I met Jake the first day of school in my FYE “Emotion and Meaning in Music.” He wore a humble grin that stretched across his face, the same grin that greeted me in upstairs Worner over the weekend as we sat down on the couches to talk.
Jake first started playing guitar when he was 11 years old after being exposed to legends like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. He became well known in the music scene at CC when he began playing with YouJazz, filling in for their guitarist Phoenix.
“I had played in front of huge crowds before but I never played to a crowd that was so receptive to the kind of music that I enjoyed playing. It gave me hope to see that kids my age like the same music that I enjoy playing.”
Jake now plays in Funkdozer, one of the four finalists in Battle of the Bands. Their group originally started as a trio with saxophone player Brian LeMeur and drummer Jake Lauer. Once they found a bassist, fellow freshman Dylan Pearl, they became a band.
“When we got back from Christmas break Brian got us our first gig above the Preserve. Kids really liked it! We were so surprised because we put all the songs together in five days, and just thought holy crap people actually liked it.”
This modest attitude that surrounds the all freshman band keeps them practicing, playing, and gaining more popularity on campus. Jake continues to shy away from compliments and shakes his head when anyone tries to give him one.
“We all think we suck.”
After their win at Battle of the Bands Jake and the rest of Funkdozer are still reeling. They played a risky set, choosing a 20 minute long jam session instead of a preset list of songs, that ultimately propelled them to tie with YouJazz for the most votes.
“Guitar is an instrument that is unexplored. With a lot of instruments there’s a method to how you get good at them, but with guitar it’s up to the player to figure it out themselves. You have to mess around and explore the fret board yourself. That’s so cool to me. I’ll sit down and figure new stuff out every time I play. I kind of don’t understand why I like it so much, but I just know the instrument has done a lot of good to me and that’s why I love it so much.”