Today we get to talk with Jim Korthe, the
frontman from 3rd Strike, a new band that is burning up the rock scene
with their debut album “Lost Angel”. Jim grew up on the mean streets
of LA, ran with gangs but left the gang bangin’ days behind to seek out
a refuge in music. He got his first national exposure in Dimestore Hoods,
the band he formed with Todd Deguchi who were one of the first bands to
combine rap and rock.
Though Dimestore Hoods landed a major label
deal with MCA, as Jim will tell you in the interview, things kind of feel
apart with the label and Jim and Todd decided to team up and start a new
band, the result is 3rd Strike, a band that combines various styles of
music together, from hip-hop to metal, from R&B to rock. Here is your
chance to get to know 3rd Strike and get some insider info on their debut
album “Lost Angel”.
RNW: Can you tell us where your name
3rd Strike come from?
Jim: That’s from the 3 strikes felony
law in California. With 3 felonies you do life in prison, 25 to life.
( a howl comes from someone in the background, perhaps admiring a young
lady? Jim yells out a resounding “shut up!”
RNW: Can you tell us a little about
how your band formed?
Jim: The guitarist Todd and I formed
a band back in 1988 and kind of came up with our style and that band got
signed to MCA, kind of fell through, we had a record out for a while but
MCA fired everybody. Then two years ago we formed this band, 3rd Strike.
Met the guys through a drug rehab kind of thing.
RNW: How did you guys land the deal
with Hollywood Records?
Jim: It happened pretty quick, I
mean, we wrote a bunch of songs, we were demoing at a studio over by the
guys from Pennywise and Fletcher remembered me and Todd from our old band,
which came about the same time as Pennywise. He heard a song and liked
it, he gave it to his manager and his manager came by a couple days later
and about a month later we were signed to Hollywood.
RNW: We’re you guys doing the Rap-Rock
back in 88?
Jim: Yeah. It wasn’t as a, we had
a bunch of heavier kind of rap-rock songs but the producer kind of cut
a couple of them off the record. So it was more, like this record we had
a lot of different styles, like regular rock songs and stuff. Kind of mixed
RNW: But you guys are kind of pioneers
in the whole rap-rock field?
Jim: We came up right around the
same time as like Rage and Downset and them.
RNW: Now that it has become really popular,
what do you think of the bands out today who are doing the rap-rock?
Jim: I like Downset a lot, I just,
you know, I like bands that take it, flip it up and make it their own style.
I don’t like going to see bands that the singer acts exactly like Zack
from Rage and sounds like him, I just think that’s lame. I like bands that
flip it up with their own style.
RNW: You guys have a lot of cool tours
coming up, Warped Tour, a string of dates with American Head Charge and
Gravity Kills and Ozzfest! Which tour are your most looking forward
Jim: I’d say Ozzfest, we’ve never
been on it. We were on Midwest dates last year of the Warped Tour, so we
know pretty much what to expect about that, but I’ve never been on the
Ozzfest and I’m looking forward to it, you know, being on the same stage
as a lot of really good bands and playing for a big crowd.
RNW: You guys did a really cool cover
of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, what inspired you guys to cover that song?
Jim: Actually, we did it, it was
supposed to be the title track of this movie that was called Ultimate X,
they changed it to Ultimate X but it was gonna be Paranoid and it was an
X-games movie. They approached us to do the title track, to do “paranoid”
and we were kind of skeptical at first about doing it and then cuz a lot
of times when I sing in a high register I sounds a lot like Ozzy, you know,
it was kind of an honor to do a song like that. We did it for the soundtrack
and they ended up just using the original and they didn’t call it Paranoid,
they called it Ultimate X. So we had this recording of it, we really liked
the way it came out. We weren’t gonna put it on the record at all. The
reason we put it on there is we liked the way it came out, we had DJ Muggs
from Cypress Hill came down and cut on it, it just came out really good.
RNW: Who are your main musical influences?
Jim: Mine or the band’s? They’re
a lot different. Mine, I like old R&B like Al Green, Smokey Robinson,
you know, Marvin Gaye. A lot of old reggae and definitely, I grew up as
a metal kid, I was a drummer coming up so, listening to Slayer, Metallica
way back in the day when their first records came out. And then hip-hop,
I like a little hip-hop. So we have like, as far as my contribution to
the band, I have a lot of styles that I like. I try to put all on my influences
together and pretty much came up with this record. I think that it kind
of represents all the different kind of styles that I like.
