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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY MOVIES - ROSE SADLEIR

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.

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