by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Interview: JIMI JAMISON (former vocalist of SURVIVOR)

     SOUL SURVIVOR….. One of Arena Rocks most distinctive voices is back with vital relevance and determination.  JIMI JAMISON ( along with longtime founding SURVIVOR bandmate JIM PETERIK ( reunite to share an emotive journey to their Crossroads Moment.
and his lofty larynx is best known for catapulting  SURVIVOR to the top of the Billboard charts in the 1980’s and keeping them there throughout the rest of the decade with Top Ten hits like I Can’t Hold Back, High on You, The Search is Over and Is this Love to name just a few.
     His vehement voice will forever by synonymous with the ROCKY movie franchise with the hit single
Burning Heart from ROCKY IV; not to mention enhancing the already bodacious introduction to the BAYWATCH television series with the titillating track I’m Always Here.
is back proving once again that he can’t hold back with an edgy new collection of fifteen stellar tracks with the recent release of Crossroads Moment.
The Rock Rapport caught up with JIMI at his home in
Memphis to talk about the new disc and what’s on the Rock Docket for 2009.
     Ross CAT-
Hello Jimi Thanks for taking time out for the
Rock Rapport it’s greatly appreciated.  I was fortunate enough to celebrate this past 4th of July weekend with you and several of your Rock and Roll peers at the explosive ROCK & POP Masters ( show in Kingston NY.
     We had the chance to chat back stage about the new album you where working on at the time
Crossroads Moment, which was released November 7th on Frontier Records to rave reviews worldwide.    Congratulations on the album’s early success; the new songs  possess a yearning passion, almost as if you’ve been waiting a lifetime to sing them.
J.J.-Thanks so much Ross. Yeah actually I’ve been wanting to do a record for quite a while that expressed my feelings.  Luckily for me JIM PETERIK and I hooked up once again, we would just kind of hang out have a few drinks and talk about what was going on in our lives.  Fortunately JIM in his infinite musical wisdom was able to pick up where I was coming from and put it to song.
     Ross CAT-
Let’s talk about the title, you’ve had so many memorable moments in your celebrated career what sets this collection of songs apart making it a Crossroads Moment for you?
     J.J.-We decided to use that as the title after all the songs had been written; as the music kept flowing we realized this is what this record is all about a “Crossroads Moment”.   So we kind of figured it all out after the fact.
     Ross CAT-
Talk about having the opportunity to work with JIM PETERIK again on this record you can really hear the exuberance in the songs and in your voice.
J.J.-There’s no question that JIM brings out the best in my voice with his song writing; since our time together in SURVIVOR he’s just had the ability to bring out the best of what I have to offer vocally.  He’s talented on so many different levels as a musician, not to mention one of the most sincere guys in the business.
     Ross CAT-
This record is in a sense autobiographical as if JIM served as a sort of ghost writer for you.
J.J.-Honestly it was almost like JIM was my shrink while we were working on this record.
     Ross CAT-
Not only did JIM write and produce the majority of the material his guitar work is masterful throughout straddling the fine line between subtle and searing; a pillar behind the inspired lyrics.
     J.J.-JIM’S guitar work on the record is really amazing especially considering the fact I didn’t even realize how talented he was until we started laying down the tracks.  JIM played some guitar with SURVIVOR but his most noteworthy contributions were his songwriting and keyboard playing.
     I recently had the chance to see him perform with the IDES OF MARCH in
Chicago and he really burns it up on the ax, he had the place roaring with excitement.
     Ross CAT-
You managed to blend the past and present into this record with songs like
Behind the Music” “That’s Why I Sing, and Friends We’ve Never Met touch on this eminent musical journey you’ve taken with JIM.
J.J.- Once again JIM’S ability to put our conversations and ideals to song is incredible.  I’m really excited about taking this new music out and playing it live they are really inspirational for me.
     As you mentioned songs like “Friends We’ve Never Met” gave us the opportunity to pay homage to all the fans that have supported us over the years; when the keyboards kick in after the first verse it’s truly a rush to sing.

