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  INTERVIEW WITH JASON JENNINGS

Sonia Waterfield



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jason jennings

I was recently introduced to Jason Jennings, known for being the bassist of Jon Oliva's Pain, to catch up and find out about his forthcoming side project and album due out early in 2013. He was a pleasure to interview, very eager and informative with his answers. Read on to find out more...

"Predominantly, I'm known for my work as a bassist in a variety of styles and contexts at home in Florida, but I had the pleasure of touring Europe for the first time in the summer of 2012."

Article continues below...

   


Known for being the bassist in Jon Oliva's Pain I wanted to know what triggered Jason to start on this side project, the influences and what he hoped to gain from this experience.

"Coming back to Florida and hitting the old grind on the club scene playing cover tunes here has a LOT to do with it! Over the years I've accumulated these little licks or pieces of structure, and thus will employ them in my new project. Club gigs are necessary; paying the bills. But they can be stifling as well, so this is my antidote.

"As for experiences and influences that shape the new material: well, we can't let that cat out of the bag beforehand, now can we? What I really hope to regain is the satisfaction and joy of the creative process, and ultimately have a product that I can be proud of. I always try to write from the heart, and that can scary enough—baring my soul, as it were. Yikes!"

This is not Jason's first time working on an album as a side project. The first was with 'Near Life Experience' back in 2004, so I was intrigued to find out why this wasn't completed, what spurred him onto the idea back then and his main influences.

"With NLE I was totally into the idea of making an album that I would've listened to myself in, say, 1977 or 78. I've always been inspired by a wide cross-section of bands, and those favourites stick with me to this day. I still listen to major doses of Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Wishbone Ash, et al—when bass players could step out melodically and still sock it in the pocket.

"Unfortunately money got tight, as is too often the case. I took a gig with a rather crappy cover band that somehow managed to book relentlessly. Now I had the money, but not the time. A year or two went by, and basically 'gigger mortis' set in on the project.

"After my brother passed in 2009, I found myself drawn to the recordings again. And several people who were involved then have prodded me to go back and finish it. So that brings us into the 'now'."

jason jennings

On 'Near Life Experience' Jason used nine musicians for eleven tracks, who performed in a Steely Dan style. I wanted to know if this was something he would be doing again and who he would chose.

"Well, I still think the Steely Dan approach of using players I think fit the songs is the best route to go for me. I don't think they necessarily played in a Steely Dan 'style' but they understood what I was trying to convey.

"Another thing about those core guys — Pat Buffo (vocals, percussion), Sonny Harlan (drums), and Matt LaPorte on lead guitar — is we'd all known each other for eons, played a billion gigs together, and were very much in tune with each other. Pat Buffo and I have been demoing songs together since 1998, and we still perform live together a lot..."

From the press information I received, I read that Jason experienced a very hard time in his life, both during childhood and again in adulthood. I wanted to know if he will be purely drawing from those experiences, if they had 'matured' him musically and as a person.

"I think for every child there are difficult periods, but that's all subjective. We moved around a lot in the metro New York area when I was young, and when my folks split up my brothers and I wound up in Louisville, Kentucky with our mother. She took on secretarial work to raise my brothers and me; my father was still in New York City working as a freelance writer. It's certainly not like I received insufficient nurturing from my parents though we, like many, had our share of lean times. Historically, music has tempered many a similar hardship.

"Now, as for adulthood — well, let's suggest that I'm still trying to discover that in full, since I'm still running around like a teenager. I got married in the late 80s and had two sons by the early 90s; I had a solid graphic art career going and I was playing in a great band. But the party never stopped, the marriage went sour, and ultimately I found myself raising my sons as a single parent. Again, there were some pretty lean times. Somehow, we muddled through those."

Matt LaPorte, a lifelong friend and guitarist who worked with Jason on the last project recently left this world so I asked if his spirit be carried on in this work.

"As for my dear friend, brother, colleague, and music mentor Matt LaPorte, I still reside in the apartment where he lived with me for the last year and a half of his life. His former bedroom is used for rehearsal and recording space, so yes — I still feel his presence very strongly.

"The last tracks he ever recorded were programmed drums on some demos of mine. It took about a year or more for me to even listen to those.

With Jason currently working with Jon Oliva's Pain and then listening to the two key tracks, 'Headspace' and 'Let It Bang', which are so far removed from the Metal style, I was intrigued to know what we can expect from his forthcoming album.

"There certainly won't be any limitations as far as styles. It's a trash or treasure mentality, really — something a little funky perhaps won't appeal to someone who likes the more in-your-face stuff. But at the end of the day, it will be about the song.

