They did not view the Ark as a place to be taught but came with the excitement of children at Christmas. They arrived with an expectation to play and experience in a carnival of creative possibility – that is really what Ark offered. Little did they know they were learning at the same time.
Time seems to separate us, one from the other, yet there is joy in spirit that is eternal. So, from time to time I want to share the workings and wanderings of some playful people who sailed for some years at the Ark Improvisational Theatre.
I remember Jessica as she sang for the first time on the Ark stage. Her message machine played the lyric of Sarah Mclachlan – “I’ll take your breath away”.
Everything’s Jake (04/21/2000)
JakeJake, Bloodblue (Desert Dog Records 1999) – Jake is a four-piece combo from New York City, fronted by singer/songwriter and guitarist, Jessie Lee Montague. Bloodblue marks the second release from the band, and shows a brash rock sound, highlighted by Jessie Lee’s strong presence.
Bloodblue is a seven-track EP and is a follow up to their full-length debut CD, Hook, which was released on Sire’s Blackbird Records.
Jessie Lee MontagueStanding at the center of this well-greased quartet is single Jessie Lee Montague, who is flanked by long-time drummer Jagoda, bass player Johnnie Raggs, and John Annese on guitars and voices. The album was produced by Chicky and recorded at “Chicky’s Place” (with Chicky on all programming and keyboards).
The highlight of the EP is a cover of “I’m Not Alone” (the old 10cc song). With its feedback-drenched sound and drum loops, “I’m Not Alone” has a deliciously spare techno sound, and is one of the best singles I heard in a long while. Jake’s version easily outpaces the big budget cover by Olive on The Next Big Thing soundtrack.
Jessie Lee MontagueVocalist Jessie Lee moved from New Mexico at 18 and studied improv in Madison, Wisconsin, with such stars-to-be as Chris Farley and Joan Cusack.
Jessie Lee met drummer Jagoda in Wisconsin, then bounced to Europe where she endured the chills of cold, dark fog and poverty while busking in London. Jake is Jessie Lee’s childhood nickname, and, as she says, “It was also John Belushi’s name in the Blues Brothers movie. What’s more cool than that?”
“Evil” and “Jellyroll” build on a power cord guitar structure, while “Jackflash” has a more introspective singer/songwriter feel.
The bandSays Jessie, “My family life was alienating and splintered. Many divorces, lots of silence, tremendous independence. I like everyone in my family. They are good people. But they are not the most emotionally nurturing group of people I have ever met. Therefore, I have a need to tell you and scream about what I need and want.”
And Jessie lets it hang out. She says, “‘By Myself’ was written very directly about a relationship I was in at the time. What else is there to say? And the followup, ‘Evil’ was written about the same person two years later. Things obviously didn’t get any better. The beauty of writing songs is it’s a way of putting some harsh feelings into a certain form of beauty. This process I find somewhat healing.”
The bandAdmits Jessie Lee, “Sometimes I get scared about being on an indie label. Sometimes I’m like, ‘Why don’t I have a video?’ It’s scary because in your head you have so many expectations once you are signed. You are like, ‘Oh, my life is totally going to change. I’m going to be doing this, I’m going to tour, I’m going to be on MTV.’ And then when you are still waitressing, it’s like, ‘Oh . . . that’s right, I’m still an indie artist.'”
Indie or not, Jessie Lee has real chops, and a goodly dose of angst to drive her rock.
Jessie Lee Montague”I’m Not in Love” is a tour de force from the studio and shows signs of brilliance. And it sounds different from the rest of the album. Says Jessie Lee, “This was a total experiment, again delving into Chicky’s world. It is one of my favorite songs of all time, and he wanted to cover it, so it was really just him and I masterminding the whole deal.”
Download the cd of Jessie Lee Montague at Bloodblue