London Calling: Jamie Rowe's a lucky man.
London Calling frontman and the voice behind Gardian and Adriangale talks about his new nu-album and life around him.
G'Day Jamie, Hope this finds you well. The album is out now in Europe and was for some time available as an alternative package off your website. How have the responses been to this album? Happy?
The response has been great! We have established a great core audience of powere pop fanatics around the globe. Since I am not in Europe, I can't really guess how the album is connecting. It's too early to tell. Also, I am pleasantly surprised to see people in the melodic rock circles enjoying it. I honestly wasn't sure they would be open to the London Calling sound but I was wrong!
You are an established vocalist, well known for your work with Guardian and Adriangale among others, how hard is it to launch a new name, a new band and a new direction - a new start as it would be, which London Calling clearly is for you?
It's very difficult to launch a new band right now. Obviously the recording industry is having it's well publicized troubles and that spills onto bands like us. The direction isn't very difficult because I am doing most of the songwriting so it's not like I'm playing strange music. If you look closely at my entire body of work with Guardian, pay attention to the songwriting credits along the way. London Calling is not too far removed from Buzz (ex:Lead The Way) and BottleRocket (ex:Revelation or What does it take) era music
which I wrote most of back then. It's nothing new for me it's just I finally have a focused outlet for it. Strip down the production of You and I from Guardian's Miracle Mile disc and you could have an L/C track.
The sound of the band - how would you describe it to those who have not yet sampled the music?
"In Color" &"Heaven Tonight" era Cheap Trick + vintage Sweet meets Foo Fighters and Weezer along the way. Modern but with a classic foundation.
Why the move to modern pop/rock / nu-breed? Where does your love of this style stem from?
It's just a change in musical taste over the years. It's where my heads at these days. People who know me personally aren't surprised at all. For instance when I played the New Sensation album for Guardian's David Bach his comment was "Man, you finally got to make the record you've always wanted to". But if you look at what I've recorded over the years, I can see it could be confusing. My first concert was Cheap Trick when I was 10 years old...I never got it out of my system...candy pop songs wrapped in rock...that's what I like to hear.
Do you have influences? What other bands of 2004 impress you?
I am constantly being influenced...I still have a sense of wonder about music
the exciting feeling of "What's next"...Bands of the moment that I really like are Sugarcult & The Kicks, Rooney made a fine disc last year. I also get my rock taste satisfied with The Darkness (sorry Andrew) ;-) [Editors note I'm not anti-Darkness! Just fix that guys voice!]. I'm looking forward to a new Butch Walker disc as well. They aren't really "current" but Third Eye Blind has been my favorite band for about 5 years now. Stephen gets a bad reputation as a person...but man he writes incredible songs and the way he phrases his vocal lines is a major influence to me.
The songs remain very memorable and catchy as hell - tell us some more about the ones featured on the album. What period were they written over? Do you have favourites?
Thanks for the compliment!
They were all written last year in 3 different writing/recording sessions. We have a total of 20 tracks in the can recorded to date. "Super Natural Girl" was one of the first songs we worked up as a band and it remains a fan favorite. My personal favorite is "Beautiful Day"...I love the energy and the positive atmosphere of the song. "American Dream" is a commentary on greed and I also really like it...It's powerful. I'm still a sucker for a ballad so "You Make My World Go Round" is another one close to my heart. "Song About Nothing" is always fun too.
Are there any positive signs of breaking through to a wider audience with this release - any interest from the majors?
We have been approached by about 10 major labels here in the U.S....we have been very fortunate to have gotten the ears of the industry. The thing we are struggling with is not really musical...the industry is in chaos. We have had A&R from Columbia and Warner-Reprise come to see us and then a month later have lost their jobs due to industry cut backs. So we start over. I think when things calm down and settle...if we have persevered...it'll pay off. But we are happy to have things like the internet and Atenzia to expose our band to the public.
How are the band's live shows going? Can you compare it to those you have done in the past?
It's been great...we have played with a diverse number of bands...for instance we played with Sponge last night...but we have also played with Stryper! I LOVE a good London Calling show
it's a total rush
very satisfying. I can't really compare it to anything in the past...I have played for 60, 000+ people in Brazil with Guardian and 50 people for London Calling in Los Angeles at The Knitting Factory and had both of them rock my world. Once again, starting over fresh with a new band
you have to earn your way up...that in itself is rewarding...challenging...but rewarding.
Tell us about the other guys in the band - their roles within the band and their personalities?
I knew all of these guys for years...Derek and Jon played with another artists that opened a 3 month Guardian tour...I spent a lot of time with them even back then.
