Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed
Jamey Jasta Interview with Music Incider
By Barbara Fara
President/CEO of MusicIncider.com
MI: Jamie, what’s your birthday?
MI: You’re a baby.
JJ: *laughs* Uh, yeah, pretty much.
MI: Where did you originate from?
JJ: New Haven, CT.
MI: And the rest of the band members?
JJ: Connecticut, except Matt: he’s from New York
MI: How did you come up with the name Hatebreed for the band?
JJ: Actually we just took the song “Hatebreeders” from the Misfits and cut off the “-ers”. We actually recently covered that song, too.
MI: Really, how did it come out?
JJ: It came out pretty good.
MI: Who are the founding fathers of Hatebreed and are they still in the band? I know that you are…
JJ: Yeah, me and Beattie, we started the band in 1995, and we’ve been the writing team always and we are the two original members.
MI: How did you get Riki Rachtman’s old job?
JJ: Well, I actually have a book coming out that explains the entire thing; I always get asked these sorts of questions about the show and now everything will just be in the book. It’s like four years; it’s a snapshot of my life at that period of time. It’s like a diary almost, because it’s my journals and I would just write down all the crazy stories…
MI: Tell me about the new album, and what’s your favorite song off the new album?
JJ: I think my favorite song right now is probably “Never Let Die” because of the video and it’s been in our set for like a year now so it’s not as redundant to play as some of the others we’ve been playing for so long. It’s more fresh to me, I guess.
MI: How do you manage to be on RoadRunner with Hatebreed and manage your bands on Stillborn Records?
JJ: Well, it’s crazy. I’m not going to lie and say everything is easy. With Hatebreed, we need a full staff of people. It’s not easy to get 200k records into a store. I could never do that with my own label because I am only one of two people running it. With my label, it’s just about giving back; it’s about helping the other bands. It’s not like a full time thing. Plus, the record industry is such a mess; I just do it for fun, I don’t do it to make money.
MI: Tell me about the bands on Stillborn. How did you pick them?
JJ: Well, my philosophy with the whole label is that I want to work with young bands that are hardworking and they know that they have to do everything themselves. Either you have it or you don’t. You’re never going to acquire, like, no one’s ever going to say to you, ‘Here you go. Here’s record sales and huge tours.’ You’ve got to work for it, and either you have that attitude or you don’t. That drive, I mean.
MI: What would you advise a young band just starting out? What would you warn them about?
JJ: Just keep your publishing. Don’t sell your publishing and get a good lawyer and don’t give the label your merch and…there’s a lot of things, but what I look for in a band is that I’ve just got to like the music at the end of the day. Sometimes the band might not be the best band, but I like it, so I’ll put it out, you know.
MI: How did you get the cover art for the new album? It’s fantastic.
JJ: Oh, thank you! This guy Meran [Karanitant], he’s like my favorite artist I’ve ever dealt with on any level with any graphic design or shirt design or album art, he’s just my favorite artist. He’s in Germany and I just discovered him through this band Six Feet Under and I’ve been working with him ever since. Now he’s been working with us for years.
MI: How do you keep your life private and do you actively protect your privacy?
JJ: I don’t really. I just don’t think it really matters. People have publicist that kinda put their stuff out there in hopes to make people write about it more or get more exposure for their other projects that their doing.
MI: Last time Hatebreed was in town, Damageplan was the headliner and it was a tour with Drowning Pool and Unearthed. What was it like to see Dimebag for the last time?
JJ: Um, yeah, we had just been talking and we had just seen him. That whole tour was great but every time we saw each other and hung out, it was just great. There was always a story or a crazy memory or something crazy going on…
MI: Give us a crazy memory.
JJ: Oh, like I’m getting off a ferry in England, you know, I’m alone and they’re like, do you want to go on the ferry and everyone else is sleeping and normally I don’t go up, I just sleep in the bus. So I get off and I’m hung over, tired, sore…it’s like 5:30 in the morning and I go out for some eggs and some coffee and I’m going up and I just hear this yelling and craziness and next thing I know I’m in this headlock and I’m totally dazed, don’t know what’s going on and then they are shoving Crown in my face and I’m pounding whiskey and it’s 5:30 in the morning and I’m like “Why are YOU on the ferry?” and it turned out that Dime and Pat and all those guys just happened to be on the same ferry. They saw me and started freaking out and so then, I was totally bombed out of my mind again, it triggered from drinking the night before and there was karaoke going on, there was fans on the ferry, people…I don’t remember much of it, I just remember going up and trying to feel better and get breakfast but then getting back on the bus wherever we were going and being completely ripped and everyone asking me what happened and I just said, “I saw Dime and everybody on the ferry...” It was crazy.
