It’s a Gas: A Chat with Jumping Jack Flash’s Joey “Jagger” Infante

The Rolling Stones are often called “The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World.” Whether that’s true or not – fans of The Beatles might take some issue with the assertion – the beloved band founded in London in 1962 are certainly one of the longest-running. The band has endured through a series of lineup changes and nearly as many shifts in styles, but founding members Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are still rocking as they both approach octogenarian status (both turn 80 this year).

Getting a ticket to a Stones concert is no easy task: prices are astronomical, and while they’ve hinted at a 2023 tour, there hasn’t yet been an official announcement. But Stones fans have another option: they could spend an evening with Jumping Jack Flash. Launched in 2005 in Los Angeles and touring across the U.S. and beyond, the band captures the sound, the look and the excitement of a Rolling Stones concert, delivering all the hits in style. Lead singer Joey Infante spoke with me ahead of the band’s pair of April dates at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

What kind of research do you do to develop the sound and the look of the Stones?

We do a roughly era-specific show. We do an earlier set where we’re in suits. And then we morph into the ‘70s and ‘80s look, with wilder outfits. I’ve been a fan since I first started listening to music; the second album I bought with my own money was Hot Rocks, so I would absorb things through osmosis. And I’ve seen the Stones five times now.

The Rolling Stones have released 30 studio albums. Obviously, you don’t do them all at a show, but how many does the band know?

We have about 60-plus songs that we play. For a set that’s a little under two hours, we’re doing less than 20 songs, so it’s really difficult to choose. There’s a solid dozen songs we have to play – “Satisfaction,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Beast of Burden,” “Miss You” and so on – and then there are a few rotating deeper cuts. But you’ve got to know your audience; the majority of people want to hear the hits.

What is your personal favorite era of the Stones?

Probably mid- to late- ‘70s into the early ‘80s. I just love the energy and the wildness and the rock star-ness of those years. The decadence and that over-the-top-ness: I love that. And, of course, my favorite thing about being the Mick is the outfits: crazy jumpsuits, wearing whatever you want. It’s just “anything goes.” And the audience appreciates that, too.

Does it surprise you that the Rolling Stones are still performing after 60-plus years?

Not really. I saw them last year, not long after Charlie {Watts, drummer] died. The show was really great; they seemed hungry again. It was a rock’n’roll show. Mick is just a machine; I challenge any 30 or 40-year-old guy to keep up with his energy for 90 minutes! There will never be another Mick Jagger.