Water Street Jacks
photo by DeWook
Okay class, let’s begin.
By the time I got to high school I was engulfed in music, but as a student I was a mess. In school in Hinsdale, Illinois, I was dressed in Vision Street Wear pants, Airwalk shoes, Anthrax-patched denim jacket, just a full blown outcast. I had my favorite classes and I had my fair share of detentions and off the record, some suspensions. Just no direction. I had direct weekly contact with the entire faculty. My counselors, teachers, and deans were always trying to steer me to success.
In 2019, Water Street Jacks reached out to me last minute and I was onboard to Summerfest. I had my past experiences working Summerfest, 16 shows in 2018, but this was the first time for Water Street Jacks. They were excited and a bit unsure of what to expect. I jumped right in to help guide them through the process of getting their gear to the stage and other random things. They ended up playing like seasoned veterans for two hours at the Miller Light Oasis.
From that performance on I have continued to work with Water Street Jacks. This weekend I was booked to work with them at a private event in central Wisconsin. I took this opportunity to sit down with Ted Harter(guitar) and get to know Water Street Jacks a little better.
Dewook: Ted Harter, from the Water Street Jacks, How did the name come about?
Ted Harter: Well we were “The Jacks”, we started talking about recording music, and there was a group called “The Jacks” from LA. We played Woodshed often in Sauk City which is on Water Street. So we decided on the Water Street Jacks, since we did like the feel of “The Jacks”.
DeWook: So you are a principal of a school, Owen’s the school counselor, Hans is the Phys Ed teacher and Matt is the music teacher of the same school. What do your students think of that? Do they come to the shows?
Ted Harter: Yeah! Every once in a while a kid will come up to me and say you’re in a band right? And I’m like, yes! You should come see us!
DeWook: You ever run into them at the shows?
Ted Harter: Yes, the best is when you run into the kids that are wearing our band t-shirts! That’s always awesome. That’s been a fun part of it. And it keeps us real and professional at our shows. We actually started playing with Hans at student assemblies at the Middle School. That little band we called ourselves “The In-School Suspenders”. We played the Lumineers “Ho Hey” song for the students. We had fun.
DeWook: You got hit with a double whammy this last year with the shutdown. Schools shut down and the music industry shut down as well. What did you do? How did you handle it?
Ted Harter: We really took some time off. We had a busy summer planned and things went down in June 2020 and so we committed to a few shows in July and played them. And we decided this is too risky so we took some time off. So we didn’t get together to play until the end of the late winter and early spring. And that was good for all of us. We gained some perspective. I went back to do some camping, hunting and Fishing that I haven’t been doing in a long time.
DeWook: Me time!
Ted Harter: Yeah! We decided we were going to lay back a little bit and do fewer shows. That was the perspective that we gained. We can do this and have fun. We don’t have to play 30 shows in the summer. That was good.
DeWook: Any thoughts to get in the studios sometime soon?
Ted Harter: Our plan is to get together after our shows this summer and record our originals. Really partially because we have kids that will want to know what our music sounds like. But we feel our originals are enough that we would like to get them down. We’re still waiting to hear about Summerfest, but really we’re going to focus on recording this fall.
DeWook: Anything you want to say to the fans?
Ted Harter: I just really appreciate the opportunity to do this. I never dreamed 20 years ago I’d be in a band. It’s always good to try something new to keep things creative. I also appreciate the people that come and see us. I do encourage people to try something new. Get into music. It’s a fun thing to do!
DeWook: Let’s go take some pictures!
After the interview was over, the band and I went to shoot some promo shots. I then took up camp stage left and began prepping my camera gear for their performance. Our combined years of experience from all aspects of music has brought us together. Teachers of music, about music, around music. Both on and off the stage. Both in front and behind the camera. This kid who was in detention with no direction returned to work side by side with a music teacher, Phys. Ed teacher, counselor, and a principal. No longer did I feel expelled.
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