Jaime "The Saint" St. James
Interviewed on Aug. 25, 2006 by Celtic Bob
How is it going?
Going real good. How are you?
The new disc is just like classic old school metal.
Thatís the way we planned it. Glad you think so. Weíve been getting a lot of love on different sites. People are digging it. Weíre feeling good about that.
The fan response been good to it?
The fan response had been great you know. Itís been great response live, we play one or two new songs live and they go over really well. People that buy it at Amazon.com. They rate it when they buy it and they've been saying great things about it.
Do you get any flack from the Jani fans where you just replaced him?
Replacing a lead singer is very difficult. Itís the hardest thing a band can do. I know from the get go there was gonna be some flack. There are some that will now accept me. Theyíre like forget it, Iím not interested. There are so many more that give it a chance and love it. I get a lot of great feedback fro the audiences. The ones that donít want anything to do with me arenít even gonna come to the shows anyways. On some of the enquirer style websites out there they slag me the metal sludge type stuff Iím gonna get some crap on those because those people are assholes. For the most part the people that come to our shows are awesome and they love it. Itís been a pleasant changeover.
I was curious as to how the new Warrant was going to sound and after hearing the disc it was like ďJani Who?Ē
(Laughs)Thanks and I hear that all the time. Itís difficult to do, itís not an easy thing. I knew getting into it, it was gonna be like ďAww man. This is not gonna be what Iím used toĒ. Iím gonna be taking a lot of heat, I better develop a real thick skin to get through some of it. Itís been really great. Itís been nothing but a pleasure. There are people that will never accept it and thatís fine. They can go get Janiís solo stuff.
Did you have any reservations about joining the band?
Initially I did. I said I will give it a try. Let me come down and sing some songs see how it works. If Iím not comfortable with it Iím not going out there and make an ass of myself. Basically it felt good, they all thought it was great soÖIt took some time. The first 6 months or so of me being in the band I got thrown right out into the shows. They had shows already booked so I didnít have a lot of growing up period with these guys. I had to learn 19 brand new songs to me. It was like Wow, cram full in my head. I wasnít as good as I am now when I first started. The first year was tough. Itís become easy now.
Do you think your writing style fits in with what Turner & Dixon idea of what Warrant should sound like? Itís a bit like the first three.
Yeah, itís a little bit like that. We purposely set out to write songs that were from the old school. 80Ēs sound not necessarily the 1st Warrant album but itís gonna sound like that because these guys played on it. Thatís think soÖ..and with my voice there is a bit of a different flavor there but Iím the same way. I came from a band called Black NíBlue and I played this kind of music all my life. We definitely intended on it sounding like that.
Were you a fan of Warrant back in the late 80ís and early 90ís?
Yeah, I used to go see them in the clubs. I barely remember it but I sang on one of their demos way back when. I was a fan; I thought they were a good band when I heard them after the first record at a place called The Country Club. The just finished their record and came out and played, all the songs were really tight. I said those guys are gonna break.
Do you have a favorite Warrant album?
I like the first record a lot Ďcause thatís what I was hearing them do that stuff live back in the day. I like all three of the first records. DOG EAT DOG is really cool on its own. I think CHERRY PIE has some really well written tunes on it. All three records are good. I didnít get into DOG EAT DOG until about four years ago when I had to learn stuff off of it and I said ďWow, that a great recordĒ.
That is my personal favorite one.
Itís really strong, it didnít go through the roof like CHERRY PIE or something doesnít mean its not a good record. Itís a really great record. I think Jani wrote some killer tunes on that thing.
How are the new songs going over live as compared to the classics?
Surprisingly we play one or two new songs every night depending on how long our set list is and Iím really surprised how well they go over. Weíve played like four different new songs live and they just seem to go over well. I think it is because theyíre similar vein, it just sounds like an extension of Warrant. Really the crowd is just giving them a great response. We donít load tem up with new stuff; we play all the old stuff. We only play stuff off the first three records.
Do you try to re-create the originals or change them slightly?
I purposely try to sing the melodies and all the phrasing and everything the exact way it was on record. Of course, its gonna be a little different. I try to sing it like the record, hit the same notes but with my voice, I canít be somebody else but I can duplicate those records well. My voice is still strong and I can sing high. Thatís what I do. I think the people deserve to hear the songs the way they were originally written. I really work hard to do that. Itís with my voice and thank God it works.
You donít consider the band one of those nostalgia bands.
It feels like a new band because two of the guys: Joey and Steven had just come back into the band after being gone for twelve years. Me, Iím new it feels to me like a new band Fresh blood but we have a classic rock background with everything those guys did and we eve throw in a Black Ní Blue song, one called ďHold On To 18Ē so itís a best of both worlds really. Weíre gonna be on those 80Ēs package tours and stuff. Thatís just the way itís gonna be and we play with al lot of different bands. Weíre not on the Poison Tour weíve done shows with a lot of the bands. We just played with them in Wisconsin about three weeks ago. It went over really well. It was a big Rock Festival out there, like a few other bands on the bill, it was a three day thing but we played with Poison, Cinderella. It was a great afternoon.
