Francois “Shanka” Maigret and Greg Jacks brought their talents to the U.S. in the form of the rock band THE DUKES
As a musician in the mid 2000s, Greg Jacks had arrived. As a member of French pop-rock band, Superbus, Jacks was part of a group that won a French Grammy and an MTV Europe Music Award.
But prior to the glitz and glamor of Superbus, Jacks had met Francois “Shanka” Maigret in 2004 when they were approached about joining another French band, No One is Innocent. The itch to play with Maigret hadn’t left Jacks who in 2010 shot Maigret an email seeing what was up.
“You’re lucky to get a break with a band and at the end of the day, when you sell a couple million records and win a French Grammy and all of this stuff, it’s pretty cool,” Jacks says. “But I really wanted to go back to the core of who I was and I really wanted to play rock.”
Maigret responded to Jacks’ email in kind and this was the starting point for the Dukes. While both members of the Dukes have experience with larger outfits, being a duo suits them fine.
“Being in a band is like a couple,” Jacks says. “When you’re two in the relationship, it’s already hard. So think about it when you’re in a five-piece band. Everybody’s ego, everybody wants to be right, everybody wants to have the last word. When it’s two, it’s super easy. To make a decision, you have majority where the two of us agree or you don’t, you only have 50%. It makes it super easy to work.”
It also makes it a bit easier to work as a musician when you play to your audience. And that’s exactly what the Dukes did when they went on their first tour in the U.S. in the South.
“We wanted to see how people reacted without knowing us,” Jacks says. “That’s the best way to test it. Francois and I at the end of the day are two punk rockers who love soul music. So we had the revelation when we toured in the south.”
What the Dukes found was a bump-and-grind reception to their rock which by Jacks’ own admission isn’t as likely to be found in France — a kind of rock made as playable in a concert as it would be at an adult club.
“People are like ‘Man, your music is perfect for strip clubs.’ Francois and I have never been to a strip club,” says Jacks, adding he has to shoot Bob Chiappardi, cofounder of Concrete Marketing, an email to confess they’ve never been to a strip club. And not having been to a strip club doesn’t preclude him from envisioning what it would be like to hear the Dukes blaring in a gentlemen’s club.
“That would be pretty cool,” Jacks says. “The first time I heard my song on the radio was when I was doing grocery shopping. I was stoked. Imagine you walk into a place and a bunch of beautiful girls are dancing half naked to your music. I mean, that’s pretty awesome.
“I would be super proud that they get enough inspiration to be entertained and entertain people because of us.”
At the time of the interview, the Dukes are still working on their third album. And besides a show on Feb. 1 in New York City at the Bowery Electric, they don’t have any surefire plans for a tour, though Jacks anticipates the duo will start touring again by the fall 2017 or worst-case scenario early 2018.
For more information, visit StripJointsMusic.com.