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Jackson United – Western Ballads

Branching off from a multi-platinum band, like the Foo Fighters for instance, to start a new musical venture is a double edged sword. Sure, you might have the time (in-between Foo records of course), the money and a relaxed label backing the launch of such an endeavor, but the microscope is enhanced when straying from the comforts of a proven act. Then there are evil journalists like me lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce and disregard any “side-project” as blindly narcissistic and a waste of time.


Well that’s just what Chris Shiflett of the aforementioned Foo’s did when he formed Jackson United with bass-playing brother Scott (Face to Face) , and drummer Pete Parada (Face to Face, Saves the Day).

JU released their debut EP on Magnificent Records under the moniker Jackson, playing a few festivals in the U.K. With their arrival stateside came a name change. They became Jackson United due to a representative from the Michael Jackson camp stating that, considering the gloved one’s rising musical stock (??!!??!!), they wouldn’t want a member of the Foo Fighters profiting from his name. Soon after came a line-up change, Doug Sangalang came in on guitar (Screw 32), Omen Starr took up duties on bass and Cary Lascala (Communiqué) completed the band on drums.

The new line-up wasted no time, touring with such heavyweights as The Vandals, Matchbook Romance, and Sugarcult as well as a stint on the Vans Warped Tour.

On May 31st the band released their debut full-length entitled, Western Ballads. The name is pretty fitting, with 14 Cali-inspired rock tunes, “Its guitar pop. Not as heavy as Foo Fighters stuff. And there’s some stuff that’s pretty mellow and vibey.” He’s right, it’s not as heavy as the Foo’s, unfortunately, it’s not as catchy or memorable either.

There are some good songs on the disc but it just doesn’t have enough meat to stick to your ribs, instead it just passes right through, leaving you with only a few pop-rock morsels to remember it by.

This lone star writer is hard at work trying to become a better him.


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