The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The ‘Jack’ is back

Although it has shared stages with various big names, including the Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow and No Doubt, acoustic guitar duo Jackopierce has not forgotten its humble beginnings.
“One of our first road trips was to A&M,” said Jack O’Neill, guitarist and vocalist for Jackopierce. “(Cary Pierce and I) used to love performing at the Wolfpen Ampitheater and then eating supper off butcher paper at Tom’s Barbeque. (College Station) was always a great place to perform, and we’re ready to return.”
Tonight, O’Neill will get his chance when he performs at Shadow Canyon.
Between an acting career, a nine-to-five job and music performances, he stays a busy man.
O’Neill began his music career with fellow musician Cary Pierce in 1988 and has been on the go ever since.
“I’m not good at hanging around,” he said. “I love doing a million things at once.”
Lucky for O’Neill, his schedule has rarely allowed time for boredom. When O’Neill and Pierce met as freshmen theater majors at Southern Methodist University, they found a connection through music and soon formed Jackopierce.
While O’Neill and Pierce split in 1998 to follow other pursuits, they decided to reunite last fall and will continue to play shows throughout 2003. O’Neill said the reunion is a welcome return to his passion for music.
“I always wanted to be an actor, and I knew I had to do it before I got too old,” he said. “I didn’t really miss music when I first came to New York, but Cary came to visit me, and I realized how much fun it really is.”
Pierce pursued a solo career in the music industry after the duo’s split, but said he is ready to resume singing and playing his guitar with O’Neill.
“A lot more happens when I have a guitar in my hand,” he said. “Playing the guitar is one of my biggest contributions to music.”
Pierce, who writes many of the lyrics for the duo’s music, said he finds inspiration from everyday life.
“I can find a song in everything, everywhere,” he said. “I’m just a student of life.”
Pierce said he also listens to other artists’ work when developing his own musical style.
“I love getting blown away by other people’s stuff,” he said. “Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’ is my favorite record of all time, but right now I’m listening to a lot of Missy Elliot. It’s good for me to listen to different types of music so I can decide whether I need to add more here or there to my own.”
In addition to evolving his musical style, Pierce helps new artists produce their music.
“I’m constantly developing other people’s music,” he said. “I love being able to share the wealth with musicians who are just starting out.”
Because of Pierce’s multifaceted interests, he often finds himself away from home.
“After ‘x’ number days on the road, I’m really jonesing for my family,” he said. “I try to stay with friends to make the trips easier. I’d much rather take a cruddy couch in one of my friend’s homes than stay at a mediocre hotel with flourescent lights and a shady guy behind the check-in desk.”
Pierce said that while living out of a suitcase can prove tiring, he is ready for this weekend’s music festival.
“College Station was our biggest following back in the day,” he said. “Festivals like (the Northgate Music Festival) give us the chance to see other bands and hook up with people we haven’t seen in a while.”
Wendy Ridings, a senior accounting major, is ready for Pierce and O’Neill’s return. She became a loyal follower when a friend introduced her to one of the duo’s CDs. Ridings said she became even more of a fan when she went to a Jackopierce concert in Austin last semester.
“I knew their (lyrics) by heart, but they actually sound better live than they do on their CD,” she said. “I’m a big fan of the acoustic guitar sound, and I will like someone 10 times more if they can both sing and play.”
Merrill Gates, a senior marketing major, attended one of Jackopierce’s concerts in Shreveport, La., more than four years ago and has been a fan ever since. Gates said she finds herself listening to the duo’s music because it provides an element that mainstream music does not.
“They’re not really a band you would normally hear on the radio,” she said. “They do their own thing and have their own sound, which is the reason I like them so much.”

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