Person Interviewing: Jac Dalton
Jac Dalton is an ALL KILLER / NO FILLER crusade of balls-to-the-wall, edgy melodic stadium rock guaranteed to please all audiences with its sonic familiarity, yet decidedly modern shape and color.
From soaring vocals, face-melting lead guitars and uplifting messages of the band’s newly tagged subgenre ‘PosRock’, the anthemic groove laden riffs and bone-crunching delivery of this five warrior wrecking crew offers up a sound and performance that resonates across not only borders, but generations.
The band’s 3 albums – with a 4th (Immortal) on the way – have been produced by multi Grammy Award Winner John Hampton (USA) and Darren Mullan (Australia) at the world famous Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee – and it is expected that the band will continue to shake things up throughout the genre anytime and anywhere they play.
Having converged along musical paths spanning 3 decades, the kinship, musicianship and chemistry between Jac Dalton, Raf Azaria, Tyson Muenchow, Richie Cordell and Adrian Gravelle needed but proximity and opportunity to ignite like a PowderKeg. From the first rehearsal, there was never any question that this lineup would take these righteous gentlemen – if not to the stars – at least as far as the Moon! And what a RIDE for all!
I have for many years now juggled two careers…
It’s a matter both of emotional balance and wanting to utilize as much of what I’ve learned and experienced along the way. When I’m not onstage as the alter ego: Jac Dalton, I’m the devoted Chiropractor/Functional Neurologist, Dr Lund Sox.
It was while studying for my Doctorate that I realized, in order for me to be me, balance must be maintained between my heart and my head.
It is for this reason the union of my two careers provides a perfect balance – as the love I share with my patients inspires and fuels the passion of my music. Bottom line: I can’t do one without the other. While pursuing my degree, I had to put music on the back burner for 8 years – the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Upon graduation, however, I realized an unexpected benefit of the learning process was that the exercise of precision and correctness of studying carried over into composing – committing me to finding exactly the right lyrics for the right mood at the right time – pain and gain in subtle guise. Now that I’ve had a few years to restore balance between my two careers, the process of putting heart to paper is a satisfaction bordering on euphoria.
Who have been the most influential in your music and why..
I realize the question slants towards icons, fellow artists, types of music, shared moments, professional experiences in the industry. But I’m gonna go a different way in response because its important.
First and foremost, my audiences – those who hear the music, contemplate the message and comment by their purchase/downloads or showing up at the next gig. Conversely, they’re quick to enlighten and educate on social media with their opinions – or silence of the same.
Success in the music industry today requires a recipe of giving an audience enough of what they want to get them onside and conveying what ‘we’ wish to say the way ‘they’ want to hear it. By doing this, we have a bigger impact, and last longer in the limelight – a hope all artists share.
That’s the answer to the loyalty part of the question. The answer to the reality part is a bit broader.
Vocal coaches who have molded me..
producers who ‘get’ me, building a song the way it should be vs my ineptitudes of description and humming my intentions; composers who pull things from the ethers delighting all; musicians who provide the extraordinary color to the tapestry of my songs; the amazing, passionate people excited to help out with the million meticulous considerations regarding promo and marketing; family members who love and applaud our every effort – even while rolling their eyes at our antics… These are all aspects absolutely vital to an artist’s career.
I once witnessed presentation of a scene from the movie Top Gun at a staff meeting I attended at work where F-14s were jumping off the deck to a literal whirlwind of related activities on the flight deck. The question was posed, ‘Which one of the people in this scene is most important?’ The answer was not ‘the pilot’. Each and every person there was equally important because their ‘goal’ was one-in the same. This is the way it is with our careers. Every person is equally important to the success of the mission. Each are absolutely necessary if you want to succeed. Each one is most important – most influential – to your music career.
When did you know that this was the right path for you?
I’ve always been a musician and lyricist at heart. In high school I loved creative writing and essays, term papers – loved the process – and it was during this time I first tried writing songs. Lack of life experience and immaturity about the journey however made me fail miserably and I didn’t try writing again until 20 years later. The spark that opened my heart and set the emotions on fire then was an email I received from a friend informing me that my childhood sweetheart had been living with AIDS since I’d last seen her. My whole heart and insides imploded when I heard this – as she had always been the Angel of the group, the beautiful spirit we all wanted to ‘win’ and ride off into the sunset on a white horse with the handsome Prince to a castle to live happily ever after.
