By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Jack Havoc, the North Olympic Peninsula's band of superhero rockers, will celebrate a decade of rock 'n' roll vigilance Saturday night with the trademark defense mechanism for the 21st-century superhero: lasers.
“We've been seeing lights in the sky since we were teenagers,” said Keegan Scales, 29, lead singer and creator of the Jack Havoc character.
“Now we're going to harness those lights for rock 'n' roll.”
Scales found a “Jack” playing card on the street one day and from that formed the Jack Havoc alias, an alter ego he compared with Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper.
But Jack Havoc is not any single member of the group. Like Voltron, the individual members of the band shed their day-job uniforms and slip into superhero costumes to unite as one powerful force.
That team joins together for a 10th anniversary laser light extravaganza Saturday night at The Oasis Bar and Grill, 301 E. Washington St. The free show begins at 10 p.m.
The five-member core of Jack Havoc — Scales, rhythm guitarist Jarred Haughey, 29; lead guitarist Jared Williams, 30; bassist Jeremy Gelisse, 31; and drummer Jonathon Promer, 28 — met growing up in Pahrumph, Nev., a small town on the edge of Death Valley.
They've added Owen Blake, aka DJ OB-1, to give a hip-hop touch to the Havoc sound in recent years.
They were in two separate bands at the time that shared a guitarist, Joseph “Scooby” Merritt.
Move to Sequim
Promer and Haughey moved to Sequim with Merritt; Scales and Williams followed.
“For a bunch of kids from the desert to come up here was amazing,” Scales said.
Merritt died when he was hit by a van crossing the street in 2004.
The other friends joined together as one band, and Jack Havoc was born.
Heavy, driving guitars thunder as Promer's perfect timing keeps the beat behind Scales' poetic lyrics about government surveillance, fluoridated water and celebrity worship.
“That's why now is such a great time for Jack Havoc's 10th anniversary,” Scales said.
“You've got black helicopters flying over Port Angeles, weird noises that nobody can explain throughout the night — there's weird stuff going on.”
Fitting with their childhoods, he said, growing up in the Nevada desert came hand-in-hand with seeing bizarre glowing lights in the sky.
In truth, they said, the life of a rock 'n' roll superhero in Sequim isn't all that glamorous.
“It's been tough being a rock band in a retirement home,” Scales said.
While they've played bigger venues in Seattle, opening up for national acts such as Green Jelly and Hed PE, most nights, Jack Havoc was happy just for the opportunity to play.
“We just now started telling people, 'Like we need gas money,'” Promer said.
When they started, they lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, throwing hard-charging parties and touring the country in beat-up vans while chasing their dream.
It was tough, they said.
Gelisse remembered pulling their van into Mandan, N.D., to play a scheduled gig only to find out the promoter who had booked them had been fired and the bar had closed its stage.
“They were cool, though. They got us a hotel room and gave us some beer money and set us up,” Gelisse said.
There were nights of sleeping in vans.
“The goal was to make enough money to live off of Jack Havoc, but it wasn't as easy as that,” Promer said.
Growing up Havoc
Now, three of the group are married and have children, and they all have day jobs to help support their Havoc habit.
“We're just best friends that love to play music and want everybody else to be a part of it,” Haughey said.
It's that tight-knit brotherhood, they say, that has kept them together for a decade.
“I can't think of any other bands that have outlasted us,” Promer said.
And there is no end in sight.
“There's gonna be little Havoc babies running around,” Haughey said. “We're not in it for the money, obviously. We just want to have a good time.”
“To a point,” Promer said. “But the money would be nice.”
3 albums, 1 show
Jack Havoc will play all three of its records during Saturday's set, beginning with songs from “Summer of Monsters,” released in April; moving on to their second record, “BrokenMiddleFingerPaint” (2010); and finishing with their debut, “Merritt A.D.” (2005).
“If we never play some of those songs again, we played them one last time,” Haughey said. “And our fans can look forward to hearing some new Jack Havoc songs next summer.”
To keep up with the adventures of Jack Havoc, visit the group's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jackhavocsuperheroes.
The band also has posted several videos of its singles on YouTube.
To contact the band, email JackHavocTheBand@gmail.com.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.