The Jelly Jam is a power trio consisting of (left to right) Dream Theater’s John Myung, guitarist Ty Tabor of King’s X, and Dixie Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein. Shutter Rose Photography
Trios rarely come as pedigreed as the Jelly Jam, which is comprised of bona fide progressive-rock royalty: King’s X guitarist-vocalist Ty Tabor, Dream Theater bassist John Myung, and Dixie Dregs/Winger drummer Rod Morgenstein. Since forming 14 years ago, the heavyweight collective has issued three enthusiastically received albums (2002’s The Jelly Jam, 2004’s The Jelly Jam 2, and Shall We Descend circa 2011), and on May 27 they return with their fourth release, Profit.
Belying their moniker, the Jelly Jam don’t trade in elongated jams. Rather, they specialize in a remarkably sophisticated and tuneful hybrid of classic and alternative rock, with Myung and Morgenstein powering the kind of earth-moving grooves that allow Tabor’s majestic vocal harmonies and widescreen guitar hooks to sail.
The cover image of Jelly Jam's new album Profit.
But the band hasn’t vanquished all traces of its proggy roots: True to form, Profit is a concept album. As Tabor explains, the album focuses on “a fight between progress and jobs at all cost and not thinking about any future payments that are going to have to be made.” Elaborating on how the group pieced the album together, the guitarist explains, “We recorded a lot of excess music and chose songs that work together towards the general story idea. Musically and sonically we started experimenting a lot further than we had before. It stands on its own as an album beginning to end, with a purpose.”
In a move sure to shock and awe, the album preview video we’re premiering here shows the Jelly Jam being interviewed by this writer during the tracking sessions for Profit. The band’s ebullient demeanor during the interview (sarcasm intended) is offset by Tabor’s bulldozer riffs on vicious alt-metal tracks like “Water,” “Mr. Man,” and “Memphis,” along with the hypnotic, bell-like arpeggios he weaves throughout the Beatles-esque “Heaven.” And if the studio footage has you salivating to see the Jelly Jam live, you’re in luck: In late July, the band is hitting the road to tour for the first time.