Jackal was formed in 1969 by the Kellesis brothers (Chris on keyboards and Jack on bass) with high school friend Charlie Shannon on vocals. They filled out the ranks with several other members in their infancy while playing the b-circuit around Toronto.
They wrote some material while developing a progressive, psychadelic hard rock sound, and were seen by Art Snider one night in a bar, who quickly signed them to a management and recording deal. Snider, a native of Ottawa, was behind the record company Chateau Records at the end of the 1950s and founded Sound Canada Studios in ’67.
With the band rounded out by guitarists Steve Hayward and Dave Bernard, and drummer Lois Mutton, they worked with producers Dan Goldberg and Bob Stright in the spring of ’73. They became one of the first acts to record for Snider’s new venture, Periwinkle Records, releasing their debut album, AWAKE a few months later. The bulk of the writing on the eight tracks was done by the Kellesis brothers, with Hayward penning two himself – the tempo-changing flowery-acid trip “Sunny Side Of The Day” and “Lost In The World.”
Heavy in sound, the band was likened to early Deep Purple, Rory Gallagher, Budgie, and fellow Torontonians Warpig. The songs relied heavily on fuzz guitar effects mixed with a raspy delivery from Shannon and often extended keyboard and organ solos front and centre. Other noteable cuts included “How Time Has Flown,” “In The Heavens,” and the title track.
No singles were released, contrary to Snider’s motif operandi – whose labels were renowned for churning out acts on a steady basis in the hopes of landing ‘that one big hit.’ But with Jackal’s songs more often than not exceeding the usual three-minute frames to get any airplay, and with little money to fund promotions or tours, the album quickly disappeared and became a collector’s obscurity.
Within a year or so of its release, the band also drifted into oblivion, with the members picking up new gigs in different bands off and on, but then eventually all got day jobs and left the business all together.