"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where any recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
JAMIE ALLEN: "The Storyteller"
JAMIE ALLEN, the Storyteller from Wentzville, MO, USA, also known as The Poison Tribute singer/ Bret Michaels lookalike - now with a better record out than anything's Bret's managed to produced in the past 10, 15 years or so. Indeed, produced by the "old" RockUnited.com fave, Johnny Lima, "The Storyteller" is probably a CD that many of you will enjoy. Find out more about the man and his album, here's Jamie Allen...
Q: How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Kinda Crazy really! If you don't already know, and I'm not going to hide it or lie about it, I've been in a Poison tribute band for the last 6 years, and it is the only band that I have ever been in, so until now I had never sang anything else onstage. When "The Storyteller" came out I started getting these reviews and it seems the more reviews I get the more the CD is compared to Poison or Bret Michaels, which is natural i guess. I'm selling alot of CDs so it is a good thing! After recording the vocals for the album out in California at Johnny Lima's studio, I honestly thought that for the first time in my life I just sang like me, but I guess I just sound like the guy, HaHa! When writing the songs for the album I was in more of a Tyketto/Danny Vaughn meets Chris Daughtry kinda mood I thought.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
It took about a year total, I had twenty something songs written for the album, and we took what we thought were the best and wrote a few more rockers. Johnny wrote the music and melody for "That's Rock n Roll, Superman, Ghost of My Hometown and Let It Go", and I wrote the words. I spent a week in California laying down the lead vocals, some of the background vocals, and the acoustic guitar.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
Well I have been a Johnny Lima fan since 2004 when I was introduced to his "Made In California" Cd, and his production is really among the best, crystal clear, LOUD, and always with killer background vocals, that's what I wanted, and I think that is what the finish product sounds like.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Alot of input really, we like the same music, so we have exactly the same taste! 99% of the time we agreed perfectly with whatever idea we were working on. He's a pro and so I just followed his lead for the most part, which made it pretty simple and stress free!
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
A BIG FAT YES!!
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Yes, we recorded the kick drum in the intro to "Smoke and Mirrors" by actually bouncing a quarter off a strippers ass to a very sensitive michrophone! Is that wierd? [nope, I believe that's just rock 'n roll]
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
We didn't, but it is just straight ahead rock n roll so it sounds killer live without any tricks.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
"Back In The Day" is the first song I had ever written, "Reminiscin'" is a true story and has "BIG HIT" written all over it, I think everyone can relate to that song. "I'm On My Way" does not mean what it appears to mean, but all my friends think I wrote that song about them personally, because it fits so many peoples lives. My favorite line is from "Superman" and it says "I'll give you my story if you keep my secret safe". "Superman" is about what I think it would be like to be the man of steel, and want Lois Lane in the sack so bad, if ya know what I mean! I was careful not to use the word "Superman" in the song, I just thought it would be better to imagine! I have to admit, I have been to alot of Poison concerts, as you probably understand, and "That's Rock n Roll" was written about seeing the line of HOTT women that wait outside his bus after the shows. And Yes, maybe I did try and sound like Bret on this one, but I couldn't resist, it was a blast to record!
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
For me to write a song that I'm satisfied with, it has to be a true story, or how I feel at the time. On "The Storyteller" the theme I kept going back to was the past, "Reminiscin", "Ghost Of My Hometown", "Back In The Day", and "Same Old Feeling" are all songs about the good and bad times I have had that I can't seem to forget. A song to me has to have a Chorus that gets stuck in your head and you can't shake it, if the chorus doesn't work, it's not a song! I am currenty writing "Meatloaf" style songs that I would like to get to the man somehow, it is alot of fun, and a challenge! What I did was go thru a bunch of old cliches and picked out a few that sound like Meatloaf titles, I came up with "It's All Over But The Shouting" and "Cold Day In Hell/ Beautiful Night On Earth" They are now songs that I'm going to demo on piano. You will hear them someday, one way or another!
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Yes, I am a factory worker at the General Motors plant in Wentzville, MO, and I play in a band, so I don't have alot of time to just sit down and work on a song, it always ends up that I am singing while I'm working and writing new lyrics down on my breaks!
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
No, because there is no record company, just Johnny Lima and I. Johnny did interfere on my wonderful idea to cover the song "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" Haha! J/K!
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
No Way! are you crazy? That all stays in California!
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
When I buy music, I like to know who it sounds the closest to, so I would say if you like Johnny Lima, Poison, Bret Michaels, Daughtry, Tyketto or Bon Jovi you would really dig this! Great Production and always with a BIG, GIANT chorus!
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
My influences sound wise are mostly Poison, Bon Jovi and Johnny Lima, on the songwriting side of things I write with Danny Vaughn of Tyketto or Jani Lane of Warrant in mind, or Chris Daughtry, simply because I personally think that they write with a lot of Class, and their lyrics seem to flow so well. Heroes? Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Meatloaf, Chip Znuff, Danny Vaughn, Jani Lane and Johnny Lima.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Thank you so much for the review and this interview. Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of "The Storyteller" and to everyone who has took the time to write me and comment on the cd! Also you can read the stories behind the songs, lyrics, listen to and/ or purchase the Cd at
www.jamieallenrocks.com , just leave me a message and I would be happy to
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,