|Exclusive interview with Jim
K&M: You are in the middle of writing/recording your second album. Is it more of a desire, pleasure, effort… you name it… make it? Do you feel any different from when you were making the first record?
Jim: It’s all of the above. Making a record (especially this way - spread out over such a long period of time) has to be a labor of love. There are times when it is very frustrating, very liberating, very exciting, challenging and very difficult. More difficult on the production end, from an organizational point of view. But it is always fun. I will be extremely happy when it is finished.
K&M: When you commenced writing and recording for the new record, did you have in mind the type of musical direction you wanted to go for the album?
Jim: Yeah, I had a pretty string idea. And so far, it is not strayed too far from that. It's got hooks, grooves, melody, and a few lyrics as well.
K&M: In a previous interview we asked about the musical direction of your new record, this was your response. Continuing on from that, where you stand today in the process, is the direction much different from when you first started?
Jim: see last answer.
K&M: How many songs on the new album? Can you give out a couple of song titles? Just to whet our appetite.
Jim: There will be either 10 or 11 songs. One of my favorite titles on the new record is “Sullen Barista”. It’s a song about a very sad , but beautiful girl who works at Starbucks (though that is not mentioned specifically in the song). She could be at any of the fine coffee/tea house establishments in the world. There is another song called “White Boy” that has a really great groove - with an interesting lyrical position.
K&M: We all know you love 80’s music. If you could collaborate with any band or singer from the 1980s, who would it be and why?
Jim: Hmmmm. Maybe Rick Springfield. Or Hall N’ Oates has be up there too. There are a lot that I would love to write with.
K&M: You sing high harmonies to Avril Lavigne and together with Johnny Rzeznik, and some really low register tones on your own record. Say, “Do You Remember”. Dilana Robichaux once mentioned your beautiful voice and the range she could only “dream of”. It would be interesting to know – what is your vocal range?
Jim: To be honest, I don’t really know. When I was in high school, I really struggled with higher notes, but was determined to reach them - so I practiced a lot to improve my range. But I never really measured it by notes. I am not a naturally great singer, I just really wanted to sing. So, I did it all the time and eventually got better.
K&M: Which singer (band) would you like to cover what particular song from your first album?
Jim: That’s a tough question. I would love to hear Sheryl Crow sing one of my songs. I love her voice so much - and think she would bring a whole other level of vulnerability to a song like ”You and I”.
K&M: You recently mentioned that over the summer months your plans will also include recording 10 – 20 new songs for use in TV placements. If you are at the liberty to say, do you have any idea which TV shows to watch for to hear your new songs?
Jim: I say that in a general sense. Songs written and recorded by myself and my writing partners - not as geared towards sending to other artists to use, but more for possible use in cinematic arenas. I would love to get a song on Grey’s or Gossip Girl - but I would never shy away from any show that wanted to use my music.
Music in general
K&M: What do you feel makes you a good musician?
Jim: My haircut. Answering that about myself feels a bit odd, but there are many things that make people good musicians:
- Ability to listen: to the big picture and to other musicians while you are playing as well.
- Timing: not just playing in time, but knowing when to play or not to play something.
- Being a student of music: knowing the history of where things came from so you can draw from many places.
Those are a few.
K&M: Stemming from the previous question, what kind of qualities should a person possess in order to be a successful musician?
Jim: Successful musician?? There’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. I guess that all depends on ones definition of success. To some, selling a million records is success. To others, simply having someone enjoy your music in a bar or a living room is success. I think that is up to each person to decide what their definition is first. After that, it’s all about desire and persistence.
K&M: If you could to put together a concert with any 5 artists/bands, who would be on the bill?
Jim: U2 - Michael Jackson - Tom Petty - Prince - AC/DC
K&M: Speaking of concerts, so far in 2009, have you seen any concerts? If so, which artists/bands?
Jim: Not sure - I can’t think of any. God, has this year been flying.
K&M: Are there any new bands or artists that have peaked your interest lately and if so which ones?
Jim: Phoenix is my favorite band of the last 10 years. They just put out a new record. I just love them.
