“Four years ago, this band was playing a night at the Brooklyn Bowl and I rolled into soundcheck and Joe (Russo) said ‘We’re having a special guest sit in with us tonight… A violinist.’ That night she made an impression on everyone there. She made an impression on all of us,” says Scott Metzger.
“But she made an impression on me that frankly I’m still recovering from. I feel like the luckiest dude in the world. Four years later, last week, I asked Katie Jacoby to marry me, and she said yes.”
Introducing your fiancée to the family for the first time might be one of the most stressful things a person can do – especially when that family is 2,000 people strong. That’s exactly what Scott Metzger did before the encore of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead first show of 2020 at the Capitol Theater in New York.
That day they met is easy to remember because it was the third night of Freaks Ball XVI. The “Ball” is an annual fundraiser featuring New York musicians. This night, Russo introduced Jacoby, who came out and mesmerized everyone with her violin playing on the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.” Jacoby also sat in to close out the second half of another Dead song, “Terrapin Station,” that was started but not finished during JRAD’s show the night before.
Along with her solo music, Jacoby also has a super-cool seat in Ed Palermo’s Big Band, an homage to everything Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and a lot more. Jacoby is also currently part of the touring band for rock gods The Who, where she’s in charge of the orchestra that accompanies the band on stage each night.
Metzger has spent the last two decades establishing himself as one of the go-to musicians in the New York area; a quick look at his credits shows he has played with everyone from Jon Scofield to Shooter Jennings. Along with JRAD, Metzger is settling in as a permanent member of Circles Around the Sun. A couple of years ago, Metzger and Jacoby hooked up with friend and guitarist Simon Kafka to create “The Showdown Kids.” The trio have released an EP and try to tour when their other gigs allow.
It doesn’t take long for Metzger and Jacoby’s tale of love to pick up steam. After the “Ball,” Jacoby was hanging outside with friends and members of the band. That’s when Scott emerged on that cold New York night, a moment not lost on either of them.
“I believe I offered her my coat that night while we were all hanging out after the gig,” Metzer stated.
Jacoby confirms, explaining “I was chilly, and Scott was ‘here you can use my jacket.’ I was like, oh my gosh, chivalry is still alive. Who is this guy?”
All that it took to keep the spark from the Freaks Ball aglow was a little out of the box thinking from Jacoby, who extended an invitation to Metzger to hang out at her rehearsal space to work on a couple of songs and “jam a bit.”
Metzger explains, “She asked if I would meet her. To which I said absolutely.”
“We did that and started hanging out more and more,” Jacoby adds. “We went and saw a series of shitty horror movies. Good shitty movies.”
Every love story is filled with serendipitous moments. For Scott and Katie, who better than friend, bandmate, and all-around great guy Dave Dreiwitz to add a little magic to the mix?
“One moment that sticks out to me is not long after that, at Dave Dreiwitz’s birthday. Dave was playing in his father’s band in a club in the West Village. Katie and I both ended up at this party. It was one of those bars that has a lot of famous patron’s headshots all over the bar,” says Metzger.
He continues, “Katie and I made the same joke within two minutes of each other that it reminded us of the Muppets movie where Kermit had a head shot. To me that spoke volumes. It really did. I was like ‘This girl has got great taste. A great sense of humor. Can play her ass off. Is gorgeous.’ I went home and was like ‘I really may be in trouble.’”
Metzger’s intuition was spot-on. From that initial “hang,” the relationship blossomed to the point where the path forward was obvious, a fact confirmed by Jacoby, who put it simply, “All I can say is when you know, you know.”
“I second that,” says Metzger. “Every time we would hang out. I’d come home and be like, ‘this girl is awesome.’ Then the next time it’s like ‘she’s even better than I thought she was.’
All it took was a little bit of home cooking to seal the deal, claims Metzger. “I tasted her cooking and that was the nail in the coffin. It was how I felt it should be. The first thing she cooked for me at my old apartment is her family’s lamb recipe. I tell you. I can still feel it. It was that good.”
Metzger’s first attempt at cooking for Jacoby didn’t go quite as well. The menu featured “Steaks. Well, I smoked the place out. They came out pretty good,” he says. “The place I lived before we moved in together was a little sketchy. It was very bachelor-y and the stove was questionable. I’m not sure it was up to code.”
When it time to drop the big “L” word, though, their stories match up; both confirmed Jacoby took that leap first. As Metzger tells it, “She laid it out in my old kitchen,” but the guitarist followed suit quickly, because he “had been feeling it for a while, but she beat me to the punch.”
There’s no arguing Jacoby and Metzger are opposites. Jacoby was born in Delaware and started practicing classic violin at age six. She graduated from NYU in 2013, focusing on media and communications while also getting a dose of music business studies. Playing both the acoustic and electric violin afforded her numerous professional opportunities, such as a violin consultant for the show “Mozart in the Jungle.” She’s also been a backing musician, appearing on television shows including Saturday Night Live, America’s Got Talent, and The Tonight Show.
At 15, Jacoby wrote the manager of The Who to volunteer her services on the iconic violin solo at the end of “Baba O’Reilly” for the band on tour, with no response. Through her work at “Mozart in the Jungle” over a decade later, she met The Who’s Roger Daltrey, who offered her a spot in an upcoming orchestral tour for the rock-opera “Tommy.” That went so well, Jacoby joined the Who’s touring band, and years later, one of the most anticipated and exciting parts of every Who concert is still the violin solo at the end of “Baba O’Reilly.