"Does it work? Do the lyrics convey the sentiment, and does the music complement that? It's a sonic canvas for me to paint on with sound. I don't want to boondoggle myself by writing in any one preconceived or specific direction."

jason jennings

I asked him about the recording process and how Jason will be personally involved.

"Like most folks, I prefer to work with people I have a strong bond with. I'll be using Jamie Goodman's facility in St Petersburg, Florida for some aspects, and perhaps Jim Fox at Sweet Spot in Largo, Florida for other aspects.

"I take on the role of mock producer, but I wholeheartedly listen to my engineers because those cats have very big ears! I like getting feedback and suggestions from everyone involved, and I think that makes the songs more personal to them as well.

"Beyond writing and arranging, I'll no doubt play rhythm guitar on the tracks as well as bass... the same as the last time."

I asked how he thought fans of Jon Oliva's Pain would react and if any of the members will have any influence or partaking in the recording.

"That's hard to predict about the JOP fans, but no one's slammed me — so far — for anything that's aired, and in fact I've had some very nice things said about my efforts to date.

"I'd love to bring Jon into the studio for a track or three, but Mr Oliva is an incredibly busy man! Ditto for Christopher Kinder, Jerry Outlaw, and Joe Diaz.

"As for influencing the material, there certainly must be an element of that. I mean, from early 2012 till the 'Hall Of The Mountain King' tour wrapped in mid July we were all riding that same vibe. But there's no way anything I write and possibly include JOP members on would ever be mistaken for JOP material. There's only one guy that can write those songs!"

Moving onto to any future plans or tours, Jason had this to say:

"I love the idea of the material generating enough interest to warrant putting together a deadly road band and doing some touring. But that's all way down the road — no pun intended - if it's going to happen at all."

Ending my questions and thanking him for his time, Jason wanted to leave this message for his friends and fans:

"I just want to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone! I was totally blown away by my experiences with JOP in Europe over the summer, and I am still totally in awe of all of the genuine people I met. I plan to come back over as soon as opportunity knocks! Until then, I'll be keeping an ear to the tracks..."

And there I present to you one of the easiest and nicest people that I have had the chance to interview...


21.11.12






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hairy balls presentation 'HAIRY BALLS CHALLENGE' RAISES OVER £5,000 FOR TEENAGE CANCER TRUST
Les-Fest organiser and Achren manager Fede Valls has proudly presented the cheque to Headbangers Balls fundraiser Matt Steed...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM ARE SCHEDULED TO RECORD SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM THIS AUTUMN
The band will get straight back into the studio immediately after the festival season ends...

marc ford EX BLACK CROWES MEMBER MARC FORD TO PLAY INTIMATE ACOUSTIC GIG AT THE BORDERLINE- JULY 22ND
'Holy Ghost' reveals Ford's gift for Americana which will be showcased at this special appearance...

motorhead aftershock MOTÖRHEAD UNVEIL "LOST WOMAN BLUES LIVE FROM SAN FRANCISCO" VIDEO FROM 'AFTERSHOCK - TOUR EDITION'
Swagger, verve, grit and polish. "We are Motörhead and we play rock and roll..."

suicide silence SUICIDE SILENCE STREAM THE BAND'S NEW ALBUM 'YOU CAN'T STOP ME' IN FULL ON YOUTUBE
The album marks the debut of new vocalist Eddie Hermida and includes some special guest appearances...

Nightwish TOUCHSTONE RELEASE THEIR FIRST EVER 3DISC DVD WITH LIMITED EDITION SIGNED 'OCEANS' EP
The DVD features previously unreleased footage of Touchstone's full set from 2010's High Voltage Festival, and a behind the scenes documentary...

Nightwish NIGHTWISH REVEAL 'MAKING OF' CLIP FOR THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM
The yet to be titled album is starting to take shape and the band discuss all aspects in this new video...

decapitated DECAPITATED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND COVER ARTWORK
'Blood Mantra' will be released in September and features artwork by Lukasz Jaszak...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE RELEASE THE PREVIOUSLY UNAVAILABLE LIVE PERFORMANCE 'GRAZ 1975'
The historic find contains over 70 minutes of previously unreleased material...

blues pills BLUES PILLS VOCALIST ELIN LARSSON DISCUSSES THE TRACKS OFF THE BAND'S NEW SELF-TITLED ALBUM
The first album from the colourful retro-rockers is released on 28th July...

linkin park LINKIN PARK ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
Fresh from summer festival appearances and the release of 'The Hunting Party' Linkin Park play fifteen dates in Europe...