It had been a long time since I’d seen her and I wanted to reconnect – but what to say and how to say it? For weeks I agonized, in the end deciding to try saying what I wanted to say through a song. At that same time, the theme park we’d last worked in together hosted a 20-year reunion – the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts with her. The day I sang it for her, the clarity of the words and effect it had on her blew me away. It was in that moment I realized that what I’d aspired to create years earlier had finally come full circle with life experiences, bruises, broken hearts, wins, lessons and depth of the footprints of the journey to fuel the songs I’d dreamed of writing long ago. The momentum and honesty of the songs that have rolled forth from my soul since have not slowed, and each time I write something that brings me to tears or fits of laughter there is never any doubt that my heart and soul have at last found their home and are exactly where they’re supposed to be.
What do you like most about what you do?
Though I have over the years performed with violin, guitar and bass, the complexity of songs that leap from my head to my hands these days I cannot play or chart by myself . Experience and expansion of my soul have far exceeded my abilities. It is for this reason I consider myself blessed with the incredible stable of artists, musicians – friends – surrounding me who know me well enough to make sense of the ideas I show up at their door with humming, hinting and pantomiming. My true gift and passion is lyrics – observing poignant moments within the scope of human experience, then relating these in a way that no one else would think to convey it. That said, most of my songs are the result of mates and friends composing music that resonates with my own inspiration. If the music is written well enough, the mood, subject and context of the song are already there – and instantly convey the story that needs to be told. I only write lyrics for music that touches me – all killer, no filler. I’ve gotta believe it to see it – not the other way around. Genre is immaterial, but the chord progressions and melodies have to smack me right between the eyes as a ‘yes, that’s IT!’ moment. Then the process of edit, re-edit, re-edit to the point of abandonment begins, and I so love jumping headfirst into the space between my ears seeing what eventuates.
What do you most hope to accomplish with your influence?
I hope that my listeners are entertained and touched enough with my music to look a bit deeper at the messages and sentiment in the songs and interviews – becoming curious – even inspired – about the reasons I’ve committed myself for the duration of this career and passion. I’m not a versatile, exceptional guitarist, drummer, keys player or bass virtuoso. I can barely play the songs I compose with each album becoming more complex than the last. This late in the game, most artists are retiring, yet we seem to be just hitting our stride with our star on the rise. For whatever reason, since the day I first put heart to paper the Infinite Radiant IS has provided the cobblestones necessary to pave the road to onward and upwards.
Each time there is a need for a talent, connection, band, song or opening through which to crawl – eventually it shows up. And it is humbling beyond words each time it does – for I’m not an icon like those whose posters still challenge from my walls. I suppose my role in the journey is that of the focus, the catalyst and substrate to which related dreams attach – the glue of the project. It’s a privilege to have such trust. And if fans and audiences love and are inspired by what we create and achieve together, then that is reason enough for me to follow this road – definitely less travelled – all the way to the veil. Anything positive and revering said about an artist is a win. But one thing I don’t want to be said is that I lost faith or quit when we were but millimeters away from the dream’s promised land. If they don’t remember our music, perhaps they’ll remember our commitment and determination. Example is its own success.
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for most artists is first persevering, then finding a way through the minefield of politics, backbiting, stonewalling, obstacles thrown across our path at every turn as we navigate the industry following our hearts towards our goals. For each of us, this process is unique – for both the challenges and accolades are ours to reap and consider from our own perspectives. Personally, I’ve never EVER walked through the front door of any gig I’ve pursued. It’s always been a matter of circling the entire estate checking every prospect of an open window, loose transom or garage door that could be pried apart. Most would consider this disheartening and demeaning – simply too hard. However, it is the challenges, bruises and disappointments that provide vital knowledge, experience and clarity fueling us ever onward towards our dreams – the proverbial Taser lighting up our backsides every step of the way.
The best method I’ve discovered throughout a 30 year gauntlet of one ass whooping and heart concussion after another is to claim control from the start, sporting the attitude: ‘Is that the best you’ve got?’ at every turn. By doing so the worst conceivable remains undefined, relegating all other possibilities to the realm of ‘not nearly as bad as it could be’.