Any plans to tour Canada next summer?
We want to. Thatís something we keep talking about and to do it right. Itís still in the works. Summertime in America is huge for us. Weíll probably try and get up there eventually Iím sure.
You were the original drummer in Black Ní Blue?
I was a drummer all the way up until Black Ní Blue the band was called something else, it was me ad Tommy Thayer and Patrick Young in a band and I was playing drums and a different singer. When I went up front to sing we changed to name to Black Ní Blue.
Do you ever get behind the kit now?
I still play drums, I can still play, I still own a drum kit. I play sometimes in the studio when weíre doing demos or different things. I donít get an opportunity to play that much. My drum kit I put in storage so its not like I play on it everyday. I can still play, itís fun but I concentrate on singing. Itís pretty much my bag.
Are you still close to Tommy Thayer now that heís doing the Kiss thing?
Yeah, I talk to him all the time. I was just at his wedding a month and a half ago. I talk to him, we live close to each other, heís a very close friend of mine and we keep in contact all the time.
Where does Black Ní Blue stand now with Tommy in Kiss and you in Warrant? Is there a chance for any more Black Ní Blue stuff to come out?
Itís unlikely. Thereís a thing I been working on for Europe, this thing called HELL YEAH, which is me, Jeff Leporter and Patrick Young. Doing a new Black Ní Blue record without Tommy and hopefully with Pete on drums someday. Itís hard to get those guys motivated. Theyíre not as involved with music as I am. They kind of dabble in it here and there. They have day jobs, they have kids and families and stuff. Iím just a lone rocker. Itís hard to get those guys motivated and they have a few personal problems. Someday weíll finish it, it sounds like a classic Black Ní Blue record.
Will HELL YEAH ever get released?
It has nothing to do with me being in Warrant, and Tommy couldnít be involved with it from the get go because that is in his contract with Kiss. Itís hard to get those guys motivated to play we made it about halfway through the record. Weíll see if I can get it going again someday. I will finish it somehow.
What are you currently listening to these days?
Iím listening to my own music. I got the pro tools set up, I got a little studio thing and Iím writing my own tunes and when Iím doing that I donít listen to too much stuff thatís come out recently. The new Buckcherryy, Rob Zombieís new thing, I listen to that a little bit. Those are cool! I just picked up this new Butch Walker thing. I donít listen too intensely to anything else because I donít want to get influenced because I am writing.
There is a chance for a studio album from you?
Everything I write now is for Warrant. Our new record BORN AGAIN just came out in June basically and weíre already writing for another one because we plan by the end of 2007 or sometime weíll get another record out. Weíre gonna keep pumping them out because itís part of that feeling that we are in a now band.
Any chances of a live concert DVD?
Well we do have some DVD stuff in the works. In fact we did MTV style videos for every song on BORN AGAIN. We paid for this ourselves, we rented out a soundstage ad just did it live to the record but added in different stuff; funny footage, different kinds of things. Some stuff that was like an old school MTV video. Weíve got a lot of road footage, extra stuff that goes along with it and weíre gonna release that one of these days. Weíre almost finished with it. Weíre doing it ourselves.
I saw the ďBourbon County LineĒ online.
ďBourbon County LineĒ is part of that. We did it ourselves. We did eleven more of those.
Is there any MTVís or radio stations picking up any of the new stuff?
There is a station out in New York is playing it. Itís tough. I would like to see MTV Classic maybe get ahold of it. Right now we are using it as a promotional tool on our website and we use it for when we do live shows. They sometimes have TV commercials for the bigger shows. We use it to promote ourselves basically. MTV, they ainít gonna touch it.
The whole video things donít seem to be as big now as it was back in the 80ís.
Itís kind of a dead thing. The only thing they like about videos anymore is the nostalgia aspect of it. Playing old ones ďHereís Flock of Seagulls againĒ. Thatís what they do. Now itís all about reality shows. I think the days of the proper videos for every band that comes out is gone right down the toilet. Itís not really gonna happen, but you can still do stuff. Technology has gotten too the point where we donít have to spend $150,000 on a video. That makes it easier for us to do it ourselves. This whole Pro-Tools and computer really changed it all.
I donít know if weíll do another. It was a lot of work especially for Jerry Dixon who edited it all. That poor guy just beat himself in the studio. Itís a dying thing I think.
Any words to the readers and fans?
Hey! Rock Ní Roll itís what itís all about. Keep old school alive. Kick some ass.