     Ross CAT-
Another one of the throwback tracks is When Rock was King; it not only references the many great bands of the AOR (Album Oriented Rock) era you also enlist an all-star lineup of Arena Rock allies to contribute vocally with JIM PETERIK (Survivor) DON BARNES (.38 Special), MICKEY THOMAS (Jefferson Starship), MIKE RENO (Loverboy) and JOE LYNN TURNER (Rainbow, Deep Purple).
cleverly wrote that tune mentioning as many of the bands from that era as he could fit in the song.  All our friends who we’ve have had the honor of sharing the stage with over the years really rallied for me helping out immensely without compensation.
     Back in the day it used to be kind of a competition thing with every band.  Once you get to know everyone on a personal level and not just a voice or song on the radio it really becomes a fraternity or a brotherhood and we pretty much help each other out any way we can.

     Ross CAT-I had the privilege of witnessing that commradary first hand this past 4th of July weekend as I was fortunate enough to cover the ROCK & POP MASTERS show which you were part of in Kingston, NY.
     That super star line-up featured yourself belting out the SURVIVOR hits along with the HOPPEN Brothers of ORLEANS, JOE LYNN TURNER, PETER RIVERA (Rare Earth), JOHN CAFFERTY, GARY U.S. BONDS, DAVID JENKINS (Pablo Cruise), ROBBIE DUPREE and SPENCER DAVIS.
     Ross CAT-
Back to the song “
When Rock was King”; you’ve just posted an awesome video for that tune that takes you through the day and life of JIMI JAMISON, well worth the trip down memory lane
     I really like the tempo changes in the song, is that JIM PETERIK shredding the strings on that solo?

That’s JIMMY, at the very end of that song we tried to do like a little BEATLES outro that I thought was pretty cool.

     Ross CAT-
I thought it was a very classy move that you invited original SURVIVOR vocalist DAVE BICKLER to contribute to the song, how did that come about?

I was performing at a PBS Special in
Chicago where I had managed to talk to most of the guys about  participating on the song.
     I had never met DAVE before, as I was walking through the hotel we literally bumped into each other.  At that point I said it’s about time we ran into each other; we started talkin’ and turns out that he’s not only a great singer but also a great guy.  So I thought we should invite him along to sing with us on “When Rock was King”; we’ve even had discussions about working together again in the future.

     Ross CAT-
I had the chance to work the Melodic Rock Festival ( put on by Andrew McNiece and got to witness the amazing performances by all the artist which included yourself and JIM PETERIK along with NIGHT RANGER drummer/vocalist KELLY KEAGY.
plays drums on
Crossroads Moment” on the killer track  Make Me a Believer; one of the many tracks that contain some mesmerizing harmonies, how did he get involved?
     J.J.-Yes he does and man he did a heck of a job for us.  KELLY is such a great guy and a brilliant drummer.  What all too often gets lost when he’s bashing away behind that kit is what a great singer he is as well.  Like with all the other guys who helped out I was fortunate to have KELLY play on the record.
Ross CAT-Speaking of great vocalist your distinctive voice has not only fronted the hit making machine SURVIVOR you’ve contributed your voice to a bevy of other artists.
     You’ve often been called an honorary member of ZZ TOP by the little ole band from Texas as well as supplying backing vocals for bands like Krokus, Fabulous Thunder Birds and Joe Walsh throughout your illustrious career.

Yeah it really is an honor to be referred to as the fourth member of ZZ TOP, BILLY GIBBOINS gave me that title and I’m very proud to have worked on some of those great records.

     Ross CAT-
That truly is high praise coming from such an influential band, how did that collaboration come about?
They actually recorded a lot of their albums right here in
Memphis at Ardent Studios with a buddy of mine TERRY MANNING who produced the early material.  TERRY called me up one day and said come on over, next thing I knew I ended up singing harmonies on just about every song on three or four albums.
     It truly was an amazing experience to work with such an accomplished group of professionals.

