JR JR gives off good vibes in Royal Oak

Before last week, I had listened to one JR JR song, their cover of “We Almost Lost Detroit” by Gil Scott Heron.

In preparation for an interview with front man Daniel Zott and the Royal Oak show Friday night, I listened to everything they were playing on their current tour at least five or six times.

Over the course of almost a week, I went from thinking “these guys just are not my thing” to “this is really catchy and I kind of want to dance”

JR JR is comprised of Zott and Josh Epstein.

If you’re not familiar with the name JR JR, that would be because they went by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. until June of this year.

Why did they change their name?

Zott said it “just made sense” and that it was “the right time,” although they had been calling themselves JR JR for a long time.

The official name change corresponded with their new record, “JR JR,” which came out in late September and has been their most successful to date.

The lead single “Gone” has reached the top ten on XM radio’s Alt Nation and is getting a good amount of college radio airplay.

One cool thing about JR JR is their Detroit connection.

All three of their records have been recorded in the Detroit area – Ferndale, to be exact.

The first was recorded in Zott’s grandmother’s basement; the latest in Zott’s own basement.

Zott and Epstein are each local boys hailing from Ferndale and Zott still lives at 9 Mile and Woodward.

He is proud of the way things have gone with JR JR, and attributes this in part to being different from other local bands.

Another factor is that Zott and Epstein were each lead singers in bands before they started JR JR.

Zott told me that I would see tons of people dancing at the show and he was right.

The crowd was very lethargic until JR JR came out, but as soon as they took the stage everyone was moving and singing.

Zott and Epstein did not pause to introduce every song. They stopped after every three or four songs to take a drink and catch a breath, but then it was right back to the music.

I was really impressed in how good JR JR sounded live. It was just like I was listening to them on Spotify in my car.

JR JR put on a good high-energy show that appeared to leave everyone in attendance in a good mood. 

If you are interested in their music, Zott recommends checking out “Nothing But Our Love,” “War Zone” and “Gone.”

Having been on tour for two months JR JR plans to come home for the holidays before heading back out as the opening act for a larger band. They then hope to visit Europe and South America.