Actor/singer/songwriter Jake La Botz has a new album due out on October 18. They’re Coming For Me will be released on the Hi-Style Records imprint and is La Botz’ eighth.
The eclectic subject matter of They’re Coming For Me reflects La Botz’ own wide-ranging interests and unconventional career arc. He’s experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of life, including racing across the Midwest in stolen cars, finding refuge in the early 80’s punk scene, touring tattoo parlors for years because his music doesn’t fit in noisy bars, playing guitar in an all-Black church in LA, educating himself in public libraries, acting in Hollywood movies, and, most important, kicking a years-long drug addiction.
La Botz is not just some flash-in-the-pan bluesman. He’s been paying his dues for years after learning from elder blues legends like David “Honeyboy” Edwards, “Homesick” James and “Maxwell Street” Jimmy Davis who took him under their wing. It set him up for a life of storytelling on the streets, in subways, juke joints, and eventually on the big screen and stages around the world. A noted film and stage actor, La Botz approaches music with an ear for the unusual, and a knack for speaking for the fragile characters and half-mad sages he encounters on his own travels. This new album is a collection of tall tales and strange stories ranging in subject from a magic comb that can save the world, to a bank robber who moans gospel hymns, and a confessional from Bigfoot himself.
As for “Shaken and Taken,” Jake explains it this way:
Has to do with the power, energy, and joy that comes from giving over to the unseen, mysterious vastness of Being itself. Christians sometimes call that unseen force the Holy Ghost. “This soul is occupied” is an obvious riff on “this seat is occupied”. The point is that if the soul is occupied by the vastness of Being then one’s seat in this life, what a person’s individual life is for, can really come through rather than trying to fit into one’s own, or someone else’s, expectations. There is “no church big enough to hold my joy” at that point because the deepest truth about one’s own life and what they have to give to the world can’t be constrained by dogma or hierarchical systems. It can only be known by being carried over to “the other side”, by the vastness of Being showing up moment by moment. It’s “shaken” because the ego can’t control it. It’s “taken” because it no longer belongs to “me”- it belongs to everyone else and all of life.
“Shaken and Taken” has a foot-stomping, vintage, roots Gospel feel. The combination of greasy guitar, honky-tonk piano and La Botz’ overmodulated vocal delivery give it a “live” sound, as if we’re experiencing it in his very own church. That is, if there one big enough to hold his joy. It’s offered as a bonus track on They’re Coming For Me, but we see it more as a gift. We’re sure you will too.
*Feature image Rik Van de Wiel