MI: How did his death affect you guys?
JJ: It just left everybody heartbroken, you know? It was just senseless. What can you think other than how ridiculously senseless and terrible it was, you know. No rhyme or reason.
MI: Out of all the tours you’ve been on with Hatebreed, how would you rate playing with Damageplan?
JJ: Oh, that was right out there. That was a great, fun time because it was the Headbanger’s Ball tour and we were coming off a really high point with the Headbanger’s Ball soundtrack being certified gold, and us having a song on there and with the success of the show…for us never getting the opportunity to tour with Pantera, that was like, the next best thing. So for us, it was great, because we gained a lot of fans of Vinnie and Dime’s and that was great for us. It was branching out. You were bringing a very street level East Coast hardcore band together with a more down south, good ole boy metal band so it was a good mix.
MI: Could you see yourself sometime in the future playing with Hell Yeah?
JJ: Oh yeah, totally. We’re looking forward to it. Vinnie is producing our live album next Tuesday and he is documenting the whole experience and we are doing the whole little mini movie about the live record and he is producing and engineering and recording the live record, so it’s gonna be great.
MI: Are you going to meet his dad?
JJ: I’ve met his dad actually, he’s great.
MI: Who influenced your vocal styles growing up?
JJ: Definitely Tom Araya, Max Cavalera, Roger from Agnostic Front, I always liked Karl from Earth Crisis’ voice; everybody from Chris Barnes to John Tardy on the death metal side of things.
MI: What do you think of Dr. Drew’s new show, Celebrity Rehab?
JJ: I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard about it. I heard it’s crazy. We’ll have to check it out, we do have satellite on the bus, what channel is it on?
MI: VH1, I think. What does it feel like being back in Atlanta?
JJ: It’s great, I’m just glad the show is going to happen. We thought it was going to get cancelled because of the tornado, we didn’t know what venue we were going to do, and this is the last tour on this record so we wanted to make sure we hit all the spots that we did the best on last time. This is one of the places we were able to come we had an off date from Ozzfest and it was just an incredible show so this was a good time to come back and we close the show and this is the last time we are gonna hit it before the new record, so it’s going to be great.
MI: So you’ve got the live album and movie coming up and then what’s next for you?
JJ: Well, the DVD is pretty much done, and then next is the cover’s album and then the new studio album. The new studio album will be next spring, but we are really going to take our time with it because we don’t have a label yet for the new album and we are going to pick a new producer and go a new route with that, we don’t know who yet.
MI: Have you considered releasing the album on Stillborn?
JJ: Yeah, but like I said, I can’t ship that many CD’s personally, you know?
MI: So how the hell did you get on tour with Type O Negative?
JJ: We were just always throwing that idea around with different agents and we thought that we always bring out a similar package, so we thought why not give somebody a complete opposite vibe. It’s just about doing something different. At the end of the day, it’s all heavy music, everybody fights so hard to separate things, why not make that effort to combine things. I love Type O Negative; I grew up listening to them. I even waited outside one time to meet Peter and Kenny and Josh and Johnny…
MI: How would you compare this tour with Type O Negative to the tour you did with Damageplan?
JJ: It’s just fun, they’re both fun. It’s a good time. Everybody gets along great. People think with Peter Steele that you’re gonna walk back stage and there’s going to be skulls with candles in them and red lights and dungeon equipment, and it’s just a regular tour!
MI: Tell me something nobody knows about any member of Hatebreed, any dirty secrets?
JJ: Three out of five of us are Nascar fans.
MI: *laughing* My assistant is in Charlotte at a Nascar race right now.
JJ: Wow, see? Nascar and metal mix. People don’t know that yet, but they will.
MI: Out of all your years touring, what is the most horrible thing you’ve seen, and what was the most memorable thing you’ve seen?
JJ: Some of the most horrible things I’ve seen are the broken bones; bones sticking out of skin, people getting their ears ripped off, eyes poked out, that’s never good. Some of the best things I’ve seen are people have proposed to their wives at our shows, people come to shows that have returned from the war, alive and come to enjoy our show, people that are just affected positively by our music, that’s always the best.
