Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons
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Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons Biography
ISTANBUL | Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
My friend Michael Lewis and I were leaving that night on the 3:00 am, Turkish Air, Istanbul/Kabul flight. Since we'd been in Istanbul, à la usual jet lag, I was up at 5:00 to see to the sunrise over the Blue Mosque below us every morning. One of the world's epic views...the Blue and Grand Mosques ringing the Bosphorus.
I had been reading Reza Aslan's 'Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,' and as I'm wont to do, thinking about how to rip it off for a song. We were getting a lot of dramatic memos from Kabul to not come...due to recent Taliban attacks on aid workers...but we'd already decided we couldn't back out, as we had dinner reservations at the 'Kabul Karzai House of Raw Lamb,' and it's a bitch to get a table...so it occurred to me I should write something.
So 15 minutes and a gallon of motor oil coffee...and the song spewed out. Michael wasn't impressed. I thought I was frikken brilliant 'til Michael pointed out it was stock "me." Fuck Michael. I like off the top of my head ranting...and when you add the "down by the river" chords what's not to love?...unless you're trying to sequence a record.
Aslan's book really affected me as a Catholic. As did staring at the Blue Mosque every morning. A lot of things mash up in Istanbul...plus they break for dinner when they riot...plus anything I can do to remotely emulate Nick Cave whilst stealing from Moonage Daydream.
The band cut this in one 15 minute take...it was too intense of a vibe to edit it, hence 15 minutes of catharsis. There you have it.
FOG OF WAR | Kabul, Afghanistan
'The Fog of War,' the Errol Morris documentary on Robert McNamara, is one of the most moving documentaries I've seen. I'd wanted to use the title for a song and write about relationships and the hard work of being married.
I was with Robin Ryczek, founder of Rock School Kabul, where I was a volunteer guitar teacher. Her and I and my friend Michael Lewis were rehearsing for a show at The Venue that night. So we wrote the music together and with another hour of lyric notes, it was there. You can tell it was written with a cellist because of the random Eb bridge.
I was trying to write songs in Kabul that didn't have anything to do with war, as it was so present and omnipotent there...mostly I was trying to write songs my kids would like...magic and space and jinnis and love. The last thing Afghanistan needs is a Jerry Joseph death dirge.