“The fact that it’s got such a great history makes me want to be a part of it, in some small way. It may never ever work out that way, but when it’s all said and done, I would like to have in some way made a fingerprint on the culture of this city, and the attitude toward it. It also holds us to a certain standard musically.” Those are the words of Cameron Navetta, acoustic guitar and vocals for the Detroit band Jet Rodriguez, speaking of Detroit’s renowned music scene.
Only a few years in and Jet Rodriguez has already left a “fingerprint” on the culture of the city. They stand amongst the others on the forefront of the Detroit music scene today, bringing in their own mix of rock, folk, and psychedelic – crowning their style as “psychedelicate.” Catchy, don’t you think? Naturally, CW50 was intrigued to hear all about the band and why they are Detroit Proud.
Tell us a little about the band.
Daniel Bowron and myself, Cameron Navetta, have been jamming since we were 12 years old. We would always come up with “different” ideas for projects and change our name countless times. When we were like, 15-16, we came up with Jet Rodriguez, and for better or worse, that was the one that stuck. Each of the current four members (Mike Daniele and Steve Krycia) draws on a wide range of influences. Sometimes we have similar tastes, but sometimes very different. Ultimately, the music manifests itself as something which uniquely represents each of us.
The band lists “earth wind fire sun moon sky” under influences, can you explain this?
I wish I had a better answer for this one. I suppose we like to think of music as a force of nature. That’s all I meant by that I think. Plus it looks cool when you read it. Doesn’t it? Maybe not…
Where does the name “Jet Rodriguez” come from?
It’s stolen from the movie The Sandlot. There’s a character called Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez. We found that it is resonant among people in our age group. We get comments all the time from people who grew up watching and are really endeared to that movie. So contrary to what one might think, we didn’t intend on riding the coattails of recently uncovered Detroit musician, Rodriguez. It just worked out that way.
The band has released 3 albums so far, could you tell us a little about each album?
The first is called Seven Hour Night Shifts, and it was a solo release by me, which I wrote, recorded, and released. So I’m a lot more emotionally attached to that album than the other members of the band. By a series of purely serendipitous events, it ended up receiving some play on a few major radio stations, like the BBC, and a radio station called Joy in Australia which apparently is the second most listened to in that country. There was a small ripple effect that lead to it getting some nice small time reviews.
The second is called Morning Daze/Mourning Days and it was a more collaborative effort. By that time, two auxiliary members were added to the band to help me play the previous record in a live setting. So naturally, that record is composed of the material we wrote as we were playing out. It’s raw too. More rock based though. It represents a time when Jet Rodriguez became a “band” band and not just a solo thing.
The third release is a demo EP called Faceless Entities, which we have retrospectively decided is a pretty lame name for a release. It came out relatively early on in the lifehood of Jet Rodriguez as its current incarnation, that is, as a traditional rock band with drums, guitars, and stuff. During this time, we kind found our niches in certain roles within the band functionality.
Hear each album here!
What are your latest projects? Is there anything you’re working on that you can share with us?
We are about to start recording an album at the end of this month. We’re really excited to hear what we’ll sound like in that setting. Mostly new material. Some revised songs off of the older demo. More interesting versions though. Ultimately, much improved, if I don’t say so myself. We’re pretty certain it will be called Day of the Dead, and in a perfect world, it will be released on the actual Day of the Dead, which is November 1st. We’ll see what happens with that though. Cross those fingers.
Tell us a little about the members of the band.
Daniel Jackson Bowron – Drummer, and one of the most energetic ones you’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing. He really “sexes” up the band, I think. He likes to take his shirt off, and people like that. And he is also a lead vocalist in the band. Him and I kind of split the duty of lead vocals. We also sing together for a good 50 percent of the time. I’ve known the boy since elementary school. We are best friends.
Mike Daniele – Guitarist. He can be credited for altering the entire outlook of the band when he entered. He was the one who helped us form a legitimate sense of identity and style. If it wasn’t for him, each of our songs would sound too distant from one another. He changed all that, for the better. Plus his licks are flat out nasty; he’s also my best friend.
Steve Krycia – Bassist. By nature, an extremely gifted guitar player, but for us, a bassist. We’re extremely lucky to have him. He’s a glue guy. Helps it all come together in the end. Also a dear friend. I’ve known this fella since elementary school. He’s a bit older than me and I’ve always looked up to him as a musician and a guy. Very thankful that he has chosen us.
Cameron Navetta (myself) – Acoustic guitar is my means of conveyance, but lyrics and melodies are my more significant contribution to the whole.
Everyone is original except bassist Steve, who replaced a very talented fellow named Bryan Squires, who is in the process of becoming a medical doctor. As a whole, we’re a tight knit group. The dynamic between us simply works. We all can take a backseat to our own rather large egos in contribution to the greater good.
Does the band have any Detroit-artists that they look up to?
There are many. But there’s one act in particular that really stands out to me. Flint Eastwood is an incredible band. I think everyone who’s ever seen them knows that. I really look up to them. When I saw them play for the first time I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is a local band!?” At that moment I knew we had to step our game up if we have any chance of accomplishing anything on any level whatsoever. They motivate me in the best way possible. They will be the next big thing to follow Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. that comes out of Detroit, I guarantee it. I love that band.
Does the band have favorite places to perform in Detroit?
We like the Loving Touch, among many other places, of course. But they’ve been good to us as of late. It always sounds great on stage. And they run a super tight program, which is refreshing. Cream of the crop, you could say.
Does the band have a favorite memorable performance from a metro-Detroit venue? Why?
The 15th Anniversary of Navdo Presents at the Loving Touch. It was one of the first times I felt like we were sharing the stage with legitimate forces within the current Detroit scene. We were really lucky to get on the bill. It was just kind of a milestone for us. We had been playing for like three years to no one but old bar regulars. They seemed to dig us and I’m grateful for that time, but it felt good to play for a crowd of more than like 10 people. From there, it’s had a nice snowball effect that has lead us to more exposure and more opportunities. So it just represents a point at which we went from being relatively unknown within the scene, to being something. However small of a step it was, it was something.
What do the members of the band like to do in Detroit while they’re not working on their music?
ALL WE DO IS MUSIC. No. I’m kidding. We like Green Dot Stables, as we have members that are employed there. We also like that pizza place in the Garden Bowl. It’s good after a night of carrying amps and stuff up those stairs.
How would the band describe Detroit’s music scene?
Genuine and diverse are a couple words that come to mind. Everybody is cool. And I think it’s a talented scene. I bet you we’d hold our own against plenty of the major cities.