Chris Jacobie has played Boston’s House of Blues, New Orleans’ Mahalia Jackson Theatre and San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre, to name a few. Not bad for a kid who started out in the sixth grade orchestra at White Rock Elementary.
Chris is currently touring the country as electric bass player for country music star Aaron Lewis. You can watch their recent performance on the Fox Summer Concert Series in New York City here (that’s Chris featured prominently on the right side of your screen).
Chris, a 2005 Lake Highlands High grad, says the best part of being on tour with a famous band is playing in front of packed, engaged audiences – though he admits, when playing with other bands, he’s played for no one except venue employees.
The worst part, he says without missing a beat, is being away from family and friends. His wife, Melendy, teaches AP World History at STEM Academy at Lee High School in San Antonio’s North East ISD and rarely gets to join him on the road.
“I’m sure communicating on tour is a lot easier than it used to be,” he told me, trying not to complain, “but when the bus WiFi is on the fritz and there’s barely any cell phone reception because you’re in the middle of nowhere at a festival surrounded by thousands of tweeting, texting, Instagram-ing festival goers and you need to talk to your wife, it gets stressful. Also, our bus is generally well-stocked with food, but a lack of fresh produce really takes its toll on your body after a while. Last but not least: sleeping on a bus. Imagine sleeping on a bobsled.”
Before Lewis, Chris played with Texas country band Fred Andrews & Honeybrowne. He’s also played for Austin artists Sahara Smith, Sara Overall, Deadman and Dave Madden. He’s produced records for Jon Paul, Jarrod Dickenson, Daniel Crawford and Penny & Sparrow (the band of LHHS grad Kyle Jahnke).
“My orchestra directors in high school were Billie Nero, Michael Rybiski and Barry Russell,” said Chris. “I never took proper private lessons, but those three combined were way more effective anyway. Mrs. Nero taught me how to be overly prepared and bring integrity to even the smallest piece of music. Mr. Rybiski brought my bass playing from average to All-State level in only two years, and I still use the timing and relaxation tips that Mr. Russell showed me on the day of my All-State audition on every gig. It’s fair to say that I would not be a professional musician – let alone touring on a national level – had it not been for those three instructors.”
While he was a Wildcat, Chris was in a band called Zinjanthropus with Cary Daniels, Chase DeLong, Daren DeFrain and Cooper Fuqua. They brought down the house at many a Varsity Revue and Senior Show, and they did a few local gigs. Later, he played as Phonico with Cary and Dane Daniels.
“I only get back to Lake Highlands a few times a year, but I miss going camping with my best friends from [Boy Scout] Troop 890. I miss being in garage bands just for the heck of it. And I miss the giant Half-Price Books on Northwest Highway and Campisi’s Pizza.”
Oh and, in case you were wondering, Aaron Lewis’ neck tattoo? “Don’t tread on me”.