Jackrabbit began in the winter of 2011 as Seattle singer/songwriter Tony Fulgham was musically stumbling about like a ninth-round punch-drunk-amateur following the demise of his previous band, North Twin. Through countless combinations, he struggled to find the right people with whom to get locked into a dark basement. It doesn’t matter how good a bunch of players are, if they don’t fit with each other it’s just no damn good. The search ended when Tony saw drummer Aimee Zoe in The Starlings. There was the premeditated ambush at the front door of Ballard’s Tractor Tavern and conversations that followed, which eventually lead to Tony and Aimee working on what is now Jackrabbit. After that, finding the right bass player was easy: Aimee’s girlfriend and long time music partner, Moe Provencher.
The band proved to create a lot of firsts. All three of them have been playing music in Seattle for, well a long time, but this band brought them all to a new place. Moe is a singer/songwriter and she found herself in a rock ‘n’ roll band playing bass. Aimee had to go way back to her rock ‘n’ roll roots. Doing a Keith Moon while singing three part harmonies is no picnic. Tony had never been a lead guitarist before this band and had sworn he would NEVER play in a band with anyone that was romantically involved. Now he has a pedal board and a couple in the band… and they are girls to boot. This collective pushing out of their comfort zones has resulted in something amazing on A Better Place.
Produced by Jackrabbit, A Better Place began at Jupiter Studios, where they recorded with the legendary Martin Feveyear (Jesse Sykes, Mark Lanegan, Mudhoney). With those tracks in hand, they hopped between professional and home studios with Moe using her engineering skills at each stop. It was, at times, a comically frustrating process. The group navigated a series of obstacles including chickens in one control booth, a large (but friendly) dog who didn’t want to share his sofa in another, and a cat with issues at yet another. But mostly it was an amazing six months of jumping into the studio whenever they could nail down a few hours of available time. They love playing with each other. They love the songs. Chickens can’t mess that up.
A Better Place is a rock ‘n’ roll record at its core. From the opening guitar riff of Big Kids, an angry tune about leaving reminiscent of some of T-Rex’s best, to the Johnny Cash meets Elvis Costello apology, I’m Sorry, A Better Place is a record that tells stories of love, loss and regret but never loses its sense of joy. Not for very long anyway. The songs are honest and straightforward. There’s no hiding behind cryptic metaphor on this record. You always know what Tony is saying. How much of it’s true? You’ll have to ask him.
Tony, Aimee and Moe have built something special. Being in a band is only a piece of it. Writing songs is only a piece of it. Playing shows is only a piece of it. Sometimes it’s just having someone to lean on or someone to call you on your shit. Most of the time it’s having someone to laugh at you when everyone else is being polite. It may not always be healthy but so far it’s damn good. A Better Place captures that special thing, that thing that turns good into great. That turns great into Jackrabbit.