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Comedy-inspired band Saucy Jack takes shape, starts search for venues

Oct. 13, 2000

By NAT NEALEIGH

Reporter

Sixteen years ago, the movie This is Spinal Tap came into existence. From that movie came a line: 'Now we have time to write that musical we've always wanted to do about Jack the Ripper -- Saucy Jack!'

From that line came a legend. Not really a legend, but that thing you call a legend years before it's actually a legend. Or maybe not even that. But from that line from the 1984 film, the band Saucy Jack was born.

The four-member student band came together in late 1999 on a whim and consists of Zach Arrington, a Houston sophomore, on rhythm guitar; Joe Vanzandt, a Hattiesburg, Miss., sophomore, playing drums; Rhett Henckel, a San Antonio sophomore, on electric guitar; and Dereck Clemons, a Fort Smith, Ark., sophomore, on bass guitar.

Originally, Saucy Jack began with three people.

'Me and Rhett and Joe were sitting around and Rhett and I were playing guitar and we decided that we needed to have a band since Joe played drums,' Arrington said.

'Rhett had a bass guitar that was his dad's and he was going to learn how to play it. But then the day that we were going to start rehearsing, Rhett's dad showed up and wanted his bass back.'

That was the band's first setback.

'We were kind of bummed,' Arrington said. 'We agonized about it for about three hours, then Joe said, 'Hey, I know this guy who plays the bass.''

And that's when Clemons came in.

'They said, 'We need a bass player,' so they said, 'Hey, Dereck, want to play bass?' So I said OK,' explained Clemons, adding that he takes his role very seriously.

'My goal is to play the bass, and I think the band's goal is to get the songs down right.'

So far, all the songs have been written and sung by Arrington, who said there are 'eight or 10 if you count the stupid funny ones.'

Arrington also said that if he could change Saucy Jack in any one way, he might bring in new talent.

'I would maybe take Dereck out and bring in Paul McCartney. Nothing against Dereck, but Paul McCartney, I think, would really be a key that would help our band,' Arrington said.

The bassist didn't take it personally, however.

'Oh, I would have done that too,' Clemons said. 'Or I would trade Zach for George Clinton. Because he's my grandfather.'

That's not true, but Clemons did say he was happy with Arrington as he was.

'That Zach, he sure knows how to write and sing songs,' Clemons said.

Though Saucy Jack will celebrate its one-year anniversary this semester, they still haven't officially played anywhere.

'We've played an acoustic set a couple of times [during] open mic at Common Grounds just fooling around. Probably if we could just get our hands on a good used mixer and a PA system ... then we'd have something we could take to the various venues and get a gig,' Arrington said, adding that he doesn't use the word 'gig' all that often.

'That's probably the first time this year.'

Right now, Arrington said, the group doesn't have any long-range plans.

'It just depends what happens in the next two and a half years.'