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A Conversation With Jack de Keyzer



When you’ve got 2 Junos and 7 Maple Blues Awards, there’s no need to push the boundaries. Not so for Jack de Keyzer. He doesn’t push, he busts them down on his newest release Tribute. When Jack puts the pedal to the floor, you’re off on a rollickin’ ride down the blues highway.


Ken Wallis caught up with Jack to chat about his latest album.




Ken Wallis

Jack de Keyzer has a new album out and it is called Tribute. And joining us to talk about the new release is Jack de Keyzer. Jack, thanks for stopping by.


Jack de Keyzer

Nice to be here. Ken. It's good to see you.


Ken Wallis

Your last album was a tribute to the Chess record years entitled Checkmate, it was sort of a retrospective. This one Tribute is a whole different ballgame. Tell us all about it.


Jack de Keyzer

Yeah, I actually didn't think about that. At one point. I thought well, it's a trip after I recorded all the songs. I just thought every tune reminds me of some classic songs that I grew up listening to or it was inspired by different people. So I thought Tribute was a good word to describe the feeling of the album. Yeah, it's a tribute to all my favourite kinds of players and music, Clapton, Hendrix, rock, blues, Stones, all that stuff.

Ken Wallis

Yeah, it really crosses a lot of different genres.


Jack de Keyzer

Yeah, but I think the blues is the thing that runs through it the strongest.


Ken Wallis

I've never asked you this question. I've seen you perform, I don't know how many times but a lot. Whenever I hear one of your recordings, I know it's Jack de Keyzer playing guitar immediately. How do you keep that tone? How does that happen? How do you do that?


Jack de Keyzer

I'm one of these guys that plays the same guitar in the same amp all the time.


Ken Wallis

So you don't change it up at all. That's probably the secret to your success. I think it's terrific.


Jack de Keyzer

Well, I mean, BB King didn't have 10 guitars on stage or neither did Hendrix back in the day, right? He might have had a spare one in case he burnt one but I just find with the Stratocaster I get all the sounds I want. And it's sort of my signature sound. And, yeah, for some of the overdubs and second guitar parts, I use different guitars just to get a different flavour. But my main axe is the Strat.


Ken Wallis

So the album starts off with a little bit of boogie in Are You Ready? And it just takes off from there. Is there any particular song on this album that you really enjoy the most? Are they all the same? Do they all have the same feeling to you?

Jack de Keyzer

I always thought of songs as children, and your own children, right? You don't like one more than the other anything like that. And then you just let them loose into the world and you hope that they'll do okay.


Ken Wallis

You've done a couple of live performances of late as well. Have you been including some of the cuts from this album?


Jack de Keyzer

We did! Yeah. We've just played a show in London, Ontario. And we played the whole album for the first set. But yeah, there haven't been a whole lot of full band opportunities. We played in an amphitheater in Trois Rivieres about a month ago. But we didn't do anything from the new album at that point yet, because it was too far away to the release.


Ken Wallis

One song that sticks out for me is Supernatural. It's sort of like, a Latiny rock tune. It's an interesting inclusion on the album.


Jack de Keyzer

Yeah, when I'm writing songs, I just go down to my studio and start strumming or come up with a riff or come up with a lyric or something. And I had that kind of title floating around in my head because I know, Santana had an album called Supernatural, but he didn't have any song called Supernatural. And I thought, well, I'll write a song called Supernatural.


Ken Wallis

How long does it take to put out an entire album? It must be an awful lot of work.


Jack de Keyzer

it used to be about five years in between albums. And then in between that five year period, I'd put out a live album, just to keep the stuff out there. And the last all original album I put out was 2013. So it's been seven years since all original, but I've put out three albums since then. We put out the live album, Voodoo Boogie. Then I put out a best of album then I put out the all cover album, Checkmate. So yeah, it's between five to seven years I find that it takes me to write the songs, arrange them. For this album, I probably went through at least 62. I probably had maybe even 100 songs that I kind of whittled down to about 20. And then that 20 got cut to 15. And that 15 got cut down to 12 that made it on the album, or I think we even recorded 16 tunes. So yeah, I have four songs in the can that I'll probably release i as like bonus tracks further on down the road.


Ken Wallis

So Checkmate was the first album you recorded in your own home studio?


Jack de Keyzer

It was Yeah, at my home studio, and it was so much fun. And it was it was really great to do an album of all covers, and I it was kind of liberating, you know, and when you think of a lot of the huge bands like the Beatles, and the Stones, like their first few albums are mostly cover albums, right? And I thought, yeah, it's just one part of the equation that you don't have to worry about is the songwriting because you already know the songs are good, and now we're gonna record them so then you're just mostly concentrating on getting a good sound in the studio and a good feel and a good vibe. And once we got that, it just seemed like Yeah, well, I want to record my new songs here.


Ken Wallis

And who's on the album playing with you?

Jack de Keyzer

Alan Duffy has been with me for now about 17 years he’s on bass. Richard Thornton plays saxophone. He's been with me about 12 years. Nick Succi, who's from the Hamilton area. He's on keyboards, and he's been with me about three or four years now. And we had a new drummer also from Hamilton named Pete Grimmer who played drums on the album because, well, Rick Donaldson's (drummer) is back in the band, but Rick, he just took a little hiatus for about a year.


Ken Wallis

Have you picked any singles that are gonna be released from the album?


Jack de Keyzer

The third track Let's Do It seemed to be like everybody's favourite pick. It's blues, but it's also got a kind of a rock vibe to it. So it reminds me of like a 1960s kind of rock single like the Yardbirds would put out or maybe Cream or somebody like that.


Ken Wallis

And where can folks get a hold of your album?


Jack de Keyzer

Tribute will be out on CD this week. It will be available on my website, jackdekeyser.com. Also, iTunes, you can get the mp3 and I'll be selling higher quality mp3s on my website, too.


Ken Wallis

I always say go and buy the album don't Spotify it. Don't stream it because the artists really need the money coming back their way. And Jack one last question. What has the pandemic done to the music industry? How did it impact you personally?


Jack de Keyzer

Well, for musicians, it's been devastating, right. I mean, I I was looking at probably my most successful year ever for this year. As far as headlining festivals and theatre's, we were starting a theatre itinerary. It was really starting to come together. We were doing two or three theaters a month during the non summer months. And then I had all these great bookings, we're gonna headline Calgary, we're gonna headline North Bay, we're gonna be in Quebec, and that all disappeared in about five days. Actually, I had just finished recording the album… I think we finished around February 28. And then I played a couple shows at the beginning of March. And then March 7, we went to Cuba. And I think we were there two days. And it was like, Yeah, they're gonna shut the borders. And then I start getting all the emails that this is canceled, and that's canceled. And you know, if you're Canadian, you better get home as soon as possible. And then we were there two days, we thought, well, we could stay here five days, you know. So we just took our regular flight back and it wasn't a problem.

Ken Wallis

And Jack, thanks so much for your time. It's a great album. Once again, it's Tribute. And hopefully we'll catch up with you live again sometime soon.


Jack de Keyzer

Yeah, for sure. I know. We're really excited to play all the new songs. They've been going over really great. And yeah, it'll be really nice to get out there and play them with the band for sure. Thanks for your time, Ken.



Website: www.jackdekeyzer.com



 

 

 

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