MI: How do you feel about Bush being president even though *unintelligible*
JJ: I don’t know. I was never really in the know enough to criticize anything. I guess because I live in my alternate world, in a bus, plane, car, train, whatever, and I never took the time to notice but I know that everybody is all up in arms.
MI: If Hatebreed had the chance to perform for the troops..
JJ: Oh, we’ve tried. We’ve tried but they just said it was too heavy, you know. So we were like alright, we’ll see…
MI: If there was a movie made of your life, who would play you and what would the theme song be?
JJ: Wow, I don’t know. Get somebody unknown, you know? Give someone new the opportunity.
MI: And the theme song?
JJ: That’s a good question; I’ve never been asked that before. How about this: at my funeral, play “Island in the Sun” by Weezer, how bout that. Instead of a movie, I want that song to be played. I like Weezer, alright?
MI: *laughing* Alright. What are your views on the legalization of marijuana?
JJ: Yeah! Go for it, why not? I don’t know, I always get asked that and it’s like…sure.
MI: What’s your favorite book?
JJ: Uh, right now I’m reading this book called “Slow Burn” by Stu Mittleman. He ran the equivalent of like three marathons a day. So you want to talk hard, you always see all these heavy metal guys, these tough guys, these hard guys? THIS guy is tough, this guy is hard. Run three marathons a day, that’s tough, that’s a guy I respect, that’s a real hero. Not someone drunk or high on stage talking about this stuff, this is a guy…imagine that. Imagine running three marathons a day, he ran across country. That’s a hero. The whole book is about training, and how not to break your body down. He talks about everything from your PH, the balance in your blood, the acidity, the diet, everything. This guy has inspired Tony Robbins and other motivational speakers because he’s done this nearly impossible stuff. It’s very interesting.
MI: Do you believe in reincarnation?
JJ: I don’t know. That’s when you come back, as like, an animal?
MI: Some people believe you do come back in animal form. The Indians (not North American Indians but India Indians) believe that when you die you come back in some form, either animal or person.
JJ: Well, if I come back I want to be…*yawns* I don’t know, I was going to say something witty, but my mind is just not working today.
MI: Then tell me a dirty joke.
JJ: I don’t have any dirty jokes! I need some though…
MI: If you were reincarnated, and God gave you a choice to come back as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck, which would it be?
JJ: *laughs* well, I’m more partial to Minnie Mouse than Daisy Duck, so I’ll have to say Mickey.
MI: What are all the sites your fans can find you at?
JJ: Hatebreed.com, hatebreedtour.com, hatewearinc.com, jameyjasta.com, myspace.com/jameyjasta, myspace.com/hatebreed
MI: Now, do you guys answer your own mail on Myspace or not?
JJ: We do, we try. We have a guy that runs all that for us, but we do. We go through a lot of them. There’s like 40k messages on there right now, so it’s tough. But we are pretty good with it.
MI: Do you consider your fans more like family, or just fans?
JJ: It’s a little bit of both. Because we’re going on 12 years of touring the world and being in this crazy band and the ups and downs and lineup changes. So the people who have stuck it out with us, it’s like this unconditional love which you kind of have for your family; because you really have to love somebody through thick and thin.
MI: Do you have a message for your fans?
JJ: Just keep the faith and hopefully with every record we will keep delivering what people like from our institution and thank you for the support.
MI: When is the book coming out?
JJ: It’s split into two books. One is going to be a lyric book, because I want to inspire people to just write, write what you feel, doesn’t matter what, just write. The other one is going to be that snapshot, that diary of that time of doing Headbanger’s Ball, and that’s the who, the what, the when, the where, the how, everything. So that will be like February, March of next year.
MI: If you had a million dollars to donate to any charity, what would it be?
JJ: Definitely something for children. I’ve done stuff with American Cancer Society; I’ve done stuff with Make-A-Wish foundation. But maybe I would divvy it up between different children’s charities.
MI: Have you read Nikki Sixx’s new book, The Heroin Diaries?
JJ: No, I haven’t, but I heard it was great and I commend him for helping people.
MI: Do me a favor, when you read the book, get the CD with it. Because to me, if you are a recovering addict, and you are a teenager reading Nikki’s book, he is there giving it to you straight up.
JJ: I will definitely check it out.
MI: It was great meeting you, Jamey. Thank you so much for talking to MusicIncider.
JJ: You, too. Thank you so much, I appreciate it. Thanks for everything that you do.