Saturday, 14 April 2012 12:11 | Written by Marc 'Lazy Rocker' Schneiders |
THE VOICE OF ROCK
Jimi Jamison, continuously acclaimed as one of The Voices of Rock, is the former lead singer of Survivor, Cobra & Target. His hits include "High On You", "The Search Is Over", "Burning Heart", "I Can't Hold Back", and the Baywatch theme song "I'm Always Here." Jimi released 3 solo studio albums and also just released a duet album with ex-Toto singer Bobby Kimball. A few hours before his Dutch only show in De Boerderij in Zoetermeer with his latest project One Man's Trash your webzine LazyRocker.com had the chance to talk to Jimi about rock music, Survivor, his Firefest gigs and of course the collaboration with Bobby Kimball.
LR: You are often called as one of The Voices of Rock. What does rock mean to you?
JJ: Rock is a lifestyle. Yeah, for me it's a lifestyle. I don't know what I would have done without music in my life. I never even planned being a rocker as a career. I never thought I could make money out of it. I didn't really care. I was a young kid. My band rehearsed twice a day everyday, you know. Just because we loved it!
LR: One of Survior's biggest hits "Burning Heart", written by Jim Peterik & Frankie Sullivan, appeared on the 1985 soundtrack album for Rocky IV. The song is about an "all or nothing" battle inspired by the Cold War. The East versus West conflict is reflected in the movie by the fight in the boxing ring between the American Rocky and Russian Ivan Drago. Was the song written especially for Rocky IV?
JJ: Yes, exactly. Jim came up with the idea for the song and I said that is brilliant. That's great! That was going on back then.
LR: Lately there seems to a renewed interest in melodic rock. Do you agree on that?
JJ: Yes! Totally! Even the younger people are listening to it. I don't think it is never going to end. It slowed way way down, but pretty soon it starts evolving back into a more solid kind of rock that has meaning to it. There is some kind of emotion in it. I think it made a great comeback!
LR: So you get more booked right now?
JJ: Oh yeah! We have quite a few dates booked for November. In January 2012 I will tour with 'ROCK MEETS CLASSIC', also in Europe. And we're releasing music too. Hopefully still more people are getting into melodic rock.
LR: Your performance at Firefest 2010 was one of these shows where people who attended the show will proudly say: "I was there". How did you experience that show?
JJ: I had a great time! So much fun! I had no idea the reactions of the people would be like it was. It was wonderful. Maybe it had something to do with the fact we never played there before. When we were in the UK with Survivor it was for promotional stuff, but we never played there. When I got the offer I jumped on it. And Firefest is growing every year, it's getting bigger and bigger. I said to Kieran "Be careful, when you start to have it outside... the rain...". Firefest is special to me and I feel part of the family now. I am so thankful to the people who like the music.
JIMI JAMISON @FIREFEST 2010
LR: Did you also feel the power from the crowd, people with all the same interest in melodic rock music?
JJ: Yeah, the feeling on stage was like "Waaauw". And I am going "Dude, oh my god, check this out. YEAHHH" There was a special atmosphere. The Rock City is a great venue. I love it over there. I hope they never move it.
LR: Last week you played Firefest 2011. Unfortunately we didn't attend the show. How was the gig?
JJ: It was great! A killer! We headlined the first night. I was proud to be on the show again. But the first time was very special, you know, just like your first love... :-)
LR: You played with Tommy Denander and some guys from H.E.A.T. How did that happen? Busy schedules... how do you rehearse?
JJ: Well, we didn't rehearse hahah! Well the guys of course got together. They are talented musicians. We just did a rehearsal before the the soundcheck. But the band is so good. It just rocks! Tommy Denander is such a brilliant guitar player. And I am really proud of the guys from H.E.A.T.
LR: Frontiers Records just released your latest album 'Kimball Jamison'. An unique duet album in classic melodic rock style with ex-Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball. How did that happen?
