Photo by Photograph by Kristy Walker
That’s drummer/bouncer Jake Najor’s “you’d better not step out of line” look.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and face it, I just turned 41, so it was time to get something out there under my own name,” relates funk drum ace Jake Najor regarding his new album In the Cut, which dropped last month.
The drummer, who plays locally with the Midnight Pine, Birdy Bardot, Rebecca Jade, and the Surefire Soul Ensemble is also busy working with national acts. I asked who his top three might be.
“Number one would be TV on the Radio,” Najor said. “I really had a lot of fun working with the rapper Redman. Third would be Empire of the Sun, I had a really good time working with them in the studio.”
How did the name of his band the Moment of Truth originate?
“Remember the group Gang Starr? They put out an album Moment of Truth and I always liked the sound of that. It seemed powerful.”
The Najor group’s debut In the Cut was conceived from the bottom up. “I recorded all the drum parts separately without any tunes — based on grooves I like to play. Next up was the bass, and we added one instrument at a time. It’s mostly instrumental, but the opening cut, 'High Costa Living,' has vocals by MixMaster Wolf. 'Keeping Up' has a rap by Burkey, and 'Another Saturday' features a vocal by Jamie Allensworth.”
The Moment of Truth core band includes Tim Felten on keyboards, Matt Labarber on bass, Nick Costa on guitar, Travis Klein on sax, Najor on the kit, and an all star horn section.
Who does Najor model himself on?
“John Bonham, because his sound and beats are so recognizable. Second would be Clyde Stubblefield [James Brown], he set the bar for funk drumming. He’s been sampled more than anyone.”
When he’s not doing music, Najor has been working security at the Casbah for the last ten years. I asked the 6’ 5” Najor if he ever gets much resistance from rowdy patrons.
“Generally speaking, no. Usually we give a warning first — like at a punk show where people are slam dancing, we’ll pull someone aside and tell them not to be so rough. People usually know when they’re messing up. I can size up a situation pretty easily."
“Sometimes when they’ve had too much to drink, I might have to escort them out. It just depends on the show.”