Screens aren’t inherently evil in The JAB’s new video for “Riot,” the lead single off the Chicago rock n roll band’s upcoming debut LP, CONSUME, but they can be used by evil people to control you, numb you, and isolate you. So you have to be careful.
“There are some things worth fighting for,” frontman Jam Alkers tells American Songwriter. “‘Riot’ speaks to the culture of addiction and consumerism that we live in and how it breeds injustice and greed.”
While her classmates become complacent in the face of this dark reality, one student realizes what’s going on and takes it upon herself to overthrow the oppressive forces that be. She storms out of class, determined to take down the masked figure who’s been brainwashing society through authoritarian-seeming broadcasts.
The video is interspersed with black and white takes of The JAB performing “Riot,” a gritty protest anthem that feels like a dose of adrenaline, fueling our hero on her quest for justice.
Alkers–a former heroin addict who’s spoken extensively about the role music has played in his recovery–is joined in The JAB by Tom Stukel, Terry Byrne, Ryan Herrick, and Alex Piazza following several solo releases. The band draws on classic rock legends such as Led Zeppelin, but also has punk and sludge streaks. And while Alkers’ last solo album–2017’s SOPHROSYNE–tackled his addiction and recovery, he says that “Riot” is a response to societal ills more broadly.
“We pretend to care about the kids in sweatshops… but not as much as we love our Nikes. We pretend to care about people jumping off buildings in China… but not as much as we love our new iPhones. We pretend to care about the homeless… but not as much as our next vacation. Maybe we’re a bit too comfortable… Maybe it’s time to start a Riot?”
CONSUME is out Feb. 4, 2020 via Medicine Records.