A raucous and raw element of rock & roll grounded in the roots of soul and blues. Hopeless Jack (lead vocals/slide-guitar) and Smilin Pete (drums) form the power duo of the Rose City's strip club filled, liquor sodden nightlife working-class. They are two of the most unadulterated, tenacious laborers who have left the cleaning up after drunks to their respected taverns, and taken to asserting themselves firmly alongside their passion. By studying such greats as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Junior Kimbrough, The Gun Club, and The Dirt Bombs, they've created a sound that surpasses rut genres and instead sticks to the motto “Keep it simple, Stupid.”
Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil have taken their authentic brand of low-down dirty roots n' roll further than most in their class, and have shared the stage with Scott H. Biram, Hillstomp, The Koffin Kats, Antique Scream, Sassprilla, The Love Me Nots, Eddie Spaghetti, Mike Devron, and Wayne Hancock. Their infectious music moves your hips while the spectacle makes you holler out MORE!
"There are too many reasons why you should like this band. To start, this Portland duo’s name sounds like the translated title of a 19th century Russian novel. Second, they dress like punk rock Dandies, dapper, pierced and tattooed. Third, their sound is straight out of a Southern brothel where Muddy Waters could have met and divorced his first wife. And most importantly, just one lick of their dirty roots and roll about women, boozing, the open road, and selling your soul Robert Johnson style, will have you dancing with the devil himself... The music is a gritty, reverb filled, aggressive interpretation of blues. Hopeless Jack combines the power of Hendrix with the soul of Nina Simone and the simplicity of the White Stripes all in the style of Junior Kimbrough.
Hopeless Jack Beisel and Smilin’ Pete Thomas have been playing music together since their first meeting in a bar in 2010. Smilin’ Pete provides the backbone to Jack’s gravely tenor and slide guitar with punchy, Ramones style drumming. They call Portland home, but are more nomadic than anything, touring the country relentlessly, and are planning a European tour later this year... The guys are working hard, pushing toward their goals but have found that rock and roll takes more than just talent and drive, it’s is a waiting game... 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. That honesty comes through when first note twangs from the PA or the initial snare hit slaps you upside the head... Hopeless Jack’s performances lend a feeling that at any moment the duo could disappear in a whirlwind of flames, laughing like the Lucifer. Their sound is thick, something you have to dig into, like the grit at the bottom of a strong pot of coffee or that last puff of an unfiltered cigarette. The classic blues style and clean simplicity of their song structures only add to the music’s charm." -Brianna Brey/The Source Weekly
"Next up were Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil, whose tossed-off instrumental jams packed more concentrated wallop than Wellspring and Honor's entire set did. And they played those during their soundcheck. When they really got underway, things got even wilder.
These guys combined the brute force of Led Zeppelin with the heedless, careening velocity of Hound Dog Taylor (the blues' answer to the Ramones). Hopeless Jack's soulful, tough-as-nails baritone growl would have given Mike Ness larynx envy, and he matched it with his loud, dirty, heavy slide guitar (which he played so hard that, as he said when he stopped to retune it, he "knocked it down six keys"). Smilin' Pete backed his partner up with joyously rough backup vocals and fierce machine-gun drumming. Like a good Walter Hill movie, they took the raw meat of the macho hoochie-coochie-man archetype, stuck its tounge firmly in its cheek, slapped it on the grill and cranked the heat all the way up. It was heartening to see that this night's audience was much more receptive to their 120-proof take on the blues." -Benjamin Shultz/Here Comes the Dumptruck
"Call these guys the ever-touring duo. Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil spent all summer on the road, zig-zagging across the country with their whiskey-infused, howlin’ at the moon blues. When the tour was finished they only spent two weeks recuperating in Portland before taking off again. Talk about being “addicted to the white line”. These boys play a raucous, racing blues-rock that harkins back to the days of tending to the still all night. Hopeless Jack croons and wails as Smilin’ Pete lays down a frantic rhythm that drips of Keith Moon. Keep your eyes openthey could arrive in your town any minute now." -Nick Hilden/SSG Music
"This hard-bluesin’ duo, which has been percolating in Portland for a little over a year now, consists of Hopeless Jack Beisel singing and strumming while Smilin’ Pete Thomas hammers out the beat. The boys play some kind of high-speed, All-American, howling roots, my-dog-died-but-who-cares-if-I’ve-got-whiskey rock and roll. They bang it out with all of the frenzy of the Stooges combined with a shock-and-awe strut gleaned from the early-era bluesmen. The live performance is a key aspect of the band’s sound. While their just-released debut Shallow Hearts-Shallow Graves gives a solid indication of the guys’ down-and-dirty feel, the sexed-up chaos of their stage show is a thing not to be missed." -Nick Hilden/SSG Music