A man and his band


Photo courtesy of Jake Luce

Jake Luce, senior in LAS, performing with his band Kangaroo Court. Luce has big plans for Kangaroo Court in the future with a first single release and album coming soon.

By Nandika Chatterjee, Staff Writer

When reflecting on his talents, Jake Luce, senior in LAS, said that music was not something he originally thought he would pursue.

“I didn’t grow up in a musical family at all,” Luce said. “Nobody in my family plays any instruments.”

But now, Luce is the founder of his band, Kangaroo Court. He is also the drummer for the pop-punk band, Needlepoint.

Luce explained that he was 17 when he started plucking notes on his dad’s abandoned guitar.

“One year, my mom got my dad a guitar for his birthday, and he just could not play the darn thing,” Luce said. “He got so frustrated. It was basically like just sitting in his room for like a year.”

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Luce began to have jam sessions with his friends. He explains that this experience got him interested in giving music a shot.

Although the guitar is his primary instrument, it wasn’t until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that Luce learned to play the drums. He said he is self-taught, drumming on a starter kit that he gifted himself.

Unlike music, however, school has not always been a straight trajectory for Luce.

Following an injury from a snowboarding trip during the spring break of his sophomore year, Luce had to take a break from school.

“I ended up breaking my wrist and simultaneously getting really sick,” he said. “It really put me out of commission for a couple weeks.”

Luce was unable to write or type. He decided to take a medical withdrawal.

“It was almost the Universe’s way of saying ‘Get out of there,’” Luce said.

While the accident put his educational career on hold, it also introduced him to Noah Tennison, a music store employee that would change his life.

During his break from education, Luce entered the music store Tennison worked at, and the two got to talking. Luce explained that this led him to an incredible opportunity: an invitation to start the band that would be Needlepoint. His seven months of drumming experience was soon to be put to the test.

“Basically, (Tennison) was just like, ‘Do you want to start a band?’” Luce said. “He seemed like a cool dude.”

After playing in Needlepoint for some time, Luce explained that he certainly wasn’t going to shy away from taking his music career a step further. He wanted to start his own band: Kangaroo Court.

Luce said Kangaroo Court represents everything that he is. He incorporates his taste for psychedelic rock. He also plays alongside a culmination of close and talented friends including Tennison.

Luce also said that the name, Kangaroo Court, was inspired by a legal term.

“The Supreme Court was doing something ridiculous or taking away our rights as they often do, and that made me think about kangaroo courts in general and then I thought that would make a great band name,” he said. “Ultimately, it came from my contempt of the Supreme Court.”

A kangaroo court is a term for a court that ignores the standards of the law.

Reflecting on the series of coincidences in Luce’s life the past couple of years, it seems like the time plucking on his dad’s guitar is but a page in a book. Life has been on fast-forward for Luce and Kangaroo Court.

“Really the past six months for me have been consumed by music,” he said. “It’s been great!”

Looking into the future, Luce shared his excitement about the band’s first single release expected at the end of January, and their first album, “This is Kangaroo Court,” in the spring.

Luce also reflected on where he sees himself and his band in the future.

“I’d say Chicago is very likely,” Luce said. “But I also can’t handle these winters much longer. I’m getting old, so I think I need to consider somewhere warmer.”

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