Musicincider interviews Jak Paris -
Music Incider Magazine
Jak Paris shares his enthusiasm as music fan and musician for everything music. What does he have to say about his band, his work with talented niece (Scarlett Pomers), the new record and music videos for Electric Revolution? He even talks about TV's Rockstar Supernova, Save the Music, the industry, and rock ballads.
Photo Credit: IAmTheBlur.com.
MI So, what are you working on now?
JP Man, that's a big long question. Do you want the short answer, or the long answer?
MI Oh, give me the long answer. (laughing)
JP Nobody ever wants to hear, "Yeah, I'm fine." I mean you really want to know what's going on, once in awhile, don't you?
MI Yeah, you do
JP Well, we're finishing up the last track for the record that's going to be on the in-store version of the CD, which should be in stores January 25th.
MI Right. Now, this is off of - this is off of Electric Revolution?
JP Yeah, there'll be 2 extra tracks that aren't on the record now, but on the digital features record, which we put out … The thing about the Internet today really it opens a lot of doors for you to do things other than normal, you know rock star 101.
JP Which is kind of nice now, owning our own labeling, doing everything ourselves, because it's a chance to keep growing, pushing ourselves further. So, we're finishing up the last track of the record right now, and we start vocals this week. So, we have probably 2 days of vocals, tracking to do, rehearsal 3 nights this week, and this weekend is Rock Festival and we're playing with the Black Crowes this Saturday and with Lit on Sunday. I live in Las Vegas, and it's still 90 degrees, and they have us do it south of here, in Arizona in the dessert, and it's allergy season.
MI Oh, boy, here it comes!
JP So, I'm sitting here Sunday, and my eyes start watering. I'm like, "oh, shit, you can't tell me this is gonna happen now." Seriously. So, I took a Claritin, or, whatever I have in the house.
JP Because I'm one of those people who always has allergies.
MI Yeah, me too.
JP You know, most of the world does. I feel ok today, but I feel itchy in my throat, and I can just feel, my sinuses just on the verge of flaring up, so I have a doctor's appointment at 3 pm today. Probably get a cortisone shot or something.
MI They had me on Zithromax for a double sinus infection.
JP I can't afford that right now.
MI I know. I know.
JP My whole recording day's been held off. I'm waiting for 300 labels to be sent to radio stations around the country for my radio promotion. It's supposed to be here, and waiting for you to call, which is 20 minutes, which is great, but in the meantime, I've got things on my mind, so I've been pacing my floor for like 20 minutes, thinking, "Oh, I'm in deep shit. This is going to be one of those weeks."
JP Just act like nothing's wrong.
Chain clips from 2006
Video Courtesy: www.myspace.com/jakparis
JP Oh, boy that's a great question. My niece is Scarlett Pomers [www.myspace.com/scarlettpomers]. and she did a guest appearance in our video for Not Back Down, which is on our website, myspace page, MTV, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, all those things.
JP And so, you know, she got sick right after that and she took a leave of absence from her TV show with an eating disorder.
MI Right. Right.
JP You know, she came out publicly, said, "I'm 17, I've got a problem, I'm dealing with it." That's probably the bravest thing a 17-year old girl has ever done. And probably a week later Paula Abdul and all these other adults –mind you Scarlett's an adult, she's been working since she was 3. Oh, it's all over the press, but no one before was willing to stand up and just admit to being a human being as opposed to 10 years ago, you had to have this mysterious thing about you and never go on stage, and you're dead the next minute. I think that has really gone away in the entire entertainment industry. So, when she came out and said, "Yes, I'm on a TV show, and I have this issue going on," I think it was really a bold, modern statement for the entire entertainment industry. She had been working on music before that and I was finishing some tracks for the original version of Electric Revolution. I said, "You know what, maybe we should do a song together, and we'll donate the proceeds to charity." She was just like out of recovery and wanted to start a fund for treatment, or at least for awareness for treatment. We've been huge Fleetwood Mac fans for so long, so I had the idea for Chain. It has great musical parts to it, and I think lyrically too, there are so many different things.
MI Now, you didn't change the music around, arrangement on it.
JP Isn't that great? Because I'll tell ya, a lot of times what happens is these artists think they need to re-write a hit.
JP There's a reason that a song sticks in your head for 30 years, you know. And, that's what makes this song great. And, I think we really didn't want to mess with any
MI (interrupts) Arrangements.
JP Musical flavor of the song. Sure, we just wanted to modernize it a bit. And, uh, we spent 10 months working on it, and it was really the toughest part of doing that song.
MI Now, has Fleetwood Mac heard it?
JP As I understand it, Stevie Nicks has autographed a guitar we're auctioning off. I think she's heard it, but we haven't got a quote back from her yet, but we are speaking to her publicist right now, seeing if we can get a quote from her on the song.
MI Because, it's fantastic.
JP Thank you so much. That means a lot.
MI I mean, my God, no wonder it's climbing the charts so fast.
