Faith, Pandemics & Splitting the Muse – Comptalo

I knew it was coming. I think we all did. And it was with a heavy heart that I saw the post from Jarrod Compton – the Comptalo show was postponed. Again.

COVID-19 has ravaged our world, but here in Phoenix, it is up close and personal with our Arizona music family. But for some of us in the entertainment sector, our moonlighting jobs were not also hit. Some of us work for places like Costco, or Fry’s Click List department, or we are RNs. Our lockdown has been a little different, and in Jarrod’s case he also had to have an emergency medical procedure. Needless to say, he had a lot riding on this show. Emotionally. Sometimes, you just need something to pull you forward. But sometimes life has a different kick in the balls in mind.

I have known Jarrod for a while now, and he, Kevin Michael Prier, and David Rhodes have become my brothers at Hookworm Records. (Once we finally get to do some live shows you will also get to really know Amy Hansen, our solid #5.) And COVID stopped us in our tracks as well, but as I have written about Moons, Birds & Monsters and The Real Fakes, I have never written about Jarrod, specifically, and his wealth of talent that made him one of my go to choices for Hookworm. Moreover, I had never written a feature on Comptalo at all, so with the EP World // Burning ready to drop next week, let’s take some time to get to know the Valley’s Musical Wizard.

Jarrod Compton – Comptalo

Ryan B. Clark (Ghost Writer) : You are a man of many hats. Kid Dynamite & the Blast, Led Chains, The Real Fakes, Moons Birds & Monsters, Comptalo. So there is this Alternative Rock, Metal/ Hard Rock/ and Hip Hop thing to you. Do you prioritize these projects?

Jarrod Compton : I do. Sometimes it gets tricky trying to juggle things around with how busy some of my projects can be. Typically my prioritization goes 1. MBM 2. RF 3. Comptalo. But in the past 8 months or so RF has really become as equally as important to me as MBM in other ways so at this point in time the level over priority is tied.

Ryan : When you are thinking of a concept, at the writing stage, at what point does it start to sink in to which medium that project will fit?

Jarrod : When it comes to writing for the different projects I really have to be in a different head space for each one of them. Not sure how but my brain just knows, but when its triggered into the different projects and it just knows what to do. For each project I use totally different equipment.

It’s what helps me separate the projects and not make it sound like I’m one guy in three projects, instead I’m three guys in three projects.

All the way down to the details. (Different guitars, different amps, different guitar pedals, different production choices, self producing or going to other studios around town, the list goes on.) Comptalo has been a thing for me since 2009. I use it as an artistic outlet and it’s always been my way of continuous growth as a musician. It has been the project that helped me discover who “Jarrod Compton” is as a solo musician. It demonstrates the way my mind processes and hears music -being it’s always been a 100% self-produced effort. It’s an example of how deep my rabbit hole goes when it comes to the things I enjoy and listen to in my free time.

Ryan : So NOT4ROLEMODEL is your fourth Comptalo album. You have worked with some amazing people, and it is your longest running project. Care to comment?

Jarrod : I have recorded easily 300 finished songs with Comptalo that I continuously stumble upon till this day saying to myself “when the fuck did i make this”. That being said a lot of my early music, that although is defining to my path in my music career, I am not proud of. Back in about 2015 or 16 I think I recorded my re-brand album “Solar // Controller“. Before it’s release in 2017 I decided to rid the internet of all of my early work leading up to that point. At the time I was pushing the album as my “debut of Comptalo to the local music scene” with headlining shows and scattered performances around town.

Ryan : Touring. I know The Real Fakes only aspiration is great local shows and wonderful songs. But do MBM or Comptalo have touring plans post-pandemic?

Jarrod : MBM does want to tour; Comptalo not so much yet. Too soon with the band being so fresh and a pandemic at our doorstep. It’s in our sights though. One day we will make it happen hopefully in 2021.

Zackary O’Meara : If I may, first as far as Comptalo, I’m honored to be in Jarrod‘s band. I’m glad I passed the audition. But in terms of touring, I know MBM wants to tour , but all considering that may not happen until at least next year. Until then we keep writing songs and are planning future releases, even if there isn’t a specific date attached to them.

Jarrod : But to me personally, touring isn’t the greatest of things.

We live in a society where we just tour solely out of tradition. When we have the internet there’s really no need to drive all over the country playing to empty bars. You can do all that from your home town.

Which leads me to the next part – is my band even ready to tour? You have to take over your home town before you can leave it.

Ryan : I know that you have worked with a lot of artists around town over the years, how did you choose the artists that you did for this live Comptalo project?

Jarrod : The act of a Comptalo band is not something new. I have done it before. Just never to the level that I want to do it now. Jeff Davis and Zack O’Meara of MBM were really a staple in the band when it was starting out in the post “Solar // Controller” era. In the past I have been backed by members of Manic Monkeys, Angel Kakes, Bryon Mogul, Kevin Michael Prier and more.

But back then those bands were really just spur of the moment type things. No real rehearsal just like a “hey you’re here play with me” type of thing at the Rogue or various spots on first Friday. I wanted this time around to be something different though. I really wanted to build a band I believed could be passionate about the music even though they didn’t write it. A band that knew the little stupid things that the normal ear would hear in the tracks and really do our best at making these songs come to life outside of a studio setting.

