N.Y. Based Artists Brings Laughs and Music to Rock’N’ Joe

David W. Jacobsen

By Roman Gerus

Rock’N Joe, a café located under the Union train station near campus, lived up to its name on Nov. 1 with the unique sound and satirical lyrics of David W. Jacobsen.

Jacobsen is a solo songwriter and guitarist, whose unique blend of musical story-telling creates a vibrant, playful atmosphere where humorous theatrical performances can leave an audience with a new sense of humor and a new take on how a seemingly average conversation can go terribly right.

Jacobsen was playing excerpts from his latest album “That’s Not What I Meant.” This album is just one of his eight albums. Jacobsen, who currently lives in Manhattan with his wife, has strong ties to New Jersey.

He was born and raised in Essex County and Jersey City, respectively. Jacobsen is 40 years old and has been playing guitar for more than half of his life, since 1989. He studied at the renowned Berklee College of Music. Before he became a solo artist, he played bass in several bands in the 1990s including a band he created with a friend, who studied punk rock at Harvard, called “Silent Bob.”

“It was originally going to be called Corpse Cobain, but we quickly decided against that and named it after one of our favorite movie characters––Silent Bob,” said Jacobsen.

The band wanted to experiment with a new sound and attitude that diverged from traditional rock’s criticism of older generations and satirize their generation. The band started off in the fast lane, but its momentum slowed when scheduling factors and waning enthusiasm caused the band to part ways.

“It got annoying with scheduling and people not showing up and started to become a pain in the [butt] because no one wanted to play and you had to care,” said Jacobsen.

Jacobsen, being a dynamic individual, was undeterred by this setback and set out to become a solo folk artist that has enjoyed success in creating numerous albums and plays regularly in the New York City and Northeast New Jersey areas.

“I find New Jersey to be more rewarding than New York City though,” said Jacobsen, referring to New York venues’ tendency towards arrogance.

Jacobsen, however, was not always into folk and rock. His spark for music started as a searing passion for jazz.

“I wanted to be like Jaco,” said Jacobsen, referring to the late Jaco Pastorius, a jazz bass player of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Jacobsen was working his way up to become the next jazz sensation when he woke up one day and said, “I don’t like jazz or jazz people.”

This sudden epiphany was spurred by his roommate who was “annoying, a little homophobic and liked jazz”. His roommate also hated Broadway and show tunes; that gave Jacobsen the perfect incentive to create his own show tunes to annoy his roommate.

Although Jacobsen admits to never finishing a single show tune, the experience gave him the inspiration to become a songwriter and create his own brand of humor and “not humor” to leave the audience with something to take away with them.

“I want to say something people can relate to, but not everything needs to be autobiographical,” said Jacobsen.

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