Thursday, January 23, 2014

Daring to dream: Band overcomes obstacles to release first album

A drive to pursue his passion has kept Terry Jacoby in the music scene, but the journey hasn’t been smooth.

“I think it’s important to always have a dream,” he said. “I turn 50 in March — I’m not going to be the next Bruce Springsteen, but I think I write good songs … and it keeps you young. It’s fun hanging out with the guys and being creative.”

He and his band, Rummler, just released a debut album that’s been five years in the making and some of the songs date back even further.

“These are the best songs over almost a 10-year period,” vocalist/guitarist Jacoby said.

Those songs — a mix of rock, Americana and folk sounds with introspective lyrics — make up “Scrapbook of Your Life.”

“If there is one line in this entire collection of 14 songs that sums up the message or meaning or purpose of this album, it’s this: ‘Show me all the empty pages in the scrapbook of your life,’” Jacoby writes on the band’s website.

“While parts of the stories are autobiographical, they also are reflective and certainly subjective. What you hear the character going through can be completely different than what someone else hears — and neither is wrong.”

Several unexpected tragedies delayed the band’s work, including producer/studio owner Keith Mitchell’s untimely death as Jacoby and the band worked on the CD at his studio in Dexter about five years ago.

Another loss came when bandmate John Rummler lost his fight against pancreatic cancer at age 39 in 2003. The band’s name is a tribute to him.

Jacoby and Rummler had formed their first band, Terry and the Pirates, during college at Eastern Michigan University.

“That was pretty much my first venture into music,” Jacoby said. “I played solo quite a bit and did some acoustic songs.”

An early incarnation of Rummler the band came together in Allen Park, but fizzled out after a lot of practice sessions.

“This is kind of like the third reboot,” Jacoby said.

Rummler currently comprises Jacoby of West Bloomfield on vocals and guitar; Bill Elliott of Tecumseh on bass and vocals; Mike Paulin of South Lyon on lead guitar and vocals; Nick Hura of Lincoln Park on drums, guitar and vocals; and Greg Shamus of Grosse Ile on guitar and vocals.

The band’s Americana rock sound is influenced by Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Tom Petty, Counting Crows and Bob Dylan among others.

“The good thing about the band is that we all have different influences so we get together and create a unique sound,” Jacoby said.

“Scrapbook of Your Life” got back on track when Shamus decided to build his Winding Road Recording and Post studio in Wyandotte, where the group completed the album. The cover art was shot at a Riverview car wash.

“’Scrapbook of Your Life’ is certainly a long conversation I’ve been having with myself,” Jacoby said.

While he’s excited about the album as a whole, several cuts hold more meaning, including “Standing Again,” which features guitar tracks by John Rummler.

“John’s been gone 10 years but he recorded some guitar tracks and I used that in the song,” Jacoby said. “There are things on (the album) that I’ve kept for all these years, and then a couple new songs I just wrote in October.”

A writer by trade, Jacoby, a freelance writer and page designer for The Oakland Press, views songwriting as an extension of his day job.

“A lot of it is personal,” he said. “The saying is ‘you write what you know’ and I write what I feel with broad strokes because I want the listener to identify with it.

“Even if you create a song about some character you think of, it ends up being partly about you.”

Jacoby writes in spurts — with songs coming in bunches.

“I’ll start writing one and it sounds good then another one will come,” he said. “The big test is when I listen to the demo and in 24 hours, if I still like it, then I know I’ve got something.”

Because the album was a long time in the making, there were a variety of songs from which to choose — and even more that still haven’t been recorded.

“We have a whole other CD just waiting to be recorded,” he said, “and I’ve written two new songs that we’re going to play at the CD release party.”

While much of the music is reminiscent of Springsteen, Tom Petty and classic rock, members add a fresh element of their own.

“Mike brings a little edge to our songs so they’re not too smooth and brings them up to 2014,” he said.

Now that the current recording is done, Jacoby said the band eagerly awaits performing its work live.

“The guys really want to go out and play more,” he said, adding that he’s particularly looking forward to performing the faster tunes.

A self-described diehard Beatles fan, Jacoby said the debate about the group’s early music and later work always has piqued his interest — leading to Rummler’s single, “This Much We Know.”

“I’ve often wondered why (Paul) McCartney couldn’t write an early Beatles song like ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ today,” he said. “So ‘This Much We Know’ is my attempt to copy an early Beatles song.”

As the group prepares for its upcoming CD release party, Jacoby already is focusing on what lies ahead.

“I’m looking forward to the next CD,” he said. “We’ll take what we learned from the first and apply it to that.”

Terry Jacoby and Rummler will play a CD release party Feb. 1 at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit, with Jill Huber and Leisure Machine also on the bill.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is $5. Call 1-313-833-9700 or visit for tickets.

Visit for more information about the band.

This post was written by Andrea Blum for Digital First Media, reprinted with permission.

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