It's easy to say that actor Jackson Rathbone is fond of moonlighting.
Since 2008, he's played vampire Jasper Hale in the series of "Twilight" movies.
But when he has time away from the movie set, he's satisfying his musical cravings performing with his band 100 Monkeys.
"Music is the universal language," said Rathbone, 26, after arriving in Chicago Thursday morning by tour bus to perform one exclusive show Thursday night at House of Blues.
"Growing up, I was inspired by the sounds of Motown, and entertainers like The Temptations and Elvis Presley."
The Chicago stop is just one of the more than 45-city tour dates Rathbone and his band are playing to promote their new album "Liquid Zoo."
"One of our band members, Lawrence Abrams, is from Chicago," Rathbone said.
"So even though we've had a great time playing clubs in Indianapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati and even this month's Milwaukee Summerfest, we've been excited about Chicago."
This is the band's second studio full-length recording which is available in stores across the country thanks to a distribution deal with Warrior Records/Universal Music to release the album.
"100 Monkeys is an innovative, exciting young band and we are looking forward to working with them," said Tara Traub, director of club and theater touring for House of Blues Entertainment.
"This is part of our continuing commitment showcasing emerging artists and their music in the unique House of Blues environment."
With a unique sound all their own, the album "Liquid Zoo" delivers innovative music, with the album consisting of 11 songs, including the highly requested, "Shy Water," and "Black Diamond," which are among the solid track listings, along with at least one new song that the band has never performed live in any form.
"Wandering Mind," the first single released off the "Liquid Zoo" album has already started to play on radio stations across the country.
In addition to Rathbone and Abrams, the other band members are Ben Graupner, Jerad Anderson and Ben Johnson.
As for Rathbone, he was born in Singapore and his great-grandfather, Monroe Jackson Rathbone II, was the chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey, which later became Exxon.
And if his name seems familiar, he's "distantly related" to Civil War general Stonewall Jackson and British actor Basil Rathbone.
When asked when was the last time he was in Chicago and whether it was for "business or pleasure," Rathbone's answer begins with saying: "My business IS my pleasure."
Since he grew up with a dad working as an executive for Mobil Oil, he's lived around the world, including beginning his education with attending kindergarten in Norway.
"I remember one of my first performances as a kid was doing my version of 'Chantilly Lace' just like The Big Bopper," Rathbone said.
"By the time I was 14, I had my own DJ business and I was booked at my sister's prom. Being a DJ is a great way to learn about audiences and music as preparation for performing."
As for the reason for his band's name, he said 100 Monkeys comes from a scientific theory he learned during school.
"I remember studying that if 100 of any species, like monkeys for example, learns and understands a theory, it spreads to the rest of the species," Rathbone said.
"Music serves this same purpose and performance is a way to share music and the impact."
For more information, visit 100monkeysmusic.com.
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