To fully understand the pair, think of the opposite of what one would expect classically-trained, world- traveling musicians to be like. Both take full advantage of the vast cultural offerings from living in New York. But, if you gave the pair the option to spend the afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art or thrashing at a heavy-metal Exodus concert – more often than not – the answer will be a quick vote for Exodus. In fact, Jacoby has over-amplified her violin and sat in with the band artfully dodging stage divers and all other sorts of chaos.
Along with the Muppets and crappy horror movies, add love for heavy metal as another unique tie that bound the future newlyweds to one another, both musicians taking a left turn into Exodus, Iron Maiden, and Metallica as teens.
That doesn’t mean the two don’t have traditional areas where one (Katie) excels a bit better than the other. Just the basics starting with planning their adventures. Metzger explains, “I’ll find a tourist trap. You know, the very first Google result and be like ‘oh that looks great.’ Then Katie will spend a couple of hours digging deeper, and inevitably find a place that’s much quainter and more special.
“We are very big movie people,” the guitarist continues. “We watch a lot of movies in this house.”
Katie confirms this, matter-of-factly stating, “I pick the music and the tv.”
To further get to know the couple, we asked a few quick questions:
Slide & Banjo: If you had $50 to get each other a gift, what would you get?
Metzger: I would get Katie the Yoda remote that can play Run Around the House.
Jacoby: That would be a pretty good gift for me. I would get Scott…well…/it might take some digging on eBay because Scott has really exquisite taste in rare jazz. So, I’d look on eBay for one of his favorite jazz records that is no longer pressing.
S&B: If you guys went on a double date, who would you want to go out with?
(Almost instantly and in unison): Nels Kline and Yuka Honda.
S&B: Was there a certain moment when you said to yourself, “That’s it. I’m getting a ring?”
Metzger: Ha. I can’t point to a specific moment. I knew I never felt so close to anyone very early on, though!
In 2017, the couple cemented another milestone in any burgeoning relationship: meeting each other’s parents. Scott and Katie flew to Seattle to meet her parents, and later that year Metzger’s folks on the east coast. By 2018, the relationship – and need for a proper kitchen – had grown to the point that Metzger and Jacoby upgraded, moving into a Brooklyn apartment together.
2019 found the couple reaching new heights, both personally and professionally. Jacoby was literally living her dreams touring with The Who, and JRAD’s popularity was soaring for Metzger. He also morphed perfectly in the guitar player slot in CATS after Neal Casal’s passing. Throw in getting to play live together with the Showdown Kids and life couldn’t be moving in a greater harmony for the couple.
Metzger continues, “One of the beauties of the Showdown Kids is we can pile in a car because there’s not a lot of gear. We get into a CRV and that’s our tour vehicle. The winter run stands out as one of my favorite runs of gigs.” Road trips together throughout the Northeast for these shows have created another “must” towards the success of their relationship.
“With Katie, if you drive by a Cracker Barrel on the highway, you just have to stop,” exclaims Metzger, quickly followed by Jacoby, who immediately calls out Metzger with “Scott is terrified of chicken and dumplings.”
As the calendar turned to 2020 and almost four years after the life altering sit-in at the Freaks Ball, there was only one thing left for Metzger and Jacoby to do: make it official. Somewhere in an undisclosed Brooklyn location in early February, Scott popped the question, and Katie said yes.
It didn’t take long for word of the engagement to spread throughout the independent and jam band music scene. Everywhere you turned people, publications, venues they’ve played before were all sending congratulations to the newly engaged couple.
A few weeks after the official announcement, Covid-19 thrust itself upon the world and the couple’s wedding plans, like everything else, were put on hold.
“We didn’t have an actual date. We were thinking Spring 2021,” says Jacoby. “In some ways it’s a blessing, because we don’t have to reschedule wedding venues, the cake maker or the florist. My folks both live in Seattle. Since they can’t fly, there’s no way I’m going to get married without my mom and dad.
“Once it’s safe to travel again, we’ll take it from there.”
There’s one other major part of a wedding, and that’s the music.
S&B: Who would be in your ultimate wedding band?
Metzger: It would have to be a mash up, I think.
Jacoby: Can Paul McCartney come?
Metzger: I feel like somehow Metallica would need to be represented too.
Jacoby: It would be like a super group… and then Bill Frisell.
Metzger: Bill Frisell and then Sly Stone. Fred Hersch will play solo piano for the cocktail hour. Then we would get Sly Stone for the dance segment. Then we’d have to get Paul McCartney involved. I don’t know where we’re going to get all this money from to pay them.
While 2020 was the opposite of what Jacoby and Metzger had planned for, the chance to be home instead of on tour has been worth the hassle.
“2020 has been an odd year, and everyone has had to deal with so much tragedy and chaos. The silver lining is Scott and I have gotten to spend so much time together,” Jacoby muses. “I’ll remember that the rest of my life. It’s cozy, relaxing and getting to spend our entire engagement together is not something I expected. If this is a sign of things to come, I’m ready.”
Metzger follows up the sentiment. “To have gotten engaged. That’s what I’m going to remember 2020 for most. With all the stuff going on, that is what I’m going to take away from 2020.
“I got engaged to an incredible woman and we are spending so much time together. Every day we try to take a moment to acknowledge there’s really nobody else we’d rather be going through this with.”