River Jacks: Roadtrippin’  

Saturday 28th, July 2018 / 12:24
By Matty Hume 


Smilin’ streetpunks have tips and tricks to keep adventures road-rage free! 
Photo by Spencer Burgess

CALGARY – Egads! Your friends are at the front door with a warm six-pack and a tent filled with holes! It’s road trip season already! Lucky for you, traveller, your friendly neighbourhood smilin’ streetpunks have all the tips and tricks to keep your summer adventures across Western Canada road-rage free. Calgary, Alberta’s River Jacks spend enough time together in a van to make that trip to Chilliwack you took with your parents look like a milk run.

Guitarist’s Jordan Barrett and Spencer “Spenny” Jo Burgess have your campfire sing-alongs covered, while drummer Mikey Blotto and bassist Tyler Burton keep your deep-woods vocals in time. Don’t forget, Andy “Mandrill” Shannon keeps it weird on the accordion. According to Barrett, keeping the vehicle stocked with extra goodies will keep the road from testing your might.

“Aside from the essentials of gear and luggage, there must always be a Frisbee, hacky sack and a baseball/ball gloves,” commands camp-leader Barrett. “Mikey brought a Sega Genesis along this time as well. We drove through a rainy day in the mountains with the sound of Mortal Kombat pumping through the van audio. Underrated soundtrack for sure.”

While you may feel the urge to sleep like the good ol’ days in that hot car, the open road is also the perfect time for deep contemplation and stimulating conversation. That’s why that fresh-air filled brain of yours can now dissect every wrong decision made those pesky Hollywood executives.

“There’s a whole van language of inside jokes that we seem to find funny. Spenny and I also like to re-cast comic book movies,” says director Barrett. “You know, ‘cause Hollywood doesn’t seem to know what’s up. We spent a whole day on the X-Men franchise alone.”

Suck it, Bryan Singer. The real place to cast the next Wolverine is at his home on the Highway-1. But in between geeking out, don’t forget to stop in every gorgeous Canadian town, super in their own right.

“There are the easy ones like Vancouver, Edmonton and Victoria. Every time we roll through, the trip has a new surprise for us though,” ensures captain Barrett. “Nelson, Pender Island, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Prince George were a ton of fun on this last trip!”

But through all the excitement, the road nap always lingers — and frankly, every road trippin’ crew needs a nap champ.

“I used to hold that title without debate, though Tyler is slowly creeping up on me,” says disputed nap champ Barrett. The record for longest-drooling-over-a-seatbelt is only half the puzzle, since every bunch has a comrade that’s a grizzly bear on the snore chart. Thankfully, Barrett cleared that one up sans hesitation.

“Mikey Blotto. Without question.”

Of course, don’t even think about hitting the road without tunes to make your shitty car stereo roar. If you’re a musical one yourself, River Jacks recommends keeping it in the family.

“We tend to keep things fresh with records from pals that we’ve toured with,” says DJ Barrett.  

“Anything by Audio-Rocketry, Fire Next Time, Jon Creeden, Seth Anderson, The Penske File, Greg Rekus, Jesse Lebourdais and Mike Bochoff would certainly make the cut.” 


Enjoy River Jacks when they play alongside Mademoiselle, Body Break, and Jon Creeden & the Flying Hellfish on August 4 at Palomino (Calgary). Then get your ass out camping!

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