At Work: Katie Jacoby

Matt Inman on July 13, 2019
At Work: Katie Jacoby

photo by Drew Bordeaux

Who’s Next

Katie Jacoby was working as a violin consultant and teacher for the non- musician actors on the set of the Amazon Prime series Mozart in the Jungle when a co-worker connected her with one of her rock-and-roll heroes, Roger Daltrey. The singer was immediately impressed with the young violinist and asked her to join him on the road as part of his 2018 solo run and, less than a year later, Jacoby is now touring with The Who themselves.

“It sounds cliché, but to say the first outing with Roger Daltrey was a dream come true is an understatement,” says Jacoby, noting specifically that playing the famous violin solo at the end of “Baba O’Riley” was a true bucket-list item—one that she checked off many times during the Daltrey tour. “I was so inspired by how professional, warm and gracious everyone in the band and crew were. Roger’s commitment to making the show the best it could possibly be was astounding. Even in the oppressive summer heat, he was giving it his all for every performance, soundcheck and rehearsal.”

However, with this year’s Who dates, Jacoby will be much more than the designated “Baba O’Riley” soloist—for the entire performance, the violinist acts as the concertmaster of the orchestra that the band is touring with.

The Who gig may account for the most high-profile dates on Jacoby’s schedule—this year, it’s already included her debut at New York’s Madison Square Garden— but it’s hardly her only musical commitment. Jacoby, who has appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show and other marquee stages, performs regular New York City gigs with the Ed Palermo Big Band playing Frank Zappa arrangements and is a member of The Showdown Kids with her partner, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead guitarist Scott Metzger. Earlier this year, she recorded tracks for her debut solo album.

Jacoby’s success didn’t manifest overnight—she points to her supportive family as one of the main reasons for her ever-growing career. Along with listing early influences from Black Sabbath to Jean-Luc Ponty, Jacoby says that she acquired her love of classic rock from her father, while her mother bestowed an appreciation for progressive rock like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. And though Jacoby calls her mother a “brilliant classical pianist,” her father isn’t quite on the same level.

“My dad, bless his heart, has been learning how to play ‘Hotel California’ on the guitar for all 29 years of my life,” Jacoby jokes. “He’s closer than ever, and I think this might be the year that he finally gets it.”

This article originally appears in the June 2019 issue of Relix. For more features, interviews, albums reviews and more, subscribe here.