Trends in the modern music industry are making the prospect of career musicianship for aspiring acts worse. It used to be that talent alone was enough for an artist to make a living practicing their craft, but it seems that era has passed.
The pressures of marketing, dollar amounts and the bottom line arguably have pushed aside the significance of both the music itself and the deep-rooted feelings it conveys.
Pegasus Jetpack – consisting of sophomore business major Jon Irizarry, in addition to Pat Maloney and Rick Rogers of Lafayette, N.J. – exemplify a band with its roots planted firmly in the soul of music. The band, as Irizarry said, exists for the ideal purpose of creating inspired music for the entertainment of both the fans and the band itself.
“Basically, what we wanted to do is just play some fun music,” Irizarry said. “We just have a good time and everyone else has a good time.”
Pegasus Jetpack has put all indie and rock ‘n’ roll pretenses aside, and has managed to laugh off several struggles it has contended with, including Maloney’s early makeshift drum kit (consisting of duct-taped cymbal stands and a lawn chair for a throne) and an encounter with a jaded promoter at New York City’s 169 Bar.
Describing the promoter and the encounter, Irizarry said, “She just sits there. She just sits right at the bar when you come in, on her laptop, and doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t seem like she’s having fun.”
Irizarry said he had been to the 169 Bar once before as the bassist in another band, and the 21-plus venue accommodated the underage members of the band. During this particular encounter, all band members were carded. Members of Pegasus Jetpack, and their underage fans, were forced to pay double just to enter the venue.
The encounter inspired an on onstage improvisation. “I originally wrote ‘All I Can Give’ about a girl that doesn’t seem to be happy no matter what,” Irizarry said. When the band launched into the song, he said, “I was planning to repeat the first verse three times. But the second verse, I had an idea, and I just made it up while we were playing it, to sing about how she double charged us.”
According to Irizarry, the oblivious promoter didn’t notice that his pointed crooning was aimed at her.
The song “All I Can Give” is one of three tracks from Pegasus Jetpack’s all-digital, aptly named debut EP, “Takeoff.” Available for free on the band’s MySpace page, the record is split between the psychedelic, Secret Machines-inspired sounds of Irizarry’s solo work, and more pop-sounding piano rock, characteristic of the former Ben Folds Five.
“It’s a completely different vibe,” Irizarry said, drawing a distinction between his solo work and the team approach to songwriting he’s taken with Pegasus Jetpack. “My old stuff, I feel like it’s better appreciated listening to a CD on your own time. But this stuff – the shows are what make it.”
Irizarry added that he prefers working with the band instead of putting out solo records. He said the band offers “more points of view” and improves the quality of the song writing, as different members introduce new ideas and hammer them out in rehearsal.
As the band begins to experiment with new harmonies while infusing elements of jazz into its sound, Irizarry said a summer tour is in the making, and the band is heading south.
“Venues in the South, they’ll usually do a thing where they have all local bands and one touring band a week,” Irizarry said. “So then you’re not expected to bring anyone, and you’re just there as a touring band.”
“To me, the point of a show is to get new people to hear you,” he added.
As Pegasus Jetpack prepares to take its act further down Interstate 95, the band continues to develop into a rising indie act, laughing its way through industry adversity, and bridging pop with psychedelic.