5 Questions with 2 Stellar Musicians
Feb 19, 2015 04:00PM ● Published by Melissa Lauren
Photo Courtesy of BCRMedia.com
What's Up? Media asks 5 questions of 2 stellar musicians - Shooter Jennings and Alexander Peters. Jennings plays tonight at Rams Head On Stage and Peters plays 49 West this Friday.
5 Questions with Shooter Jennings
Shooter Jennings with Waymore Outlaws performs tonight at Rams Head On Stage, 33 West Street , Annapolis, MD 21401, 7 p.m., $39.50, 410-268-4545, RamsHeadOnStage.com
The only son of country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings literally spent his childhood on a tour bus. He discovered guitar at 14 and Rock and Roll (particularly Southern Rock and the loose-limbed hard rock of Guns N' Roses) at 16. Soon he moved from Nashville to L.A., where he assembled a rock band called Stargunn. Stargunn earned a strong local reputation for its live shows, and enjoyed a six- or seven-year run on the L.A. circuit before Jennings rediscovered his outlaw country roots and dissolved the band. Jennings 6th album as a solo artist, The Other Life, was released on his own Black Country Rock label; it featured guest appearances from Patty Griffin, Scott H. Biram, and Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas. The Other Live, Jennings' second live album, recorded during his 2013 tour and featuring many of the songs from The Other Life, appeared early in 2014, again from Black Country Rock. He is currently touring performing songs from his tribute to the great George Jones, Don't Wait Up (For George). He has also produced music for Wanda Jackson, Jamey Johnson, Jessi Colter and more on his record label Black Country Rock. More info is available at the Black Country Rock label website, BCRMedia.com, including upcoming news on an exclusive vinyl release of a never before heard Waylon Jennings 1955 recording on Record Store Day April 2015.
I figure it is safe to say that George Jones is one of your Country heroes as your 2014 EP release is a tribute to him called Don't Wait Up (For George). What about George Jone's artistry inspires you? Who are some of your other Country Rock heroes and why?
Shooter Jennings: George was around when I was a little kid a lot. He was a dear friend of my dad. My dad had a lot of friends in the business, of course. George Jones was very sweet. When I did my first record, I asked him to do some vocals on it and he was very gracious and said yes immediately. And he took me seriously without me having to prove myself. Kris Kristofferson was so kind too. He called me the first few Father's Days after my dad died. It was very sweet of him. The story behind that tribute is a guy called me and asked if I wanted to provide any upbeat material for the George Jones tribute album. I wrote two songs and sent them to the producer and he said, "Great, we'll have to check in with the 'Old Possum'." Well, it turns out he was lying he was never producing the record and then George died. I thought we should put the two songs out as a 7 inch and my manager pushed me to do an EP with covers. He was one of my icons for sure. My icons are all over the place not just in the Country world. I love Hank Williams, Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, 70's era stuff, I have deep love for 90's Rock and Roll, Guns n Roses, The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson. And it's kind of funny because now Marilyn Manson and I have become really good friends.
You have produced several EPs and albums on the record label you started last year, called Black Country Rock working with such artists as legend Wanda Jackson, Jamey Johnson, and your mother, Jessi Colter who is a very well-known country musician. Do you take a different approach when producing another artist's record versus recording and producing your own albums?
Shooter Jennings: I already like you because you're making me think. I kind of look at it exactly the same as when I go in with my own music. I feel like the material dictates… you just look at the song and you serve the song. My favorite thing in the world is to be in the studio because you go in with nothing and you leave with something. I've got this Giorgio Moroder record coming out, a tribute to Giorgio Moroder. He was hugely influential in music because what he did at the time was groundbreaking because he defined the sound of the 80's. He started as a producer for Donna Summer but he also did soundtrack work for movies like The Neverending Story, Top Gun, and Midnight Express. So these songs that were a big part of American culture, they came from him. The record is a cover record of his material and I've got some original material on there and guests like Marilyn Manson and Brandi Carlile. Its pretty wild. But that record is a prime example of this thing that you have to tackle in the studio because, you see, if we're going in doing songs that were done in 1979 with synthesizers and stuff, its kind of a disco-ish sound. We're taking material like that and we're taking it on with a full band, live kind of thing and it's hard because there are these very intricate arrangements. It's how I like to make music with the sound I prefer and I kind of pick and choose out of that and rearrange it and I think that's what gives the things that I work on a specific kind of sound that another producer wouldn't get because I'm using my own secret box of tools, ya' know?
