Making Nonsense of it All: An Interview with Genral Jackett

Posted September 2, 2013 in ,
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Photo Courtesy Genral Jackett

“I think I’ve been an artist since I was born,” says multi-media artist and performer Genral Jackett. “I just keep doing it [art]... it’s like an obsession almost.”

Jackett’s love affair with artistic expression really took off in his college days at Kent University some 40 years ago, where he and other like-minded individuals came together to create one of our nation’s most historically significant art scenes. Working with Devo during their formative years to create some of their stage props, lighting, and even musical material, Jackett’s own broad artistic perspective began to take shape. Creating paintings and artwork for great musicians like the Beach Boys, Joe Walsh and Ronnie James Dio, his work has been seen by thousands of fans––even if they don’t realize it. Now his performance art is making a stop at the Urban Lounge on Sept. 16 in Salt Lake City, where we can witness Genral Jackett’s genius for ourselves.

“I just like to jump around ... and I really don’t consider what I do music, per se. I think of it more as kind of mathematical chaos, or audio sculpture ... I’ve never approached it musically, I’ve always approached it kind of in an audio visual way,” Jackett says of his artistic perspective. His show, Hot Rod Acid Blooze, incorporates a variety of different mediums and materials. The show is just Jackett, but even still he finds ways to incorporate drums, guitar, sounds, effects, action painting and lights, all put together to give you one enormous experience. The material is psychedelic and experimental––it’s art.

Although Jackett has spent the majority of his life making and performing art, he is not as well-known as some of the people who benefited from his perspective and aesthetic. What matters to him, though, is just that he gets to keep on keeping on. “The biggest thing is that I’ve led my life the way I wanted to ... Even though, as far as financial or artistic success at this point, I really haven’t had that much... but that doesn’t particularly bother me ... because the journey is as much a part of it as anything ... and I guess I’m proudest of the fact that I’m still doing it,” he says.

In a world where success in music and art is as hard to achieve as it is to hold on to, his perspective on what must be important to the artist is invaluable. “When you are an artist, the most important thing is just doing it,” he says. Simple, solid advice from a man who has been successfully beautifying the world with his artistic perspective for decades. Not to say that the satisfaction of creating alone can pay the bills or put food on the table, but nevertheless, the drive to create truly defines what makes Jackett such an epic artist. Even in the tumultuous climate surrounding the arts and music in this modern share-happy world, Jackett is excited about the ability to get his art out to a wider audience via the internet. “That’s why I’m ... excited that Gigviz is gonna be doing it,” he says. Gigiviz, our own locally-spawned live-stream website, will stream Hot Rod Acid Blooze live from the Urban Lounge on Sept. 16 so that nobody has to miss this show.

Jackett says the goal is to give everybody a fun time and to perhaps show them something they’ve never seen or heard before. With ten amps pushing his sound through a hodge-podge of effects and wild action painting happening in conjunction with the tunes, it is highly likely he will succeed in his aims. While other people’s goals may include money, fame and success, at this point, Jackett’s life-view is refreshing, even if a bit open-ended. He says, “Just don’t give up. Just keep doing it. Because in the end, it all makes sense, and in the end, it doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Watch the show live at Urban on Sept. 16, or go to if you can't make it out. For more information on Genral Jackett, visit his website.

Photo Courtesy Genral Jackett