Blues musician Jake Nielsen didn’t name his band Triple Threat because he plans on being the next big writer/director/actor. The name stems from the fact that Triple Threat is a trio. Nielsen doesn’t even always have the same two guys backing him, but he sticks to the three-person format regardless, because he likes how it showcases his music.
“It gives us a lot of room for improv. A big old band, it doesn’t leave a lot of room open, but every night that we play the songs they are totally different from what they are on the album,” Nielsen says. “The three-piece leaves it open like that.”
His biggest influence is Stevie Ray Vaughan, but he feels the most important aspect to his music is playing with passion.
“Everyone makes fun of me ’cause I make funny faces when I play guitar. I just can’t help it,” he says. “It’s just the way music hits me when I’m playing it.”
Nielsen started playing the guitar at age 15. Blues was his first love, but when he got older he played in different kinds of bands—most notably the reggae-rock group FUBAR. When that band broke up a few years back, he returned to blues.
“A young guy coming up, with all the old timers that have been doing it a while—people are like, ‘what does this kid know about the blues?’” Nielsen says. “Once I get on stage, I just feel it—and it comes out, and people look at me a little differently afterward.
Sometimes it takes me a couple songs. I get them—that’s for sure.”
INFO: 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $7. 423-1338.