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Caroline Spine Interview: Continued

RNW:  Okay, well, that kind of goes into one of my other questions.  It would seem that Jimmy has a knack for story telling and I was wondering if he had ever done any other type of writing besides lyrics, so this actually came from a script, huh?

Mark:  Yes, thatís what he told us. 

RNW:  And you believed him, huh?

Mark:  Yeah.  I still think itís a marathon Scrabble game. 

Scott:  (to Mark)  Yeah, you use that every time. 

Mark:  I do.

Jimmy:  (Entering the room and stepping over Debbie) Mmmm, you smell good.

RNW:  Thank you!

Jimmy:  Youíre welcome.

RNW:  Victoriaís Secret, "Rapture."

Jimmy:  Mmmm, excellent!

RNW:  (To Jimmy) So, Carolineís Spine, was it a script?

Jimmy:  Yeah, thatís pretty much it.  It was just referring to an old script, for sure.  We like to keep it kind of ambiguous.

RNW:  Ah, okay, I wonít tell anybody . . . 

Jimmy:  No, no, its all those things wrapped into one.  Personally, also, I think for a live band, times get pretty tough and you need a common goal and a common vision.  And so the guardian angel scenario isnít completely out of the picture.

RNW:  You definitely need that these days!

Jimmy:  Spiritual support.

RNW:  Your music is classified as modern or mainstream rock.  Do you guys agree with that classification?  How many formats do you think your music fits into? 

Jimmy:  No, I donít agree with the classification and I think it fits into all formats.

RNW:  So, metal, pop, country?

Jason:  We Ďve never put a name to it.  I always tell people, if you like stuff that rocks hard, but still has melody, ya know?  Weíre heavy but weíre not metal, weíre poppy but weíre not pop.  I think at our shows you have the vibe if you want to mosh, you can mosh.  You get that vibe from the band.  If you want to sit and move your head and sing along, you also get that out of our band.  So, whatever people take from it, whatever they want to call it, its great.  I just think weíre a kick-ass rockin band, and have a great writer that writes a lot of things that fit well.

Jimmy:  Definitely story songs.  Song writer songs. 

RNW:  Beginning, middle and end?

Jimmy:  Yeah.

Jason:  Its moved up from "baby, baby" back seat lyrics, but theyíre still there, theyíre just written more intelligently.  But its still the same old "baby, baby."

Jimmy:  Thereís a couple of underground bands that arenít getting a lot of play right now that are getting back to that.  A story you can get into, about lifeís experiences.

RNW:  Any primal screaming for tonight at all?

Jimmy:  Huh?

RNW:  Primal screaming . . . 

Jason:  (Laughing) From you or us?

RNW:  (To Jimmy)  How are you at primal screaming?

Jimmy:  Pretty good.  But only to let people know whatís going on  (WAKE UP!)

RNW:  If you were describing the bandís sound to someone who hasnít heard your music yet, what would you say your defining characteristic was?   So far weíve got story telling . . 

Jimmy:  Melodic rock. 

RNW:  I heard quite a few things, just during sound check.  I heard some metal riffs . . . 

Scott:  As far as riff oriented, kind of.  Very heavy bass.  Musical band with melodic lyrics. 

Jason:  Riff oriented, heavy melodic rock, that sounds good, yeah!

Scott:  Yeah, is there a format that that fits in?

RNW:  Actually, probably two or three, so thatís good!  Thatís good business.

Jimmy:  Now, if we get the right label, weíll be there.

Scott:  Yeah.

RNW:  The song "Ready-Set-Go,"  you guys (pointing at Scott and Jason - bass & drums) forget about it!  Okay, you guys rock (laughing - high fives between Jason and Scott).

Jason:  Weíre in there man!

Scott:  We paid our producer a little extra on that one. 

Jason:  "Turn up the suck knob!"  (ref:  a Gary Larsen/Far Side Cartoon)

RNW:  Larsen!  Ha!  Have you ever seen that one?

Jason:  Yeah, someone gave it to our sound guy. 

RNW:  The bands single "Nothing To Prove" from your latest release "Attention Please" is actually getting a lot of attention I think, on the mainstream rock charts lately.  You have got a CD that rocks like the old school.  I really do hear a lot of old influences in there with a new twist and the story telling, which is a really nice combination.  Youíve toured with some of the top names in the music business, worked with people like Roy Thomas Baker (producer).  What kind of sacrifices did you have to make to get here from Phoenix, or L.A. or Tulsa?

