Jesse Mower is a Carbondale native and lead vocalist and guitar player for band Static in the Attic. He graduated from Luzerne County Community College with a degree in music technology. He is employed by Gentex Corp., a helmet manufacturer, in Carbondale.
Meet Jesse Mower…
What is your musical background?
In high school, I was in the marching band. I had the cape and all of that. I started on the drums, which I think helped me a lot with rhythm. When I finally started learning guitar, it was easier to get rhythm down. I was 13 when I got my first guitar. I got it from a buddy, and I just kind of sat on it for a long time.
How did you become the vocalist for Static in the Attic?
It was so bad at first. We were trying to get a singer when we were younger. We were around 16 when we started the band. We realized we all suck at singing, but someone had to do it. I just tried to do it. I never really had lessons, but I should have, I think.
How did Static in the Attic form?
We were all in high school together. Our drummer, Jules Borosky, and I would stay after school with the band director. We asked if we could stay after and jam. It was really weird (and) bad at first because it was just guitar and drums, and we didn’t know what we were doing. Eventually we got more buddies to join. We got Tom Murray, who now plays bass. We didn’t get any gigs for a long time because we were little. We played in some bars when we were younger, which was good because we learned how we had to handle ourselves as we got older. Now we are a three-piece (group). We do the power trio thing. We are trying to play more and record stuff.
Have you also performed as a solo artist?
It was all band at first. I never really did any solo stuff, but now I am trying to get into it. I’m very bad at it, too. It’s much easier to sit in front of two people, and I don’t have to do it all. There’s a lot that goes into getting a set list and picking good songs and getting the full-time musician thing going. I think I like the band more. It’s easier to rely on them. I am starting out doing solo gigs.
What is something you’ve learned in your recent time as a solo performer that is different than being in the band?
You can’t guitar solo as much. That was the most depressing part. But the voice is a lot more important too. Instead of doing a guitar solo for a part, I’ll try to sing it. It’s a lot more work on the voice. You have to take a different approach. It’s cool to figure out songs that don’t work acoustic and figure out a way to do it. It doesn’t always work, but it’s fun to try.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I gotta say Jimi Hendricks, just like every guitar player. I was big into Paul Gilbert, who is a shred metal kind of guy. The technical ability always got me. I love those kind of guys. Guthri Govn is another one. Buddy Guy is also my guy.
Can you describe your style as a musician?
It’s deep-rooted, but I like going fast. It’s a bit of a mix. With the band, we aren’t really a blues band. It’s more funk, rock, blues. I played with the Soul Shakers for a while. They were really a blues bands. They did some funk and stuff too. It was cool to be able to play traditional blues. I love the blues rock kind of thing and guitar solos. I love the jam band kind thing too.
What is the band’s style?
The power trio is awesome. Tom will be driving the bus. We do a lot of improvs, which is the best part. It’s cool because him and Jules drive it and I just bounce off them. We always look at each other and dance at each other. The blues part comes from me I think. They were never really into the blues much until we started playing together. Jules is like a rock punk drummer. She does it all. Tom is the oldest; he’s 24, and Jules and I are 22.
Being so young, what part of being a musician do you feel you display extra maturity in?
Jules’ parents are in a band, so we would always practice in her basement. That was cool because we got to learn what to do and what not to do. That was helpful and a big part. It was really great to have someone to help us learn how to act. We do blues jams. The first time I was invited, I took my guitar. People see a kid come on stage and think this kid doesn’t know how to play the blues. It’s cool to get through tests like that and prove yourself. The best thing about being so young is we have so much time to grow.
How did you first get interested in music?
My folks were really big into music. They love concerts. I remember playing “Guitar Hero.” I was really into it. My sister had a little, cheap guitar with missing strings. I wanted to try it. I also watched old rock videos on YouTube. It’s weird being able to have YouTube; it’s like cheating because I don’t have to buy records.
Talent aside, what would you be doing if you weren’t playing music?
I’d probably try to get a studio or work in a studio where I could bring artists in, record bands and make albums for them. I’d also mix their tracks and put them together. I’d like to get into that or maybe cooking.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
Cooking, but I’m probably not very good at it. I love video games.
If you could perform alongside any musician living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’d say Jimi Hendricks so I could steal his mojo. It’s cool to be around other players who you can sponge up what they’re doing and add it to your repertoire.
What is your favorite part about being a performer?
I geek out about all of it. When you have a good crowd and they’re in it, the connection. There’s nothing like looking out and seeing someone who’s so into it. It makes it seem like everyone together is making it happen. If you have a less-enthusiastic crowd, the show is going to be less enthusiastic. Luckily we don’t have too many of those.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I bet a lot of people don’t know I have really long hair, because I wear a hat all the time. My hair would stick to my face and I wouldn’t be able to perform.
Have you have a defining moment or time in your life?
One of the big things that helped me as a musician when I was younger is that so much stuff was gifted to me by friends and family. The amp that I play through was given to me. I am way lucky. I don’t know if I deserved it, but that helped so much. I am just grateful for the music and the stuff and to be able to do it. I can’t wait to be able to give a guitar to someone and help out.
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
We are coming out with a live album soon. It will probably be an EP with five to eight songs. We did a show at Mountain Sky, and it was recorded. We are happy to have some newer stuff, since we’ve grown as a group. It will be our first album as the current three-piece. It will have a lot of new flavors. It’s energetic blues rock. It’s pretty upbeat; there’s a lot of improvisation. That’s why we wanted to do the live thing. Even in the studio, we want to do it live because that’s our mojo. It’s hard to do it piece by piece, and we have so much fun being together. It will hopefully be out by the end of the year.
Photos by Emma Black