Written by Slone Fox
Photo by Caption Photography
ALBERTA PUNKS ARE HERE TO PROVE NOTHING IS MORE 'TOUGH GUY' THAN CUTTING YOUR OWN HAIR, COMMITTING 'UNDERWEAR SCHEMES' AND COVERING BEASTIE BOYS.
All proceeds for "Tough Guy" will be donated to the National Bail Fund Network in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Purchase on Bandcamp.
River Jacks have respectfully not fought for their right to party during quarantine, instead opting to stay in, social distance, and cover Beastie Boys tracks.
Consisting of Dungeon Master-singer-guitarist Spencer Jo Burgess, warlock-accordionist Andy “Mandrill” Shannon, paladin-guitarist-vocalist Jordan Barrett, human-drummer Mikey Blotto and cleric-bassist Tyler Burton, the Alberta-based quintet metaphorically got together to create an at-home music video for their cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Tough Guy”. Born out of the unscratchable itch to produce content while isolating, the DIY video gives off Americas Funniest Home Videos vibes with significantly fewer kicks to the crotch, but a similar amount of chaotic enjoyment.
With the recording of their new album pushed back due to the pandemic, River Jacks has made their entire discography available for free or donation on their Bandcamp, including "Tough Guy" and the demo that it appears on. Additionally, the band will be donating all profits from Bandcamp's no revenue day on June 5th to the legal fund for Minneapolis protesters.
Between making strong political statements and fart jokes, the guys of River Jacks took the time to chat with us about how they've been staying busy during the quarantine.
1. GIVING THEMSELVES D.I.Y. HAIRCUTS
Is there anything more "tough guy" than leaning over the bathroom sink, using borrowed clippers that you just know have probably been used to shave someone else’s back hair, all while you anticipate the inevitable anger from your roommate/partner/parent once you’re done because no matter how good of a job you do cleaning it up, you’re always going to leave at least a few hairs on the counter?
No, there isn’t.
“I learned to cut my own hair during quarantine,” says Barrett. “I think that’s pretty tough. I did a three on the side and then a six on the top, so there's no fading. It's a hard step right off the top.”
“I always cut my own hair anyway because I’m lazy,” adds Blotto.
2. SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH PUPPIES AND KITTENS
“I've got two cats. One of them is an old bastard that likes to shit in my garden, but I love him,” says Shannon. “He’s got many names. His name is Cromby, but we make fun of him by calling him all kinds of names that go with whatever he’s doing. So, like, if he cut me, I would call him crombat knife. Things like that. Or like if a helicopter flies by, we’ll say, oh look a helicrombter.”
“It actually comes up a lot on tour, that cat,” agrees Burgess.
“Like if we go over rumble strips on the highway, I’ll call them cromble strips, because they go brrrrrbrrrbrrbrrrr and so does he,” continues Shannon. “Then I have a cat named Missy, who’s just cute.”
As for the rest of the band, Barrett has been spending quality time with his dog Mochi, while Blotto has been hanging out with Piccard, who is also a dog. Burton has been caring for his cat Calvin, and alleged-cat-but-maybe-an-amorphous-demon, Taco.
“Taco is a real piece of shit,” Burton concludes.
3. LAUGHING SO HARD AT THEIR OWN JOKES THAT THEY CRY
Burgess has zero pets, but one human child.
“We all have fur babies and Spencer has a skin baby,” Blotto laughs, eventually transitioning to full-on tears as the term “skin baby” sets in. It’s a very confident laugh for someone who is wearing not one, but two articles of their own band merch at the same time.
“Sounds like the title of our next song,” laughs Burton.
4. MAKING ALFREDO SAUCE FROM SCRATCH
“I’ve been working on my stir fry, as well as making pasta sauce from scratch,” says Burgess. “I’ve done tomato basil and alfredo so far.”
To make alfredo sauce fit for a frontman, melt butter in a frying pan over high heat until it browns, then add half a cup of cream until it comes to a boil. Contemplate overthrowing the government as you stir the mixture constantly, stopping when large bubbles begin to form. Add grated parmesan and salt as needed. Makes enough servings for the whole band.
5. BRAINSTORMING UNDERWEAR SCHEMES
Picture this: you’re halfway through the tour, and you realize you lost a bag overflowing with your dirty underwear on Pender Island. Grim, but Burton’s reality.
“Next time we play a show on Pender we should reclaim those underpants,” says Burgess.
“Bring one pair of Saxx for the bass player and that’s the cover,” adds Barrett.
“What about a used underwear show where you have to bring your used underwear as cover?” suggests Blotto. “We could potentially give a lot of people pink eye if we did a show like that.”
You heard it here first, folks: River Jacks wants your used undergarments.