Jimmy:  Having an address to call home.

RNW:  So you still donít have an address?

Jason:  None of us, no.  I honestly think we didnít have to give up anything, except for obviously when we started giving up our lives, but since then, weíve pretty much called the shots for ourselves.

Jimmy:  When you donít have a life, its hard to give one up.

Jason:  Thatís true.  Weíre still trying to get a life.

Mark:  Outside of airports, bars and hotels.

Jason:  Weíve been very lucky about not having to give up anything that we didnít want to in order to get where we are.  We still have a long ways to go.

Scott:  None of us has kids or anything like that.

RNW:  So this is a good time for you guys to do whatever it takes to realize your dream.

Jimmy:  Its a good time I think.  Also, however, weíre in a position where weíve covered our bases really well as a band.  We made sure that even as an unsigned band, that we would be of the caliber to open up for some of the biggest names in the industry.  And we worked hard for that. 

Mark:  We wanted to be the best live band in the world.

Jimmy:  And I think we still do.  We just happened to be a live band that was touring, that got signed.  And if this label doesnít work out, and it doesnít blow it through huge, great, weíll go to another label.  But as long as we are playing live and the fans that are loyal throughout the United States come out and see us, then weíll be doing this for a while. 

RNW:  Reading your short bios, all four of you sounded like a chapter of the KISS fan club.  Which is cool . . . I mean, I was always a big KISS fan growing up.

Jason:  (laughing) Yeah, weíre in the "Army."

Scott:  Totally.  My first record that I ever got when I was seven years old was KISS - "Destroyer."  Iíve never been happier in my life, at that point.  When I got "KISS Alive II," I thought that there was nothing else in the world to live for than KISS Alive.  Jason, all of us.

Jason:  Mark actually, Mark was not a big KISS fan.

RNW:  KISS is on every single one of your bios.  Either it was your first record, or it was a musical influence, or it was your first concert.

Jason:  We had to force it down Mark.  I remember once in the tour van I brought a KISS mix tape.  (to Mark)  I remember, you were like, hey this isnít that bad!"

Mark:  Yeah, I didnít grow up with KISS at all.  And these guys were like, "no, KISS is the way to go!"  Iím just like, "whatever."  And finally, it just seeps into you.  You canít help it.  KISS overtakes you. 

RNW:  That was my first and only groupie story when I was a teenager, so some day when Iím not interviewing you Iíll share that one with you.  Its pretty funny.  Aerosmith, wow, youíve opened for them.  They are like, the epitome for me.  So did you learn anything opening for bands like that?  Aerosmith, KISS, any of the bands that you idolized when you were growing up, or did you just kind of kick back with them and play it cool?

Jason:  Not a lot of hanging out was going on.  You know, theyíre so big that they get right out of there but I was most impressed with Aerosmith and KISS especially.  Very nice guys.  Very approachable.  Especially KISS, once they got used to you being around, very approachable type of thing.  But that impressed me the most, when my heroes turned out to be nice guys.  The fact that after a couple of shows I was going up to Paul Stanley going "Hey Paul, good show last night!"  And he was like, "Thanks Jason."  And heíd walk away and Iím like, Oh man!

RNW:  Youíd walk away thinking, damn that was fun!

Jason:  Yeah, I wish we could party with them, but, you know . . .

Scott:  Plus also to see a show take place like that, with such a huge production, you do kind of learn how everything works together on a production scale at that level and that would be something fun to kind of dab into.  I think every band is like, man, how much fun would it be to have all those toys?  And actually realize how many people it takes to make all that work.  It was fun to be on that tour for a while.  They had 11 semis, and 20 million buses or whatever.  And it all fit in one arena every night, its pretty cool. 

Jimmy:  It definitely raises the standard of your live performance as well.

RNW:  All of the sudden youíre looking in the mirror thinking, could I use a little make-up?

Jason:  How about a star right here?

Jimmy:  Before we were even signed, we knew what it was to play in front of no people, all the way up to 25,000 people.  So by the time it ended up that we had to tour on our first single, or on any single for that matter, I guess after a while you just kind of become, its more like a party vibe.  Weíre here for the same reason youíre here.  Weíve just got to play it together and get there.

