Jesse JacksonOn Life & Music

(Part I)

Miami’s own troubadour, Jesse Jackson, will be releasing his highly anticipated self-titled album this month produced by Grammy Award Winner, Carlos Alvarez. We met Jesse recently while he was preparing to announce his CD Release party at The Vagabond on May 19th. What a guy! Believe me when I tell you that this dude is as interesting as his music! He’s got tons of stories to tell and so, here we present to you part one of the life and music of the great Jesse Glen Lear Jackson.

Home is where the heart is! Where did you grow up? How many languages do you speak?

I was born in Italy.  I lived in Tuscany until I was 8 years old then I moved to Cody, Wyoming. I moved to Miami in june 2000.

I speak 3 broken languages well —  Italian, English and Spanish.

What brought you to Miami?

An airplane.

How are the folks? Your mother is a musician and your father an artist, can you tell us a bit more about your parents? What was it like growing up with art and music all around you?

It was heartbreaking because even as a child I knew that I would never make enough money to support people like me.

From what we hear your entire family has a helluva story to tell! Is your uncle John Lear a real-life Agent Mulder? Is the truth really out there? Got any X-files to share with us? Tell us everything!

Yes, he is a real-life Agent Mulder. And the truth really is out there…

I can’t really tell you anything, but he can. But then he would probably be forced to kill you.

Kidding aside,  just google John Lear UFOs and you’ll be busy for months.

We did. Check out the video we found. (Right)

Apparently your grandpa is also a badass, what can you tell us about him?

I met him once when I was a year old then he died.  His name was Bill Lear.  He invented the Lear Jet, the first practical car radio, the 8-track tape, hundreds of avionics, the instruments you see on the dashboard of an airplane.

In fact, while trying to figure out a name for this car radio he coined the term  “Motorola,” combining motor car and Victrola. He was a real genius.

What’s Adam West like? Have you had the opportunity to talk Batman with him? Tell our readers how you know him…

My aunt Marcelle divorced John and married Adam.  He is a tall man and very cordial, his glasses and hair made him look like a senator. He knows a lot about women, wine, and where to place a comment. He’s a very private man. I felt that the series really captured him accurately as a person. I never let on that I knew his true identity.

What is your connection to John Wayne?

Duke was my godfather.  My dad was in the Marine Corps during the second world war.  He fought in the South Pacific.

While enlisted, he met fellow marine the director John Ford’s son.  John Ford directed many John Wayne films. Ford’s son was aware of my father’s passion for the American West.

After the war ford’s son would try to introduce dad to The Duke.  Dad finally met John Wayne in 1969 when he was commissioned by Time Magazine to portray John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in True grit for the TIME cover. (Right)

The two remained good friends.  Eventually, my dad asked him if he would act as godfather to me. He agreed.

Sadly, due to health issues, Duke was unable to stand at my baptism so dad called another lifelong friend of his Wyoming U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson and asked him if he would stand in place of Duke.  The senator agreed.  

After Duke died dad would again be commissioned to sculpt, this time, a monument of John Wayne which was erected in 1984.  It still stands today in Beverly Hills at 8484 Wilshire Blvd.  In front of the Larry Flynt building.  More

 Ok, now what about Bob Dylan?

I don’t know him and have never met him, but two years after I graduated high school, some time in 1998,  my friend John Clinton called me out of the blue to catch up.  At one point in the conversation, John asks me if I am familiar with the Freewheelin’  Bob Dylan album? I say “Of course I am! That’s the record with ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ and ‘Girl From The North Country'” and so on.  “What about it?” I ask back.  John answers, “Read the liner notes.”  So I do.  The first three lines are as follows:  

“Of all the precipitously emergent singers of folk songs in the continuing renaissance of that self-assertive tradition, none has equaled Bob Dylan’s singularity of impact. As Harry Jackson, a cowboy singer and a painter, has exclaimed: ‘He’s so goddamned real it’s unbelievable!’ The irrepressible reality of Bob Dylan is a compound of spontaneity, candor, slicing wit and an uncommonly perceptive eye and ear for the way many of us constrict our capacity for living while a few of us don’t.”

Well, I just couldn’t believe it!!  My DAD was on the back of FREEWHEELIN’ ?? WHAA ?? Seriously?  now, that’s completely ridiculous.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve never quite been able to digest that one completely. It still tickles me.

Recently Bob wrote his autobiography “Chronicles” and in it, gives my dad a little nod on page 65:

“At Camilla’s place i met up with Harry Jackson, who i already knew  from folk city-Harry, the cowboy sculptor, painter, singer from Wyoming.  Harry had a studio on Broome Street and would later make a painting of me which I sat for.  He also had a studio in Italy where he made statues for town piazzas.  He was a rough, gruff guy -looked like general grant, sang cowboy songs and was a heavy drinker.”

Actually dad made two paintings of Bob: One is more of a painted sketch,  both are roughly 7ft by 4ft in size.

What about you, have you explored any other artistic outlets? Got any other secret talents?

I love to cook.  I’m very messy when I cook and I don’t do it that often but I LOVE doing it.  I sketch better than I cook

What’s your favorite place in the whole wide world?

Wherever I am.

To Be Continued…

Win a Private Performance by Jesse Jackson

How would you like to watch Jesse Jackson perform just for you and your closest friends?

“Like” the Jesse Jackson Facebook fan page here and be entered to WIN a private 30 MINUTE ACOUSTIC SET.