1994 - October

The following is from the Sony Music www site and appeared soon after the release of the second album.

The Return Of The Space Cowboy

The cat's back. In 1993 Jamiroquai brought a ray of sunshine into all funky people's lives. In fact there were more than a few non-funkies who underwent miraculous conversions to that fresh and jazzy sound - enough indeed to make Jamiroquai Britain's top selling debut band of last year. The first album "Emergency On Planet Earth" harnessed a vibe and touched a nerve both lyrically and musically, entered the UK chart at Number One in June last year, and has now garnered sales of nigh on half a million in the UK alone. And the media? Well, the media couldn't get enough, the backlash had begun almost before the first album was out. There was, however, one thing upon which the rarely agreeable media did agree - Jason Kay was a star.

Little more than a year later and the man has been beavering away with his band on the follow up album. He's toured the globe, worked hard, played hard, maybe even mellowed just a little, but the one continuous thread, one consuming passion burned brightly all that time - the music. Music is what Jay really cares about: the sound of the snare, the stab of the horn, the tone of the scat, the lilt of the melody. Now, from out of his head, bring the man back down to planet earch, comes the second album from Jamiroquai: "Return Of The Space Cowboy", out on S2 on October 17th.

Jamiroquai (JAM/EAR/OH/KWAI - that's as in Bridge Over the River ...) derives its name from the native American Indian tribe the 'Iroquois' ("many aspects of their philosophy are relevant, especially their reverence of the earth"). The band was formed in 1992 and created a massive underground buzz when their instant classic, "When You Gonna Learn?", had its first one off release on Acid Jazz. A rammed gig at the then Town and Country Club in London (January 1994) smashed preconceptions of lack of live musicianship in 'dance' music - Jamiroquai had a rare excitement around them that was undeniable: the cat in the hat had arrived.

Even when detractors were at their most vehement Jay was speaking directly to the people. He was loud, honest, he fu*ked up now and again but live and on record a force to be reckoned with as his band pumped out their own unique brand of jazz funk for the nineties - didgeridoo and all. No twelve inch promo dance starts Jamiroquai, they were going to have big fat albums - which is precisely what Sony Soho Square (S2) offered to them at the start of 1994 - eight to be precise.

The first album contained many hits: "When You Gonna Learn?" "bit of disco, jazz inflections and a didgeridoo in the blender". The first single on Sony 2 "Too Young To Die", a Top Ten hit, full of lilting strings, funky horns and the coupling of an infectious melody with an anti-war lyric. The debut also spurned two more hits in "Blow Your Mind" and the LP's title track, The Emergency On Planet Earth album saw the birth of an eclectic talent.

The front man and driving force of Jamiroquai is JK, now 24 years old and a jumping jack with an impossible voice, strutting attitude and a lot to get off his chest. Jamiroquai's music is funk with a feeling and a meaning. Jay's not just there to shove his ideas down your throat but when he's belting out a tune and reeling in a mesmerised audience on the emotion you know he means it. Music has been in his life forever. Earliest memories are of being dragged from pillar in London to posts as far away as Las Vegas with his Jazz singer mother Karen Kay. Raised in Ealing young Jay sound found himself at the centre of a burgeoning scene that included Brand New Heavies and Young Disciples. Musical luminaries crowd Jay's record collection in his home, still on the West side of London: Sly Stone, Roy Ayres, Areth and Marvin (of course) and Gil Scott Heron to name a few.

A major deal and a successful first album that has sales approaching two million worldwide haven't altered the plot for Jay - he know exactly what he wants and he's gone for it on his second album. Musically "Return Of The Space Cowboy" is crisper, fuller, more relaxed - its the kind of accomplished sound that time, experience and talent can bring. Jay still holds the same external issues dear - the environment, government incompetence etc and while dealing with certain of these (check "Manifest Destiny" about the plight of the native American Indians and their struggle to keep their land or the angry funk of "Just Another Story" about the homeless), as a whole "Space Cowboy" is more personal lyrically, more considered musically.

The album takes that original vibe and leads us on another journey - throug the sensuous melodies of tracks like "Half The Man" an almost blues-y cry for help, to the groove of "Just Another Story" with its phattest of phat basslines, the spiritual syncopation of the intrumental: "Didge" and the misty, jazzy ambience of "Morning Glory". Jay and the band never want to settle happily into one comfortable little generic definition however: looking outwads is the name of the game. This is a hybrid of styles musically and vocally - saying he sounds like Stevie Wonder is both "flattering and misguided" recons Jay - "but above all boring". Listen without prejudice as a former (?) stablemate used to say.

The concerns on "Space Cowboy" then, are more internal than external. As Jay says "I've not been out there as much seeing all the sh*t that goes on like I did when I was struggling - I've been touring, writing and experiencing so called 'success' that's not really 'real' but it's been my reality for a year so there's a lot on the album about what's gone on inside my head as well as what we all see on the news".

One thing Jay will not do is churn out tailor made ideas or spurious remarks to sell records or garner popularity - it has been obvious from the start that he says what he feels and what you see is what you get. The quality of his music is as high on the list as the issues he holds dear and for him it's got to be live. Musicians and the voice. Many of his vocals are recorded in one take - computers and programming are certainly not in the picture. So listen. Welcome to The Return Of The Space Cowboy.

The Band

  • Band Members - photos of all the band members who are Jamiroquai
  • Logos - history of the Jamiroquai logo text and buffalo man
  • Biographies - official biographies of Jamiroquai from over the years...
  • Articles & Interviews - articles and interviews from the press...
  • Cars - a little insight into Jay's love of cars
  • Kiss 100 FM, London - the London radio station that first played Jamiroquai
A few years ago Jamiroquai keyboard player Matt Johnson wrote a track with Gary Barnacle (who played on Emergency On Planet Earth) and he has kindly offered it to this site to pass it onto the fans.
  • Jazz Junkie - Exclusive track by Jamiroquai keyboard player Matt Johnson