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Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - Crossroads (Garwood, NJ)

Return of Open Mic Night...

So, I'm happy to say that the first new Open Mic at Crossroads went great! It was a pleasant surprise to see so many familiar faces and hear everyone perform. Felt like the good old days again! The trio that hosts the thing is awesome, and they were kind enough to accompany the other musicians as well. I did 3 originals with the bassist and drummer, and I think it went really well. Also, did a couple of drunken Bruce covers with the legendary Southside Slim and Saxophone Joe.  Anyway, hope to see ya next Monday!
(photos by Courtney Wheeler & Leala Arnold)

May 15, 2016 - Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ)

I kinda conned my way onto the Stone Pony stage. For those not familiar with it, the Stone Pony is a music venue in Asbury Park, New Jersey made legendary by its longtime association with "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen and other Jersey Shore legends like Southside Johnny, Little Steven, and more. It's always been one of my dreams to play there (even though I'd only been there no more than 2 or 3 times). When I found out they were looking for acts to play a showcase, I put my hat in the ring. Actually, hats. The bando I was in at the time was called The Aluminum Foils. A Jackie Puppet off-shoot, it featured me and New York singer-songwriter Grace Bergere on lead vocals and guitar, Saxy on sax and flute, and Slim on drums. Me and Grace wrote the songs. To this day, it's one of my favorite musical things I've been involved in. In our short existence, we played two shows at New York's Bowery Electric (one opening for "Howard Stern Show" legend Fred Norris's band) and a couple of shows at Crossroads in Garwood, New Jersey (including the "RagTag Stardust" show). Our sound was a combination of our influences, but was a bit on the darker side, a little moodier than the other bands. I saw the Foils as Jackie Puppet's dark alter-ego. In the middle of this Foils thing, I submitted our name to be considered for the Stone Pony showcase. The band got the gig, and I was mailed somewhere around 50 tickets with "The Aluminum Foils" written on them. It was our job to sell them. I got my Brother and Sister-In-Law to come, and Slim had his crew. But it definitely wasn't 50 people. Guess we weren't gonna be asked back. But, whatever, we played the Pony! Not as The Aluminum Foils, though. Slim said to me, "Why aren't we doing this as Jackie Puppet!? It's the Stone Pony! Jersey Shore! Boardwalk! Beer! That's our thing, man! Duh!" He was right. Duh! So I contacted the booker before the show about our "name change". It was no problem, but the tickets already said "The Aluminum Fouls". That's why I have no "Jackie Puppet at Stone Pony" tickets. But I made up a great flyer! Now, Grace wasn't in Jackie Puppet, but she could play anything. So we had our new Jackie Puppet line-up featuring Grace Bergere on bass. Hill was back on drums, and the rest of us in our usual places. When we got to the Stone Pony, we had the talented Dan Krug take some band photos outside the venue. He really captured some great shots. We were all dressed really cool, and I think we looked like a real band, not just a bunch of people standing together. We rocked our set. It was a short set, since it was a showcase. There were tons of other bands like The Hannas, Water Street, Dave Mooney & The Aztec Gypsy, Xander Mark & Lea B, Calvin's Love Life, and more. The Hannas, in particular, were into us, and we like them too. Our set time was in the afternoon, so it wasn't a big crowd. But we rocked and had a great time! My Brother and Sister-In-Law were proud of me playing there. We all were. Slim is one of the biggest Springsteen fans I know, so it was very special for him to play the Stone Pony. I personally consider it one of the highlights of my life. Jackie Puppet in The Boss's house!
(photos by Dan Krug & more)

December 23, 2016 - Dr. Lou's Place (Roebling, NJ)

Jackie Puppet's second time at Dr. Lou's featured yet another new line-up. The core band was there with Hill back in drums. On bass that night was John Gabriele, who has been very involved in putting together free shows at Tompkins Square Park. We'd met and played before at King Killer Studios for the Slimtacular. On additional electric guitar was Slim and John's mutual friend Dean Rane aka Dead Dean, a true New York punk rock & roller extraordinaire. John and Dean also brought their friend Spike Polite of the classic NY punk band Sewage to watch Jackie Puppet do their thing, whatever that happened to be that night. Being Jackie Puppet, we often don't know. We play soft. We play loud. We sing sweet ballads. We rock. Tonight we rocked. And tonight we were loud! And not in tune. And drunk? Probably. Turns out our performance was shown live on your computer! The reviews? They varied. One guy, though, writing to his friend Blair (who played drums with us at our previous Dr. Lou's show), this guy stole the show. "Aweful" (spelled this way, which is maybe a compliment?), then, incredulously, "Punk rock in Roebling!?", and the now classic, "Bad band, Blair!" Blair kindly wrote nice things about us. But I have to say, this other guy made us Dr. Lou's legends!
(photos of Jackie Puppet, Dr Lou & Friends, Paul Kurrey, Dean Rane, Spike Polite, and more by Brad)

July thru August 2017 - Dr. Lou's Place (Roebling, NJ)

Our third time at Dr. Lou's, Jackie Puppet finally played "Rock & Roll Reenie" for the song's inspiration, Reenie herself! She loved it, and ran up to the stage to give me a kiss on the cheek after the song was over. Something special about performing a song to the person who inspired it. 
Unfortunately, Dr. Lou's Place would soon be history when the town finally bought the property to make room for roads or something. Jackie Puppet played one last show there for its second-to-last weekend. We shared the bill with Stupid Town (minus Robyn that night), and then morphed into Jackie Town for a few numbers. Me and Saxy got there early and walked around Roebling a bit. I really love that town. It's small and lined with identical brick buildings. It used to be a steel mill town, and they still have the old historical stuff there as part of the Roebling Museum. Then there's the train tracks. It wa a nice day to walk around there. We took pictures. The smell of the grass reminded me of my childhood. Soccer fields or something related to Little League or school.
The weekend after was to be Dr. Lou's farewell party. Jackie Puppet was going to do a few songs but not everyone could be there that day, so it was just me and Saxy representing the band. We did a few covers with various people providing drums, guitar, and bass. Dr. Lou's band the Priviledged Few played on the roof earlier, but we missed it.  The Paul Kurrey Band performed a full set, with Saxy joining them halfway through. I talked to Joe DeFeo, and he played me some music he'd produced. And I met Shawn Ryan after he played. He told me his daughter won the first season of America's Got Talent. A fun night for sure. Lots of music, dancing, drinking, and celebration. Thanks, Dr. Lou!
(photos by Brad)

March 2018 - King Killer Studios (Brooklyn, NY)