JJ: Well, it sounded better as we called it 'Jamison Kimball' haha!! No, that doesn't matter to me. I like it. The songs are really good. Written by some great songwriters as Eric Martensson, Robert Sall, Mutt Lange, Richard Page, Randy Goodrum... The cream of songwriters you know. Bobby and I have been friends for over 25 years. And all those time Bobby, Mickey Thomas from Starship and me were talking about doing a record together. Bobby and I started more to plan together than Mickey planned with us. When you hear Bobby's voice you immedeately know who he is. And that is a wonderful thing. And he has to sing all the higher stuff hahah!
LR: How are the reactions so far?
JJ: Good, there was one that was a little off. He listened to the album a few more times and said he had to apologize as it actually is a good album.
LR: Was it hard to decide who was going to sing what parts?
JJ: Amazingly no. It wasn't hard at all. We listened to it and said "hey, you sound better here". It wasn't like fighting over verses and stuff. It just worked and that's the honest truth.
LR: Did you record your vocals parts together?
JJ: Yeah. We did all the main vocals together. It took me like a week or so to do all my vocals and I went home. Bobby stayed to work on his.
LR: What is your favourite track at this moment? And why?
JJ: That's a tough one because I got a couple of three of them... "Sail Away" I like a lot, "Worth Fighting For" and "We Gotta Believe". That's a spirit lifting song. I like to put a smile on people's faces... even if they dont want to... :-)
LR: You are very busy as you are already involved in a new project...?
JJ: I've been writing some songs with the band I am playing tonight... One Man's Trash. It's kinda melodic but heavier than Survivor or my solo stuff. The CD is coming out soon. People who already heard some stuff are very excited! I think you're going to like it.
LR: Well, you almost answered my next question. Before joining the soft melodic rockers Survivor you played heavier rock styles in Target and Cobra. I read somewhere that you were briefly considered as the lead vocal replacement for Deep Purple in 1989. Can we expect a heavier Jamison album in the future?
JJ: Yes, you can. When I get home I will start another solo record. Eric Martensson will write most of the songs. I might write some myself.
LR: My next question: On your 2 latest albums you didn't write any songs. Do you still write? But again you already answered them haha.
JJ: Haha I can answer 2 or 3 questions with one answer. It's hard for me to stop once I get started. By the way: I also wrote some stuff for the One Man's Trash album.
LR: What inspires you?
JJ: There was a time I wrote about anything whether I knew about it or not. That was years and years ago. If I thought it was cool I wrote about it. Nowadays it has to be something that means something to me. Something's that either happened to me or that effected me or somebody close to me. That gives me inspiration. Fred Zahl and me wrote a song not long ago when we were in a hotelroom. We had the track already but we hadn't a clue what the lyrics were going to be about. Then I walked out on the balcony, I looked out and there was this river and the moon was shining on the river so brightly that I got the first verse came to me. Unbelievable, she shines like the moon on the water. It's about a feeling, emotion. When I was 15 I wrote about a box of candy haha!!
JIMI JAMISON @BOERDERIJ, ZOETERMEER, NETHERLANDS, 27-OCT-11
LR: You already told me you are going to work on a new solo album. Any other future plans?
JJ: Well, just keep doing what I am doing. Not making more plans haha! Things are falling in place. When you plan on being a rock star it probably won't happen. So I always did things for some reason outta my heart. That's the way I live my life.
Baywatch or Rocky IV? Baywatch, it meant more to me. And it kept me alive for a long time haha!
Mandy Meyer or Frankie Sullivan? Mandy Meyer... wait a minute... you better put both cause Frankie did some great stuff in the studio.
In studio or on stage? Stage for sure.
Survivor or solo? That's a hard one... both... I love solo, but I love the Survivor stuff too. When I listen to the old Survivor albums I still do love them. How can I not say Survivor...??
LR: Thank you for your time and have a great show!
JJ: Good interview man, and enjoy the show!
I didn't ask Jimi if there was ever going to be a reunion with Survivor as this was probably the most asked question during interviews. A few weeks later it was announced that Jimi was returning as singer of Survivor...