First/Last-Built Like Alaska

March 10, 2012

You probably never heard of Neil Jackson. He’s a friend of mine.

How I stumbled upon his music kind of escapes me now. He fronts an unassuming band from of all places Oakdale, California. Maybe it was through Grandaddy. Or Earlimart. Or Dios Malos I heard of his music? Regardless, I discovered the band’s second album Autumnland and I was not only instantly hooked, I was contacting Neil to ask him not when but how fast he was going to play Pittsburgh. You see, back in the mid-Aughties, there weren’t blogs galore fighting for ticket giveaway rights or publicists spamming your inbox. If your favorite album of that year was important to you, you damn well did something about it. It was a fan to artist interaction and a simple email was all it took to get your that band to play Pittsburgh if you asked the right way. It worked for me several times. How do you think I saw Built Like Alaska. (or The Mendoza Line, or Great Lake Swimmers)? I ended up getting them a gig, a place to stay, and a meal! With many thanks to Manny, my rock and roll dreams came true that night in 2005! With a fantastic new album out, I am really happy Neil took the time out to participate in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • Bill Haley and the Comets ‘Greatest Hits’ cassette.
  • Your last album bought?
  • Atlas Sound ‘Parallax’.
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • Led Zeppelin.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • Any Sleigh Bells record.
  • First concert attended?
  • Ace Frehley ( Frehley’s Comets).
  • Last concert?
  • It’s been a while. Pavement reunion tour, I think?
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • Bon Iver (For Emma album).
  • Least favorite concert?
  • Band of Horses.
  • Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • We talk about Pittsburgh often. It was one of our favorite tour stops. I loved the rivers meeting and the architecture, either vibrant and beautiful ora bandoned, boarded up and beautiful. The industrial history is everywhere. You hooked us up with people who were kind and trusted us enough to let us stay in their house while they were away. The diner food was classic and the whole city let their Steelers colors fly on the Sunday as we drove out of town to our next stop.

Thanks buddy. Coming back to play Pittsburgh soon? I’ll save a table at Eat N Park!