JP You know, it's funny, in this music industry. You grow up thinking, "Overnight sensation." And I'm thinking back in November (2005) we started putting the song together, and now we're 12 weeks into releasing the song on the radio, and it's doing really good, and the MTV markets – which is really secondary. But, the fact that it's doing well there, the other artists that are around me are Gnarls Barkley, The Fray, Tasha Bedingfield, and Daniel Powter, I think. To be surrounded by those artists, any artists, to me, is you know a compliment to the music side of it – which is most important. But, to the business side, you know owning our own label, telling everyone we're going to do this whether you like it or not. I think the industry has been looking for an artist to do this, to show people music can still make it without major label force.
JP And, start their own record label, compete with major labels, because music is music, you know. And that's what we're doing.
MI Exactly. So, how did you get Black Crowes on tour?
JP Uhm, you know, we see a lot of festivals and the fact that our name is starting to get around, and they ask if we can play both days.
MI When you talk to Chris Robinson again, ask him about his nephew's band, Sterling Y.
JP What are they called?
MI Sterling Y.
MI They are fantastic.
JP Why have I heard that name Sterling-something before?
MI Yeah. It's Chris Robinson's nephew, I believe. And, he got hold of me, and I – me being photojournalist and the writer that I am, I passed every CD out that he sent me – like 150. I'm like why isn't it getting any airplay, it's fucking fantastic?
MI And, when I found out Chris Robinson was involved with it, and talked to his nephew, he goes, "Yeah, he's my uncle."
JP Did he produce it?
MI Yeah, yeah. So, when you talk to Chris, ask him about that. So, how did you start up NEV?
JP Well, you know, probably when we started – you know we've been working on this reord, seriously, probably 2 years. I mean, kinda like they used to do, when records were good. It was November, 2 years ago, when we made the first demo for the song Not Back Down, that's on the record.
JP And, that was the one that said, "Uh, oh, this needs to go all the way. So, here goes my life for the next couple of years, everything I've worked for and saved, begged, and borrowed to make it work. And, at the time, the music industry was really just starting to feel a lot of press and not major press, but if you deep in the music industry, you google and did your homework on digital distribution.
MI (interrupting) The rugs were shaken again.
JP Yes. You could see it, and I said, I can't get a record deal, the whole guy with a cigar and the hundred-dollar bill in his mouth, you know or smoking hundred-dollar bills
JP Cigar in his mouth telling you, "I'm gonna make you a star, baby" you know, those days were gone, and I realized that was it, and the only way to do this was to start my own label, make it a professional business, and that's gonna become my career the rest of my life, aside from, you know 3 or 4 records that I want to put out.
MI Well, if you ever need any Atlanta bands, let me know. I've got a bunch of unsigned Atlanta bands, and they're hot as fucking shit.
JP Alright, next year, probably around March, once the records out and we're on our way, that's when we're gonna start focusing on having another label to produce ourselves, and take them all the way, kinda like we've done with our own record. I really needed to, and need to make my record work first – so I know the ins-and-outs. So, I start above and beyond what I'm gonna do to grow, and be a recognized name in the music industry, not only for my music, but for my business.
MI So, how much of your background as an actor
plays into your music? That's a toughie. (Laughs).
JP Boy, I don't know. I mean, the acting thing for me never went the way I wanted it to.
JP It was something that was always in my blood, and my family's blood a little bit, and the kind of blood that got into Scarlett's career. Uhm, but I don't know. You know some people say music, act the part when you're recording, put yourself in the scene of the song, you know, be the part, you know. But to me, it doesn't happen that way. Because, you know, the songs, for me – all the songs, are personal experiences of mine that I've written about, you know?
JP If you look at the album cover.
MI It's a great cover. Who did the cover?
JP Uh, you know, that shot, that picture was taken on the scene of the video Not Back Down. The song, Not Back Down, really just the whole record, but the song Not Back Down, specifically kind of embraces the obsessed side of love and how it messes with your mind, plays tricks with you whether you're in a healthy relationship or un healthy relationship, or the breakups or all those kinds of things love is played on in all of our lives, you know. Uhm, and I think if you look at the album cover, and see me in the straight jacket in the mental ward and an empty room, that's really how you feel sometimes – trapped in your own mind – is really what it all is.
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Watch along to Jak's description of the Not Back Down video.
Video Courtesy: www.myspace.com/jakparis
JP And talk about it, deal with it, face it, or let it go, is how you free yourself from that. The whole record in general just kinda addresses those things and how it affects you.
MI So, who are the members in the band that played on the album with you?
JP Uhm, well, Bob Ferari did a couple of the bass tracks for us, and he's also the co-producer on the record; but the guys currently in the band, will play on some of the tracks too. So, it's Brian Swett on bass, Jason Juadinez, and Henry Soriano is our drummer.
Photo Courtesy: www.JakParis.com
The band with Scarlett Pomers.
