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,
Mark: Yes, that’s what he
RNW: And you believed him,
Mark: Yeah. I still
think it’s 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: You’re welcome.
RNW: Victoria’s Secret, "Rapture."
Jimmy: Mmmm, excellent!
RNW: (To Jimmy) So, Caroline’s
Spine, was it a script?
Jimmy: Yeah, that’s 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 won’t tell
anybody . . .
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 isn’t completely
out of the picture.
RNW: You definitely need that
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 don’t agree with
the classification and I think it fits into all formats.
RNW: So, metal, pop, country?
Jason: We ‘ve never put a
name to it. I always tell people, if you like stuff that rocks hard,
but still has melody, ya know? We’re heavy but we’re not metal, we’re
poppy but we’re 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 we’re 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
Jason: Its moved up from "baby,
baby" back seat lyrics, but they’re still there, they’re just written more
intelligently. But its still the same old "baby, baby."
Jimmy: There’s a couple of
underground bands that aren’t getting a lot of play right now that are
getting back to that. A story you can get into, about life’s experiences.
RNW: Any primal screaming
for tonight at all?
RNW: Primal screaming . .
Jason: (Laughing) From you
RNW: (To Jimmy) How
are you at primal screaming?
Jimmy: Pretty good.
But only to let people know what’s going on (WAKE UP!)
RNW: If you were describing
the band’s sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music yet, what would
you say your defining characteristic was? So far we’ve 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 that’s good! That’s good business.
Jimmy: Now, if we get the
right label, we’ll be there.
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
Jason: We’re 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. You’ve 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
RNW: So you still don’t have
Jason: None of us, no.
I honestly think we didn’t have to give
up anything, except for obviously when we started giving up our lives,
but since then, we’ve pretty much called the shots for ourselves.
Jimmy: When you don’t have
a life, its hard to give one up.
Jason: That’s true.
We’re still trying to get a life.
Mark: Outside of airports,
bars and hotels.
Jason: We’ve been very lucky
about not having to give up anything that we didn’t 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, we’re in a position where we’ve 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 doesn’t work out, and it doesn’t blow it
through huge, great, we’ll 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 we’ll 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, we’re
in the "Army."
Scott: Totally. My first
record that I ever got when I was seven years old was KISS - "Destroyer."
I’ve 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 isn’t that bad!"
Yeah, I didn’t grow up with KISS at all. And these guys were like,
"no, KISS is the way to go!" I’m just like, "whatever." And
finally, it just seeps into you. You can’t help it. KISS overtakes
RNW: That was my first and
only groupie story when I was a teenager, so some day when I’m not interviewing
you I’ll share that one with you. Its pretty funny. Aerosmith,
wow, you’ve 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, they’re 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 he’d walk away and I’m like, Oh man!
RNW: You’d 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 you’re
looking in the mirror thinking, could I use a little make-up?
Jason: How about a star right
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. We’re
here for the same reason you’re here. We’ve 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
And they were like, "I can’t believe you guys showed up." Everyone
thought we were going to cancel so they didn’t show up. It was like,
oh, they’re playing for KISS, why are they going to play this dinky little
Mark: And the bar didn’t serve
alcohol any more, it was just coke.
Jason: Yeah, so all the drunks
come in and they couldn’t drink. They were like, you guys are worth
it but, ah . . .
RNW: Yeah, we’re going down
to Ricky’s Crab Shack (all laugh). So now that you are in the thick
of things, so to speak, and you’re touring and dealing with record labels,
etc., is there anything about the music business that you’ve discovered,
that you never knew when you were growing up, and you just kinda went "Ah,
so that’s how that’s 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 they’ll play it. All the politics of it. In fact, we did
everything ourselves for the first five years and all of the sudden now
there’s 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 he’s like - if he fails, then
basically, it doesn’t matter to him. He doesn’t care. We’re
the ones that suffer, and its difficult. Everyone, we work with a
lot of very nice people, but its difficult because the failures don’t effect
them as much as they do us. This is our lives. To those people
its just a project. They’re 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 don’t
bleed for it. So that’s the difficult part I think. But, you
know, all in all, everyone’s decent people.
Mark: I think the one difference
about the music industry - I don’t think I ever believed the sex, drugs
and rock & roll thing.
RNW: You mean the coke and
Jason: I believed it
- I’ve 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 can’t.
RNW: I used to play this game
when I was standing back stage. I’ll stand there and I’ll take a
look and I’ll figure out where all the roadies are and then I’ll figure
out where all the groupies are and then I’ll 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: That’s what I do .
RNW: Yeah, ah . . .
Jason: That’s 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 you’re just going to get invited to the most raging
party. The funny thing is, that after the show, I can’t wait to get
out there and say hi because there is nothing going on back stage.
I’m sure when you get to the arena level you’re able to throw parties and
stuff like that.
Jimmy: It doesn’t 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 that’s
not there. You’re 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 we’ve been very fortunate.
We have friends that have suddenly entered our top ten that we didn’t 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 don’t you just
wish you could go over to somebody’s house and have a barbecue or feel
at home or just relax?