I wanted to make having Comptalo as an active artist on the local scene and actually have a band at the ready for whenever it happens. Now, finding people for something like that can be difficult. But for me it was easy. I’ve had some personnel changes in the band since we started but right now its:

Jarrod Compton – Lead Guitar / Lead vocals

Zack O’Meara (MBM, blind owlz) – Rhythm Guitars / Background vocals

Jayme Fox (her first band in years) – Bass

Luis Dela Cruz (Manic Monkeys, jazz project???) – Percussion

Elliot Diggs (Rundown Roommates, Painting Fences) – Drums

Jared Michael (Foxadillo, Chrome Rhino)- Keyboards

Ryan : What were some of the particular obstacles of this project? Can fans expect to hear live versions of the studio songs, or did they have to go through alterations in the process? What are you most excited about performing these songs live?

Jarrod : I’d honestly say the biggest obstacle was the pandemic. It really has halted the progress we had. I’ve had to teach via how to videos. Detailed long FaceBook messages etc. But My songs aren’t super difficult and I’m blessed to have such talented people at my side showing up to rehearsal knowing the songs already. You can’t put a price on that. These songs definitely do come off differently in a live band setting though. The songs leave the realm of the hip hop vibe and we have entered some weird indie classic rock vibe. Clean telecaster tones with pedal work and stuff. It’s a different vibe for sure. Same songs different vibe. I’m really loving it. I’m just really excited to share the energy with these other people on the same stage when the show is actually happening. This show consists of about 90% of songs that have NEVER been performed live before so that’s also exciting.

Ryan : Not 4 Role Model. First….. explain the title.

Jarrod : I do have a natural sarcastic nature about myself so sometimes you cant take me all too seriously. But…. I am not a role model. Outside of music I’ve never really felt like one. I dropped out of college, did the bare minimum in high school, and stayed in the same job since I was 16 and I am now 28. I’ve never had a child and not really sure if I could be a good role model for one right now in my life. My younger brothers don’t look up to me like I think a brother would or should. And so many more reasons. Throughout the album you hear the soothing voice of Kevin Michael Prier singing “I have always been this way” sprinkled across several tracks. Meaning I am this way and I can’t change. I’ve always been this way.

Fighting my inner issues and demons constantly every day the things I’ve struggled with since I was a child. It took those five words from Kevin for me to realize that. I can’t change the past mistakes I’ve made.

Ryan : In terms of merch, is that Jesus in the shirt, or is it you? Is that a cross? You explained this philosophy to me before, but if you can…

Jarrod : You will also see the number “4” throughout the album title and track titles. This is a bit of spiritual thing as I am in fact a Christian. If you research it says:

“The number 4 is a number of “being”, it is the number that connects mind-body-spirit with the physical world of structure and organization. Four symbolizes the safety and security of home, the need for stability and strength on a solid foundation of values and beliefs.”

I truly believe this album was me really finding what defines Comptalo. What Comptalo is and what people will know it as going forward. And the first time I’ve embraced an image to back the whole idea. I feel at home doing this. It feels comfortable and I no longer feel awkward making music that centers around me vocally. I have found my home and I’ll be here for a while.

Ryan : You decided to push Not 4 Role Model back, and pull up the B side EP World // Burning. First, explain the decision.

Jarrod : Unfortunately the pandemic has pushed everyone’s life back a few notches. I never delay things ever but I made am exception this time around. I really wanted NOT4ROLEMODEL to be an event not just a digital soundcloud turd on the internet. I want to be noticed and I want people to listen to it for a long time after it’s release. With that you need a show, You need other artists to back you up, and you need MERCH. I have all of the above.

Ryan : And then finally, I know this pandemic has been especially difficult for you. I know the Comptalo show was scheduled, canceled, rescheduled, and canceled. Again. I know you work as an Essential Employee in an incredibly stressful job. Care to comment on this World on Fire?

Jarrod : I can’t blow my load digitally with nothing backing it up. I have too much money in this to just carelessly piss away this opportunity of making Comptalo respectable artist/act on the PHX music scene. It was a tough decision but one that has to be made for so many reasons. I am set to release an EP titled “WORLD // BURNING” in place of NOT4ROLEMODEL on May 14th instead. It is a 3 track EP of songs that didn’t make the cut of NOT4ROLEMODEL that I actually had planned on releasing digitally later on after the NOT4ROLEMODEL release show. These songs were cut from the album because of the tone not really matching the rest of the N4RM record. Oddly enough these three tracks just vibe together on their own so well with their sound and subject material. Its an odd thing. The EP goes into the subject of my personal life within the pandemic, my views on the charades of the American government , and how I’ve really accepted God into my life through all of it, and it’s helped.

COVID-19 has marked our lives. It has changed our art. It has effected us in ways that are currently immeasurable. We have been forced into a reckoning. Where do our friends fit in our lives? Have we done right by family? What is art for? Does it help us make sense of our world? Does it bring us closer to some sort of understanding? Does it bring a reconciliation of faith? Perhaps… it is time to ask ourselves the important questions.

I cannot wait to rock with you all again. I cannot wait for this Comptalo Live Show. I cannot wait to unleash Hookworm Records on the world. In the meantime, my friends….

Keep the Greasy Side Down.