axe. "Check the way I walk, what I say, how I dress. I'm rockin' black Chuck Taylors 'case I wanna jump a fence. 'Cuz I'm a jungle rocker." Hell yeah. – Darcie Stevens - The Austin Chronicle

"The Jungle Rockers"

Relocating to Austin from Cleveland, the Jungle Rockers are a natural fit for Austin’s vintage appeal, and few bands have matched the Continental Club’s rockabilly ethos so well. And while they have quickly and popularly enmeshed themselves within the local scene, it’s also tempting to see the roots of their Ohio hometown both in their Midwest blue-collar drive and as the city’s home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their unrepentant melding of rock’s most foundational sounds. The group’s debut, self-titled EP proudly wears its influences on it’s sleeve, and it’s impossible not to talk about the Jungle Rockers without dropping their very conscious debts to Bo Diddley or Chuck Berry licks. But with the energy that the quartet injects back into the sound, their songs are more of a true homage and embracing of that period than a derivative rehashing.

The five songs on the EP admittedly have more the feel of a demo than a proper release, reinforced by the instrumental re-do of opener “Shake It!” and production that doesn’t quite capture their intensity to full-effect. That being said, however, the songs are still an explosive romp of greaser rock. “Shake It!” appropriately introduces the album with a classically cool, surf riff followed by Jason Leonard’s howl of “Shake it! Like you do when you want to get you some!” But it’s the soft drop into an almost old-school R&B sensuousness that makes the song most memorable though: “There’s a moon out, something rustling the leaves. Feel it in the air, makes you quiver in the knees.”

The Rockers’ most popular contemporary equivalent would likely be Southern Culture on the Skids, though where SCotS revel in the shtick of their sound, the Jungle Rockers’ more naturally effuse an attitude of slicked back hair and leather jackets. “Jungle Man” anthematically declares the cultural constitution with punched lines like: “We got the windows rolled down with radio up, get the back seat bouncing to the good stuff. And you better check the way I walk, what I say, how I dress, I’m rockin’ black Chuck Taylors in case I want to jump your fence cause I’m a jungle rocker!” Likewise, “Hot, Soft and Sweet,” the best and most unrestrained of the songs, sweats with the unrivaled underlying sexuality of 50’s rock ‘n’ roll , fueled by a perfect bass groove and irrepressible shouts. Who needs Rockin' Bones when there is new material as fresh and solid as this?! Austin is proudly one of the few places in the nation where such a rockabilly lifestyle is capable of being lived without the least sense of irony, and the Jungle Rockers are its new champions.

- Robert Darden - Austin Sound

"Cool it Out review by Doug Freeman"

The sophomore EP from Austin's premier greasers kick-starts with a yelp and riffs that don't ease up until the tank's tapped out. Rumbling out of the garage like Link Wray with a ferocious backbeat, the six tracks mod out the local quartets familiar rockabilly jive with a pop touch. The opening title track injects a Bo Diddley beat with early Beatles fervor, every line laced with lust so that Jason Borkowski's laughing "I'm gonna cook ya some eggs, baby" winks a leering slouch. "Devil in My Head" unloads a primal pulse behind equally sexual howls, and "Big Mouth" picks up speed with full-throttle licks. Instrumental "Guts" and the grooving "Love Trap" ride surf rhythms, but "Lies" surprises with a smooth lilt that leans as much toward chiming doo-wop as greaser punk. Driving and gritty, "Cool it Out" does anything but. - The Austin Chronicle

"Praise from Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Genet"

Nous croyons qu'ils sont les plus grands poètes vivants aujourd'hui.

(We think they are the greatest American poets alive today) - Vraies vérités (Montmartre, France)

"The Jungle Rockers recommended"

Sweating the sexualized psychotica of the Cramps and duck-walking Chuck’s blues into your pants, Austin’s Jungle Rockers have some advice for you: “Shake it like you do when you wanna get ya some.” The quartet’s self-titled EP is one of the best local releases of the summer, and the slick twang of “Hot, Soft & Sweet” (one guess what that’s about) will give you something with which to mess up your bed sheets. - Austin Chronicle

"The Jungle Rockers EP – The Jungle Rockers"

The Jungle Rockers have taken by storm a substantial segment of the local population and then some. These Cleveland natives have found a home and an audience for their rockabilly in Austin, and we consider that a boon. But the term ‘rockabilly’ does not do justice to their exquisite blend of blues, country, swing, and heck, even punk. EP opener "Shake It" as well as "Sugar Shack" are perfect introductions to the band’s obvious musical talent, cavalier vocal style, charming attitude, but mostly their ability to get people up and moving to the dance floor. The insistent boogie of their theme song "Jungle Man" remains our favorite and the EP wraps up all too soon with an instrumental version of "Shake It" that leaves us hoping for a full-length sooner rather than later. Their MySpace page describes them as a thick, tangled mass of dark, hot, pulsing, tropical, panty-peelin’, hip-grindin’, high-rollin’, body-movin’, down-at-the-crossroads-soul-sellin’ garage rockabilly rhythm and blues ear candy for the hot, soft, and sweet.

But all in all, the Jungle Rockers specialize in a solid brand of good time rock n’ roll that should satisfy most. - Austinist


Self-titled EP, 2007.
Cool It Out EP, 2008.
Untitled Full Length, 2010



Rock and roll band based in Austin, TX.