“This is how I rock, this is how I roll
Black, Puerto Rican brother with some soul.
Though it took a while to accept my style
This is who I am, and I won’t deny it.”
— JAC, “Be Who You Are”
JAC (pronounced Jack) was born in New York City to a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter father and a black mother who worked as a model. When his parents divorced, his mom moved to San Diego.
JAC followed and at the age of 17 began to pursue his musical vision through short tenures with several local bands. He eventually dropped his family surname Cruz and began calling himself (and his band) JAC.
“Late in 2003,” he says, “I felt led to go solo with my own vision, musically and lyrically. The lineup of backup players has changed a bit, but the current musicians have been with me for a little over a year.”
Though his lyrics often have a spiritual or religious meaning, JAC says, “I am not known to the Christian-rock crowd at all, simply because that is not the type of music I create…my music is real music, played from the soul, with sincere passion. My faith is also sincere, and [it is] the foundation for everything I do — not unlike the Beastie Boys, Garth Brooks, Godsmack, or a number of other popular mainstream acts that have some form of faith. So it would stand to reason that what is in me would become known via my lyrics and songs.”
He cites influences such as Chris Cornell, Janis Joplin, Bono, Jeff Buckley, the Reverend Al Green, and James Brown. “Currently,” says JAC, “I’m talking to a few industry-types about partnering up to get JAC music out to more ears.”
Noting JAC’s wide-ranging vocal prowess and onstage theatricality, Reader reviewer Mary Montgomery wrote in 2005, “At his best, he borders on a male version of Aretha Franklin.”
1. Led Zeppelin, “Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You.” “From the first time I heard this song on Led Zeppelin III it connected with me, probably because I’ve not been very lucky with love. I’m going to cover this song very soon.”
2. Sly and the Family Stone, “Que Sera, Sera.” “I love the churchy, soulful sound of this song.”
3. Jeff Buckley, “So Real.” “A hauntingly beautiful song that’s even better live. If you can find a good recording of the concert.”
4. Nina Simone, “Feeling Good.” “All I can say is just listen to this song, and you’ll come up with your own glowing adjectives to describe it.”
1. “Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley is hilarious! All of Brendan’s characters in the movie are funny, but his portrayal of ‘Sensitive Man’ will cause you to implode with laughter the day you watch it and then again days later when you remember it.”
2. “The Passion of the Christ is an amazing movie that should make you cry. The truth has that effect on souls.”
3. “The Notebook, to remind me that true love is possible.”
4. “Rage Against the Machine has a DVD called The Battle of Mexico City. I love their music because of the grooves, the intensity, and the passion in their delivery. This DVD captures it all.”
5. “Led Zeppelin’s double-DVD set from 2003 is just too much Led Zeppelin for a human to take in one sitting.”
“In Touch magazine, put out by Dr. Charles Stanley and his In Touch Ministries, is monthly food for the soul.”
“Following Padres news… I don’t read the paper very often, so this gets me up to date on the Padres…who are not doing too good this year, but I’m still a fan.”
1. “‘Double-stuff’ Oreos.”
2. “Cheez-It crackers.”
3. “Not running or working out. Sometimes I just don’t want to.”
TWO PLACES YOU HANG OUT?
1. “The Rock Church in Point Loma. Go there and find out. You may find something you’re missing there.”
2. “The Living Room in the College Area or the one in La Jolla. I don’t do coffee, but I do like time with friends, and the Living Room is a great friendship facilitator.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“My alter ego is Brown Sinatra. You have to hang around me long enough to find out why.”