Jakob Dylan launched his musical career as a rocker in the Wallflowers, which had huge '90s hits such as "6th Avenue Heartache" and "One Headlight." In 2005, the singer-songwriter with the piercing blue eyes, perfect cheekbones and deep, leading-man voice began behaving more like a singer-songwriter. He put out soft-spoken solo albums, such as 2008's "Seeing Things" and 2010's "Women + Country." But he returns to being a guy in a band next week, opening a Wallflowers tour and putting out a new album in October.
"Look, if I want to make great rock 'n' roll records, I just work with the Wallflowers," says Dylan, 42, son of Bob, by phone from his Los Angeles home.
Q. The Wallflowers' single "Reboot the Mission," out next week, features Mick Jones of the Clash. How did that come about?
A. He's someone I've known throughout the years. I got to meet him when I was a teenager. I actually saw Big Audio Dynamite last year, (and) thought it was one of the best concerts I've seen. They were able to do what sounded like dance material, but it was rock. We messed with that idea, and afterwards we decided it would have been our own loss if we hadn't asked Mick to join us.
Q. In addition to yourself, the one constant in the Wallflowers has been keyboardist Rami Jaffee. What makes you fit well together?
A. It should be noted that (bassist) Greg Richling didn't perform on the first record, but he performed on the first tour, so the core has been the three of us. That's the thing about groups - it's a totally indescribable chemistry. ... It's good if you find one worth protecting. You hang onto it.
Q. Did you rejoin the Wallflowers in part because you were reacting to the softer sound of your last few albums?
A. Well, it was a little bit of that. Part of it is reactionary - you make these records, and you end up on a tour bus for a year playing them. I never really imagined myself going out and touring with an acoustic guitar. I wasn't really interested in that, but once you make those records, you kind of start doing that. So, yeah, I did miss the band projects.
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