Scott:  The first show we played with KISS was at the America West Arena in Phoenix.  There were 20,000 people there.  The very next night we played in front of 15 people in Flagstaff. 

Jason:  And they were like, "I canít believe you guys showed up."  Everyone thought we were going to cancel so they didnít show up.  It was like, oh, theyíre playing for KISS, why are they going to play this dinky little bar? 

Mark:  And the bar didnít serve alcohol any more, it was just coke. 

Jason:  Yeah, so all the drunks come in and they couldnít drink.  They were like, you guys are worth it but, ah . . .

RNW:  Yeah, weíre going down to Rickyís Crab Shack (all laugh).  So now that you are in the thick of things, so to speak, and youíre touring and dealing with record labels, etc., is there anything about the music business that youíve discovered, that you never knew when you were growing up, and you just kinda went "Ah, so thatís how thatís done?"  Or "Gee, we should have been watching out for that?"  You know, epiphanies of sorts.

Jason:  Singles.  I realized how hard it is, the whole world of singles.  When I was a kid, I thought it was just, you call up the (radio) station and say "Play this song!" and theyíll play it.  All the politics of it.  In fact, we did everything ourselves for the first five years and all of the sudden now thereís fifty people doing everything.

Jimmy:  Wrong.  We go out there and we bleed for it.  You really bleed, this is like your child.  And you go out there and you hand it (your song) to some fat guy in a suit and heís like - if he fails, then basically, it doesnít matter to him.  He doesnít care.  Weíre the ones that suffer, and its difficult.  Everyone, we work with a lot of very nice people, but its difficult because the failures donít effect them as much as they do us.  This is our lives.  To those people its just a project.  Theyíre just producing this one show.  Just this one album, or whatever.  Its difficult to let it go like that.  Its the same thing with giving it to 50 other people.  They donít bleed for it.  So thatís the difficult part I think.  But, you know, all in all, everyoneís decent people.

Mark:  I think the one difference about the music industry - I donít think I ever believed the sex, drugs and rock & roll thing.

RNW:  You mean the coke and hookers thing? 

Jason:  I believed it  - Iíve got the Motley Crue rock-u-mentary!  Hey, I used to watch that stuff and . . .

Mark:  Its so obvious to see how they portray it like that.  And, as an indie band, on our first tour, about three weeks into the tour it was like - this is real!  It is real.

RNW:  They were coming out of the walls, right?

Mark:  I can not believe that women are capable of some of the things they are capable of.  I canít.

RNW:  I used to play this game when I was standing back stage.  Iíll stand there and Iíll take a look and Iíll figure out where all the roadies are and then Iíll figure out where all the groupies are and then Iíll watch their techniques.  And I would have a profile of all these techniques.  You know, you see them coming up and twirling their hair, and the funny stances, and . . .

Jimmy:  Thatís what I do . . .

RNW:  Yeah, ah . . .

Jason:  Thatís one thing that slapped me in the face.  A band still in our position, you know back stage, when I was a kid, you thought oh my God.  If you got back stage you were set, cause youíre just going to get invited to the most raging party.  The funny thing is, that after the show, I canít wait to get out there and say hi because there is nothing going on back stage.  Iím sure when you get to the arena level youíre able to throw parties and stuff like that.

Jimmy:  It doesnít take long to realize that the only people that really thought the party at Studio 54 was cool was the people that owned it.  Because they needed more people to come in.  So, everybody is looking for something thatís not there.  Youíre always looking for a better party or hipper people to hang out with.  The bottom line is that if you are happy with yourself, you know, then you are going to interact with people throughout the country, that you kind of meet up with comically, and weíve been very fortunate.  We have friends that have suddenly entered our top ten that we didnít even know before we started a band.  People that put us up in places like Park City, Utah, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Lots of really good friends and you learn that the party atmosphere definitely ties into everything but there are a few souls that connect throughout this whole wild journey. 

RNW:  Well when you are on the road, do you always want to go to a party, or sometimes donít you just wish you could go over to somebodyís house and have a barbecue or feel at home or just relax?

Jimmy:  Like the gay mud wrestling thing?

Mark:  That was the Jell-O.

RNW:  Do tell!  We have a story about Jell-O wrestling?  We have about ten minutes to talk about it.