MI Ok, now we're gonna have some fun. Tell me what you think about MTV. (laughing) The difference between the old MTV and the new MTV.
JP Well, I was gonna say I don't really watch a lot of MTV because the one time I find music on MTV it's like the top 10 only, and you know, it's on like an hour a day.
JP To me, you know, I thought MTV was the coolest thing in the world. You could really you know videos were made about the story about the band before, and a little about the storyline of the song. You know.
JP But today, you don't see that in videos.
JP And that kinda boils down to Not Back Down. I think that's why it made it to MTV on-demand, because Not Back Down was literally a short story (3 minutes 30 seconds long) that totally – by watching it - told you the story of the song, what's going on. And, you don't see that any more. You see 4 guys jumping up and down, or whatever, and it has nothing to do with the song. There's never any storyline. Some producer outside of it just says, "I was thinking of this thing in my head that would look great on video underneath your song." I think that's where some of the interesting videos have been lost too. And, if people would get back to the reality of their band, life, reality of song a little bit, instead of trying to look cool with diamonds and wristwatches, I think you know MTV would find their niche again. I think their MTV on-demand project, which I haven't heard a lot about here because we don't get it in Vegas, but I think it's certainly gonna bring back the independent video.
MI You think so?
JP I think it's gonna help. I would certainly like to have a video channel that I could watch with videos of all the great bands, not just the top 10.
JP You know, and I think this kind of weighs in on the music fan because ultimately aside from playing music, which is 30 minutes a night, if you're playing a show. You know, I listen to music all day, and I want to see the people I hear on the radio.
JP You know, and I don't
MI (interrupting) You don't see it. You don't see it. You don't see it. So, how long is this tour going to be?
JP Well, actually, we're starting to book for January. And, straight through July of next year and the whole summer. With the record coming out in January, all the work that we've done to get this far, we're certainly gonna push till the end.
MI So, you are planning to come to Atlanta? So, I can take pretty pictures of you?
MI You better be coming to Atlanta. Ok, if you were God for a week, what would you do? (laughing).
JP That's a great question. You put me on the spot. There's a lot of answers I could tell you right there. That sounds like a big job.
MI Yeah. It does, doesn't it.
JP Oh, man, to be honest with you, nothing musical really comes to my mind. I mean.
MI It could be anything.
JP First, world peace. That's the super model answer.
MI You heard about the shooting of Dimebag?
JP Yes, I did.
MI How did that affect you.
JP You mean as far as music fans?
MI I mean, are you scared for you niece, and you'd get up on stage?
JP Nah. Not at all. I'll tell you another similar story. There was a shooting out here at a recording studio in Las Vegas. There's a lot of hip-hop stuff out here. One of the news crews came to the studio where I was recording, and they asked me if it scared me or if it put a bad mark on the recording industry. My answer, "You know what, these guys could've been coming out of a 7-Eleven and shot each other. I don't think it has anything to do with music or not, because this stuff goes on everywhere.
JP You know, and you don't here that often. Musicians get shot by their fans. You know, what was the last one? Celina?
JP Yet, if you work at the Post Office, guys are running in and shooting each other. If you worked in a high school last week. You know, there was that shooting in Colorado.
JP So, I can't really say it affects the music industry. I could be driving to the liquor store, and a guy cuts me off and blows me away when he pulls up aside of me. It doesn't really scare me.
MI I just was thinking you have your 17-year old niece going on stage with you. And lots of musicians feel the same way you do. But, you have lots of local clubs, and this guy just jumped over the gate and the owner just let him in. That's spooky. That's spooky.
JP They need to start using metal detectors.
MI Yeah. And that's what I put in my editor's letter after Dimebag got shot. What's your opinion of George W. Bush?
JP Wow, political question. Those are always fun to answer. Well, I'll tell ya, I gotta believe that almost anyone who got into office the time he got into office would've been having a tough time right now, because 9-11 was 9-11 and that was Clinton, Democrat, was after Bin Laden. Bush, Republican, after Bin Laden. Either way, what happened on 9-11 was going to happen. There hasn't been anything too significant since then like that. And, that could've easily been the start of several more vicious attacks. He got the wrong job at the wrong time. And I think any person – Democrat or Republican – that would've gotten into office at that time would've been on the dark side of the fence to everyone.
MI Yeah, I'm getting what you're getting at. Now, do you think this war is going to continue on once Bush is out of office?
JP Tough question, because I'm a firm believer that if we pulled out now, and let it go, I think it would just hurt us down the road. I'm not happy about any war, or about people fighting for something when we're not sure if it's the right place or the wrong place to be, but I really think if we pulled out right now it would send the guys the wrong message about our strength. And, I think there are a lot of people in Europe that are already mad at us for being over there, but if we walked out now, we'd look like cowards.
MI Yeah, we would. We would. I would agree with you on all that.
JP So, I think if the war goes away, and if anything great happens in the next year that changes all that, and stabilizes what's going on over there, if we just stop the war because a Democrat's in office, I think it would make everything more difficult for us for a longer period of time.
MI You do?
JP I think so.
MI Ok, if a movie was made of your life, what would the theme song be, and who would you want to play you, Jak? (laughing).
JP That's a great question.
JP Uh, wow. What would the theme song be? That would be like a 6-minute song, so I don't know who would write that.
JP That's gonna be a long, passionate song. I'm one of those people who delves into everything. Everything I go into, I dive into until I can't get off the ground, or I succeed. As far as the actor to play me, get Matt Damon to do that.
JP Yeah, he seems like a good character actor.
MI I love Matt Damon.
JP He seems like he could pull it off.
MI Everyone's always got to have Johnny Depp.
JP You know that's true because we've all seen him with long hair, and that rocker image. You know, I'll tell you who else would be good. What's the guy who just was in that football movie? Markie Mark.
MI Yeah. Mark Wahlberg.
JP Either Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg.
MI Right. Because they just released a new movie with Jack Nicholson.
JP Yeah, I can't wait to see that one.
MI I can't wait to see that either.
JP I go to the movies twice a week. That is the only peace that I get 2 hours, twice a week that I go to the matinee I have to focus on the movie that I actually let my music business go out of my head for hours.
MI I don't blame you. What album do you think had the greatest influence on your life? Or, what band?
JP I'd have to say Led Zeppelin.
MI Led Zeppelin?
JP I grew up a huge Led Zeppelin fan.
JP Yeah, I think a couple Led Zeppelin songs are the first I learned on my guitar, and just the awesome guitar work that's in every Led Zeppelin song, is what made me want to play guitar.
MI So, who do you think are the 5 greatest guitar players of all time?
JP My number one is gonna be Steve Stevens from Billy Idol, Jimmy Paige, Iron Maiden's guitar players. After that, the guitar playing from Alice in Chains. And, then, my fifth favorite guitar player would have to be Jason Juadinez, who's my guitar player in my band.
MI You're not gonna throw yourself in there, big boy?
JP Nope. You know, what, I play guitar in the band too. But, honestly, to me, Jason is probably one of my favorite guitar players, whose writing of melodies, and whose guitar playing in general, is awesome. And, I have a huge respect for him for that.
MI Who influences your vocal styles?
JP Gosh, that could be back from Journey, to Alice in Chains, to Fleetwood Mac, from early stuff to later stuff. I mean, I don't feel, and from the feedback we get from people, we don't really sound like anybody, but we have a great professional style. And, I get a lot of compliments that the vocal on the record are great because in a genre filled with a bunch of sound-alikes, we stand alone with our music.
MI Because, I was listening to the album last night, and I was saying to myself Scarlettt sounds so much like a young Stevie.
JP Doesn't she? And she's the hugest fan, too. She sounds like that live a lot too.
MI And I'm like, how? How did he fucking pull that shit?
JP It was a lot of work, and I'll tell ya, we have it – a girl named Mary Cria who sings the third vocal and she comes and plays at the shows with us too. And, she is a black singer, and if you hear soul in the song, it's her.
MI Yeah, it's her.
JP Between the 3 of us live when we play the song anywhere, when we get to that song and play it, people are blown away by the you know, you can have 3 singers singing up there singing. But, when you have 3 singers who have a chemistry between the 3 voices that matches, and all 3 of you are totally sound differently, but the chemistry of all 3 as 1, you get an incredible vibe from that.
JP That's what helped make that song. It's not one of us that made the song great. It's really, all 3 of our vocals that give that powerful sound. We really lucked out that that happened that way.
MI So, who do you think vocally inspired Scarlett?
jp> You know, I can't speak for Scarlett honestly. But if I had to guess, I would definitely say Stevie Nicks is probably one of her top influences. I know she's a huge Evanescence fan.
JP Yeah, she's a huge Evanescence fan, and a huge, huge, huge, Stevie Nicks fan. I mean, if you look at the outfits she wears, and her performance on stage, you can see that's one of her idols musically.
MI Yeah, exactly. So, where do you see NEV in the next 5 years?
JP I see NEV in the next 3 years with this record selling at least half-a-million records on its first record. And, I see 3 other artists signed on the label.
MI Wow. Ok. So, have you sent Chain over to KNAC.com yet?
JP I don't think it's a heavy enough song for their format.
MI I think they'll go for it.
JP You know, I spoke to some of the people over there about some of the other stuff on the record we might be sending there, but you know, I don't know that that will be the strongest format for us. What we need to do right now is focus on rock after rocker, maybe rock alternative.
MI So, what other videos do you have planned for this CD? Are you planning any other videos for this CD?
JP Yes, we are. 2 more. What we're planning on doing is the trilogy, actually of the original concept. So, if you go to the website and go to the Not Back Down video, and you see the concept of the guy getting taken into the mental ward.
JP An empty mental ward, it's ghostly in there, there's no one around, it really kinda signifies that it's all in his head. And, he starts flashing back through his life and his relationship. Right? Well, the next video on our minds to do, and it may happen in late November, is for what's probably going to be our biggest single and it's called Overrated.
JP That is the name of the song. Uhm, great pop-alternative song. Basically, in that video, the guy is trapped in a mental ward and he goes back to his high school days in his head and remembers all the hardships growing up – how the bullies picked on him, how he wasn't good-looking enough for all the beautiful cheerleaders. It's the typical story that's been done several times, but that never gets old because all of us can relate to how difficult to find yourself in high school and feel like you weren't acceptable or good enough for all your peers in your high school.
JP Overated, in the second video, the character, while he's still in the mental ward, flashes back in his head to where it all began and started going downhill for him, or, you know, started taking a turn outta control in his life.
MI Sounds like Countdown to Extinction by Megadeth. Have you seen that video yet?
JP I probably have. I grew up listening to Megadeth. I loved them.
MI Oh, yeah, you gotta see that video. That video's fucking fantastic.
JP Sounds like you're a rocker at heart.
MI Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I dabble in everything. I'm covering KMFDM October 14th. We became great friends. We'll be there for that show. I'm shocked you didn't get hooked up for the Atlantis Music Conference here in Atlanta this year.
JP You know, to us at this point, we weren't focused on booking a string of shows, and I felt that was having my record label hat on and not my heart, was that from a business standpoint to be accepted as an artist to professional or national for this to be a champ, I needed to get on the radio. Because, national – even major label bands – can't get on the radio.
MI No, they can't.
JP So, I. My direction from a business standpoint was originally to get myself on the radio and make a point.
MI Because I know a DJ that works part-time in NY that works for a college station and a major station, yet he's still working his record day job. And, he said to me, "If we don't play the top 10, we get canned. We get canned. We don't have the right to play what we want anymore."
JP That's right. Absolutely. I've had several program directors, who absolutely loved this record, told me it was the greatest independent production they've ever heard, from a non-major label artist. That the song-writing on it is amazing; original, catchy, filled with hope, passionate, grabs you, hooks you, everything. They loved the record, they wish they could play it but they can't because it's not in the top 25 from Billboard.
MI And that's a shame.
JP So, let me ask you this. How do you get in the top 25? Well, I'll tell you how it happens. It happens with major label force. Major label says, "I'll tell you what, unless you play you know our new baby artist, I don't think Christina Aguilera's gonna have time to stop by your studio," right?
MI Oh, boy.
JP But, I'll tell you this. I think there's this whole hullabub about satellite radio. I think it's great, it's got all these fans on it, it's going to have a cult effect on people. Whereas people don't want to have to remember to spend $12.95 every month for their subscription fees, or whatever it is. Because, ultimately what happens – and I'm a big advocate for terrestrial radio, and that's why I push on the terrestrial radio side, and get to know all these program directors, and prove to them that I'm worthy for a spot on their radio station. I'm not some fly-by-night guy who's going to get on their radio station then not be available to perform, or deliver to their fanbase, because I understand that they have an obligation to their fans to the music they play that they better be professional enough to play shows and do things for the fans. I totally understand that concept. But I'm a huge fan of terrestrial radio for one reason, because all of us, no matter what – we want to turn on the radio and hear what our disc jockey did in our town the night before: how drunk he got, you know, how stupid he got, what's going on in our city. We wanna know what is going on in our hometown.
JP That is exactly why terrestrial radio will always be number 1.
JP If you want to wake up in the morning and you wanna hear the girl and guy on the morning show and you want to hear them talk about you know a couple of dirty words or whatever, you want to hear the people in your hometown are real. And, you want to know what's going on in your city. And for that reason, people will always tune into the radio.
MI Exactly. Have you seen the movie 'Dropped' recently?
JP Which one?
MI A movie called 'Dropped.'
JP Dropped? I have not seen that one.
MI Do you have Comcast out there?
MI It's under Comcast and under series. It talks about several major bands like "Hot Karl"? who was dropped by Interscope for Eminem. Murphy's Law where Rick Ruben produced them and is keeping the rights for both of these albums and these bands are still struggling. It's like listening to you and listening to these guys who have been together for 15-16 years and you're not getting anywhere because the music industry has screwed them over.
MI How do you think the music industry has changed from today then when we were kids.
JP We touched on that earlier where when you were a kid, ultimately there was two ways to get it. The main way was this you beat your head into the ground in your local city until you can sell out the clubs. You did it over and over again and then you sent letters to every record company about who you are and the fact that you're selling out in your home town. What happened is that it didn't matter if your sound was good or bad, if you sold out the club in your home town then you would get a record deal from somebody because that meant that you were good enough and the music must be that good.
MI What would you warn any young band sitting down with a label?
