New Times: Of all the places you could've gone, why did you stay in Phoenix for over 17 years?
Keith Jackson: Everyone asks me that — all the people I've worked with. I don't know. It's a life of mediocrity here. There are no real ups and downs in Phoenix. So when you come from a city like Detroit, it's just kind of on a level keel, 'cause not a lot goes on in this city. You can always get out of here and do your thing. It's a strange, strange music scene here.
NT: Tell me about the new album, Liars Cheats & Thieves.
Jackson: It's a great album. It's really depth-y. It's not like the first record. There's a lot more movement to it. It's a little darker than the first album. That's probably cause Rat was here.
NT: How was it working with him?
Jackson: It's great working with the guy, just outside of [his] being a legend. We had some friends in common, like Joe Strummer . . . great stories and great producer. He spent most of the time sleeping on the couch in the studio — literally. But it's amazing, 'cause he'd be snoring, and we'd be doing playbacks, and he'd be, like, [in British accent] "That part. Do that part again." And I'm, like, "You were just snoring!" And he was right! It was uncanny.
NT: Your former band, The Beat Angels, is reuniting after several years to play at the 14th annual George's Day Celebration.
Jackson: Yeah, it's gonna be the Beat Angels and the Heroes. And we played together a couple years ago, so it's gonna be a lot of fun.