Tuff Skin, Ruff Hands, Soft Speech.
Treble: Your new album (Everybody Makes Mistakes) seems a lot more upbeat...
Jason: Yeah, just "trying to do less with more" kinda music, and not hiding
between too many tracks. You know, I'm not saying that I won't do that again
in the future, just, you know, this album was really stripped down - it
sounds cool, though. When I listened to some of the records I've been
listening to, I saw that they sounded cool, but there didnít have to be ten
guitars and triple-layered vocals and all this stuff, you know? It kinda
sounded just like a band, you know what I mean, so that's kinda what we were
trying go for, just guitar, bass, and drums, and maybe a keyboard, and
Treble: Right on, yeah, I thought it came out well.
Jason: Oh, thanks.
Treble: Have you gotten much feedback on the album yet?
Jason: Yeah, so far it's been pretty cool, you know the little bit - it's
only been out like two weeks, but there's been a couple reviews that Cloud
flipped over to me that I thought were pretty nice. So, yeah, it seems like
everythings rolling pretty good, so, we'll see.
Treble: Youíve been around for about six years or so...What do you think you
íve accomplished in that time?
Jason: Nothing! [Laughter] No, I donít know...I'm trying to think, because
anytime I say we've accomplished anything I sound like I'm conceited...I
mean, I don't really know in a big standpoint, I think we've just got a
small, solid fan-base...you know...whatever that means.
Treble: How about as far as musically, though, I mean...you know Iíve
actually never heard Dance House Children, to be totally frank with you...
Jason: Thatís bad stuff anyway, so don't even worry about it...
Treble: But from what I've been told, both yours and Ronnieís (Jason's
brother - Joy Electric) projects have been pretty stark contrasts from that,
and I'm just wondering what led you into the type of music you play now, and
how do you think that youíve developed, and what's been your muse in the
last six years?
Jason: Just the whole songwriting craft I guess, I don't want to call it an
art, but just getting better at songwriting, or listening to production -
the way an album sounds...that stuff to me is really interesting...putting
together a record, putting together songs...itís just what I like doing.
Treble: Do you have any plans to make any drastic changes musically?
Jason: I never know. With every album we try to do something different. So,
whatever tunes are going on in this next year when I'm writing songs will be
on next year's album...I think our albums sound different, from album to
album, but I can still tell that itís the same band all the way through
them, because thereís a certain sound. But you know, just progressing...I
don't know if it's "progressing," because you can talk to people who like
the earlier stuff better...but just, I don't want to do the same thing
Treble: When youíre writing a song or doing a show, what is the spiritual
focus of your music?
Jason: Give glory to God, like we're supposed to do in all things. Whether
we're a rock 'n' roll band, or driving a truck - like I do all day - just
give glory to God. Which we all fail in, including me, all the time, but Ií
ve always tried to hopefully maintain that, and not to think Iím cooler than
somebody else, not just because Iím doing this stupid rock 'n' roll band -
like it really means anything, it's just entertainment - and hopefully Iím
glorifying God with what weíre doing.
Treble: So, you drive a truck?
Jason: Yeah, thatís what I do so I can eat every week, feed my wife and my
baby, and stuff...
Treble: Like a semi?
Jason: No, like bobtails, not like fifty footers...just bobtails, local
Treble: Oh, cool, yeah, I delivered bombs with bobtails when I was in the
Jason: There you go man, we know the same routine.
Treble: I suppose you do forklifts too?
Jason: Oh, I can if I have to, but usually the guy at the dock I go to will
be able to handle that, but if they don't I'll climb on there to get my
freight off so I can get the heck out of there.
Treble: Word on the street is that youíre a true Manís-Man, even a tough
guy, if you will, but your music is so sensitive, and quite emotional. Can
you explain the dichotomy there?
Jason: You know...I don't really know, because I kind of know what you're
saying...and I've said this in other interviews and stuff...I donít really
consider myself an artist. I donít read poetry, or none of that. Not like Ií
m opposed to it, although, sometimes...I am. [Laughter] I really don't know,
I just like a certain kind of chord change...sometimes I feel like my music
doesnít really fit my personality all that much. Itís a different side of me
that I have, where I like writing these certain kinds of songs...but, my
music to me is a really private thing. Like, I would never show people my
songs, I never sit around with my friends and show them my songs. Itís like
Iím embarrassed about it, you know, itís just this weird thing where we
happen to put out records, and if people hear them thatís fine, but itís
just something thatís always kind of embarrassed me. Itís not like I walk up
to people and say, "Oh, Iím in a band, hereís my tape." Iíve never done
that. I mean, people that I see every day donít even know that I'm in a
band. But, it's weird, because I'll be having conversations like this, or
we'll go on tour, and Iím always recording songs, or whatever, but itís just
not something that I talk about. I just feel dumb talking about it, and I
donít like playing people my stuff, and all that kind of stuff...Itís just
kind of a weird thing. And it's a strange question that you ask, because
it's never been asked before...
Treble: Well, Iím not trying to get too personal...
Jason: Oh, that's OK man, I don't care.