JP That's another long conversation because again I've realized a lot of this that I've had to learn the business from the other side a little bit. All the things about getting rich, big publishing deals, and getting all this money up front to play – it just doesn't happen. From reading books or taking other bands stories in the past I think we grow up thinking that's how it's going to work. Some of these musicians today think that they can go out and buy a $500,000 pro-tools rig, put a studio in their garage, and record a record and for the most part that's true. That's because a lot of bands and a lot of young guys are smart enough to go do that and they can actually get their music sold on a lot of these little smaller web sites. They can get their song downloads sold and drive traffic to it through MySpace. Ultimately, what that's going to do is flood the music industry with a bunch of people who aren't ready to be at that level, yet. So, what that's going to do is going to muddy up the music business a little bit. It takes artists that are serious enough and open-minded enough to get to the level past that, again, to where they're taken seriously. I think that is the new record deal. Other than selling stuff out of your club, or your home town, and getting famous there's no guy that drives around in that Cadillac anymore and decides that you're a star.
MI Right, there's no more scouts out there.
JP Right and the scouts aren't the scouts that they used to be. The scouts they used to be were getting paid $200,000 a year to sit in their plush office and fly all around the world during the week and look at all these other bands. These days the scouts are actually probably other artists or other people that get in connection with a record company that still want to prove themselves so they bring other people to the record label and now you're back to word of mouth and networking to finally find the band that deserves the record deal. Record deals these days are like $50,000 with maybe $5,000 worth on promotion. So what the record label does is it signs ten bands. Spends $50,000 on the record and gives them all $5,000 each to promote the record and out of those ten bands, one of those songs with a few grand only is going to catch on. So, they can the other nine bands and that one band that actually got lucky, because the one DJ heard it or somebody heard it on a small station or something, and that's the guy they're gunna pour money into and make a star. Bands have to be aware that signing a record deal these days doesn't necessarily mean that they're home free, time to go sit at home and wait for the phone to ring. That's the illusion for all of us, that was the illusion for me growing up and I think what is going to take above and beyond that original point is that you need to assert yourself in your career. Just because you're on a major label or just because you have a major deal or just because any of those things doesn't mean that your job is done. It's your job now to push and push and push and deliver and push and push 'til you get on somebody's nerves enough that they actually do something with you to get you to go away. I mean that's really what it takes, too, to make it these days. Once you get the deal, that's just the beginning. Now you have to work hard. Otherwise you will slip through the cracks with the label and the one person that stands up and calls everyday and tries to do what he can and comes up with ideas on how to market for an inexpensive amount or does his own work – that's the guy who does get the deal that might actually make money in the business down the road and not just be stuck signed to somebody and never be able to work again.
MI What do you think are the greatest five bands right now that have a major influence on the people?
JP Bands like the All American Rejects and bands that are on this new wave cycle of the independent, smaller label. Like the bands that are on Victory. Although I've heard a lot of things about the people that run Victory are a couple of guys over there are difficult to deal with or whatever, but I think those bands that have worked hard and got a label are finding success in the mainstream group. Like the All American Rejects are – I think those bands are influencing new comers in the industry and the guys that are going to the Guitar Center for the first time to buy a guitar because they heard bands like All American Rejects.
MI All American Rejects, Green Day, and all that.
JP Green Day of course! Those are like the icon originals to me. Although you have Green Day a couple years ago their album went big and that's when really when they found their super stardom. But, they've been around a while working hard. People go to Guitar Center and buy their first guitar because of bands like that.
JP I think that's extremely important to know. That's how you get interested in music is that you see some guy. This part of the music industry will never change. You hear a song on the radio or you see how a guy looks and you go, man I wanna dye my hair purple and I wanna go buy a guitar because I wanna be just like that guy. That's the one root of the music industry that never changes. That's the self-viral portion of this industry that will constantly be bringing new artists.
MI What do you think of this Rock Star MSN show that's going on all the time?
JP Rock Star, is that like the one that just finished, the Supernova one? Honestly, I think it's a great show. I don't see anything about it that bothers me. You get one of the top three major networks and they're actually putting artists to play rock music on television? That's unheard of! The big three, they'll put a show with Celine Dion singers out maybe, but you don't see people putting rock and roll bands with Tommy Lee, and the guy that used to be in Guns 'n Roses, and the guy that used to be in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and you're putting them on a TV show on main stream network?! That's unheard of!
MI Did you hear the latest rumor though? They can't use the name "Supernova."
JP Yeah, I heard about that. I think that's just bad business that somebody didn't try to register the name before they decided to put a show out. Back to Business 101, "Ok, I got an idea!" – "Let's register it!"
MI Right, I've watched both seasons. With that first season on NSX and then I see Tommy Lee, Gilby Clarke, and Jason Newsted up there and I'm like, but…
JP Let me ask you, when did you ever think a major network would put a reality show that would be, you know, finally somebody gets it, people want rock and roll! This goes back to Dick Clark when he put rock and roll on for the first time. People thought he was out of his mind and the network was going to fire everybody because it was x-rated and again, finally somebody smart enough to go, "Gosh, I was 20 years old once. I wanted to see that on TV. Hmm. Maybe it's ok to put it on TV now." So, they got the guy from Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N' Roses, and Motley Crue running a TV show that's got millions and millions of viewers. It's making them tons of money.
MI Right, but meanwhile, you've got the first season where they were tryin' to find a replacement singer for Michael Hutchinson.
JP INXS does have their album out and I think that again this goes to show how tough the music industry is. I actually bought the INXS record when it came out a few months ago. I think there's a couple of really great songs on there and I think the one thing that they're missing and they have a song on there like a ballad that's kind of been played on the radio a little bit but not too much and I think that's the problem that some of the record labels are facing today. A record label needs to go back to old school rock and roll 101 and here's what you get you put out a big rock song, a big hit, and then you put out a big ballad - the power ballad, and then you put out another hit again. People have gotten away without doing that. I mean, people just need to put out that power ballad. I think that's what made the 80s so big musically. You always had that rock band that put out that power ballad. Every 16 year old girl was cryin' and creamin' in her pants; the guy was up there singin' some rock song, but it was a ballad. You know. That's just old school music 101 right there. People don't do that anymore. And, not that INXS is that kind of an image, but I know on the record that their ballad was a great song and I think that if they would have spent more time focusing on that as their second single.
MI It would have been better.
JP They might have had more success and who knows maybe they're doing that. But, then again it takes two years to break a record. Bottom line.
MI It does.
JP I'm just getting started with my record right now, what am I doing? 12 weeks? I'm having some success and I think just because it's me. Even though INXS is INXS it's still the same game in the music industry. I think if their record label would understand that it's gonna take 2 years and a lot of money to push that record and two years of dedication from people that I think that record could have a chance.
MI Now they're comparing this new kid Lukas Rossi to Jeff Buckley and Freddie Mercury combined and I'm like...
JP I don't hear that.
MI I don't hear that.
JP I didn't hear that at all. I heard a guy with kind of a gravely voice that sounds like the singer from The Cult or something, a little bit.
JP I don't hear Freddie Mercury.
MI Where do they get Freddie Mercury and where the hell do they mesh in Jeff Buckley with Lukas Rossi? He's nothing to them.
JP You know what they should do? How about tryin' this let's not compare him to anyone.
MI Just let him be himself.
JP The guy's got a friggin' amazing personality, the guy's got amazing stage presence, I mean, the guy looks like a fuckin' rock star. I want his autograph. You know. I tell you that's what the music industry is missing - I want everybody's autograph. Man, when I go to shows and play with these guys, I'm still a music fan at heart. Hey, buddy, can I have your autograph for my wallet and shit 'cause that's really cool. I am a kid at heart and I still love other people that play music. I just think it's great and that's why I'm a music fan.
MI Exactly, because here I am tryin' to get my own business off the ground and I've got this little webzine and I go to these shows and I do all my own photo work. But when it comes to these meet-and-greets, yeah, I want Steve Ives's autographs. Yes, I want Brett Michaels' autograph. I want Alice Coopers' autograph.
JP Well, that's why we do this.
MI We love the music.
MI Then, I'm watching this other show recently on VH-1 called "Super Group." They bring together Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach, Scottie Ian, and Evan Seinfeld from Bio Hazard. Now everybody knows that Sebastian Bach is very, very, ok. I love Sebastian Bach. I've got to admit it, he's one hot son of a bitch.
JP You know what? I do, too.The guy's amazing.
MI 37 years old and he still runs a rock star image. But, if you know he has a drinking problem then why keep playing it over and over and over and make him look like an asshole?
JP Well, you know, that's the fault of the producer of the show.
MI Right, and I'm like, how can he do that to Sebastian Bach - one of the founding fathers of Glam Metal?
JP That's the difference between the one that's on a major network and the others. They're all, let's make a reality show and make them look bad so we can get some viewers instead of let's make them look like rock stars and exciting and shiny and new.
MI When we go back to Rock Star, here I am reading the message boards they're saying They should bring the doors back, they should try to get somebody to do Jim Morrison. Well, they did that with Ian Astbury and I just got done doing an interview with Lonn Friend - the guy who wrote "Life on Planet Rock" - and he told me that he was a big fan of Jim Morrison. That there was some kind of connection. But, when I saw him at Music Midtown two years ago they did not give Astbury the chance to be Astbury. There's Astbury on stage, he looks like Jim, he sounds like Jim. But, meanwhile they got a video clip of "LA Woman" playing in the background with Jim Morrison's face. I'm like, that's just wrong. You're either gunna give the guy a chance or not. Here I am the big Morrison fan and I'm like well, is Ian gunna go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Cult or as a member of the Doors. Because he looks too much like Jim. That was spooky.
JP Well, I can sum it up for you it's a fucked up business.
MI It is.
JP But, you know what, that's just an excuse. When you're not being successful, they give you someone else to blame. The bottom line is this you know how it is, you know the business, are you willing to stick it out and deal with it, and to find your own way to make it work? That's where I'm at. I can sit here all day and tell you all the things that aren't happening or I can sit here and pick up the phone and dial it until someone tells me yes everyday. Which one is gonna help me get there? When it comes to music business I don't even bitch. I'll hear people that we've hired on staff and they'll say, "you know the music is just really tough out there right now" it's like, you know, I don't even wanna fuckin' hear that. What I want to hear is, "it's tough out there, so let's figure out another angle."
MI Yeah, let's try a different technique.
JP Yeah! I mean, tellin' me it's fucked out there is a fuckin' cop out. I could tell myself that everyday and go to bed and feel like I didn't fail?! That's not true.
MI That's not true. Then you got these bands out there - Stone Sour / Slipknot, I would prefer Corey Taylor doing Stone Sour than Slipknot. But, we all know that Slipknot is the money maker.
JP Yeah, I haven't been able to into the Stone Sour thing, yet.
MI You've got to get into Stone Sour.
JP I've got to get the record, I've heard a lot of great things about it.
MI Oh my God, all their music is fantastic.
JP Yeah, that's what I've heard.
MI But, it's like, why flip him back and forth? When I see him more comfortable with Stone Sour than with Slipknot.
JP Well, that sums up the music industry and back to life that it takes a couple years to break a record. Because my statement right there I haven't gotten into Stone Sour, yet, because I haven't gotten the record, yet. Again, that's why the industry takes so long to break a record because you have to constantly push and push and push. So at least one song off the record has touched everybody in the music business, right? Of course I haven't gotten there, yet. So that just means it takes a while to break a record. How long has the Stone Sour record been out? 6 months or something like that?
MI Their two big hits right now are 30-30 and Through. Through is more like a modern day power ballad. It's a beautiful song, but people are not getting the message behind the video. That the industry can be fake to a great deal. But, meanwhile, when you hear them do 30-30 it's like he's not going to take no more shit anymore, that's it. Who knows what's going to happen next. So, I'm waiting to see who's going to rise up to power. Is it going to be the alter-ego of Slipknot or the alter-ego of Stone Sour? You get what I'm sayin'?
MI That's going to be the weird part. But, meanwhile I just covered Queensrÿche recently. Geoff Tate's doing a fantastic job.
JP Yup, they just came out here and I wanted to go see it.
="">MI If you get the chance you gotta go see it.
JP Mind Crimes 2, right?
JP I grew up listening to that record.
MI You've got to see that show, it is mind blowing. What they're doing now is they're doing a bike drive for Save the Music. So, if you had a cycle you could go ride with Queensrÿche and make a donation and it would go to Save the Music. If you look at the school systems even today. The school systems, the music programs are being just, deleted! There's got to be a way to bring that back into the system. I don't know.
MI When do you see the next CD coming out?
JP Knowing that our record's coming out in January and we're going to be pushing it to everybody's door for the entire year, next year and it's going to take that long to break them then I see first quarter 2008. We're really just getting warmed up with this CD right now.
MI I believe it's going to be a main stream seller; take my word on it.
JP That's what we get from everybody and all the radio stations. Nobody's said the record sucked.
MI From everything I've gotten here press pack wise, honestly, it's totally different from everything that I've heard and it's refreshing.
JP Thank you for that. I like to hear those words, thank you. That's what we work for. We wanted to do something, you know and part of the reason I haven't listened to the new Stone Sour is because for the last 2 years I couldn't listen to any other music because while we're still just finishing the last track, I don't want to influence what I'm doing.
MI When you get done with the album also pick up Juliette Lewis and the Licks.
JP I think I saw a piece of her on my car center one night.
MI She is fantastic. But, what is your web site?
JP It's www.jakparis.com or you can go to myspace.com/jakparis.
MI Ok, baby, you've got it. I will go look at it. Rhonda has sent me a bunch of photos and everything else. I'm going to be talking with Scarlett this week.
JP Oh, that's great!
MI I'm planning to have a fun time with her.
JP You've got my number?
MI Yeah, I've got your number. I'll ask her all the weird questions. What do you think about the legalization of marijuana?
JP What do I think about it?
MI Yeah, Jak.
JP Yeah, ask a 17 year old, would ya? I've seen so many people smoke pot in my life that I could give a shit right now. To be honest, I've got more pressing engagements than wondering who's going to go smoke a joint legally or if they're going to go do it anyway.
MI Exactly, but you have a great day!
JP Thank you so much, it was really nice meeting you. I hope I get to meet you in person.
MI Oh, you will, and don't worry, I'll keep in contact with you. I'll leave you an obscene phone call every now and then.
JP Please do, I need'em! (laughs) Can I get a hug when I see ya?
MI You will, darling, I promise.
JP See you.
MI Ok, bye bye.