Interview with the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours’ Jake Flack

Jake is guitarist for the Washington, DC-based band Rhodes Tavern Troubadours. He also penned the radio jingle for the legendary Route 11 Potato Chips in Middletown, VA. We were intrigued to find out why and how he wrote about chips.

So, why Route 11 Potato Chips? What do you love so much about these chips?

Jake: The Route 11 company was started by an old friend of mine named Sarah Cohen. The chips are great! They’re very crunchy and come in many interesting flavors. Everything from the packaging to the factory itself is done in a creative and unique way, really an extension of Sarah’s creative genius.

Route 11 has many different and some unusual flavors. Which is your personal favorite? Why?

Jake: My favorite flavor is regular. I guess I’m just a regular guy…I’m also a big fan of the Mamma Zuma’s. There’s a Patsy Cline commemorative tin coming out this fall which I’m really excited about.

Did you approach Route 11 about doing a jungle for them, or vice versa?

Jake: I literally wrote the jingle while eating a bag of Route 11’s. It just kind of came out; I wrote it in 15 minutes. I wanted it to have a real truck-driving-Johnny Cash kind of feel. I thought that vibe really fit the attitude, name, and location of Route 11’s.

How long did it take the RTTs to develop the jingle and record it?

Jake: Once I showed it to the rest of the band we recorded it while recording our album On the Red Line. As I recall, it was recorded in one take, which is pretty unusual.

Please give me a little background info on Jake Flack.

Jake: I’ve been playing music professionally for about 16 years. I grew up in Washington, DC. I played in a band in Austin, Texas for 4 years and another band in New Orleans for 5 years. I now live in Takoma Park, Maryland with my wife and two young sons. Takoma Park is a great small town on the DC line, so we have a nice mix of small-town and big city living.

How is the quality of life in the Shenandoah Valley?

Jake: Every time we go out there to play it’s great. Although it’s only a couple of hours from DC, it’s amazing how different it is out there.

Do you foresee writing more radio jingles in the future for products you endorse?

Jake: Yes, I’ve already done one for a radio station, and am working on one for a horse racing show. If anybody out there needs a jingle just give me a call…

You don’t have to disclose the amount, but did Route 11 pay you for the jingle or was it a labor of love?

Jake: Route 11 showed us a lot of love…

You guys penned a song called “Earl Weaver”? As in the Orioles’ former field manager? Explain!

Jake: Earl Weaver was the the Baltimore Orioles manager for many years. He was a real character, very colorful. I used to love to watch Earl get into it with the umpires. I wrote the song for a compilation album of baseball songs. People realy liked when we played it live so we put it on our album. Now they play it between innings at Camden Yards, the Orioles’ stadium.

Do the RTTs have their own studio? Your album On the Red Line was released in the winter of ’02. Are there any new recording projects on the horizon, or are you just playing live gigs?

Jake: We do all of our recording at Hit and Run studios in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The engineer who runs it is, Steve Carr, is absolutely the best. We’re recording a kids record now that will be out in the fall. The record is called Turn it Up Mommy, and it’s basically a kids record for parents. As the father of to young boys, I know that a lot of the stuff parents have to listen to over and over is kind of hard to take. Hopefully, this will be something that parents will enjoy. The first song is called “Snack Time” and it’s all about the loads of snacks that parents carry around. The record will be available at cdbaby.com under the title of our kids bans, The R-Tee-Tees (kid-friendly version of Rhodes Tavern Troubadours).

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