joe bonamassa JOE BONAMASSA ANNOUNCES 4 NIGHTS AT LONDON'S HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
The shows will feature songs from new album 'Different Shades Of Blue', played live for the very first time in the UK, and a never-before-seen line-up of musicians...

demonic resurrection ONSLAUGHT ANNOUNCE DEMONIC RESURRECTION WILL REPLACE HATRIOT ON UK 'THRASH INVASION' TOUR
India's Demonic Resurrection will join Nightlord and main support Artillery following acclaimed appearances at Les-Fest 3 and Sonisphere...

judas priest JUDAS PRIEST 'REDEEMER OF SOULS' ALBUM LAUNCH PARTIES ANNOUNCED
A chance to hear new tracks from the album ahead of its release on Monday July 14th, plus these exclusive parties will also feature exclusive merchandise giveaways...

acrassicauda ACRASSICAUDA LAUNCH KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR THEIR FIRST OFFICIAL ALBUM
The latest chapter for the Iraq Metal pioneers continues their astonishing story...

black sabbath TONY IOMMI CONFIRMS MetalTalk REPORT THAT HYDE PARK WAS NOT THE LAST EVER BLACK SABBATH GIG
Tony released a video just before Friday's gig thanking fans for their support and he ends it by saying: "See you on the next tour"...

godsmack MULTI-PLATINUM US ROCKERS GODSMACK ANNOUNCE NEW STUDIO ALBUM "1000HP"
The band move into the fast lane for sixth studio album, '1000hp', set for international release via Spinefarm Records on September 1st 2014...

karmaflow 'KARMAFLOW: THE ROCK OPERA VIDEOGAME' IS UNVEILED WITH AN ALL-STAR CAST
This multidisciplinary art project is a must for lovers of gaming and Metal...

hellyeah HELLYEAH TAKES BLOOD FOR BLOOD TO THE TOP OF THE HARD ROCK CHARTS IN NORTH AMERICA
The band will tour Europe in July and August 2014 with six dates in the UK...

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT ANNOUNCES DVD 'GENESIS REVISITED: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL', WORLD TOUR PLUS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW
Re-live a seminal chapter of prog rock history live on stage. "It's a feast for eyes, ears and all the senses..."

cannibal corpse CANNIBAL CORPSE TO RELEASE 'A SKELETAL DOMAIN'
The 13th full-length album from the American Death Metal icons is released in September. The extensive tour reaches the UK in October...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD UNVEIL 'TIME TO DIE' AS TITLE OF FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM
"We had to kill the band so we could be reborn. It was the only way to ensure we could come back even stronger"...

motorhead aftershock MOTÖRHEAD POSTPONE RELEASE OF 'AFTERSHOCK - TOUR EDITION' NOW 4th AUGUST
A production error has put back the release for a month, but it will be worth waiting for...

suicide silence tour SUICIDE SILENCE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER 2014 UK TOUR
An unmissable opportunity to see the titans of modern Metal. "Come throw your horns up, bang your heads, or mosh your knickers off!! "...

hordes of belial LIPID AND BURNING THE DREAM ADDED TO HORDES OF BELIAL V BILL
The yearly Dundee Metal event continues to strengthen the line up...

snakecharmer SNAKECHARMER ANNOUNCE THREE UK DATES
Six of the UK's most highly-esteemed and experienced rock musicians have joined forces to create Snakecharmer...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW U.S. TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER 2014
Manowarriors have demanded more and further dates have been added. "We can't wait to be back and play for more of our U.S. fans!"...

tygertailz TIGERTAILZ RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'PUNCHED IN THE GUTZ'
The 'Knives' EP is out now and there is an upcoming release of unheard demos for September...

progstravaganza PROG SPHERE INVITES BANDS TO SEND SUBMISSIONS FOR 20TH EDITION OF PROGSTRAVAGANZA COMPILATION SERIES
The call goes out for bands around the world to submit songs for the jubilee edition of the sampler album ...

accept ACCEPT PREMIERE BREATHTAKING VIDEO FOR NEW TRACK 'STAMPEDE'
The stunning locations perfectly showcase the track which is from the band's album 'Blind Rage' out August 18th ..

mr big MR BIG ANNOUNCE ONLY BRITISH ISLES SHOW OF 2014
LA Rockers Mr Big have announced a one off show at London's Koko on Friday 17th October 2014 - their only show on these shores this year...

spike frankie miller SPIKE ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF '100% PURE FRANKIE MILLER' FEATURING RONNIE WOOD, ANDY FRASER, SIMON KIRKE, IAN HUNTER AND MORE
Call it a labour of love. A life's ambition. Or the chance to keep a precious legacy alive. Call it 100% Pure Frankie Miller....

