Few musicians have devoted their passion and energy to the pursuit of excellence to the same extent as Jack O Roonie. Having made a name for himself back in the eighties as a member of sulphurous Belgian roots outfit The Wild Ones, Jack relocated to Los Angeles and soon became that most precious commodity in the business: a go-to backing musician prized for his versatility and rigorousness. It’s no accident that the likes of Wanda Jackson, Andre Willams, Bill Tapia, Slim Jim Phantom, Ronnie Dawson, Danny B Harvey among many others have called on his services time and time again.
You see, to call Jack O Roonie a rockabilly bass player would be a grave mistake. Weary of the limitations – and narrow-mindedness – of the so-called rockin’ scene, Jack set out to hone his craft by broadening his horizons. After an eye-opening – and gruelling – stint at the Music Schools, Jack began to embrace music genres as far removed from the fakeness of the modern rockabilly scene as is possible. Jazz, classical music, chanson, film music, Charles Mingus variations… the only common thread is a complete dedication to the Art of the double bass. Those – myself included – who knew him as “le petit Jacky” back in the day never would have imagined that the once infamous hellraiser would become this revered musical polymath.
That is not to say that Jack has forgotten how to rock out: – put him on the same stage or in the same studio as touring rock & roll royalty or the freshly reformed Wild Ones and you are guaranteed a virtuoso performance of relentless ferocity. The man can slap like a demon – the only difference is, he will hit the right notes.
It says a lot about a person when they are as loyal in friendship as they are demanding in their craft. I consider myself privileged to count Jack O Roonie as a dear friend.