JAKE’S A CHILD OF THE ‘50S
You can’t choose what era you were born in, but you can pick your life’s theme and in Jake Maloney’s case that’s rocking ‘n’ rolling
Jake Maloney always felt like he was born in the wrong era. Growing up under the bright lights of dance halls, Jake reckons a piece of his soul belongs to the jiving times of the 1950s.
The 18-year-old rock ’n’ roll prodigy has made it his mission to keep those golden rockabilly times thriving today.
“I do wish I grew up in that era but now I guess I have the best of both worlds, and I am trying to keep it alive with the younger generation,” says Jake.
An accomplished dancer, dance teacher and musician, Jake’s upbringing was nothing like that of his young friends.
“My grandmother would babysit me on a Friday night – and that just so happened to be her dancing night,” says Jake.
“She would stand me on the table and spin me around as a two-year-old. That’s when I fell in love with it.”
While he still takes his grandmother out dancing, these days Jake’s the one taking the lead.
“Dancing comes natural to me and I’ve managed to pick things up quickly as well just from watching other people,” he says.
“I love everything about rockabilly and rock ’n’ roll – the outfits, the music, the fact it’s real instruments and not crappy DJs. I love how simple the music can be but how amazing the simplicity can make it. Sometimes less is more.”
In high school, Jake managed to get a 1950s themed rock ’n’ roll band together.
Three years on and Cadillac Rockers are still rocking.
Jake says the band formed for a youth talent quest at Cooly Rocks On, and this weekend they’ll be taking it back to where it all began.
“I will be there every single day dancing to all the different bands,” he says of the vibrant nostalgia festival, which takes over the streets of Coolangatta until Monday.
The annual event also features a colourful line-up of classic cars, retro fashions and rock ’n’ roll bands.
Cadillac Rockers, a fourpiece band with three vocalists, are hosting a special dance night at South Tweed Sports Club tonight for Cooly Rocks On.
“It’s going to be lots of fun – lots of high-energy songs,” says Jake.
“We are playing with a seven-piece orchestra called Seven Deadly Sins.”
Between his sets, Jake says he’ll be hitting the dancefloor to “cut a rug” with his dance partner Angie Nissel.
“I met Angie at a festival my band was playing at. In my break I asked her to dance and we had an immediate dance connection,” says Jake.
“We both looked at each other and said ‘wow you can dance!’ That was 10 months ago.”
Since then, Jake and Angie have picked up a swag of accolades for their moves.
The pair were winners at the recent Australian Rock’n’ Roll Dancesport Council championships.
“Basically we have only ever had one training session – we normally just go social dancing to different venues,” says Jake.
“We have won a couple of competitions and that’s completely freestyled. “We love to improvise.’’ The movers and shakers also teach dance classes on Tuesday nights at Tigers AFL club at Labrador.
Jake’s aware that 1950s rock ’n’ roll is not a normal pastime for a teenager.
“It’s really enjoyable for me. I have an absolute ball,” he says.
“Cooly Rocks On is testament to people’s interest in this era. I would love to do this as a career for the rest of my life – that would be a dream.”
As for Jake’s other ultimate life goal?
“To drive down Route 66 in a Cadillac. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was little.”
Jake Maloney from Cadillac Rockers and his dance partner Angie Nissel are ready to rock Cooly.