Treble: I guess I just wonder, because, to be honest, your music is
incredibly huge with critics - a lot of critics, and usually the thing they
point out is the artistry of it. Yet, you seem to stay away from words like
Jason: I donít like it...at all. Because itís too easy of a word that
everbody says, you know. And it's like, if everyone says it, it can't be
true. So, Iíll be the first to say that Iím not, 'cause I know me. My music
to me is something that I love doing, but like I said, it's a weird
thing...I donít go around telling everybody I meet, "Oh, Iím in a band,
listen to my music." So, the whole idea of it...I just like keeping it
Treble: That's kind of funny, since playing a show is such a public thing.
Jason: I know, 'cause, see, if you really knew my personality, that's the
thing I always think about...It's like, it's crazy that Iím even doing
this...itís not my personality to play shows, or do any of that stuff, but I
like writing songs. Itís something I like to do, and thereís other stuff
that goes with it...you know?
Treble: I kind of noticed a similar thing with Ronnie. Heís really laid back
in normal conversation, but then he goes on stage and has this really wild
stage persona, I suppose you'd call it...
Jason: Yeah, I dont have that at all, but he does. [Laughter]
Treble: Oh, ok, that was kind of what I was going to ask, like, do you feel
that when you go on stage that you take on a different persona?
Jason: No...I mean, on stage I really donít do much. I guess, to me, the
whole Starflyer thing is just a weird thing - how it happened and why -
'cause I know me, and the idea that we put out records, and people actually
buy them, to me, is still baffling...And the fact that they'll show up to a
show is just...I just think the whole idea is really strange, and it's
really not my personality, but I enjoy writing songs...
Treble: And a LOT of
songs, Jason, and a LOT of records.
Treble: OK, fair enough, letís talk about the industry...What do you feel is
your role in the industry as a whole...I mean, it seems like, from what
we've been talking about, that you don't really pay too much mind to it, but
Jason: Oh, I'm into music a lot, and I probably didn't explain any of that
right, but, basically, what I am trying to say is that I'm not a performer.
Treble: Ok, well, what do you see as your role then?
Jason: Just trying to be legitimate, and just records that if people wanted
to show their friends, they don't have to be embarrassed to play them, you
know what I mean? Just trying to put out good records. 'Cause Iím really
critical of a lot of rock and roll, and I'm not saying...but I really try
hard to make sure, like, if I got this record, and it wasn't like me, or
whatever, if I was just to hear this band, would I like it? You know, so
there's this weird criteria when I start writing songs for the new
record...Basically, I donít want to be the Christian version of whatever
band, so we've just tried to put out records that are as good as we possibly
can. Whatever, hit or miss, we've tried.
Treble: Do you think that concept is catching on? Are people becoming more
concerned with legitimacy?
Jason: Itís hard to say. The thing about Christian music is that sometimes I
think itís too easy to get a record deal. Like, if you sound like this band,
and the kids kind of like it right now, youíre gonna do a record within
three months. And I understand the reasons for it, because my parents didnít
want us listening to secular music, and I wish there could have been more
"Christian rock" when I was twelve years old. So, I understand the reason,
because parents donít want their kids listening to bad stuff, but from a
musical standpoint, or a bandís standpoint, I just think there are a lot of
bands that shouldnít even be putting out records, because it's just
pointless. Theyíre just bad covers of popular bands. It's lyrics...thereís
just nothing to it. Any four guys can sit together in a basement for a month
figuring out a bass part and a guitar part to an Offspring song, and put
Christian lyrics to it, and within another month they have a record deal -
itís just kind of dumb. But I don't want to be a basher, lots of times itís
just kids doing it, fifteen, sixteen, and theyíll probably get better, and I
donít want to bash everyone...I donít want to sound like Iím on a high
horse...You probably shouldn't print that...
Treble: No, don't worry about it. It's true, and it needs to be said more,
and when I interviewed Jeff Cloud he said some stuff about ten times more
soapboxy than you've said, so, you know...
Jason: No, I totally know where you're coming from, but my brother kinda did
that about six years ago in a record, you know, kinda like what you're
trying to do, what you're trying to say, and it didn't come across too good.
So, I've always tried to shy away from my true feelings, because I just
don't want to come across cocky, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I
mean, let's say that there are four kids practicing their own versions of
Offspring songs in their basement in Kentucky...you know, I don't want to
stomp on their parade...[Laughter]...But I don't know, man, what the heck?
Treble: Yeah, I understand, but I don't think anyone could possibly take you
as being cocky or mean-spirited for telling it like it is, especially the
way you're saying it. Last question, can you tell me about some of the songs
on your new album that mean a lot to you, or that you think would mean a lot
to other people?
Jason: It's hard to say, because everytime I write a song it kinda means a
lot to me, but itís kind of like me talking to me, telling myself the truth
that I know, but act like I donít know...Like in the song, "No New Kinda
Story," itís just talking about trying to live a Christ-like life, you know,
"This isn't no new kinda story." All my lyrics are just as simple as they
could ever get. Thatís why I always say Iím not artsy, because Iím really
not trying to have these deep meanings that would take a rocket scientist to
figure out. Itís really basic points of what I'm going through at that
minute, or maybe other people can relate to it too. Iím not trying to be
tricky or anything like that.