Founded in 1991 by Deke Sharon, widely recognized as The Father of Contemporary A Cappella, The House Jacks of San Francisco are the original “rock band without instruments”. Using nothing more than their five voices (and mouths, and sometimes bodies), they deliver everything from blistering funk to screaming rock to heart-melting ballads for anyone who loves music. Over the past 25 years, the group has become an institution, claiming nearly 20 superb vocalists and performers in their alumni ranks, including Garth Kravits (originated his role as one of the Tall Brothers in the Drowsy Chaperone in 2006), Troy Horne (fronted the rock band Moses, played Tom Collins in RENT on Broadway), Kid Beyond (first virtuoso beatboxer to be featured in an a cappella group), John Pointer (Chili’s Baby Back Ribs beatboxer, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, created the Big Beat A Cappella style with his group Schrödinger’s Cat), Nick Girard (producer/coach for the Sing-Off!), vocal superstars Austin Willacy, Roopak Abuja, Jake Moulton, and many others.
These pioneering musicians have performed thousands of shows and have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music. They were instrumental behind the scenes on NBC’s The Sing Off!, creating arrangements, coaching groups, producing the cast albums, and helping to introduce some of today’s most well-known vocal groups to the world stage, including Pentatonix and Home Free. And now they are also teaching heavily, unpacking the hows, whats, whys, and whens of vocal music, in ways that anyone can easily understand.
A “house jack” is what you use when you want to move, level, or lift a house. Anyone who’s seen them perform live will tell you that the name is appropriate. Phrases like “Rock the Rafters,” and, “Raise the roof” take on new meanings with the House Jacks. The whole building shakes, and the entire audience is lifted together.
The House Jacks have performed in Stadiums (from Fenway to Candlestick), Theaters/Clubs (from Carnegie Hall to the House of Blues), Colleges (from Dartmouth to Stanford), Festivals (from The World Expo to the Black and White Ball) in locations around the US and internationally, including France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore… …where they have appeared with Ray Charles, James Brown, Train, LL Cool J, the Neville Brothers, Bill Clinton, Crosby Stills and Nash, the Pointer Sisters, Live, Nia Peeples, Johnny Clegg, 5 Blind Boys of Alabama, Colin Powell, the Temptations, George Carlin, Pam Tillis, The Four Tops, The Gap Band, Tower of Power, Starship, Jon Secada, Run-DMC, and many others.
1991: Formed in September, and by December win Grand Prize in the SF International Caroling Competition
1992: Best Group & Best Arrangement in NorCal Harmony Sweepstakes
1993: Life in a Bounder: Over 250 shows in one year!
1994: NAKED NOISE released, the world’s first all-vocal rock album.
1995: Signed to Warner Brothers’ Tommy Boy records
1996: Performed for President Bill Clinton
1997: FUNKWICH released, garnering international radio play and performances at Carnegie Hall
1998: Jingles galore (Mancow, Rick Dees’ top 40, etc.)
1999: NAKED FUNK released in Europe, launching the band’s international touring
2000: The band starts taking unrehearsed audience requests!
2001: DRIVE released, a complete concert of unreleased songs
2002: Many national TV appearances (Next Big Star, 30 Seconds to Fame, etc)
2003: UNBROKEN released, the band’s through-composed concept album
2004: Unbroken wins Pop/Rock Album of the Year and Song of the Year in the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards
2005: The year of the circus: FITCHY & GRIKKO released!
2006: Another live album: Get Down Mr. President!!! GDMP wins runner-up CARA award for Best Contemporary Pop/Rock Album
2007: The Jacks embark on their 25th European tour!
2008: The House Jacks record a documentary movie soundtrack
2009: Compilation CD “Good Things” released. The House Jacks Become the voice of NBC’s The Sing Off. The Sing Off is an a cappella competition based on the Harmony Sweepstakes. The Sing Off debuts to millions of viewers and introduces the broader pop world to A Cappella.
2010: Level is released, winning CARAs for pop/rock album of the year, song of the year and best original song.
2011: The House Jacks are featured on weekly on ESPN’s Monday Night Football battling Hank Williams Jr’s band with nothing but their voices. (Until Bocephus makes a comment about Hitler, ESPN cancels his contract… and he takes the Jacks off the air with him. Still… Monday Night Football intro, y’all!)
2012: The House Jacks’ celebrate their 21-year anniversary with a reunion concert and the release of previously unreleased material on Black Jack, and made their first appearances in Sri Lanka and Brazil.
2014: The House Jacks release “Pollen,” an album featuring original collaborations with some of the best vocal groups in the world, including The Swingles (UK), Poster Project (Denmark), MAYBEBOP (Germany), VocoNovo (Taiwan), Freemen (China), MICappella (Singapore), The Idea of North (Australia), Cadence (Canada), Cluster (Italy), Exit (Korea), Kaichiro Kitamura (Japan), and BR6 (Brazil).
2015: “Pollen” wins CARA awards for “Best Pop/Rock Album,” “Best Original Song by a Professional Group,” and runner up for “Best Pop/Rock Song,” and “Best Hip Hop/R&B Song.” Founding member Deke Sharon steps down to focus on his production and education career, and The House Jacks retool their lineup, welcoming back the inimitable Troy Horne, and introducing Mark Joseph as the newest member.
WHY Because it feels goooooooood!