Jaxon The David Jackson Interview
The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough
21st May 2001
Interview by Tim Locke
Photography by Phil Longstaff


(All Material Copyright)

Tim: If you could, would you form a Soundbeam band?

David: Well, I have Soundbeam bands all the time.

Tim: Yeah but not on the road all the time...

David: No, my whole concept now, it's what I do now - In a way, I suppose I still am the Pied Piper, and I'm even more the Pied Piper to be absolutely honest with you because I program everything that goes on, but I never know exactly what's going to happen and it's gone in leaps and bounds - In 1993 I stopped working with people with learning disabilities and I made this leap into working with people with physical disabilities - it wasn't a policy of the organisation I was working with - it was a learning disability organisation - but, you know, there's got to be more to life - and I made a leap - people with physical disabilities - that's what it's for - so I made a conscious decision and worked for a year exclusively with people with physical disabilities and it opened my mind because that's where my skill as a programmer and as a writer of music for disabled people to play ... Now, what do they want to play, how do they want to play it - incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding.

As to what drew me to working with disabled people is that, initially it was an interesting job, but I realised that I loved it. - It was incredibly rewarding and challenging and satisfying. There doesn't a day go by without some disability organisation rings up and says, you know, we want to do 'Oklahoma' on the Soundbeam!

Tim: By the nature of your Soundbeam Workshops, the gigs are very small - do you miss the large concerts?

David: I've just come from Ireland - this year it was only about 250, but that was because that was all you could fit in - it was a small venue - in 1999 I played to 750 people and in 2000 I played in Wexford to 800 people. I've just done a disability gig at a venue called the Anvil, and there were 500 in the audience, so it's not only small gigs.

Tim: So, how's Fractal Bridge selling?

David: It's trickling - it's not a big seller, and I don't think it's broken even yet. It doesn't have a saxophone on the front, but a funny picture of a fractal - if you put two albums next to each other, people say - oh this looks nice - he's a great saxophone player, I'll buy the one with the saxophone on it. But everyone who knows what I do has bought Fractal Bridge, everybody who's a cold punter has bought the one with the saxophone on it. I sell them very cheap. I've got to get rid of them!

Tim: Do you miss playing with the other members of Van Der Graaf?

David: I miss playing with really challenging people - people who are inspiring to play with - now it does happen in my work - It happened today - I was working with a schizophrenic boy who had amazing range and rhythm. But I do miss playing with really gifted people - I've played with some nice guys including a really lovely bass player from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - he's wonderful to play with.

Tim: Would you like to go back to being Jaxon with an 'X'?

David: I invented that when I was a student at St. Andrew's University. I was playing in a band four nights a week in a hotel there - the drummer was Robbie Macintosh - you know, Average White Band. And that was my first appearance as Jaxon with an 'X' but somehow later Van Der Graaf re-invented it. I still use it occasionally - I'll sometimes sign myself with an 'X'!

Tim Locke
Wychwood, May 2001

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