Friday Artist – Pat Jacobsen
What is your career and your current job title?
I am a historian for over 25 years of fruit crate labels, an author of several books on the subject and bassist/lead vocalist of more than 30 years.
Describe in a sentence or two your art.
I have learned countless cover tunes in every style, so as to make a living performing. I have original music, too, but that didn’t offer as many performance-opportunities. My preference is jazz-fusion bass and most styles of singing.
How long have you been working in this discipline?
Since 1969, when a friend of mine in seventh grade slid a trashed-out guitar across a gravel courtyard to me, and said, “Here, learn to play this.”
Why do you do it?
My grandmother told me, “If you have a gift and you don’t use it, it is a sin.” She told me I had a beautiful voice, which seemed remarkable since I was only seven. When I got out of high school, I played for a year in Hollywood and I hated the “industry” of music. I came back and got interested in fruit crate labels as a moneymaker. And, because of the label business, I am going to be on the Martha Stewart show on March 1. But music is in my blood, so I have always continued to play and always will.
What do you hope to accomplish?
To make people happy, including myself, with my voice and playing, and to challenge myself to stay creative and diversified. Objects in the Mirror is certainly the most successful vehicle I have found to really express myself as a musician.
Do you create your art with a message you want the viewer to receive?
When I write lyrics, there is always a message, sometimes light humor, sometimes something deeply heartfelt. When I write the music itself, the sky is the limit. Music and arranging is like playing Scrabble – you do the best with what you have. Lyrics, on the other hand, are far more enduring, and carry a responsibility with them.
Where do you want to be with your art?
Along with playing and managing Objects in the Mirror, I am also the entertainment director for the Auburn Jazzfest on June 12. Nowadays, I love all facets of the music business and like to wear many hats so I am branching out a lot from just playing on stage.
What kind of special training did you take?
In high school, I was in several choirs and did a lot of classical and madrigal singing. I also took a lot of jazz theory but in college changed my major to psychology. Then I went to Hollywood and recorded and played showcases there, with all sorts of professionals who taught me the ropes. I played acoustic guitar in South Tahoe for awhile after that and then spent years jamming with musicians better than myself. I am still learning today from the musicians I work with.
What’s your favorite part of your endeavors?
The roar of the crowd. There is nothing like bringing thousands of people to their feet and making them happy. That is the biggest thrill. I had a ten-piece horn band in the Bay Area and we packed places. Tower’s horn section used to come sit in with us. THAT was really exciting.
What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors?
Competition amongst artists. In the Bay Area, where I come from, musicians were constantly comparing each other’s skills and making fun of each other. I also dislike manipulative producers and promoters, who stand in the way of deserving artists. Egos are a big problem in the music world.
How many hours a day do you spend on your work?
Music is part of every day. Objects rehearses every Tuesday. We all have homework, as well, and I manage the band. And the fruit crate label art business is a daily practice.
Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it?
Strumming a guitar is not hard work. Being a “professional” musician is VERY hard work and takes talent first, desire second, and a great deal of effort and study. Anyone can be a musician, but at what level? That’s the $64,000 question.
Pat Jacobsen can be reached at 637-5923 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Besides playing bass, Jacobsen had a vocal solo on “Still Crazy after All These Years” during Saul Rayo’s sold-out “Paul Simon – A Tribute” earlier this month at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.
“The Artists” appears each Friday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.
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