Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil Work It: The sins aren’t deadly, but they sure are fun

The roots and roll duo sing about women, boozing, the open road and selling your soul Robert Johnson style.



Don’t let the dirty punk rock dandy/pierced/tattooed look fool you. Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil are serious about making it.

This Saturday night they’ll help christen the new Crux Fermentation Project at the brewery’s grand opening along with the Kentucky Longrifles and Boxcar Stringband.

We’re focusing on these guys, who’ve been playing together since the first night they met at a bar in 2010, because they are one of the hardest working bands we’ve come across in awhile.

“A lot of what we do is waiting. We work all day long just for one hour a night,” said Thomas. “We work really hard, even if it seems impossible. We’re waiting for someone to be like, ‘Yeah I want to give you all this money.’”

That tension of waiting is a part of what makes their music work. The songs are authentic representations of their lifestyles, sitting somewhere between fast and slow, new and old, waiting and action.

The roots and roll duo sing about women, boozing, the open road and selling your soul Robert Johnson style. The music is a gritty, reverb filled, aggressive interpretation of blues.

Hopeless Jack Beisel—gravely tenor vocals and slide guitar—and “Smilin’” Pete Thomas—the backbone of the band with punchy Ramones style drumming—call Portland home, but are more nomadic than anything.

They tour the country relentlessly and are planning a European tour later this year. In just the past few months HJ&HD have played over 50 shows including monthly gigs in Bend at The Horned Hand.

The sound is thick and something you have to dig into, like the grit at the bottom of a strong pot of coffee. The classic blues style and clean simplicity of their song structures only add to their appeal.

“Our early model was ‘Keep it simple, Stupid,’” said Thomas. “All we ever wanted to do together was just play music that got us excited.”

Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil

Crux Fermentation Project Opening
with Kentucky's Longrifles and Boxcar Stringband 5-11pm. Brewery christening at 8pm.Saturday June 30. Outdoor music,
BBQ and brews.Crux Fermentation Project,
50 SW Division St.


8pm, Wednesday July 4

The Horned Hand, 507 NW Colorado Ave.

Speaking of On Stage

Add a comment

Latest in Sound Stories & Interviews

More by Brianna Brey