Band: code J.A.K.
Members: J.P. Nissly, guitar and vocals; George "Al" Prenosil, guitar and vocals; Ken Newcomer, drums; Olivia Killian, vocals
Who we talked to: Nissly
How did you guys get together? We used to be Forgery. In early 2008, we decided to get rid of our bassist for personal matters. We were just going to go about it as a three-piece band. Al and I have been together for 10 years or more. We had a mutual friend . . . who we knew did some singing and we thought maybe she'd want to be in the band. We pretty much took the summer to get all of our songs together and stuff.
Have you ever been in a band with a female singer before? It's a different experience when you're playing and you're not singing and playing at the same time. For so many years . . . Al and myself pretty much took on vocals. It's a weird experience to be playing an instrument and not have your face up against a mic at the same time. Having a female singer opens up doors to whole new songs that you couldn't do. A woman can sing male songs . . . but it doesn't work the other way around. You couldn't get Al or I to do a Joan Jett . . . or a Pink song. If a female wants to sing AC/DC . . . everybody's all for it.
Have you guys been learning a lot of new material? We have, and . . . we're starting to take on a whole lot. It just seems like gigs pop up out of nowhere. In our opinion, gigs . . . right now take away from our practice time. You can't really use a live gig as a rehearsal because if you mess up . . . you can forgive yourself, but the audience won't forgive you. (Laughs) It's just a matter of getting everybody on the same page.
What does the name mean? It sounds funny, but we meant it as a joke. If you say it quick, it's Kojack. The J.A.K. is for J.P., Al and Ken. We tossed around a zillion different ideas, and everything just came off sounding stupid.
Where do you guys play? Well, so far, we've done Zingers. We did Fat Daddy's a few weeks ago. We do the Red Rose around here.
What are some of the songs you cover? We will play anything from, say, Tool and System of a Down-type hard rock . . . all the way down to Katy Perry and Pink. It's not just Top 40. It's not just all heavy. We call it pretty much something for everyone.
Does anyone ever try to request songs from you guys? We can do a lot of requests because, between Al and I, we probably know thousands of songs. We've probably thrown more songs off of set lists than we have on set lists right now. (Being able to play requests) kind of throws people because . . . I guess people aren't used to that. It blows them away.
What are people requesting these days? Basically, if you listen to (105.7 FM) the X . . . we've started to get a lot of the songs that are coming out new. We're trying to throw some '80s in. We found just through hit-or-miss that people for some reason are requesting '80s hair bands. I got all these '80s songs stuck in my head right now.
What were your favorite '80s bands? I'm a big AC/DC and Metallica fan. Whitesnake was a huge influence on me (and) Scorpions (and) Judas Priest. A lot of the bands that I like were around far before the term . . . "hair band" came up.
Did you get to any shows? When I was kid, I went to every concert that came to town. That's when City Island (in Harrisburg) still did concerts. (I was at) the Metallica show that, if I remember correctly, pretty much shut down City Island around '87 or maybe '88.
What's coming up for you in the future? It's tough to try to find time (to record a demo) in between gigs. None of us do this full-time. We do it all for fun. All four of us are working full-time jobs. I'm married with three kids. Kenny's married and has a kid. Trying to work everything around, that is very time-consuming. So the next few months, we want to get a bunch of recording done and start trying to book some bigger gigs.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF