Meet the Reverend Jim Rota. High Priest of pure metal, and just possibly the man who will give you your special Kool-Aid one day. I spoke with Jim when Fireball Ministry was opening for Dio and Anthrax at the Masquerade, and I think you are going to like him as much as I did. Read on.
MI: When is your birthday?
Jim: December 14th.
MI: Tell us the story of how the band got together.
Jim: Emily and I lived in NYC and were writing some songs so we decided to move to LA since there wasn’t really anything going on in New York. We got signed onto a label called Bongload records and they asked when they could see us play live but there was only two of us. The GM of the label is now our drummer John and Janice came along a few years later.
MI: Describe the music of Fireball Ministry to everyone.
Jim: I’d say if Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath had a party at Judas Priest’s house.
MI: How did you get the name Reverend Jim?
Jim: Emily and I were joking around one day and said we should all have religious titles since the name of the band is Fireball Ministry.
MI: What’s your favorite track off the new CD?
Jim: I like them all. I think the entire record stands on its own.
MI: Tell us about each member of the band.
Jim: John is our drummer and you never want to sleep in the same room as him. Janice is our bass player and watch out for her period. Emily will get you in trouble too.
MI: Tell us about the most memorable show you’ve ever played live.
Jim: My personal most memorable show was when we opened for Motorhead at the House of Blues in L.A. About two years ago.
MI: If you could wave a magic wand and make three things happen right now for the band, what would they be?
Jim: That we could always tour on a tour bus, that we wouldn’t have to work but just do this for a living, and that’s pretty much all we need.
MI: Have you ever inhaled?
MI: What are your thoughts on the legalization of drugs?
Jim: I’m not really a political person when it comes to the ban, but I think people should be able to make their own decisions.
MI: Tell me the story about how you got into music.
Jim: My folks are musical people and I got lucky because they always like, quote unquote, good music. A lot of my friends had a strict diet of The 5th Dimension and The Carpenters and when that’s the only thing you hear growing up it can limit you. My folks liked everything from Opera to Zeppelin.
MI: Where do you get your inspiration as a vocalist?
Jim: I love Mark Farner and I love Rob Halford and I love Ozzy and I love Dio a lot.
MI: How did 9-11 affect you?
Jim: I’m from New Jersey and at the time both my brother and sister were living in NY and I used to live there and everyone I knew was pretty much from the New York or New Jersey area. It’s just a shame where things have gotten to that level in the world.
MI: Tell me what you think of The Osbournes.
Jim: Ozzy, when I was growing up, was this guy your mom was afraid of and didn’t want anywhere near you and now he’s this funny old man. He’s like Mr. Roper on Three’s Company. The legacy has been destroyed by that show and it’s sad.
MI: What do you think about the brand of Metal coming out these days?
Jim: I think everything has its place and as long as kids are into it then it’s cool.
MI: What do you think it would take for true Metal to come back?
Jim: Guitar lessons.
MI: Tell us something that nobody knows about you.
Jim: Everybody who knows me knows that I’m pretty nerdy. The reason why I stopped smoking pot is because of Planet of the Apes. One night I was high and we watched Planet of The Apes and it was at the beginning where one of the woman apes was holding a baby ape which was a real monkey and I got freaked out by it. I never smoked pot again.
MI: If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring one person, one book, one CD, and one bottle of liquor, what would they be?
Jim: I would bring my dad, The Watchman comics, for CDs I would bring Frank Zappa, and I’m not a big drinker so I’d probably bring Yoohoo.
MI: What about the world pisses you off the most and why?
Jim: Probably the same thing that pissed me off in 7th grade and that is posing.
MI: If you were God for a week what would you do?
Jim: I’d probably clean everything up.
MI: Do you believe in psychics?
Jim: Yeah. I grew up in a haunted house that was built in 1770. Anyone who doesn’t believe in that stuff is completely and totally wrong.
MI: Can you give us one of the paranormal experiences?
Jim: My folks used to have these raging New Years Eve parties and two of my friends, John Ramsey and Luke Latell, and I were sitting in the kitchen and my mom had about 4 or 5 pots stacked on top of the stove and they lifted off of the stove, flew across the room, and hit the wall on the other side of the room.
MI: Do you believe in reincarnation?
MI: Who do you think you were in your past life?
Jim: Genghis Khan.
MI: What person would you bring back from the dead?
Jim: My dad because he went too soon.
MI: Name five groups that you think have been important to the evolution of music.
Jim: The Beatles, Elvis, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, and ZZ Top.
MI: Who did you consider to be your heroes growing up?
Jim: Jimmy Paige, my dad, both my Grandpas, Ace Frehley, Frank Zappa, and that’s about all.
MI: Who do you feel influenced your vocal and playing style?
Jim: Ozzy and Gene Simmons, I always like their voices. My guitar playing is weak so I don’t want to blame that on anyone.
MI: What do you think the best thing to happen to Rock N Roll was and why?
Jim: The Les Paul guitar.
MI: What else do you do besides play music?
Jim: I read comic books, I fuck around with computers, I ride a motorcycle, I go to the movies, and I buy records.
MI: What do you think about illegal downloading of music?
Jim: A band like us who has had 2 videos on TV and we’ve been on some pretty solid tours makes me wonder if would have been further a long in the career than we are now. It seems like it’s affecting things in a bad way.
MI: What do you consider your greatest achievement of all time?
Jim: Getting to the point we’re at without having to compromise everything. Ten years down the road we’ll be able to listen to our record and say that it was the best thing we could have possibly done.
MI: Tell us about the worst job you’ve ever had.
Jim: When I was in high school I wanted a bitchin car so I had three jobs at once. One of the jobs was delivering pizza and the guy that worked there was a total lunatic and he would send us out in these unsafe trucks for delivery.
MI: If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Jim: My dad.
MI: What super hero would you like to be?
Jim: Conan. He gets chicks, he’s buff, he fucking cuts people up with swords, and he doesn’t take any shit.
MI: What message would you like to send to your fans?
Jim: Buy the record, enjoy it, play it loud, and party to it. Don’t whine to anyone about any bullshit going on in your life. Calm the fuck down.
MI: What is your favorite quote of all time?
Jim: I like nothing better than a midget school teacher with big boobs and a bag of cocaine.
Thanks Jim. We will be catching you next time you come our way!