RNW: Cool, so what is writing process
Jim: The guitarist come up with
rhythms, usually put it on 4-track with a drum machine and I come up with
an idea, come up with the raps, you know the rap patterns, the lyrics and
the melodies and then we pretty much make a skeleton of the song with verses
and choruses and then bring it to the rest of the band and we put it all
together, the whole song together in the room. Just jamming.
RNW: Now what I’d like to do it cover
the album track by track. I’ll give you the name of the song and if you
could give us a little background on it, like the meaning or a story associated
Jim: Flow Heat talks about dealing
with your problems with drugs and kind of feeling, it’s kind of like how
I was feeling when I was messin’ with certain drugs and it just kind of
came out as venting as far as feeling emotions. That’s what that song is
pretty much about. I mean, there is a pretty big topic, you know, the main
topic is a lot of despair and it’s not like I thought out to put those
in the song, I just pretty much wrote about my real life, what I go through
and what I lived through.
RNW: I’m sure a lot of people can relate
to it, that’s been through it.
Jim: Yeah, definitely.
Jim: That one’s growing up without
a father, a father that wasn’t there and then him trying to come back into
my life when I was a grown man, and pretty much just shutting him down,
like “I don’t know you”.
Jim: That’s an old love/hate relationship
I had with a girl. The more I treated her like s*** the more she wanted
RNW: Yeah, isn’t that crazy?
Jim: yeah it is!
Jim: That’s pretty much self-explanatory,
that’s pretty much everything that I’ve ever felt was a lie, that we’ve
been taught that is kind of true. I just put all the anger I had into that
song, it’s a pretty angry song, it goes off good like, that’s always our
Jim: No light was a song, I had
the music for awhile, didn’t know what to do with it. I had the melodies;
I just didn’t have the lyrics. I went to visit a friend of mine’s grave,
he was a good friend of mine who was killed in a drive-by, it was maybe
seven, eight years after he died, I finally went to his grave and when
I came home that day, I came home and put down the lyrics of whatever I
was feeling at the time. That’s kind of what inspired me to write that,
I was like, you know the verses are kind of sad and the choruses are angry
and those were the two emotions I was going through, after I got back…
RNW: You guys have a lot of really heavy
subject matter in your music.
Jim: Yeah, like the thing is, I
like to do lyrically. I can’t back a song that I don’t believe in. I’ve
tried to write like party songs and s*** and it doesn’t work for me.
Cities On Fire
RNW: Cities on Fire was kind of
like the same thing I was going for when I called the record “Lost Angel”,
it’s kind of like what my version of what Los Angeles is. You know,
what I’ve lived through in Los Angeles, not what the media, the movie stars,
the glamour, you know the movie studios. It’s more like the porn industry,
the gang violence, the police brutality, a modern day Babylon kind of.
RNW: Yeah, I know when I take people
up to like Hollywood, who aren’t from out here, they trip out on what it
is really like.
Breath It Out
Jim: Breath it out, talks about
the realities of what I felt when I was departing from the gang life. Some
of the lyrics in there are kind of cool like, “no one’s got your back when
it’s time for you to go, cuz when you leave this world, you’ll be going
out alone.” It’s pretty much a song of hope about my experiences in the
neighborhood. I’m not really preaching to anybody, just getting s*** off
my chest. I don’t really like bands that preach.
RNW: None of this came across as preaching.
Jim: Yeah, just kind of just getting
it off my chest what I’m feelin at the time.
Jim: Strung Out is just straight,
being addicted to drugs and feeling really hopeless, you know the more
hopeless you feel the more drugs you do. It was actually at a time
when I had gotten sober so it was like in a different perspective, trying
to pretty much get over that.
RNW: So has sobriety helped you in your
Jim: Definitely, most of these songs
were written when I was clean. When I write loaded and when I write clean
there is a totally different mindset. So I think in a way it does help
me in my writing.
At this point, Jim’s cell phone got
cut off and we weren’t able to get him back to finish the interview, but
despite that setback we did end up with lots of great insight into 3rd
Strike and their debut album. So go check it out for yourself and don’t
forget to catch 3rd Strike live this summer as they tour with the Ozzfest!
3rd Strikes's Official Website to get the lowdown on the album get more
info on the band and the latest news and multimedia files.
to sound samples and Purchase "Lost Angel" online