My name is Jake.
I was born in the smallish town of St. Catharines a long time
ago. When I was a teenager, my parents got sick of the suburbs and we all moved
to a farm outside of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Then, for a long time, nothing happened.
Until, one day, I had this idea. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool
to have a really unusual band, one that was drastically different from all the
other bands that I knew…”
I thought, “the sound of this band I should combine my interest
in traditional jazz, jump blues, rockabilly and punk. And the lyrics should
express my love of all my favourite power-house song-writers, like Tom Waits
and Bertold Brecht.”
Then I thought, “I should have a really ‘in-your-face’ stage
persona: something that would be considered all provocative and such…”
That’s when it hit me: I would become the man known as Big Rude
After that, things just went nuts. I’ve built a career around
that crazy idea, and that career has taken me around the world and back, got me
into lots of adventures and sometimes a lot of trouble. It has been he source
of almost all my pleasures in life and most of the pain. And I still keep doing
it. Clearly, I am insane.
Once, an agent of mine told me that I had to have an alluring
bio to impress potential buyers. Together, we came up with the following, which
amounts to my official promotional bio. Please forgive me if it sounds pompous.
I’m told that it’s the way these things are supposed to read…
Anyway, here we go…
The tale of Jake’s rise to infamy has been told and re-told to
the point of becoming mythic. The story goes that, some 20 years ago, Jake was
drawn to the Jazz tradition for its passion and sensuality and lamented the
rise of the stuffy “jazz intellectual.” He dreamed up a plan to bring Jazz back
to its street-wise and rough-hewn roots. Part of this process would require him
to develop a stage persona that was evocative of strident passion and longing.
In the first few years of his career, he actually avoided playing in jazz
venues altogether. Instead, he performed his own jazz and swing compositions in
rock venues and blues bars across Canada, where he hoped to find kindred
spirits who could appreciate his dream of a “Bawdy House Jazz” revival.
Originally billed as “alternative music,” Jake’s vision caught
the attention of media and critics across the country. His independent
recordings were sold in the “rock,” “punk” and “alternative” sections in music
stores, and he proved that Jazz and Swing, with the right attitude, could have
as much street credibility as any rock, soul or hip-hop act in the country.
After the rise of such U.S. bands as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and
the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jake was swept up into the Neo-Swing movement that
was all the rage across North America. Understanding that he needed to develop
a more international profile, Jake moved to New York, where he marketed himself
to American record companies. In New York, Jake signed with Road Runner Records
(now known for the success of Nickleback and Megadeath) and began touring
Europe and the United States.
Having expanded his horizons, Jake returned to Toronto.
Unfortunately, around this time, tragedy struck. Jake was hit by a taxicab
while riding his bike home from a gig in the middle of the night. Due to his
injuries, he was forced to cancel a national tour of an independent album that
he had only just completed, and was left with few options but to take some time
This, along with a series of other personal and professional
setbacks, led Jake to consider the possibility that it might be a good time to
leave the industry for a while, to heal and re-group. He went into
semi-retirement. The years away from the recording industry did him good. He is
actually in better physical shape then he has been since high school. He’s also
more relaxed, having pursued his interest in Buddhism with some vigor.
The launch of Quicksand
sees Big Rude Jake once again ready to tour widely in Canada. The live show
still contains much of the energetic kick so beloved to Jake fans, but behind
it all is warmth that you might have missed before.