Warrant is on the road again, supporting their Born Again CD and DVD. Lead singer Jamie St. James spoke with Bring Back Glam about life on the road, Rocklahoma and promoting rock music in a hip-hop world. Exact transcription of the interview follows:
BBG: Let’s talk about your new DVD. Give me a rundown of the project.
Jamie: Ok, basically we decided sometime after recording the record – the Born Again disc – we ought to lay down some video stuff just to have it. We were kind of inspired by AC/DC, all the early stuff with Bon Scott, which is very cool. We’d just gotten that DVD, I think it’s called Family Jewels, and you know, we thought we ought to get something like that recorded, you know, just for the future. Then, you know, kinda got into it, and we started going crazy. So then we sort of did a video for every single song on the record. A lot of its, you know, performance on a sound stage and then we just cut in all sorts of different stuff to try and make it interesting. It’s pretty cool and there’s a lot of behind the scenes footage. I mean, we did a lot of filming…in the studio, making the record, so we thought that was kind of interesting. Of course we also have the normal, goofing around on the road stuff and you know, there’s some interesting, cool stuff on there.
BBG: Where were the live bits recorded?
Jamie: The live parts? Um…I believe several different shows. One of them, I know, was at Copper Mountain, Colorado and I think there was…one of the other ones was in California somewhere. Like around Fresno I think. It’s just all over the place, you know? (Laughs). We found some decent ones that had some cool footage so we decided to use that as well.
BBG: It’s a great component to your Born Again album. Talk about the recording process.
Jamie: You know, it was basically…when I joined the band, it was basically just to play live. I mean, that was the idea. Get someone that was able to do the live shows…but…I spent a lot of time with Jerry Dixon, writing music and it just started to happen. We all wanted to do the same thing. We wanted an old school rock record. Not try and be something old. Just be what Warrant’s always been. A rock band. We were hoping it could sound like it came out in the late 80s or early 90s, but it’s just got a touch of a modern feel to it. Basically, we were all on the same page about what we wanted to do…so we just did it.
BBG: You’re on tour now, but there doesn’t seem to be any East Coast dates. Why is that?
Jamie: You know, we’re doing fly-ins all summer, so it’s hit or miss. From two to five shows, then we fly back home. So we’re all over the map. I know we do have, at some point, we are in New York. It’s called Upstate Music Festival in New York, with Firehouse. I don’t know…we want to get more East Coast dates in. I hope there are some on the way.
BBG: I’m going to Rocklahoma, and I know you’ll be performing the main stage. Will that be the largest crowd you’ve ever played as a member of Warrant?
Jamie: Well, I think it’s going to be crazy and a blast, all at the same time. I love big shows like that and I think it’s going to be pretty memorable if all comes together the way the organizers say it will. I think it’s going to be an outstanding weekend. I know that I’ve played in front of 50,000 people, one year – one summer. That was in, oh, somewhere in Michigan or Wisconsin. So it will be close. I don’t know how many people they’re going to end up getting there, but they need to break 50,000 to break my record (laughs).
BBG: Well, organizers are saying 50,000 a day. Of course, that could be press spin.
Jamie: Yeah, you never know. I heard at one point the promoter was talking to our tour manager several weeks ago, and they [Rocklahoma] had already sold 20,000 tickets. I mean, it can get there.
BBG: Born Again, both the CD and the DVD haven’t been out very long. Still, do you have plans for another album?
Jamie: You know, I’m always working…been writing songs continuously since we recorded that record [Born Again]. Erik [Turner] and I have been writing together, and Jerry’s kind of getting into it now, so we’re definitely thinking about the future and another record. I just don’t know when we’d get around to it. Maybe the end of the year, or something, we might start to consider that. Born Again is still pretty fresh, we’re out there still pimping it as they say.
BBG: Of course. If you do another album, I’m assuming you’ll do another tour as well?
