Jam Alker (2)

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Jam Alker
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Bearsted, England
  • Activist
  • Speaker
  • Musician

Jam Alker is an American addiction recovery activist and speaker, and musician. After being in active addiction to heroin for 12 years, Alker went to treatment and learned that music could be a conduit for healing. Today, he works with those still struggling with addiction, advocates for reducing the stigma of addiction, speaks to schools and corporations about the dangers of addiction and the hope of recovery, and also is the frontman for the band The JAB. All of this is a culmination of his goal to spread the message of music’s power in healing from addiction, advocating for recovery through music[1].

Early Life and Education

Alker was born in Bearsted, England, and when he was three years old, he moved to the United States with his family. His early childhood was marked by his parents’ dysfunction, even after they divorced when he was five. His father was an alcoholic; his mother was codependent. Until he was 15, he spent his childhood moving frequently with his father. At 15, he moved in with his mother, who lived in the suburbs of Chicago. This would end up being the longest he lived anywhere. He went to Maine East High School, where his focus was on being in bands and meeting girls, rather than studying. Both during and after high school, he regularly went to Chicago to see music shows or playing his own shows. He befriended Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and sang with him onstage at The Metro. He also spent his late teens and early 20s in his own bands, with moderate success and national tours. By the early 2000s, Alker found some success with the Malcolm Palmer Band. He had also fallen into drug addiction—spending upwards of $2,000 per week on heroin.

Later Life

Road to Recovery

Finally, Alker’s moment of clarity came when he became a father. He checked into Rosecrance in Rockford, Illinois, in 2014. There, his addiction counselor recommended he did his treatment work in the form of writing[2]. So he began writing music to help himself process the trauma that led to his addiction. His work not only helped him process trauma but also helped his peers in the treatment center. He began to see the healing power of music. These songs were the beginnings of his first solo album

Jam Alker, Solo Artist

Once out of treatment, Alker dedicated himself to promoting the power of music to help heal those suffering from addiction. His first solo album, Sophrosyne, was released in 2016. Alker became a regular performer at recovery events around the country, and also playing at Chicago-area venues to share his music and his message of recovery.[3]

Recovery Speaker

As it did in treatment, Alker’s music was a conduit for him to help those still suffering from addiction and to give those in recovery hope to continue their journey. He shares his story at recovery events. He also shares his story and his music to other communities: high schools and middle schools, healthcare providers (notably at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center , and corporations. His goal is to reduce the stigma of addiction and to promote the possibility of a full and fulfilled life in recovery. In 2019, Google invited him to speak at both its headquarters—in Palo Alto, CA, and Chicago, IL.


The JAB began its formation in 2018, when Alker began to seek musicians to support him in live shows. The band was complete in 2019, with Alker on guitar and vocals. Terry Byrne on guitar and keyboards, Ryan Herrick on guitar, Alex Piazza on bass, and drummer Tom Stukel. Later that year, The JAB recorded its first full-length album with Duane Lundy of The Lexington Recording Company in Lexington, Kentucky. This full-length album, CONSUME, was released in February 2020 with the distribution support of The Orchard, a subsidiary of Sony Records.[4] [5]


  1. Steve, Wildsmith. "Chicago's Jam Alker finds a second life as a recovery evangelist through music". The Ties That Bind Us. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  2. Alker, Jam. "Rosecrance Alumni Reflection: Jam Alker". Rosecrance.
  3. Dawson, JT. "Jam Alker: From Rock Bottom to 'Sophrosyne'". Behind the Set List.
  4. "Official Website". The JAB official website. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  5. Hernandez, Breanna. "Jam Alker talks about how music saved his life". Muse TV. Retrieved 3 September 2020.

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