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ST. James: "Resurgence"
ST. James, a hard rock band from New Haven, Connecticut released recently a 17-track archival album containing songs from the early nineties.The band featured vocalist John James and the Jacobs brothers James and Robert on guitar and bass. Their secret weapon was drummer/producer Carl Canedy (The Rods). He never got to play live with the band because of his busy schedule, which lead to the band keeping his involvement a secret and using stand-in drummers for the gigs. Sometime ago, Canedy found these St. James tapes, gave them a listen and thought they were too good to just gather dust in the closet. Now they’ve been dusted off, remastered and released for the world to hear.
1. How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
We're really pleased with the reaction. It seems that everyone "gets it" and we're pretty blown away by the reaction and support.
2. How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
These recordings were done over a period of two years. Most of the sessions were two weeks or so.
3. What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
We were looking to capture the sound of the band. They had been together for two years prior to meeting me and they had developed a sound that I was looking to move forward.
4. What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
I became part of the band. I helped with arrangements and musical decisions but it was always a strong team effort.
5. And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
We were all surprised that the recordings held up as well as they have.
6. Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
We tried a few different mic'ing techniques but mostly we kept it standard and focused on performances and arrangements.
7. How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't?
Although the recording was built from overdubs we did the initial tracking with Bob and I playing with the guys. We then kept the rhythm tracks and built from there. This way we were able to keep a live feel and have a clean production with energy.
8. Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Each session had it's favorite songs to work on. I could only tell you now which are my faves because I'm sure that when they were recorded my favorites were probably a bit different. You always seem to love the songs you're currently working on. Once you've had time to reflect your opinion sometimes changes. Crimes of the Heart has always been a favorite. Rattled Bad, Attitude, Worth Fighting For, Castles in the Sand are all great tunes.
9. Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
No, no overall themes. As you listen to the songs you can hear a bunch of different themes. Songs like Attitude and This Distance make you wanna scream and bang your head against the wall while a song like Princess of Pain is much more cerebral. One of the things I like about this band is that we’re able to mesh together a lot of different themes but still sound consistent.
10. Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
I don’t think so. I think it’s more about mood at that time. Even now, years later I can listen to these songs and tell you exactly how I was feeling when we were writing the music, or the lyrics. Takes me right back. And I think the same holds for the material I’m working on to this day.
11. Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
I think that one of the biggest perks of having Carl Canedy as our producer was that we never had any issue with anyone interfering with what we wanted to do musically. He had tons of credibility and we fit together so well as songwriters and producer that even though we’d heard horror stories from other bands, we always had an easy time of it.
12. Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Oh boy. I can write a book here. Just to touch on one of the more memorable ones…At the beginning of the song What’s Your Situation there are these 2 girls bickering over the same guy. They’re actually sisters. It’s kind of light-hearted on the recording but they both really were hung up on a certain member of the band. They were nagging back and forth so we threw them into the studio and recorded a bunch of it. Well later on that day things went from funny to serious as the bickering broke out into a full fledged fist fight complete with one banging the other’s head against the wall. Everytime I listen to the beginning of that song all I can think of is that thud, thud, thud of her head against the wall. Taught me to never get between to sisters fighting over a guy.
13. How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
Ya know we were concerned about how these songs would sound after all these years. After the remastering I was on the phone with Carl and we were both really psyched. Big guitars, big drums, big vocals. The songs really rock. The kind of songs that you wanna turn up loud, bang your head against the wall and forget about the daily BS for a while.
14. Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Well speaking for myself, I think it’s apparent that I was a big Eddie Van Halen fan. But I also was heavily into David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. Check out the solo on Princess of Pain. I was listening to their Final Cut album at that point and I think really comes through in that song.
15. If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Just wanna add a big thanks to everyone who’s giving us a listen. After having this stuff sit hidden away for all this time, we’re really grateful to be able to get it out there and have people really dig it. The reaction so far has been far bigger more than we expected and we’re just getting starts. So to everyone that’s supporting us now and in the past a big “thank you” from St. James and we hope to see you soon.
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
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