Jimmy: Like the gay mud wrestling
Mark: That was the Jell-O.
RNW: Do tell! We have
a story about Jell-O wrestling? We have about ten minutes to talk
Jason: That’ll 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 they’re like "Come over. I understand you guys have three hours
to kill before the show, come over to my house." Its like, we’d love
to but, trust me, if we have three hours off, I’m taking a frickin nap
or a shower. That’s what’s hard to get across to people, is that
you know, this is our lives. We do this every night. We don’t
party every night and after every show we don’t want to. We just
want to sleep. If you want to come out and hang out with us in the
hotel, great, but sorry we’re . . .
Jimmy: I think however, there’ve
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 there’s definitely times that it gets out of
control, but most of the time we’ve been doing it for so long, we know
when to say when.
Yeah, we talk about those times, but we don’t remember them.
Jason: You don’t (remember)?
I remember everything!
Mark: I don’t remember those.
RNW: (To Jason) And
you’re taking notes, huh? You know, some day. You never know.
Jason: I got it on video,
yeah. You guys kick me out, there’s an autobiography coming up.
Jimmy: "The Spine You Thought
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.
There’s a lot of people out there that I’m going to miss, that I can’t
just get up and fly to Pennsylvania or Oklahoma, or whatever. That’s
going to be the hardest.
RNW: And you’ll have to get
an apartment too, huh?
Scott: Yeah, somewhere.
If we’re not broke.
Jason: Well, the funny thing
is, I’m from L.A., and every other place we’ve seen in the country, I’m
like, I don’t want to move back to L.A. But all my family is there,
so I’m torn right now. And these guys are all from Tulsa and I’ve
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.’s like
every punk you know . . .
Jimmy: Yeah, LA’s like (in
an exaggerated surfer dude voice) "Yeah, you know, like, I’ve been
playing guitar for about a year, and the band’s been together about a week
and a half, I think we’re ready to go." "We’re signed on the world
tour and we just paid the club owner $500 to play."
Jason: "We’re looking for
Jimmy: Its like, dude, go
where they boo you or they cheer you and then you’ll know. And we
found . . .
Jason: Go to the Midwest.
Its a good testing ground.
Jimmy: Go to the Midwest.
If you suck, you’ll 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 you’re
good, no one shows up.
Mark: Exactly. "You
know, I’m 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 they’ll come back.
Scott: We have people who
will drive 14 hours to come see us because they are dedicated.
RNW: That’s cool! That’s
Jimmy: It’s a specific market,
for sure. Its great.
RNW: I’ve heard from other
bands that in the Midwest its true that they’ll boo you off stage if they
don’t like you, but also, their positive reactions are a total rush.
RNW: And you come here to
California and I’ve seen a lot of bands just go "Man, we must have sucked.
I don’t think they liked us." And I’m like, no, they liked you!
I’ve 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 everybody’s just kind of here. Its definitely in
RNW: Being a musician is more
than just a profession, I think. If you’re in a high profile profession
like music, it’s 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. It’s a dream, so literally living your dream
is our existence. Knowing that there are people that we’re connecting
with through the music that we’re 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, you’re doing your job and you’re doing it well and you’re at least
connecting with someone – some of these fans.
RNW: And even though its your
job, it isn’t a job.
Scott: Yeah, it’s 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 don’t
mean that to be harsh in a sense, but when you are in any band and you’re
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 I’d rather end up in a position like
Dave Matthews or Phish than to be in a position like INXS.
Jason: Ooo, don’t even joke!
I’m most proud of the fact that through all of the B.S. we stayed the people
we are. In the sense that we don’t consider them fans, we consider
them friends. We’re all on the internet, we return every email that
we get, I mean every one. And I’m most proud of that. That
we can still hold our heads up and say what ever has happened, everything
that’s happened, we’re still – pretty much, I mean everyone changes – the
same four guys that we were when this thing started.
RNW: And you’ve got to stay
friends, right? Cause you’re all living on a bus together.
Jason: Well, except for hating
him, him and him, I’m all right.
Scott: We’re very thankful
for the people who come out and support us, definitely, for sure.
I mean . . . since we don’t have a label that supports us, we need the
fans for sure, and friends, so our touring momentum definitely keeps us
RNW: I’m getting these vibes
from you guys . . .
Scott: Like what? Did
I say something out loud?
RNW: No one will ever hear
Scott: Oh s***, its on tape.
Oh, I don’t 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
RNW: A nice tour bus!
Jason: Any tour bus.
RNW: Universal gives the most
bitchin tour buses . . .
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 don’t even know who the f*** I am.
They’ve never seen us live, and we’re their only top ten. And we’ve
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 – just on our touring
reputation alone – we have fans that will always be our fans and our friends.
And we’ll 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. That’s 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
(The band is currently taking a break
and writing new material for their next CD. Watch their offical website
for tour updates.)
Caroline's Spine's Official Website
to cuts from "Attention Please" and purchase it
Debbie Seagle is the special features Editor
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