SINGLE REVIEW: Jack Skuller, "Love is A Drum" (Bar/None Records)
By Robbie Woliver
Here’s a prediction. Jack Skuller is going to be a big, big rock star. And time is on my side with this prophecy, because Jack is only 14 years old.
The young, hip-cat Weehawken songwriter and performer, whose father, Eddie, is an accomplished musician himself, already has major buzz circling him—mostly due to his killer debut single “Love is a Drum,” released this week on indie-cool Bar/None Records.
This is not bubble-gum pablum; it’s arguably the best single released by anyone this year. Anyone.
“Love is a Drum,” which Skuller (amazingly) wrote when he was 11, is one of those infectious tracks that once you hear it, you can’t let it go. Featuring Ira Elliot of Nada Surf on drums, its unrelenting beat and rockabilly heart was found-gold for producer Daniel Rey (Ronnie Spector and the Ramones).
This song is vintage rock ‘n’ roll—rootsy, wonderfully angst-y and all heart. With the right promotion, this kid—talented and poised well beyond his years—can be just as big as teen superstars like Justin Bieber and fellow New Jerseyians, the Jonas Brothers. But Jack is so way cooler than those aforementioned teen idols. He will be a success for the right reasons: talent and the hip factor. Oh, and there's the heartthrob factor—girls (and so-inclined boys), he’s cute, too. Jack possesses the kind of musicianship that comes from being informed—his influences are wide ranging, from The Everly Brothers to the Ramones and Beatles (George is his favorite).
Don’t let Jack’s age deceive you. “Love is a Drum” is not a teeny-bopper record in any way. It’s more like Big Bopper. For as much as it can be for a kid who turned 14 three months ago, he’s surprisingly sophisticated and self-assured.
The video, shot in black and white was directed by fashion photographer/filmmaker Poppy de Villeneuve (best name ever) and it successfully recalls the old, classic TV performances by some legendary rockers like Elvis and Buddy Holly. Jack’s choice of drummer on this striking video was a smart move as well. Fifteen-year-old Rex Detiger also proves to be well-possessed and fluid in his drumming, which is obviously the heartbeat of the song. The groupie girls in the video are from the bands Care Bears on Fire and Supercute.
Skuller is no one-trick pony. He constantly gigs, performing his own music as well as paying tribute to some of his influences such as David Bowie and Simon & Garfunkel. Just watch how he more than holds his own—how professional this junior high school kid is—while singing at a recent Simon & Garfunkel tribute. So poised, and sounding so good. Sean Altman is his Garfunkel partner in this video.
Keep your fingers crossed, Jack. “Love is a Drum” is the frontrunner for single of the year. And you have an opportunity to school Mr. Bieber on what a teen rock star should be made of.
IN OTHER WORDS: You all must pay attention to this kid.
Do you agree that Jack Skuller is the Next Big Thing? Let us know, leave a comment below.
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