Interview: JD & The Straight Shot

Photo by Kristin Barlowe

Photo by Kristin Barlowe

The road to success isn't always necessarily a straight shot. Sometimes, there are bumps along the road, and that was quite literally the case for Marc Copely [guitar, vocals, pictured above on right] of JD and the Straight Shot. During his early days as a professional musician, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident after a show, that resulted in his resuscitation by the side of the road. However, this was not enough to hold him back. Since then, Marc has gone on to release two solo records, work with legendary artists such as B.B. King and Roseanne Cash, as well as produce records and play guitar for JD & The Straight Shot, who are currently on tour with none other than The Eagles. I had the privilege of speaking with Marc about all of the experiences he's had in his life so far, and how music has shaped who he is.

How has the tour with The Eagles been going?

It’s been an amazing experience. We get to play with our heroes, and what’s better than that?!!!

You’ve been a professional musician since you were 19 years old. What initially drew you to blues music?

Well, I was a big Zeppelin fan and started to work backward from there. Jimmy Page, Clapton, Hendrix goes to BB King and Buddy Guy goes to Albert King, to Robert Johnson to Blind Lemon Jefferson.. and a ton of others along the way. 

Congrats on the latest record, Good Luck and Good Night. You produced this album for JD & The Straight Shot. What was that experience like?

I loved it! I know this band really well and feel that knowledge really helps In getting started. The band is also a real band. Everyone had great ideas and it was a team effort for sure.

What was the most challenging part of recording Good Luck and Good Night?

Ordering lunch. 

You've released two solo records aside from JD & The Straight Shot. What would you say are some of the differences in writing and the creative process in a solo record versus a record with a band?

A solo record can be a lonely road, but it’s really about doing what you do and that’s that. With a band, it’s a group effort, and everyone adds their musical personality into it to make the whole. 

You've had the chance to work with artists like B.B King, Rosanne Cash, and of course, The Eagles, whom JD & The Straight Shot are currently on tour with. What were some of the most memorable moments with some of those artists, and was it a sort of pinch-me moment?

I opened for B.B. King when I was really young and that was eye opening for sure. He was also a great help in my getting better on guitar. Roseanne is one of my favorite people in the world and her husband John Leventhal is really a musical mentor of mine. I listen to his records all the time. His playing and production skill is legend.

You've also had some experiences in the film industry, and had a cameo alongside Jon Bon Jovi in New Years Eve. While all creative processes are similar, there must have been some differences between what goes into making a movie and what goes into making a record. What is the experience of being a musician on a movie set like? 

Well, I was only pretending to play. Tough acting gig, huh? Ha! One memory from that is we filmed an outdoor scene in Times Square and it was freezing. I mean, really, really cold and we could hardly play. After every take we’d all be huddled around these big heaters they had set up, then do it again. 

How would you say music has enhanced or shaped your perspective in life?

Music is my everything in life. It’s in my skin and I love nothing more than when things all click and the music comes alive. Lyric writing has led to reading books I may had never known about, so I’m thankful for that and thankful I’m able to do this every day and make a living out of it. 

JD & The Straight Shot roll through Calgary on May 14th with The Eagles, and their latest record, Good Luck and Good Night is available now. Click here to purchase tickets to their upcoming show, and stay tuned for our review!