Music Ketchmark Live

Interview-Fusion Magazine

F. For those who haven’t read your myspace page what is your story? It mentioned that you found a guitar in your mum’s closet and went from there. J. It went from there, yes. Neither of my parents were that involved in music when I was young, Sundays my mom would have the stereo on when she'd clean the house. I’d raid their record collection when they weren’t home to find some hidden gems. I grew up in the Midwest. I always refer to it as a truck stop in the middle of a cornfield. It may sound dull, but it was anything but, I wouldn’t of had it any other way. I saw my chance early on to leave the truck stop behind and I took it. I moved to Nashville TN with a bunch of friends. It felt like for the first time I was seeing the world, who knew what was in store. I cut my teeth in Nashville for a while, but even before I moved to Nashville, California was always my destination.

F. Other than The Beatles being your first bit of inspiration what have been you other inspirations along the way? I don’t know if this is an insult your sound very much reminds me of Muse. J. That’s not an insult at all! I like Muse, I’ve always considered that what ever moves me, influences me. I think it’s important for a song to make you feel something when you hear it. If it doesn’t what’s really the point? Many bands have influenced me over the years. Music has always had an effect on me and still does.

F. How old were you went you started playing, and what did you listen too before that all happened? J. I started playing around 7th grade. I would say that I grew up on the radio, but before that it was my parent’s record collection. Records like The Beatles ‘with the Beatles’ & Queen ‘the Game’, it was slim pickings at times and I think that’s why after awhile I went searching for something else. Don’t get me wrong those records are a part of my collection today, But at that age I was always in search of something new.

F. You mention that your mum is your biggest fan, does she come along to the gigs? J. My mom has only seen me play once, when I was 17 at a battle of the bands in Peoria IL. She has always lived in IL, and hasn’t seen me play since.

F. You’ve traveled to places such as Nashville then LA, was there a big change in music and scene. What are the venues like in Nashville compared to LA? J. LA is the kinda place where you can be whatever you want to be and it’s ok. I think it’s because they’ve seen it all before in some form or another. There are an endless amount of places to play and always something to do. Nashville on the other hand, is home to some of the best friends that I have. It’s a much tighter nit community of musicians. The venues are comparable and yes, there are a lot of rock bands in music city. Bands like Luna Halo, Former & Bonepony.

F. What is the weirdest situation that has ever happened to you on stage or off? J. The weirdest? That seems like some stiff competition, how about my favorite? I joined a band called Best Of Seven when I lived in Nashville. They were based out of LA, and were made up of a bunch of guys that I knew and grew up with. The other guitar player that was in the band was living in IL, and we would take turns driving across the country, it lasted for about 6 months ‘til I just up and moved to LA. It’s one thing to tour and stop along the way or have a driver, but we weren’t that lucky at the time. Best Of Seven was managed by Union Entertainment, who at the time managed Nickelback. Saliva & Oleander. We showcased endlessly and had many offers but none that suited us or our management. So on one of our many drives from the Midwest to the coast. We were just outside of Denver maybe 80 miles, when the gas gauge was in the red. Denny Smith, the other guitar player in the band who we affectionately refer to as the ‘Highway Master’, was at the wheel swearing that we’d make it to Denver. As the gas gauge got lower and lower eventually we found an exit and pulled over. But at that time of night the station was closed, so there was no gas to be had. It was cold as hell and we got back on the highway to find the next stop that promised salvation. 1 mile from the next exit the car ground to a stop. Any of you that have ever run out of gas know that feeling. So were in the middle of nowhere, but with the elevation you can still see Denver. Were walking to the exit in the cold, and I’ll never forget how bright the stars were. We get to the exit after dodging a couple passing semi’s, and the exit looks like something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was awesome, complete with a broken down motel that would only be fitting for Norman Bates. Denny is debating on weather to stay at the motel or sleep in the car if we can’t get gas. We get to the gas station and it it’s closed, but the pumps are on so we check ‘em all for service. We both turn our backs to walk away, and I’m thinking lets check out this Hotel. When out of the corner of my eye I see a pump in the back that we hadn’t checked. So we salvage a 2 liter diet coke bottle out of the trash that will hold enough gas to get us back to the station. Get the gas and walk back to the car. That’s a trip that I’ll never forget... I must say after getting the gas, that’s the first and last time I’ll ever see the Rocky Mountains at 80 mph.

F. Your myspace also mentioned that you are a guitar tech on the side, how did that come about? And what have you learned from doing that? J. I moved to LA and had a hard time getting a 9 to 5 job .At that time, the girlfriend of bass player in the band I was in was working for Brett Allen Studio Rental. Brett needed some one to run Amps and Guitars to studios in Hollywood and eventually needed someone to take his place and tech his sessions when he was double booked. So I've gotten to see the process of making records from both sides of the glass.

F. Have any of the acts you’ve guitar tech for given you any tips? If so what’s been the best so far? J. I learned a lot on the ‘natural selection’ record by FUEL. Watching Michael Biehorn produce was one of those moments I’ll always remember. Brett and Carl are great guys, it was just a great experience. There are many records that I’ve had the opportunity to see the recording process from the ground up. It’s different every time and there’s always something new to learn. It proved to be invaluable when it came time to record my record.

F. If you could support act anyone, dead or alive who would it be? J. Currently I’d say Butch Walker, or the band Ours. I’m a pretty big fan of what they have to say and there individual styles. Both artists are incredible live, and for me it’s all about the live show. I’m a whore though, give me a place to play and I’m there. There’s nothing better for me than performing live.

F. What is your dream gig? J. Making the music I want to make and playing it live. So far it’s going according to plan.

F. What are the plans for 2009? J. I’ve been of to a slow start in ‘09; the video for the song ‘EVERYTHING’ off of my record was released in January. It can be found on my you tube channel or can be previewed on my myspace page. I ended ’08 with a string of acoustic shows before the record was released. Then after New Years Eve broke my wrist and had to cancel some dates. So for right NOW it’s all up in the air.