So impressive live he can play to 20 people and still wind up on our pages

So impressive live he can play to 20 people and still wind up on our pages

David “Moose” Adamson and I glance identical expressions at each other. Him behind a drum kit, sticks in hand, me on the other side of The Lexington, Angel, our faces silently tell the same story – no one else is coming. It’s Apprentice night and Sir Alan’s judgemental finger still needs to point at 9 more squabbling suits. Most of London are no doubt jeering at their TVs, goading the one with dodgy eyebrows to lay into the posh sod for being shit with his time management skills. The final show of this first UK tour, in attendance at least, is looking like an anti-climax of world-not-exploding-on-the-strike-of-midnight-1999 proportions. So Adamson (or “Moose”) reaches down and presses play on an iPod. An odd whirring begins to loop through the PA and the stocky musician starts to chant, duel drum with new ‘official’ band mate Patrick Okerson, sample bass riffs that he lays down in front of us, and lets out soul cries rarely heard from a white American. He tosses his drumsticks down, leaps from the stage, activates white lights on his sweatbands and strobes around the crowd of 20 like a bearded toddler impersonating a Catherine Wheel. It’s Yeasayer, Dan Deacon and Outkast in one; a performance so captivating in the face of adversity that I decide instantly that I must speak to this man.

Up until the beginning of ’09, Jookabox were Grampall Jookabox – named after the mispronunciation of ‘grampa jukebox’ by an infant Adamson – and they were one: Moose. A myspace blog announced the change of name: We don’t want to sound like an old man anymore. That is final! You can use the old name if you want, but if I hear you I’ll do a Springsteen knee slide into your private junk.

“It used to be a one man band,” explains Moose, a further week into the ongoing Apprentice debacle “but recently Pat came along so it seemed like the right time to change the name, and I was kinda fed up with that word.”

In conversation he purrs a relaxed Indianapolis drool, but onstage (and record) Moose is capable of wailing like Andre 3000. He assures that it’s not intentional but recent second album ‘Ropechain’ stands apart from its loopier sibling (2006’s ‘Scientific Cricket’) largely due to how much Moose has allowed his voice to be heard. Gone are the Deacon-esque, cartoon vocals on tracks like ‘We’re The Small Windows’, in are the hip hop inspired rompers like ‘The Girl Ain’t Preggers’, a track in which Moose rejoices at his good news only to lament what could have been later; the product of an experimental musician who proudly states, “I listen to a lot of different things, just as long as it’s rich and sincere.”

Or it’s voices of the dead. Moose is into keeping an ear out for those also. “We’d always heard about it growing up, that there was this abandoned asylum on the west side of town,” he says of the run down mental hospital he recorded part of the appropriately named ‘I’m Absolutely Freaked Out’ in. “So finally I went to check it out. I took my handheld recorder because I’d been watching Ghost hunting shows where they catch voices on recording devices, so I was trying to do that. It was a pretty weird place where they’d left behind files and furniture and needles.”

Derek Acorah’d out, and without the faintest audible recording of Yvette Fielding shitting her pants, Moose traded the old nut house for the studio once more to finish ‘Ropechain’, which was fast becoming an experimental hip hop/soul/punk album that harboured, in many people’s eyes, a recurring theme of madness and paranoia. ‘Let’s Go Mad Together’ suggests this is an astute observation, but Moose remains uncommitted. “I think there’s probably a theme,” he says “but I don’t know what it is though.”

Four more dates and Moose and Patrick fly home to their old soul records, early punk albums and their beloved Richard Hell and Jonathan Richmond collections. Ghost hunts are waiting for them, but so too is a studio they intend to inhabit to record Moose’s third album, their first as Jookabox without the old man prefix. Patrick’s input – largely his tribal rhythms – will no doubt see Moose embrace another direction for his musical venture. He’s excited to include his new band mate’s ideas on record, and relieved to no longer be shouldering all of the creative responsibility, to such an extent that Patrick is just the beginning.

“We’re going to add even more people,” he explains softy. “In June we’ll be practicing with the new members and working out how it’s going to work live. I envisage, onstage. I’m excited about letting some other people come up with the ideas to take the pressure off of me.”

Now now, Moose, as project manager I feel that’s your job.


Originally published in issue 6 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. May 2009

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