Consider the music industry as a hurricane – a massive force of mostly hot air moving in a direction of its own choosing. Jumping headfirst into it, it’s easier to utilize the inertia and energy already there than going head to head with a truck that has just been dislodged from the road and is bearing down on you with the force of an aircraft carrier. Bottom line… it ain’t what we do but how we do it. Sing, play, perform primarily because it makes you happy. That way, no matter what, you win every time. And no one can tarnish that.
Favorite music / success quote…
The four most important words I’ve learned: ‘Just do the work’.
The three most important words to me: ‘You are enough’.
The two most defining words: ‘I am’.
THE single most important word: ‘Surrender’.
Song name: I Can Almost Taste The Rain
Music Genre:: Rock
Nine years ago during the first drought I experienced in Australia, a family I’d looked after as their Chiropractor for many years arrived at my door. On the back of their truck was all they had left in the world of a farming property that had been in their family for generations. Crops were gone. Livestock had perished. Never had I seen such pain as that etched into the streaked faces of these strong, proud people who, in a word, were devastated. Something in the depths of my soul snapped that day but I had no idea of how to help these amazing people at that time.
Jump ahead nine years to today – the next drought. Feelings and passions piqued during the first commitment have had time to ferment, intensify and find fertile soil in the steel of the soul’s determination. The result is our anthem ‘I Can Almost Taste The Rain’ – our way of doing our part for our country, because drought anywhere in Australia affects us all.
The song has been written as a call to action – a rallying cry – encouraging and reminding TV, radio, media, politicians to continue to shoulder-up beside those whose presence and fortitude make up the very backbone of this Great South Land, until the rivers again swell and green horizons flourish.
It is our goal and mission to perform ‘I Can Almost Taste The Rain’ before Parliament at one of its sessions requesting that they too band together as a non-partisan entity requesting their constituents to add the verse of their own commitment to something that is good, right, and necessary.
Band Name: JAC DALTON
Jac Dalton – FrontMan / Lead Vox
Raf Azaria – Lead Guitar / Vox
Tyson Muenchow – Drums / Vox
Richie Cordell – Rhythm Guitar / Vox
Adrian Gravelle – Bass / Vox
What do you want people to remember most about you and your career?
As intimated above, I would hope our original songs might survive time, space, politics, global events and, like the extraordinary 70s and 80s albums I still know every word to – be celebrated as tomorrow’s covers for their sentiment and depth. Jumping ahead – and hopefully in the right direction – it would make for a satisfying epitaph watching from the hereafter those inspired by our example following their own dreams all the way to the end – ever faithful to ‘what if’ – for that is what makes the journey oh so worth it!
What are you most looking forward to this next month? : *Love. Light. Laughter. Success. Wisdom.
*We hope we inspire a significant number of people across our Land Downunder to come together and help us succeed with our drought initiative.
*It is our hope that visibility provided by success with SA-NDI will enable us better opportunities for other initiatives and dreams we have, utilizing music as the platform to help the World to be just a little bit better for the privilege of being here in the first place.
*We look forward to the process at this unique point in our lives and careers (a) of being a band that is respected, followed, in demand, and busy everywhere we decide to tour; (b) of creating a new album together as it looks to be epic, and a whole lotta fun!
(c) We have several international Festivals and events on the books and are looking forward to making inroads into new arenas, meeting new audiences – sharing our own unique truths.
(d) Mostly we’re looking forward to enjoying each other’s company, talents, quirks – surrendering to the Universe’s smile upon our faces as the journey continues to unfold. That applies both for the next month, the next year, and however long we’re blessed with each other.
3 Most Important Things I’ve Learned (remembered) In The Past Year
First: It isn’t what you want that is most likely to come your way, but rather what you need. This is how the Universe insures that we focus upon the steps of the journey – not the destination.
Second: The journey of music isn’t for everyone – regardless of how incredible the talent may be. In the end, it is the light from one’s heart that stands center stage; the abilities and instrumental dexterity are secondary.
Third: As a reminder, never judge anyone – and certainly not on face value. After all, every one of us are but locations within that which is Greater than us all. Every location has streaming from it infinite connections and possibilities, so y’never know who you’re gonna meet, or who they may know. And to this list I’ll add a Fourth reminder.
Practice biting your tongue – especially if you’ve not walked two weeks in another’s shoes. Assumptions are the truckload of dirt they pour over your coffin.