What's better than one bad Jack?

Elvis Presley tribute planned by L.A. band at Old Martina's Hall


Three Bad Jacks will be doing a tribute to Elvis Presley Friday (May 5), 7 p.m., at Old Martina's Hall in Ranchos de Taos. It is an all-ages show. Tickets are $8 for adults, and children younger than 12 are free.

Tempo caught up with Scott Quintanilla, the local music promoter who is responsible for bringing the trio to town. He said he is excited to be able to bring this high-energy show to Old Martina's.

"Elvis Suissa is the lead singer and guitarist for the Three Bad Jacks. His parents named him Elvis. He is super interactive with kids and it should be a great show," he said.

The group has been called one of Los Angeles' hardest-working bands along with being one of the area's big club draws. Three Bad Jacks have been performing nonstop since the late 1990s. According to press materials, the band averages more than 250 shows a year, sells out rooms from Hollywood to New York City and has headlined several European festivals.

The group is made up of singer-guitarist Suissa, bassist Dave Eckles and drummer John Palmer. They have been labeled as both rockabilly and psychobilly. With their new release, "Pictures & Memories From Home," the band has delivered a heavy-duty rock 'n' roll statement.

"I'm really excited about this record," Suissa said. "It's a straight-up rock 'n' roll record that draws from that transitional period of the late '50s, early '60s, but it's also as modern and original sounding as we could make it." The album echoes with trace influences from garage primitivism to stomping deep Southern rockabilly, yet all of it is filtered through the band's own unique prism, resulting in a sound that "original" scarcely begins to cover.

The album was produced by Suissa, mixed by studio veteran Dave Schiffman (Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down), mastered by Howie Weinberg (Clash, Iggy, Ramones) and features key contributions, on keyboards and strings, from Rami Jaffe (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters).

While the use of the word "mature" may seem contradictory to Three Bad Jacks' international reputation as rock 'n' roll wild men, their ability to navigate such a broad musical spectrum is even more so.

With record sales topping 150,000 to date and numerous songs placed on television and video game soundtracks, the group has long since graduated from selling out hometown venues like the Troubadour, House of Blues, Galaxy Theater, Fonda-Music Box and Key Club to sharing bills and touring with performers like Joe Strummer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam (who is performing in Taos this summer), Social Distortion and Bouncing Souls.

If you Google Three Bad Jacks, a story percolates to the top about an incident from more than a year ago. Suissa and the band are blamed for damage to The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix, Arizona, after some low-tech pyrotechnics caused the venue's sprinkler system to go on. We asked Quintanilla about that and he said although the band had what he called "a little bad press," he wanted to assure Taosenõs Suissa was not going to bring any isopropyl alcohol to the show or set any fires.

"They're going to make this performance totally kid friendly," he said.

"I booked them because I brought them in twice to the Kyote Club when I owned that venue. They are super musicians and they put on a great show. People told me they thought the band was terrific, so I wanted to bring them back," Quintanilla said. "They're a big band in California and I know they are working hard."

According to an interview Suissa did with Diane Price of No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, Suissa talked about what it takes to keep a band together.

"All the shows have been very well attended, and it is really great playing with guys who can make it sound like it should. It was always aggravating playing in a band with a member who would rather play video games or do drugs. It takes the fun out of playing music. I have had some great people come through the band that simply could not tour anymore and I sure miss them," Suissa told Price.

Quintanilla said he is excited about his new promotions and upcoming shows at several local venues, from The Sagebrush Inn to Taos Mesa Brewing, Old Martina's Hall and other venues around town.

The show is kicking off the busy music season with an opportunity to see some raucous entertainment for the whole family. For more information, call the venue at (575) 758-3003.