Jimi Jamison Interview

Having made his name as one of the world’s great vocalists (including his time spent fronting Survivor), Jimi Jamison has always purveyed a qulaity line of the finest in melodic rock. Often referred to as one of the American top Rock vocalists, Jimi Jamison has been the singer with Target, Cobra and finally Survivor – who rejoined in late 2011 – for more than a decade, apart from being an accomplished solo artist on his own.
Jimi performed back up vocals on recordings by ZZ Top, Joe Walsh and numerous other recording artists. Billy Gibbons refers to Jimi as the fourth member of ZZ Top and Casey Kasem, on his nationally syndicated radio show American Top 40, referred to Jimi Jamison as “The Voice”. Among Jamison’s best known performances are “Burning Heart”, from the Rocky IV movie which hit #2 on the Billboard Charts, “High On You” (#8), and “The Search Is Over” (#4) – this last one currently finding a resurgence in the collective minds of theatre goers as one of the songs in the stage production of “Rock of Ages”.

His solo career started in 1991 with the release of “When Love Comes Down” followed in 1999 by “Empires”, the album which included the theme, “I’m Always Here” for Baywatch. In 2008 he teamed up with ex Survivor bandmate, Jim Peterik who wrote and produced for him the acclaimed album “Crossroads Moment”. On the heels of this superb release, Jimi toured Europea few times and culminated with an appearance at the popular Firefest in the UKin 2011.
In the meanwhile Jamison started to work together with Swedish songwriter and producer Erik Mårtensson (W.E.T., Eclipse etc), who had met “virtually” while working on the successful Kimball Jamison duet album to which Mårtensson had contributed with some songwriting. They started laying down the foundations for a new solo album backed immediately by the enthusiasm of Frontiers Records President, Serafino Perugino.

 He kindly spent the time to answer some questions for Rock-Zone UK and started off by discussing his forthcoming album, “Never to Late”, which is available from tomorrow (2nd November) on Frontiers Records.

 This album sounds harder than the Pride of Lions album. What were your intentions for it?

I’ve never been a part of Pride of Lions which is a great album but I have always leaned toward a harder sound with a little soul in the vocals. Thats pretty much what I went for when doing the vocals.

 It’s great AOR (for want of a better pigeon hole!). Did you have a lot of songs to choose from?

Executive producer, Serafino, had many songs to choose from which he narrowed down and sent to me. There was only one song that we had to change as we agreed on all the others. We have almost the same taste when it comes to melodic rock music

Recently, Rock-Zone UK interviewed Eclipse’s Erik Martensson who you work with on the new record. How did you hook up with Mr Martensson?

 Frontiers hooked us up. I was already familiar with Erik’s previous work and I was totally into the pairing. The first time we really met was at Firefest. He’s the most all round producer I’ve ever worked with. He does it all. He’s a great writer, singer, he assembled all the musicians together for the record and also engineered all of the music. An amazing and talented man. (something with which we at Rock-Zone Towers wholeheartedly agree with Jimi)

What makes you decide it’s time for a solo album? Is this dictated by the business or artistic feelings?

Artistic feelings for sure. If I had my way I would do two solo albums every year. I love creating new music and singing new songs whether I write them or not as long as they are great songs.

 How did the production go? And, did you all stay in the studio together or was it done piecemeal?

Erik produced the whole album except the final lead vocals which I produced in Memphis, Tn at American Studios, the studio where Elvis used to do all his Memphis recordings whilst Erik and the guys did their parts in Sweden.

 Do you get annoyed by people mentioning “Eye of the Tiger” or is it important now for your sales?

Its good for sales of a Survivor record but I wasn’t the original singer of the song so I would rather not have it mentioned at all. I’m not trying to fool anyone here. I don’t think its going to help sales of my record as the two are unrelated in my mind.

Is it difficult to balance heritage vs new material?

Really its not. At least for me. I love doing both and have never been selfish in doing just new music and since I consider myself no different from any other music fan I figure if I like the balance of old and new … so will my fellow fans.

Is it difficult to sell music with the current musical business model? Do you think that AOR has made a comeback? Did it ever go away?

Well… yes, but it all a matter of getting our music out to the public so they can hear it. Once they hear this record I think it will people will want to own it. In my mind both….AOR has and always will be listened to. People like to discover their own favorites and not something some rich guys, mainly in the US stuffing some bippy kind of crap down the kids throats. Have you ever watched the bands that labels put on the Letterman show or Leno show in the US.

My God its embarrassing.

The album is called “Never Too Late”. For what?

It’s Never Too Late to do what ever you have always dreamed about doing but thought you could never succeed in. So many people never even try or give up too soon. But first it has to start with the love of whatever it is you want and not thinking you’ll be an overnight success. Be persistant and do it from the heart.

Will you be touring in support of the new record and what does the future hold?

Yes I just finished touring with Survivor for the year and ready to get to work touring for NEVER TOO LATE! Playing live is what I really love so lots of that. More recording. And .. heres a surprise. I’m writing and singing songs for a Cuban Mafia move starring Christian Slater , called “Trouble in Paradise”. I’ll also have a small part in the film as well.

Many thanks to Jim for taking the time to talk to us at Rock-Zone UK and a review of “Never to Late” is on it’s way too.

“Never Too Late” is available on Frontiers Records from 2nd November 2012

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