Jamie: Yeah, well…we were supposed to go to Europe several times for that record [Born Again] and we still haven’t done that yet. That’s always a possibility. You know I love to write, and so, for me, I’d love to do another record whenever we can. I’ll just keep pumping them out. Got a lot of ideas, you know the band is pretty fresh with Joey [Allen] and Steven [Sweet] coming back after 12 years. Then me being in the mix, it’s still pretty fresh feel being in the band.
BBG: Talk about that. It’s like the new and the old converging. I have to imagine it’s exciting, but I’m sure there are plenty of people still confused with the latest Warrant line-up.
Jamie: The first year it was a little bit…hit or miss. A lot of people just didn’t know, didn’t understand what was going on. If you didn’t go to our website or you didn’t read articles, then you wouldn’t know what’s happening. At this point, most people know. I’ve said before if they don’t know that I’m singing for the band, they probably think I’m Jani Lane. A lot of people do, they just don’t get it. They’re around to hear “Cherry Pie” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and they’re not paying attention to members of the band. For the most part…it’s good. I’m better now than I’ve ever been with the band. At first, it was very difficult to sing 19, 20 songs that I’ve never sang before. That’s a hard thing to get used to, but at this point, I feel real strong about it, and as long as I go out there and kick ass, it works.
BBG: You brought up “Cherry Pie” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” You don’t have any of the old Warrant songs on your Myspace page, and that’s directly from Erik [Turner] saying he wants the music to be about the modern Warrant. Do the other guys like to play the old songs?
Jamie: Everybody loves playing the songs. Those guys have been playing them for so long…I know, that you know, we don’t care to go into the rehearsal room and play them. I’ve played them a lot at this point. This is my fourth summer. They all enjoy playing the tunes, and there’s a crowd and you get the reaction, it’s fun. They’ve been doing those songs for a long time, but it’s still a thrill live. The reason for the Myspace, that’s Erik Turner’s idea. That’s what he wants to do, he wants to push the new record, so that’s what he’s doing. Eventually, we may want to put some of the old stuff up. Right now, he didn’t feel it was right since we have a new record.
BBG: What’s a typical Warrant set-list look like these days?
Jamie: It’s really loaded with the first two records, to be honest. That’s the bulk of the set. We will throw in – depending on how long our set is – something off Dog Eat Dog, or maybe one of the new tunes. We always try to get one of the new songs in, from the new record. We don’t push that down everybody’s throat. We give them a sample, one, two songs and then, if they want to get the record, they can get it. Maybe we might even do a Black N’ Blue song. That was my old band.
BBG: Of course. Do you plan to release another single from Born Again, with a professionally made video?
Jamie: I don’t think…there is no video stuff in the works at all. I mean, we did this DVD on our own basically and I think it’s pretty cool for people who want to know the band and they haven’t seen us. It kind of gives an insight into us. If you’re a fan of this band, then you’d probably like it. I think there is…we do want to push a second song, which is called “Hell, CA.” It’s limited you know? There are a lot of radio stations and specialty shows out there that will play new music. There’s a lot of people that were playing “Bourbon County Line” [first single off Born Again] but…it’s not like it’s 1986 and everybody’s playing this kind of stuff all over radio stations anymore.
BBG: Exactly. The only type of music that seems to get played is Beyonce. What’s it like trying to market a rock band now versus 1986?
Jamie: Laughs. Well, we don’t have a huge label behind us. So, that being said, it’s pretty much up to us, and the only way to push the record is to go out live. There are radio shows that play us –which is cool-actually, more than I realized there would be, and that’s awesome, they’ll play the new stuff. For the most part, it’s touring. That’s it. Contract with our labels, we make sure we have the rights to sell the disc [Born Again] live. That way, people can get it really easy at our shows. We thought that was really important. That’s pretty much it. We’re on our own. Well, we do have a label in Europe and we do have one here in the America and when the album first came out, they did take out some advertising on VH1 Classic. I shouldn’t say we’re alone, they’ve gotten behind us. For the most part, it’s the live shows that promote the record at this stage of the game because radio is limited and video is non-existent almost.
BBG: Well, that’s the case for everyone.
Jamie: Exactly! We’re not in any different situation than anyone else in this genre.
For more information, please visit www.warrantweb.net.