With $1500 and a broken 16-track recorder, Fragile Jack crawled into a friend's basement studio and created National Bag (1998). The album captures the raw energy and intensity of their live shows, featuring their trademark twangy, uptempo rock (check out 'Ground Speed' or 'Cigarette Star'), balanced by a couple of weepers that are perfect for a long drive home from the bar. Lyrically, the topics range from back-water politics, as in 'County Fair,' to the flip side of the American dream in the title track; to soured relationships, as in the lonesome ballad 'Slow Dance;' to the wild search for a lost dog in the raucous hidden track 'Sugarbeet Bitch'-an overwhelming fan favorite. The song 'Ground Speed' gained the band national attention when it was chosen for a nationwide ad campaign for the Polo Jeans Company, featuring them alongside other top unsigned bands. Formed in 1995 by childhood friends Adam Monda (guitars/ vocals) and Dave Goedde (drums), and soon joined by Phil Smith (vocals/guitar) and Steve Pitner (bass), Fragile Jack quickly developed an enthusiastic following in the Northwest. Their full-throttle early performances caught the eye of renowned producer Rick Parashar (Pearl Jam, Blind Melon), and he helped produce Fragile Jack's critically acclaimed debut EP, Thirsty Work (1996). The CD showed a broad range of emotion and song-craft, hinting at American rock influences like the Replacements, Son Volt, and Creedence Clearwater Revival-but, as one reviewer put it, 'the songs are so well-written and the band's performance is so fantastic that any strict comparison seems unfair.' They have released two records on their own - Thirsty Work (1996) and National Bag (1998) - both of which received glowing critical reviews nationally and internationally. They were even mentioned in the recording industry trade magazine 'HITS' (April 8, 1996) alongside such acts as The Cardigans and Third Eye Blind as being a band that 'the weasels (major label A&R folk) are buzzin' about.' Fragile Jack have entertained and declined proposals from major labels and other industry outposts who offered the dream of potential fame and fortune in exchange for the very real publishing rights and outright ownership of their songs--certainly nothing new in the music biz--but through it all, the four members have stayed true to themselves and to their music.
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