     Ross CAT-
You also worked with one of our neighbors from the north a Canadian National Treasure JEFF HEALY on his 1994 Feel Thisrecord.  His tragic passing has impacted many artists; tell us about your experience working with him?
Unfortunately I never did get to work in the studio with JEFF on that particular project it was PAUL SCHAFER and my good friend JOE HARDY who brought me into the studio to sing backing vocals.
     It was really a great feeling to be able to contribute to JEFF’S album, his playing style was brilliant and his loss will be felt forever.

     Ross CAT-
Lets talk a little about SURVIVOR your early days of success are well documented, what prompted your return to the band at the beginning of the new millennium?

     J.J.-Well we had been talking for a while about it, at the time it seemed as if FRANKIE SULLIVAN’S mindset had changed and it wouldn’t be such a one sided endeavor.
     Honestly the first year or so was phenomenal; but as time went on and we began the process of making another SURVIVOR record it started to revert back to the way it was.  I wasn’t about to stick around for that again so I just stepped out of that light and went on my way.

     Ross CAT-
Your return to the band did produce a new SURVIVOR record “
Reach” in 2006 are you happy with that album being your swan song in the band?
We intended on going into this reunion writing brand new songs, but ended up using material that had been written over a decade ago.  That coupled with the fact that JIM PETERIK wasn’t involved stalled this project from the start.

     Creatively it was a disappointment for me so much so that I left the band even before the album was completed, I just told FRANKIE he could sing the last few songs himself.

     Ross CAT-
I recently read  some very cool Rock ‘n’ Roll trivia; a quote from DEEP PURPLE keyboardist JON LORD that there was a time that you where under consideration as lead singer for DEEP PURPLE after you left SURVIVOR, talk about how that almost materialized.

As a matter of fact yeah their was a time that I was considered for the spot. Their manager called me up and he and RITCHIE BLACKMORE flew to
Memphis and we had a meeting; next thing I knew we  where rehearsing in Connecticut.  I still have a song that we had written during those rehearsals on tape.
     When I first stepped up to the microphone I could hardly remember any of the PURPLE lyrics which was unbelievable since I spent my whole life singing them as a huge fan.
     It was quite intimidating being surrounded by all the original members;  I could only remember one verse to “Smoke on the Water” and I just kept singing the chorus over and over.
     In the end I was tied up with contractual issues with a solo album so the timing just didn’t work out.

     Ross CAT
-I see that you have a few tour dates listed including a New Year’s Eve show in Florida as well as playing at the JOHN TRAVOLTA Super Bowl Party in Arizona.
     What are your plans in 2009 as far as touring on the
Crossroads Moment record?
     J.J.-I’m currently working with a promoter on putting together a European tour for early 2009.  We are also looking to tour the States when it’s released early in the New Year.
Ross CAT- Will you and JIM PETERIK be sharing your special on stage chemistry on any of theCrossroads Moments tour dates?
Yeah JIM is doing some of the special gigs we have planned in the NEW YEAR.  JIMMY has his own successful thing going with the IDES OF MARCH and WORLDSTAGE project so that keeps him quite busy.

     Ross CAT-
Lastly JIMI you’ve always contributed your time and talents to numerous charities over your storied career tell us who you are currently working with?

     J.J.-It’s always been satisfying for me to work with people who are less fortunate especially children.  I work very closely with the JUVENILE DIABETES Foundation ( and the St. Jude’s Children’s
Research Hospital (  As a matter of fact I just got home from playing in Ft. Lauderdale Florida for JUVENILE DIABETES and we raised over $200,000 so I’m extremely proud to be associated with those foundations.
   The Rock Rapport would like to Thank JIMI JAMISON for his valuable time. Be sure to check out his brand new website at for a taste of the tantalizing new tracks fromCrossroads Moment”.
     We would also like to Thank Andy Broady and Lisa Walker of the ROCK & POP MASTERS ( for helping us cultivate these wonderful relationships with the many great aforementioned artists involved who’ve helped create the soundtrack to our lives.

*************PEACE & HARMONIES*******************

Back to Main


Buffalo Web site hosting by
Professional Media and Web Site Services