Unplugged By Jack: Brother Lee & The Leather Jackals

Unplugged By Jack: Brother Lee & The Leather Jackals

March 29, 2017

“Leave the bottle,” Josh Eaker asks the bar man, sounding so hip, but his manners betray him.  “I’ve always wanted to say that before, thanks for making a dream come true.”

Eaker is the frontman for the St. Louis based band Brother Lee and the Leather Jackals.

Eaker met his fellow bandmate Danny Blaies back in 2011, just before a short stint in Dallas.  Eaker made a quick move to Dallas, stepping away from the music scene, but stepping closer to becoming a rock star. “I didn’t know anyone, so I just stayed home a lot and taught myself the guitar.”

When he moved back to St. Louis a year later, Brother Lee was formed.

Brother Lee is the fictional character who takes on various roles in Eaker’s songs. The man behind the lyrics, Brother Lee is a persona and stage presence for the sweet and polite Eaker to morph into when he takes the stage.

“It’s all part of the character,” he says while taking a sip of his High Life.

Brother Lee  will play in Unplugged on March 30th, solo. He will perform as Brother Lee without his Leather Jackals, acoustically, and in a sense, back to his roots.

Growing up in De Soto, Eaker went from a childhood of hippie bikers who listened to the Beatles and Black Sabbath to hippie bikers who only embraced Christian music and the Beatles. Playing bass in a pentecostal church, Eaker got a taste for performing, watching the way the crowd reacted to chords, watching how it moved people in the audience.

Where did he go from there? “Straight into the open arms of Satan,” Eaker says with a smile and a soft laugh.  He went to a metal band, moved out at 18 and lived the definition of rock and roll.

The look of Brother Lee can be intimidating, but the sound that comes out is incredible. Eaker’s songwriting and the musical skills of the band has a quickly growing fan base.  The result is a sound that's unafraid to experiment with twang, Sabbath-style jangle, or unorthodox time signature without sacrificing the band's trademark garage-y grit, and lyrics that are weightier, touching on topics such as Charles Manson or Richard Ramirez.

Eaker sat and wiped his yellow tinted glasses, occasionally adjusting his hat, while talking with such passion about the band, about the St. Louis music scene, and left me with this, “We’re all just very nice boys. The spit in your face, stab you in the side thing, that’s just a gimmick.”

The influence of the Beatles is clear, in the songwriting and Eaker’s passion for the knowledge behind the music. His eyes lit up with childish excitement as he spoke about the bizarre lyrics of the psychedelic Beatles song, ‘Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite’.  The same passion came through speaking about conspiracy theories of Charles Manson, and especially when reminiscing on Jackal Fest.

The street festival took over Atomic Cowboy and rallied the arts and music community around the band and others in the Grove in June 2016. Brother Lee hopes to put St. Louis back on the map as a music city. And we think they’re well on their way.

Josh Eaker will be performing as Brother Lee on Thursday March 30th at Gaslight Studios in St. Louis at Unplugged By Jack.

Tickets available at www.byjack.com/unplugged

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