K&M: You covered Jessie Girl, You Can’t Get What You Want, Boys of Summer… Were all these your choices and which song would you like to cover in the future?
Jim: Yeah, they were my choice. There are so many I would love to cover. I like “Dirty Laundry” by Henley. I just feel like my voice works in the register that he sings in. And what a great message! Also “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown, Damn, that shit is funky!
K&M: You have played in many venues all over the world (and that’s an understatement) – from arenas to intimate clubs. Any venues that stand out - for whatever reason?
Jim: Giants Stadium with Michelle Branch in 2002. We were on a bill that Bon Jovi headlined. For a kid growing up in Jersey in the 80’s, to play Giants Stadium with Bon Jovi was pretty amazing. The Tokyo Dome with Avril last year was pretty cool too. Big place.
K&M: What is the biggest screw up you personally have done on stage? Come on, fess up.
Jim: Well, the worst thing was with Cher. I’m not gonna pass the buck (her fault) but the whole band got off from her while we were playing “Walking in Memphis” at a show in Australia in 2005. She drifted in time from us at the beginning of the song - and NEVER got back on. It was 4 minutes of pure agony. Pretty rough.
K&M: Over time, have you become more optimistic or more jaded by the music business?
Jim: I never really thought the music business was so pure in the first place. I am sure that I lost my innocence about it, but that goes for almost everything in life.
K&M: Do you know where the Starmaker show is? Or… is it one reality show too many on TV at the moment, hence the delay?
Jim: It is now scheduled for a 4th quarter release. Some time in the fall, I guess. We’ll see??
K&M: The Goo Goo Dolls have confirmed two summer shows during the month of July in Indiana and Illinois. At this stage are you planning to perform with them at these upcoming concerts?
Jim: I will be there.
Jim: OK, before we get into the favorite stuff, here is a disclaimer. There are no favorites: there is too much great music out there, and I really don;t have favorites. Just stuff that I love. These will be off the top of my head.
K&M: Favourite guitar riff?
Jim: AC/DC - Back in Black (link)
K&M: Favourite guitar solo?
Jim: Anything played by Neil Schon (Journey) prior to 1990. “Faithfully” maybe? (link 3:20 onwards)
K&M: Favourite guitarist?
Jim: Neil Shon, Mike Campbell, The Edge
K&M: Another favourite and we’ll stop. Favourite line (verse) from a song?
Jim: “Never trust a big butt and a smile, that girl is Poison” - Bell Biv DeVoe, Poison (link)
You know what - I was talking to my brother the other day, and there is something I have a favorite of. I think my favorite movie of all time is... dramatic pause...: Raiders of the Lost Ark.
K&M: Do you speak any foreign language or have you learned any foreign words on your travels? What language would you like to learn, if any?
Jim: I can barely speak English. No, I would love to speak Italian. My grandmother was Italian and I always wanted to learn it.
K&M: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace… Do you have any affinity for or see any benefit in any of the social networking sites?
Jim: I am pretty much done with all of them. I check Facebook every now and then because I have reconnected with some old friend through there, but I think the whole thing has gotten out of control. Either no one is doing their jobs, or everyone is unemployed. How else do people have time for these constant updates of meaning less thoughts and activities. Why do I care that someone is going to workout right now? Is this really necessary?
K&M: We loved “Marley and Me” - the book and the subsequent movie. Considering that you have a dog (we assume that “Sammy” from your CD sleeve is the dog-ter you mention) – have you seen or do you plan to see it?
Jim: My wife rented it, but I was working in the studio. I saw a few minutes and am sure I would like it. She cried.
K&M: As a movie buff, who do you think should play Frank Sinatra in the upcoming Martin Scorsese biopic? Can anyone do justice to the Ol’ Blue Eyes and his singing?
Jim: Wow. That could be cool. Harry Connick, Jr. could definitely do it from a musical standpoint, but I’m not sure he has the acting chops. I’m sure Leo wants in, and hey - he’s a damn good actor. It would be cool to go with a no name. guy. Someone like a young Ray Liotta would be great.