Off The Stage: Jack The Radio

Photo credit: Samarco Photography

For most casual fans of music, the forty-five minutes that a band spends on the stage is all they can see. However, when the guitar cases are closed and the venue’s floor is littered with empty beer cans and trash, most bands load their gear into the van and return back to their normal lives.

Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates a band’s path to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.

North Carolina roots rockers Jack The Radio are gearing up to release their new LP Creatures on July 10th. Fronted by singer/songwriter George Hage (vocals, guitar) and joined by Danny Johnson (guitar, keyboard, lap steel, vocals), Dan Grinder (bass), and Kevin Rader (Drums, Vocals), the band seeks to remind us through their work that even though the world is polarized, we can find commonality in the fact that we’re all creatures of this earth who have the strength to overcome what’s ahead. Not only is there an album on the way, but Hage got to stretch his creative muscles even further, incorporating his passion for design by crafting a companion comic book called Jack The Radio: Creatures Anthology. “For me, the visual art is an extension of music,” says Hage. “Some people connect and retain more through sound and some better through sight and the combination can have even more of an impact than either on their own.” Hage told us what he’s been up to lately, and how he and the band have been maintaining their sanity:

“I’ve heard folks say life throws you curveballs. If that’s the case, then this one hit us in the head, and we’ve woken up in an alternate timeline where concerts are only happening online and most of the country is closed. But I find my comfort in knowing people still crave art and people still want to interact and engage while at home – maybe even more than before. We all want to maintain a level of normalcy, and listening to music can be a big part of that. 

It’s definitely been an adjustment not being able to interact in person and not being able to play or see shows. Our spring and summer dates have been canceled or postponed. We’re starting to hear rumblings about postponements in the fall as well, so the best we can do is accept change and adapt. With our new album Creatures coming July 10th, the band has been working on more digital content, like performance videos from our individual homes. We’ve also been having weekly FaceTime sessions to stay connected as a band. This new normal has given us the opportunity to engage with people in Portland and NYC through virtual concerts while sitting in North Carolina. Traditionally we’d have to travel for those same events.

We’re very lucky this pandemic hit in a time where we can easily connect with one another. Right now I’m working with a director in Portland who’s working with a visual effects artist in Los Angeles to animate our ‘Creatures’ music video using artwork from a comic I created with thirty artists from eight countries around the world. All during this global pandemic. I was hesitant at first to ask people about the project thinking they would have more critical things to focus on, but I quickly realized we all want to work. We need to create. 

I’m maintaining my normal through creative projects. The band and I have been busy preparing for the album release and many aspects within that. I’m also scoring a podcast with Capital Broadcasting and creating album art for Yarn, Jason Adamo, t-shirt designs for Szlachetka, and artwork for Red Hat Amphitheater despite several festival and venue design projects being postponed. And thanks to my amazing wife I find time to get outside. A nice byproduct of being home is our daily walks. Love ‘em! “

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