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR BRAND NEW SINGLE 'SOLDIER'
Explosive hard rockers Kobra And The Lotus have revealed a warsome (get it?!) official video for 'Soldier'...

massive wagons MASSIVE WAGONS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Two years and it's finally here, the brand new album - 'Fight The System'...

temperance movement THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
The headlining dates will take place in November 2014...

overkill OVERKILL REVEAL NEW TRACK 'ARMORIST' ONLINE
"Our confidence is high for this shoot. From the director's eye to yours/ours, should be a killer!"...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD ANNOUNCE 'WAKING THE FALLEN: RESURRECTED' - OUT AUGUST 25TH
The restored breakthrough album includes a DVD & never before heard tracks, demos, and more...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE ANNOUNCE LONDON SHOW WITH EPICA
Grab your tickets quickly as demand for this double bill will be high...

devildriver DEVILDRIVER PREMIERE LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'GUTTED'
Check out the band's latest offering from sixth studio album 'Winter Kills'...

down n outz DOWN 'N' OUTZ ANNOUNCE UK & EIRE TOUR DATES
"It's like Joe and the boys have taken some vintage films and slapped them onto a big, bright Technicolor screen. A great, in-your-face new way to experience some of Mott's finest songs!"...

nuclear assault NUCLEAR ASSAULT TO RELEASE 'LIVE AT CBGB'S'
There will be a limited release of 500 picture discs capturing the old school thrashers back in 1986...

seether SEETHER REVEAL NEW TRACK, 'SUFFER IT ALL' AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD WITH 'ISOLATE AND MEDICATE' PRE-ORDER
The band have also announced UK Headline Shows for November...

gravedigger GRAVE DIGGER PREMIERE 'HELL FUNERAL' VIDEO
The track is from 'Return Of The Reaper', out July 14th...

voodoo six VOODOO SIX SET TO GUEST WITH THE WINERY DOGS ON TWO UK DATES IN JULY
These performances follow their Sonisphere appearance on Saturday July 5th...

orphaned land METAL MUSIC IS BIGGER THAN WHAT POLITICS CAN OFFER: ORPHANED LAND BRING ISRAEL AND PALESTINE TOGETHER
"We are the ambassadors of peace, more than our foreign ministry, or prime minister, or authors..."

madball MADBALL REVEAL OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'BORN STRONG' FEATURING CANDACE PUOPOLO FROM WALLS OF JERICHO
The track is taken from the album 'Hardcore Lives', released June 30th...

metallica METALLICA RELEASE NEW SONG
'Lords of Summer - First Pass Version' gets official release after being premiered on the first night of the current tour...

ted nugent kamp "TED NUGENT KAMP FOR KIDS" CELEBRATES 25TH ANNUAL SUMMER "KAMP"
When he's not being a guitar icon, Ted Nugent is on a mission to improve young lives. New album 'Shutup&Jam!' is out July 8...

massive wagons MASSIVE WAGONS RELEASE SINGLE AND NEW VIDEO 'RED DRESS'
The video incudes circus performances from the girls at Monster Cirque in the first release from the album 'Fight The System'...

black state highway THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM BLACK STATE HIGHWAY IS OUT ON 18TH AUGUST
The highly anticipated release is packed full of heavy riff-based rock...

helmet HELMET ANNOUNCE 'BETTY' 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR OF EUROPE FOR AUTUMN 2014
UK dates in Glasgow, Manchester, London now added due to popular demand ...

wacken LIVE AT WACKEN 2013 TO BE RELEASED AS DVD/ BluRay / 2 CD
Experience the world's biggest Metal Festival at home and be in with a chance to win a Lifetime Membership...

uncle rust UNCLE RUST ANNOUNCE AUGUST UK TOUR
The recently formed London based rock/Metal band will undertake a set of UK dates in August 2014...

blitzkreig BLITZKRIEG ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR SEPTEMBER 2014
The band will visit five countries on their only tour this year...

sonisphere LATE NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT AT SONISPHERE ANNOUNCED
Only two weeks away - get ready to continue the party after the headliners leave the stage...

finntroll FINNTROLL REVEAL LIVE FOOTAGE OF SEMINAL TRACK 'TROLLHAMMAREN', FILMED AT THEIR LIVE ALBUM RECORDING SHOW IN AMSTERDAM
"Lock up your daughters, kegs of rum and men of God, for The Trolls from Up North are coming for you...live!..."

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE REVEAL NEW VIDEO 'THE GAME' (FEAT. MATT HEAFY OF TRIVIUM)
The track is taken from the album 'Maximum Overload', which will be released in August...

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