(former vocalist of SURVIVOR)
One of Arena Rocks most distinctive voices is back with vital
relevance and determination. JIMI JAMISON (www.jimijamison.com)
along with longtime founding SURVIVOR bandmate JIM
reunite to share an emotive journey to their
JAMISON 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”,
Search is Over”
to name just a few.
His vehement voice will forever by synonymous with the
ROCKY movie franchise with the hit single
from ROCKY IV; not to
mention enhancing the already bodacious introduction to the
BAYWATCH television series with the titillating track
JIMI JAMISON 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
caught up with JIMI at his home in
to talk about the new disc and what’s on the Rock Docket for
Ross CAT-Hello Jimi Thanks for taking time out for
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 (www.rpmconcerts.com)
show in Kingston NY.
We had the chance to chat back stage about the new
album you where working on at the time
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
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
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
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.
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.
it was almost like JIM was my shrink while we were
working on this record.
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.
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
the Music” “That’s
Why I Sing”,
We’ve Never Met”
touch on this eminent musical journey you’ve taken with JIM.
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
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
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
I really like the tempo changes in the song, is that
JIM PETERIK shredding the strings on that solo?
J.J.-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?
J.J.- 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 (www.melodicrock.com)
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 plays drums on
on the killer track “Make
Me a Believer”;
one of the many tracks that contain some mesmerizing harmonies,
how did he get involved?
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
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.
J.J.-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
truly is high praise coming from such an influential band, how
did that collaboration come about?
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
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 This” record.
His tragic passing has impacted many artists; tell us about your
experience working with him?
J.J.-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?
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
J.J.-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
JIM PETERIK wasn’t involved stalled this project from the
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.
J.J.-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.
-I see that
you have a few tour dates listed including a New Year’s Eve
as well as playing at the JOHN TRAVOLTA Super Bowl Party
What are your plans in 2009 as far as touring on the
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.
Will you and JIM PETERIK be sharing your special
on stage chemistry on any of the “Crossroads
J.J.-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 (www.stjude.org).
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
would like to Thank JIMI JAMISON for his valuable
time. Be sure to check out his brand new website at
www.jimijamison.com for a taste of the
tantalizing new tracks from “Crossroads
We would also
like to Thank Andy Broady and Lisa Walker of the
ROCK & POP MASTERS (www.rpmconcerts.com)
for helping us cultivate these wonderful relationships with the
many great aforementioned artists involved who’ve helped create
the soundtrack to our lives.