Jason:  Thatíll come out in the VH1 "Behind the Scenes" thing.

Mark:  Or the Discovery Channel.

Jason:  We really enjoy naps.  We enjoy time off for sleeping, and its hard for fans and friends to understand when theyíre like "Come over.  I understand you guys have three hours to kill before the show, come over to my house."  Its like, weíd love to but, trust me, if we have three hours off, Iím taking a frickin nap or a shower.  Thatís whatís hard to get across to people, is that you know, this is our lives.  We do this every night.  We donít party every night and after every show we donít want to.  We just want to sleep.  If you want to come out and hang out with us in the hotel, great, but sorry weíre . . .

Jimmy:  I think however, thereíve been quite a few instances where the knot has been tied to a hilt and we have been very, very fortunate (knocks on wood) to have everybody here and healthy and happy and thereís definitely times that it gets out of control, but most of the time weíve been doing it for so long, we know when to say when. 

Mark:  Yeah, we talk about those times, but we donít remember them.

Jason:  You donít (remember)?  I remember everything!

Mark:  I donít remember those.

RNW:  (To Jason)  And youíre taking notes, huh?  You know, some day.  You never know.

Jason:  I got it on video, yeah.  You guys kick me out, thereís an autobiography coming up.  (all laughing)

Jimmy:  "The Spine You Thought You Knew!"

RNW:  You guys need to be careful about that.  So, what have you found is the best part about being a touring musician, and what do you think is the hardest?

Jason:  Obviously playing is the best.  Like Jim said, God forbid the day comes when this ends.  Thereís a lot of people out there that Iím going to miss, that I canít just get up and fly to Pennsylvania or Oklahoma, or whatever.  Thatís going to be the hardest.

RNW:  And youíll have to get an apartment too, huh?

Scott:  Yeah, somewhere.  If weíre not broke.

Jason:  Well, the funny thing is, Iím from L.A., and every other place weíve seen in the country, Iím like, I donít want to move back to L.A.  But all my family is there, so Iím torn right now.  And these guys are all from Tulsa and Iíve fallen in love with that place cause its so more mellow. 

Jimmy:  Yeah, but the caliber of musician out there is also, in my opinion, somewhat elevated compared to . . .

Jason:  Right, L.A.ís like every punk you know . . .

Jimmy:  Yeah, LAís like (in an exaggerated surfer dude voice)  "Yeah, you know, like, Iíve been playing guitar for about a year, and the bandís been together about a week and a half, I think weíre ready to go."  "Weíre signed on the world tour and we just paid the club owner $500 to play."

Jason:  "Weíre looking for a label!"

Jimmy:  Its like, dude, go where they boo you or they cheer you and then youíll know.  And we found . . .

Jason:  Go to the Midwest.  Its a good testing ground.

Jimmy:  Go to the Midwest.  If you suck, youíll learn that you suck a lot faster than you will in L.A.  Cause nobody in L.A. will tell you. 

Jason:  And even if youíre good, no one shows up. 

Mark:  Exactly.  "You know, Iím sorry I missed it."

Jimmy:  If you play Tulsa, and other areas in the Midwest, people are like "Get off" (the stage) or they are so into it theyíll come back. 

Scott:  We have people who will drive 14 hours to come see us because they are dedicated.

RNW:  Thatís cool!  Thatís pretty flattering.

Jimmy:  Itís a specific market, for sure.  Its great.

RNW:  Iíve heard from other bands that in the Midwest its true that theyíll boo you off stage if they donít like you, but also, their positive reactions are a total rush.

Mark:  Totally.

RNW:  And you come here to California and Iíve seen a lot of bands just go "Man, we must have sucked.  I donít think they liked us."  And Iím like, no, they liked you!  Iíve been watching the crowd and their responses.  They liked you.  But they say no, we just came from Boston and that was like, they were screaming and jumping around.  Nobody was waving their hands or anything tonight.  And for the fifth time I say, no, really, they liked you!

Jimmy:  I have more fun playing in places like L.A. because you get to view the audience.  I mean, the audience is so wrapped up in themselves, its like a performance in itself.  So everybodyís just kind of here.  Its definitely in both directions.

