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, thatís what he
RNW: And you believed him,
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 . . .
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
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
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?
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 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.
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: 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
RNW: So you still donít have
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!"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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: 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
RNW: Iím 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 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
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 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
(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
for Rocknworld.com. Have a comment or question for her? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Leave your comments below.