Derek is the drummer and he is simply the best I have ever played with...bar none. I don't think we've ever played with another band who didn't mention how good he is after the show. Derek is a laid back guy who loves 70's era nostalgia and listens to everything from Ronnie Milsap to Death Metal to Weezer.
Jon is the guitarist...he grew up on Slash so he plays a kinda tight/sloppy style. Jon can "shred" but plays within the song. A true guitar hero who'll likely never be perceived as one. Jon is very true to his Kentucky roots and is picked on occasionally (in love of course) by his bandmates.
Matthew is a solid bassist and very outgoing. A great personality and not a day goes by that someone doesn't compare his to Sean Penn. He brings alot of life to the show.
All these guys are great friends and quality people. My relationship with them is not centered on the band...it was established before...it's a great thing to play music with people you love and respect. We all share a common faith in Christ too!
Can you tell us about your currently available solo album?
Yes, it is called Dios De Amor/ Songs For Heaven and Earth. It is 10 songs in Spanish and the same 10 again in English. It is a Christian-themed recording ala Guardian. It's not hard rock and it's not Alternative...it's acoustic based rock for the most part. Scaled down sound too. It reminds me of Swing Swang Swung era Guardian. You can get it from www.jamierowe.com or any quality Christian music outlet.
Singing in Spanish? Plus a DVD? Is there anything you can't do?! What's on the DVD?
There's plenty I can't do! The DVD has 4 music videos shot in Russia as well as a video Biography pout together by the Latin Label...I was extremely pleased with the DVD.
Have you found being referred to as a Christian artist restrictive in anyway? Have their been frustrating stereotypes used over the years?
In ways, it probably has been. There are those who simply don't want anything to do with the Christian faith and don't want it in their music. I tend to meet a lot of people who have an idea about me when they meet me and will be on their "best behavior" around me thinking I'm gonna flip out or something...but they quickly learn I'm just a dude who lives life the best I can and I happen to believe in Jesus. To me, music doesn't have to have a blatant message to paint a picture of faith. It's sprinkled all through the London Calling cd as well as other things I record...it's just a natural part of me at this point.
And you have recently been featured on another release - the marvelous Adriangale record! So, you guys saved the best until last did you?!!
Yeah, Vic came to the sessions with some really strong material and evidently the melodic community is eating it up! Vic should be writing for Def Leppard and David Coverdale. I think he could put some fire under their rumps.
I heard this will be the last AG album you plan to sing on. Can you explain why this decision was made?
Yes, Crunch was my last Adriangale CD. I have reasons as to why I don't want to record with that project anymore. But it's really irrelevant info. All I will say is there is a section of my fanbase that wanted to hear the classic raspy voice and those records I did record were for them! There are 30 or so songs of me singing in an 80's style with 80's performance and production. Enjoy it to the fullest. Don't let what's not coming keep you from enjoying what you have in front of you.
I will say that I will likely never sing a whole album as a session vocalist anymore. It's confusing to the public. If I ever decide to record in that style again, it would likely be with Guardian in some capacity.
How did you become involved in the Liberty & Justice project. You track included on the album was one of the best and showcased yet another side of your versatile voice!
Justin Murr called and asked. Simple as that. I do session work all the time. I would like to say that I was happy with "Noise" but I think the overall quality of the album could've been better. But it was cool to see Justin make that record happen. One guys idea becoming a reality. Pretty cool. I recorded an acoustic track recently for the next one he has planned.
Any plans to sing on heavier material like that again in the future?
Not really.... but ya never know. Like I said...I do session work all the time.
The rasp is on call at all times. It's not difficult.
What else are you working on right now?
I just co-produced some tracks for my brother's band Nineteen88. It's a novelty hard rock record. I wrote a track called the Metal Pokey for it...you put your left fist in...put your left fist out
etc...really silly but fun. Other than that I am always writing and getting ready to do some Latin American touring for my solo disc.
Anything you would like to add Jamie?
I would like to add 4 plus 4...and that happens to be 8! ;-)
Actually...thanks to all those who have been with me for a decade and are still supporting my career. Melodic Rock fans are certainly passionate about their music...so if I "make the cut"...I am honored.
What's next for London Calling?
I hope a lot more of the same...I would love to bring London Calling to Europe and Asia for touring
we all would love that.
I hope Atenzia has success with us...they are kind of similar to us
some familiar names doing something new. I hope we can lock in a quality U.S. deal for the band...but if not...we'll keep doing what we are doing.
Many thanks for taking time out to do this interview!
This was a fun half hour to answer some questions...anything else you need just e-mail.