RNW:  Being a musician is more than just a profession, I think.  If youíre in a high profile profession like music, itís a responsibility in a lot of ways.  The message that you bring out and the image that you produce.  Some people, I think, abuse that and some people use it really well.  What do you want to do with that ever growing profile that you guys have and what are you most proud of in your musical career?

Scott:  Well, the fact that we get to play music is something that we all long to do.  Itís a dream, so literally living your dream is our existence.  Knowing that there are people that weíre connecting with through the music that weíre playing is as rewarding as anything you could ever ask for.  I mean, you wake up doing that, you feel charmed already.  Successful heart surgery every time, you know?  Its like, youíre doing your job and youíre doing it well and youíre at least connecting with someone Ė some of these fans.

RNW:  And even though its your job, it isnít a job.

Scott:  Yeah, itís a lot less like a job and more like just a life style. 

Jimmy:  To be honest, the bigger that it gets, the less I give a f*** what people think.  And I donít mean that to be harsh in a sense, but when you are in any band and youíre trying to make your paces through all the local areas, then to the regional levels, then to the national levels, so many people dig on the band and that kind of thing.  After a while, I think it took me our first tour to realize that so much was going to be said about our band and so many quotes were going to get misquoted and so many record company bios were going to be the biggest crock of s***, you know?  And as soon as I realized that, I think it just reaffirmed what we all got into this for.   And that was to be an amazing live band.  So everything is kind of geared toward that.  I think Iíd rather end up in a position like Dave Matthews or Phish than to be in a position like INXS.

Jason:  Ooo, donít even joke!  Iím most proud of the fact that through all of the B.S. we stayed the people we are.  In the sense that we donít consider them fans, we consider them friends.  Weíre all on the internet, we return every email that we get, I mean every one.  And Iím most proud of that.  That we can still hold our heads up and say what ever has happened, everything thatís happened, weíre still Ė pretty much, I mean everyone changes Ė the same four guys that we were when this thing started.

RNW:  And youíve got to stay friends, right?  Cause youíre all living on a bus together.

Jason:  Well, except for hating him, him and him, Iím all right.

Scott:  Weíre very thankful for the people who come out and support us, definitely, for sure.  I mean . . . since we donít have a label that supports us, we need the fans for sure, and friends, so our touring momentum definitely keeps us above water. 

RNW:  Iím getting these vibes from you guys . . .

Scott:  Like what?  Did I say something out loud? 

RNW:  No one will ever hear it.

Scott:  Oh s***, its on tape.  Oh, I donít care.

RNW:  What milestones or measures of success are you still looking for in your career?

Jason:  A good record company . . . (all laugh) . . . and a gold record.  And a tour bus.

Jimmy:  A good record company, a better manager, and a tour bus. 

Jason:  Did I mention a tour bus?

RNW:  A nice tour bus!

Jason:  Any tour bus.

RNW:  Universal gives the most bitchin tour buses . . .

Jimmy:  In all honesty, for me, the things that I long to see happen to this band is to get its fair shot, you know?  Get the fairest tour support.  You know, the label goes to the extent of getting somebody like Roy Thomas Baker to produce your f***ing record, and then they all go take naps when its time to go on tour.  I mean, what the f*** is that?  And when they actually put the record on the shelves, nobody knows in the label who the f*** your band is.  They donít even know who the f*** I am.  Theyíve never seen us live, and weíre their only top ten.  And weíve seen bands that have opened for us go huge, completely huge.  Because we also saw the kind of support, we saw these bands get the kind of support that we kind of felt like we deserved and we never really got.  And if the band completely sucks and we fall off the earth after we get those tons of support, at least we can rest on the laurels that we were given our fair shot at the whole thing and we still have Ė just on our touring reputation alone Ė we have fans that will always be our fans and our friends.  And weíll have tours that we could always do, forever, with no label support.  With nothing but just the fans.  But you can only do that for so long until you just drive yourself crazy.  And in order to get to the next level, you need that support.  Thatís kind of like what I would like to see happen.  At least in the next couple of years. 

For more informtaion on the Caroline's Spine's sound, visit their antiMUSIC Artist of the Month feature for July 2000.

(The band is currently taking a break and writing new material for their next CD.  Watch their offical website for tour updates.)

Visit Caroline's Spine's Official Website


Listen to cuts from "Attention Please" and purchase it

Debbie Seagle is the special features Editor for Have a comment or question for her? Email her at 
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