Jack Morris Sherman was born in Miami on Jan. 18, 1956. In the third or fourth grade, Jack briefly studied the viola, but did not enjoy the instrument. “I quit in tears,” he recalled. “The orchestra leader begged me to stay with it, but the tears got me off the hook.” However, he often attempted to play his viola “like a guitar” when he was alone at home.
By the age of 14, Jack’s family had moved to Rochester, New York, which is when and where he acquired his first guitar: a Teisco Checkmate purchased from a discount store. Within a year, he was gigging professionally in San Diego, California, in a teen band called Funky Demon which played nothing but Grand Funk Railroad covers. Over the next few decades, Jack became an extremely accomplished guitarist and found himself an in-demand sideman. He played live gigs, national and overseas tours, and on recording sessions for an unusually wide range of singers, songwriters, bands, and on movie and TV soundtracks.
Noteworthy artists he’s worked closely with and alongside include Bob Dylan, Peter Case, Parliament Funkadelic’s George Clinton, John Hiatt, Tonio K., Solomon Burke, Gerry Goffin and Moon Martin. Perhaps most famously, he was an official and highly influential member of rock superstars the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and can be heard playing all the guitar parts on their debut album, as well as singing backup and playing percussion on the band’s later smash hit cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”
Jack, his wife Anne and their two children “threw a dart in a map” and moved to Savannah in July of 2003 seeking to “afford a better lifestyle” and “avoid snowy winters.” He continually hones his guitar skills and plays rock, soul, funk and jazz fusion in our area whenever possible alongside well-known area bassist Eric “Big E” Moore under the band names Voodoo Soup, Reckless Abandon and Permanent Tourists. And every once in a great while as sideman to local blues-rock guitarist and frontman Jonathan Murphy.
This July, he and Anne will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. His son Robin lives and works in New Orleans as an increasingly busy live and session jazz bass prodigy. Jack maintains an avid presence on Facebook, and welcomed anyone to request friendship from him on that platform.
Your favorite toy as a child?
One record rock, funk and jazz fusion LP that everyone should hear at least once?
Rock: Grand Funk’s self-titled “Red Album.” Funk: “Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.” Jazz Fusion: “Romantic Warrior” by Return to Forever.
You’re known for being a food enthusiast. What’s one item you’ll always try if it’s offered on a restaurant menu?
Most important lesson you learned from touring internationally?
One guitar you had a chance to buy but passed on – and now extremely regret that decision?
“That’s never happened.”
From most to least, rank the following in terms of their importance in your life: Movies, music, mastication and massages.
“Massages, movies, music, mastication.”
One famed guitar player you’ve consciously tried to emulate?
One public concert you’d give anything to go back and do over – and why?
“Red Hot Chili Peppers in New Orleans, 1984. I don't enjoy having water thrown at me angrily by a hateful, scowling Anthony Kiedis.”
Beer and pizza?
“It's the greatest!”
You toured as famed guitarist, producer and singer Charlie Sexton’s guitar foil on his first major international tour in the mid-1980s. Was he as handsome up-close and in-person as he appeared in photographs and music videos?
“Yes and no. There was a slight ‘Frankenstein's Monster’ quality.”
Your favorite aspect of making records in a professional recording studio?
The first words Bob Dylan ever spoke to you?
“Hey, you're good! What do you do?”
The single biggest misconception that people seem to have about your time as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers?
“That I was a studio musician at the time I joined the band.”
True or False: Brown shoes don’t make it.
You spent time in the trenches touring with legendary songwriter John Hiatt in the early 1980s before he became well-known. What three adjectives best describe him as a musician?
“Intense, committed, soulful.”
If you could have a dinner party with any five people (living or dead) you’ve actually met in person, who would those five people be, and what would be served?
“Cliff Martinez, Jim Keltner, Jim Reed, Joan Jett and Kathy Valentine. We’d eat Cheese Enchiladas.”
Would you rather be locked in a room for 90 days with a convincingly humanoid robot or a convincingly humanoid space alien?
If you were on a sinking ship with all currently living members of the Rolling Stones and The Who, and you could only fit two of them in your life raft, which would you choose?
“Pete Townshend and Mick Jagger.”
The last words Bob Dylan ever spoke to you?
“Tell your wife that she's a good cook.”
One lesson you’ve learned from watching your son Robin become a professional musician in his own right?
“Make sure your clothes fit.”