Jack of All Trades
// Written by Mick Sandoval | Photos by Necessary Outlet –
Jack Tracy is the founder and owner of Necessary Outlet, a film production company that produces LGBT web series including the comedy, “Big Law,” and the dramedy “History”; a show Tracy directs and stars in, about a 30-something gay lawyer, fresh out of a break up and looking to rebuild his life. In the latest Necessary Outlet vehicle, he adds singer, songwriter, and dancer to his repertoire. Older is Jack Tracy’s debut music album.
“My goal with all of my projects is to present stories from an LGBT point of view. I explore topics the Hollywood machine would never let me touch: things like the community’s capacity for acceptance as well as intolerance. Our being bullied and being bullies. Our sexuality, vanity, vulnerability and judgment. I present everything, warts and all. Mainstream won’t serve us that; if they’re going to do a gay project, we’ll always be the heroes. Hollywood only serves us when it is profitable to serve us, and in a way that is first and foremost driven by what they think we will buy. I have more interest in truth, the beautiful and ugly kinds.”
In Older, Jack Tracy tackles topics facing 30-something gay men: from fighting in the Trump resistance to the community’s obsession with youth. He sings about fetishes and hookups for validation, however avoids songs about late nights out at the club, money, or how tonight is the last night. Older is grown folks’ music.
Are you angry? You seem pretty angry in the video for “Satisfaction.”
Jack Tracy: All anger comes from hurt, and while anger fades with time, a kernel of hurt always stays with us. That’s just life.
As an Older gay man, what would you like to say to your younger gay self?
Jack Tracy: How you perceive yourself is not how other people see you. No one is looking at you as critically as you are looking at yourself.
What were the biggest challenges you faced as young gay man?
Jack Tracy: A lot of my decisions were driven by loneliness and rejection, real or perceived. I think that’s probably true of anyone from a marginalized group. Those experiences, while specific to you, have universal truths that resonate with others — just like music. So I marry them to reach like minds.
Do gay men come with a lot of baggage?
Jack Tracy: All people come with baggage. Our baggage is just more fashionable.
Do you think women have it easier with straight men?
Jack Tracy: No, women don’t have it easier. As we’re learning from the #metoo movement, they seem to be avoiding constant sexual assault. So maybe we should all just have some perspective.
What was it like to hit the big 3-0?
Jack Tracy: At the time I was with someone and we celebrated 30 together at a big party with all our mutual friends. I never felt more alone in my life. I arrived to the party alone, I left alone. As always happens with my birthday parties, it happened on the night of one of our crazy NYC snow-pocalypses and I remember taking the subway and then walking through a foot of snow to get home. I remember feeling like I couldn’t continue this way for the rest of my life. Something had to change.
Is 30 over-the-hill?
Jack Tracy: I’m 35 and not done climbing. As I say in my song “Zaddy”: “I’m so done with the opinion that I’m too old, too gay, too proud, too anything. Excuse me if I’m not your cup of tea, but that only means you’re missing a good thing.”
What are some of the new challenges you face today?
Jack Tracy: There’s a time in your life when you realize how flawed everything is–the world, the people around you, and you. On Older I sing about living in a state of disappointment (“Where I Will Stay”), being played for a fool (“Gaslight”), the disappointment of our current politics (“Time Travel”), regret over screwing up a relationship (“Older”), and waiting for “the one” (“Wherever You Are”). This album is the reckoning of a life of introspection.
Do these challenges influence your other works (History and Big Law)?
Jack Tracy: My web series History is directly impacted by my personal challenges. With History, we do our best to depict a realistic version of gay life in NYC for the 30-year-old professional, a niche experience among many in our community. But it touches on our community’s unique challenges in forming and maintaining friendships and relationships. Compartmentalization of sex from romance. Rejection and loneliness. How we can stand up for each other as a community, and how ready we are to tear someone down in perceived self defense–especially our own. History is a “warts and all” look at gay life from one point of view and certain amount of privilege.
What should young and Older listeners take away from the Older album?
Jack Tracy: That the only person stopping you from being the person you want to be and doing the things you’ve dreamed of doing is you. If you have the drive and the dream, just do it. Maybe it won’t work the first time, or the second time, or the third time, but the difference between you and everyone else has to be your persistence.
Why was “Satisfaction” the best song to introduce the Older album?
Jack Tracy: “Satisfaction” is the first song in an opening suite of five big dance tracks that start the album. It’s got a ton of fun lyrics and a whirlwind kind of feel, which I think are the perfect elements to get people up and dancing at any Tea Dance this summer. “Satisfaction” is one of those songs off of Older that I can hear being blared on Fire Island. I can see a bunch of friends spinning in circles around each other or spitting the lyrics back and forth “The Boy Is Mine” style. It just seemed right for the season and has all the elements for our community to connect to it. While its straight 80s in musical style, it’s the closest I do to the kind of pop record people are listening to today. After this, we start getting more eclectic.
“Satisfaction,” the first single from the Older album, is out now. Visit https://www.jacktracy.lgbt.
Follow Jack Tracy on Twitter @ NecessOutlet and on Instagram @ jacktracymusic