The Jelly Jam

Artist / Band / Musician
Progressive / Rock / Experimental
InsideOut Music
You can't keep a talented band down.

Fans of Platypus will be ecstatic to learn that, despite the departure of keyboardist Derek Sherinian, the eclectic group's three remaining members - guitarist/singer Ty Tabor, bassist John Myung, and drummer Rod Morgenstein - are soldiering on as The Jelly Jam. However, "those who are familiar with Platypus should know that it's not Platypus," advises Tabor. "It's different. It's more of a rock 'n' roll record, even though it's still very adventurous, because we can't play much of anything simple! We just like to keep it interesting, but I think some of it is pretty immediate."

From the album's gritty opening salvos all the way to its expansive, trance-inducing space rock finale, The Jelly Jam takes listeners on a memorable classic/progressive rock ride that places each of the members' individual stamps on the finished product. There are certainly elements that recall the trio's other endeavors as Platypus - intricate performances, Ty's Beatlesqe vocal harmonies, and spacey passages - but this album is more straight-ahead.

"Platypus went into more jazzy elements here and there, and that was probably Derek's influence," Tabor acknowledges. "Keyboards color things differently, too. But spaciness was still part of the whole '70s thing. Some of the elements of '70s music that we all like most, that's where we all come from as far as our favorite music from our past, especialy Rod and I. So it's what we naturally do easiest."

Given the prolific output of all three of The Jelly Jam's members, some fans might assume that this is yet another side-project, but Tabor reveals that he has discovered a surprisingly deep well of creativity within him despite his multiple musical commitments. "I thought it was going to be very difficult," he admits, "but the truth is, being involved in all these different projects lately has kind of awakened something in me creatively where I'm just on 'go' and really enjoying it. Stuff is just coming out faster than I can put it down. I'm involved in more writing than I've ever been in my life. I feared that it would dry up and I'd run out of ideas, but exactly the opposite has been happening to me, I've been getting so inspired by all the different things, and continuely being involved in writing, that I feel like I'm developing in some ways."

As lyricist for The Jelly Jam, Tabor has been grappling with serious personal issues. While the CD's opening track deals with the artificial connections that fans often desire with their idols, and "Nature's Girl" is about a free-spirited friend, a majority of the album focuses on Ty's "busted marriage". It is a topic that completely dominated Platypus' sophomore release Ice Cycles. But that album was so intense and dark for the singer that he cannot listen to it anymore, even though he is proud of his lyrical and musical accomplishments on it.

The Jelly Jam has offered Tabor another chance to explore this highly personal subject matter in a more healing way. And both this album and Ice Cycles have been part of an important growth process for him as a lyricist. "I did think about the fact that some of my most favorite music from people that I admire came from their terrible pain," he observes. "I thought maybe during this time as an artist I could explore that and try to be honest and put it out for the first time ever. I usually cover up a lot of personal things [in metaphorical lyrics]. During this time, I decided to not be afraid to put it out there as bare as it is, and to try to be a real artist about it. I am happy with so much of the music that has come out of this time."

Tabor cannot correctly pin down how The Jelly Jam represents something musically special. He says it's simply the result of a unique chemistry he shares with his bandmates. "It became what it became because of our personalities, how we get along, how we play together, and just what we were hearing," remarks the singer. "It's not something I plan or dissect. It's just something that happens. I just love playing with those guys, and we love writing music together and doing records." Tabor notes that this is the trio's fourth album together, if one includes a second Jelly Jam release for which basic tracks have already been recorded. In other words, these guys plan to be playing and recording together for awhile longer. They even hope to tour at some point.

I have to tell you, man, all three of us are extremely happy with this record," beams Tabor. "It turned out so much better than we ever expected. It's one of the few records I've ever been involved in that I don't get tired of hearing. When King's X tours, we play the record over the P.A. every night, and I just don't get tired of it."

This clever promotional strategy of playing a new, unknown band between sets on King's X tours is not new. Tabor did the same thing for Platypus. "In America, nobody knew about Platypus in any way," remarks the Jelly Jam frontman. "We were selling some records over in Europe, but nobody knew about us in America. So I started playing it between sets, and people started asking: 'What the heck is this?' Then went out and bought it. Now I'm signing Platypus albums every night." For the past year, King's X fans have been hearing The Jelly Jam, so a buzz is building for them now.

"I would have to say that this record is one that really grows," declares Tabor. "It definitely is one of those that everybody I've given a copy to was not neccessarily blown away by at first, but all of them were calling later going: 'Wow, man, I really love this now!' It's having that kind of impact. That's the kind of record I like the most, because you don't get tired of it as fast and that's why I think I can still listen to it a year later and love it. I'm very proud of this record. All three of us were just tickled, to be honest with you."
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