I have to say the soundscaping you do with "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" for the Giorgio record, that is so fun! I hate stamping a sound with words because it doesn't do it justice so everyone needs to listen to it but it really sounds like a Futuristic Spaghetti Western.
Shooter Jennings: That's great! That's exactly what it is! I've never thought about calling it that ever but that's really is exactly what it is -- somewhere between Henry Mancini and Optimus Prime.
Is it true that you're working on a record with Lukas Nelson, Son of Willie Nelson?
Shooter Jennings: Yeah, we finished half of the record and we haven't been able to get into the studio together. It was a very inspired moment. It was just me and him. I played drums and keyboard and he played bass and guitar. I'm really proud of that. It's a really cool record.
You played your father, Country Legend, Waylon Jennings in the movie, Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic. I have seen that movie more than a half dozen times and your scene when you play "Long Way From Home" gets me every time. What was it like playing your father and how was it working with Joaquin Phoenix?
Shooter Jennings: I love Joaquin! He's one of my favorite people. I was 23 then. We just clicked together pretty quickly. I just had such a good time with him. And I thought acting, I got this, it will be easy. I'll just try to be myself and that will be close enough to being my dad. And boy was I wrong! You get there and behind the camera there's a bunch of people looking at you and then okay go! And I was having a conversation with the great Joaquin Phoenix! It was terrible. I had no training. I just tried to get through it and I said, "I'm never doing this again".
You have plans to produce a Waylon Jennings biopic about your father's life, is that correct?
Shooter Jennings: I don't have any details on a date or anything yet. It has begun in its planning stages. Script-wise we're there. We are just getting it off the ground. It's going to be awesome! I just hope we get off to a start this year.
Thanks for your time, Shooter! Have a good show at Rams Head On Stage.
Shooter Jennings: Thank you.
5 Questions with Alexander Peters
Alexander Peters‘ expressive clever lyricism and charming compositions paint pictures worth a thousand words in the Singer/Songwriter tradition. His soulful songs are like curling up with a good book - a page turner filled with adventurous travels. Alexander Peters Album Release Party is this Friday at 49 West Coffeehouse, Winebar and Gallery, 49 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 at 7 p.m., Tickets are $10. Reservations required by calling 410-626-9796. For more information visit 49westcoffeehouse.com. Join Singer/Songwriter, Alexander Peters as he performs music in celebration of his new album, Youth Belongs to The Young, which was recorded at Red Bridge Studios with Bob Novak(RedBridgeStudios.com). There will be a full band performing as well as a few special surprises. For more information visit AlexanderPetersMusic.com.
Hi Alex! Tell me about your album release. What time does the party start?
Alexander Peters: It starts at 7 p.m. I've got a full band playing with me and Jennifer Van Meter, another local artist is the opening act. We will also be doing a duet together. I'll have CD's and I've also put it on vinyl record, which I'm really excited about. So it should be a fun night!
Is that the first time you've done a vinyl pressing?
Alexander Peters: Yeah, it's the first time I've done that and usually when I tell people that who have record players they are really excited. This album has an older folky sound too so it does pair well with the format.
What is the name of the record? And what's the story with that since you are a storyteller?
Alexander Peters: Youth Belongs to the Young. Its kind of me coming to terms with getting older. There is a saying, "Youth is wasted on the young" but I don't know I think it is people who deserve to be young. It's the title track, which is a really happy love song.
When did you start dreaming of playing music and when did you first pick up a guitar?
Alexander Peters: My father plays guitar so I grew up hearing him play guitar but I wasn't really into it until I was 15 or 16. My friends got me really into playing and when I saw them playing, I came home and had tons of guitars in the house and I started learning around that time. I was listening to Led Zeppelin so that led to lots of guitar playing, which turned into a really good creative source. I've been playing for about 15 years now. My father taught me a lot of stuff and I'm self taught but no formal lessons.
Who have you opened for that you've learned from and what have you learned from them?
Alexander Peters: I've done some good shows at Rams Head Onstage and I've been lucky enough to open for some good acts. Its been interesting to see how they command a room. There's definitely different levels of being a musician that I aspire to.
Well, we're glad you're still young and we look forward to a bright future ahead with more amazing music from you. Go to the show, get it all; get the CD to listen to in your car, the vinyl for listening at home on your record player, and the digital version to take with you on your smart device. For more information go to AlexanderPetersMusic.com. Thanks, Alex!
Alexander Peters: You got it! I don't have it on cassette tape, though. (laughing) Thanks for having me.
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