Survivor (2006)



Part 2 - Jimi Jamison

Survivor vocalist Jimi is put under the microscope. Although a positive and friendly interview, I don't think Jimi was overly chatty on the day, so the interview is fairly short.


Good to talk to you again Jimi.
Yeah, you too. It's been too long.

It has been. You have been busy in-between time…
Yeah, kinda busy. I'm busy in spurts.

You guys do what a lot of bands do these days and go out for the weekend runs don't you?
Yeah, pretty much. That's when people want us to play.
We don't have to do the two or three months at a time anymore.

Pleased there is still a lot of interesting the band?
Yeah, people still want to hear the good ol' music so I'm happy that we play a lot of fairs and casinos. People always seem to be there.

Anything lined up for the support of Reach? Some European dates planned I see… [since cancelled]
Not sure if they are still valid, but I haven't heard anything for sure.

So let's talk about the record.
Okay. I haven't got a copy of it yet.

Ok, tell me about making it. It's been a long time.
Basically Frank did most of the work.

It seems like he did get things sorted.
I think the basic tracks were pretty easily cut. Lead vocals were cut; we didn't really have a game plan going in. We did a bit of experimenting and it took a little while to get rolling in the studio. But he got it going and I'm real proud of him.

Now you have been back with the band for 6 years now. You have been promising an album for much of that time. Why so long to get it done? Frankie just said things finally aligned.
Well, they did…that's kinda what happened. We have been talking about doing it for a long time but you have to make a living, you have to eat, so you gotta keep playing and when we do that for 2 or 3 months, that is what has kept us from doing it.

I guess people should be made aware that touring is about the only way bands make any money these days – it's not from the records anymore.
It really is. We hardly make any more from the record – that's for the fans pretty much.
We make money when we play live. That's the only way to do it threes days.

It seems the people that come along to the shows are more content to do that for the nostalgia value than going out and buying the records.
Yeah. hopefully we might get to sell some at gigs.

Is there a US release planned?
No, I don't think so, I haven't heard anything about it.

Do Frontiers Records have the US rights also?
I don't think so.

I said to Frankie of the album, that it was a mellower kind of Survivor. I'm not sure he appreciated that, but what's your take?
It probably is a little bit. Maybe the edge wore of a little, but I don't know that is a bad thing. If the songs are good it doesn't matter to me if it's soft or hard.
As long as it's fun to listen to. I don't really care, but you are probably right – it is a little bit mellower.

Your vocals are also a little varied on the album. Usually you are straight ahead smooth as silk, but there is a rougher edge on a few songs.
Yeah, well, I was thinking the album was a little mellower, so I was trying to sing the songs a little harder…hahaha
I don't know if it worked or not…haha

Hah…that's great. It sounded like there was no spit and polish on your vocals. They were a little rawer.
Yeah, pretty much.

What's with leaving Frankie to take control of singing on two tracks?
Well, one song I wanted him to sing and one song I didn't want to sing.
One of the songs he always sang it and the other was so pop I couldn't bring myself to sing it…haha…so he had to sing both.

I'm not a huge fan of that first song, but the second was killer.
It was so pop.

Not quite Survivor. What about your favourite songs on there.
My favourite was one I didn't even write. Seconds Away.

Ah, ok. Great ballad.
My other favourite of course is the one me and my daughter wrote…Gimmie The Word.

Really? That must have been a cool experience.
Yeah, it was really great.

And how old is she now?

Is she in the business?
Yeah, she's a singer/songwriter. She has a regular job but she's a great songwriter and plays around town. I don't think she's taking it very seriously, but she could if she wanted to.

You must be a proud dad.
Oh yeah. Big time. My whole family could sing – aunts and uncles…but no one was in the business, now most of them are in the business but most of them can't sing….haha.

I said to Frankie I liked the 2 main ballads One More Chance and Seconds away.
One More Chance really surprised me. After we recorded it I listened to it I said wow, it was even better than I thought it was.

The title track is obviously classic Survivor…
Yes. Pretty much straight forward Survivor.

I'm curious as to whether you think Jim Peterik might ever come back to the fold?
I don't know. Nothing's impossible. I never rule anything out.

Frankie was diplomatic about that question. You coming back was a surprise!
Yeah, if I can come back, Jim sure can…without a doubt.

I was surprised to hear Rhythm Of my Heart cut for the album. Where did the song originally come from?
That was me Jim writing that when we first got back together years ago. We cut it at Jim's house. I like that song.

You had that lined up for the Empires record originally.
Yeah, at one time.

I still love that album…
Thank you, thank you.

That took a while to get done didn't it?
Yeah, we had to record that album twice. The first time it was produced by Jim from Saga and the record label didn't like it at all.

And then the guy to did do it with ended up running off!
Yeah, he ran off with the masters…

What's next for you Jimi?
I'm hoping to do another solo record. I'll give it a shot. I figure I have one more in me.

Are you serious when you say that?
Oh yeah I'm serious. Well, I know I definitely have one more in me, after that I don't know.

Hard to throw these things together quickly. Do you have a home studio?
Not anymore…I'll probably do it here somewhere in town.

Are you in Nashville?
No Memphis.

Cool place…a lot of rockers down south now.
Oh yeah, In fact I'm just about to open a club in town. I'm partners in a club down town.

That's kinda cool.
Yeah, that'll be great…do a guest appearance every once and awhile.

And who else is involved in that?
A friend of mine…we have the building but no name yet. It should be very interesting.
Morgan Freeman has a club here….BB King too…

Interesting place. Jimi – you recorded a lot of tracks over the years that haven't been released. Are you thinking of putting together a release of these such tracks?
I thought about that but I haven't really pursued it. The quality of some demos aren't that good, so they'd have to be re-recorded.

So it isn't just as easy as polishing off some old DATs?
Yeah, right…and a lot of that stuff I just played everything on there myself! I'm an okay singer, but as far as instruments go I'm not that great!

Ok, so not something you can bump together.
But there are a few tracks I can polish up and get onto CD, but a lot of songs that as far as the sound goes would have to be re-recorded.

Looking back over the years with Survivor…any fondest memories or things that stand out still?
I can't really think of anything that stands out…it's all a blur.

No time to reflect yet?
Not really…I don't think that time has come yet.

Well that's cool.
There is one thing….Joe Walsh was living town and he and I went down to this club to see this band. We walk in and Joe gets up on stage and starts playing. It was kinda loud, so I walked back into the middle of the room.
This guy comes up to me and says 'hi, I'm Joe's drummer'. I said, no way, you are full of crap, I came down here with Joe'….I thought he said he was Joe Walsh's drummer…
He finally left and a friend came up to me and said, what happened man, that was Joe Strummer from The Clash….haha

Oh no! haha
Oh man, I made a fool of myself. Haha…just a funny story you might like. Totally true.

Funny stuff.
I think he did too right?

Yeah, so he died thinking you were a buffoon!
Yeah, what a drag! It was really funny after the fact, but man…

So what's next for you now Jimi? Hit the road?
Yeah, get in shape…do some shows.

Well that's good Jimi – anything you would like to add?
That's all I think that needs to be talked about. I appreciate you calling.

Thanks for taking the call.
See you later.




c. 2006 / Interview By Andrew McNeice