Jared James Nichols – 20 Questions

Working in classic blues rock power trio format, Jared James Nichols hits the floor running with pounding rhythms, blazing guitar and smoky vocals – he’s about to play dates in the UK and we thought he might care to undergo one of Pete’s customised question sets. We present his responses and urge you to check out this driven artist… 

  • What was it like growing up in East Troy, Wisconsin?

East Troy was a great place to grow up. It was far from big city living, things were simple and quiet. I grew up literally surrounded by corn fields. I always loved to fish and play in the woods as a child. Once I found music, I spent the rest of my childhood locked up practicing the guitar!

  • Do you have any favoured stage guitars?

Always Gibsons! The heavier and louder the better. I have been playing a single pickup Les Paul Custom on stage every night. It’s been my rock’n’roll weapon of destruction. I love the simplicity and attitude. Also, I always bring out a Flying V when I want to get crazy near the end of the set.

  •  Best rock’n’roll swagger recording NOT by the Rolling Stones ( artist / track /album source)

Hard one! Lately?? ROCKS -Aerosmith. You can’t beat the swagger and attitude of that record. Between “Last Child” and “Get The Lead Out” it’s pure gold.

  • Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing?

Absolutely! Ever since I first heard James Brown when I was 7 years old. My family would probably rate my dancing more as comedy, so I think I would score pretty high.

  • Is there a song that both you and your Mum or Dad really like? Or liked?

My mum loves Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey. Every time she hears it, she cries. I even bought her the record on vinyl. My dad is a huge Elvis fan. He loves anything from the king.

  • Could you tell me about your time at Berklee School of Music in Boston

I was fresh out of high school, ready to take on the world. At 17, Berklee seemed like the place to be. I quickly found out it’s not the best place for an aspiring blues/rock guitar player. It was either Jazz or Classical study, and I really didn’t want any part of it. I wanted to get real schooling on the road. To me, music is feelings, it is a free, pure language we all understand. I didn’t get the feeling at music school…so I left after about 6 months.

  •  Who’s in your current touring line-up?

I actually have a Swedish rhythm section. Dennis Holm on drums and Erik Sandin on bass. I met them in LA. They are hungry to play, passionate, and love to tour. We go 100% every night!

  •   How did Aerosmith engineer Warren Huart become involved in your new EP ‘Old Glory & TheWild Revival’? 

I met Warren during the recording of the last Aerosmith record “Music From Another Dimension” It was an amazing time, I was lucky enough to become friends and hang in the studio with Steven Tyler and Jack Douglas while they recorded for a few months. Warren and I hit it off instantly as well. Basically, we immediately started writing and recording “Old Glory & The Wild Revival”

  •   Tell me about your first single ‘Let It Go’.

It is the first song that was written for the record. It originally started as a Jimmy Reed kinda blues riff. Simple and groovy. But, at the same time I was listening to a ton of FREE. I really wanted to melt together this blues and rock influences in my own way. The song explains itself, it’s all about give and take, love and hate..

  •  How are you feeling about touring with Glenn Hughes this year in Europe/UK?

I am excited as hell! I have always been a huge fan of Glenn’s music. To be able to  tour all over Europe, warming up the stage for him is definitely a dream come true. I will be pulling out all the stops on this tour!

  •   Name a great recording including in the title 1/ Red 2/ White 3/ Blue (artist / title / source album for each please) and explain why chosen

The first things that pop in my head are…

-Red- “Red House” Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? No explanation needed. Jimi is just layin’ down the law on this track!

-White- “White Room” Cream. – Wheels of Fire. Absolute classic, this one is high on my list of favourites. When I hear the live version it gives me the chills.

-Blue- “Bell Bottom Blues” Derek and The Dominos. – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. I have always loved this song, it’s just beautiful.

  •  Do you play with or without a plectrum?

No plectrums for me! Have you heard that saying “The tone is in the hands” ?? It’s true. I feel I can get the best expression and sound from being natural, playing straight to the strings, with nothing in the way.

  • Did you enjoy school? Whether you did or not, which song reminds you of schooldays (artist/ title /album)?

School was OK for me. My teachers knew I was obsessed with music, and they let it be. A lot of the time my mind was somewhere totally different. I carried my guitar around with me all day, playing it constantly. I got half-way decent grades, but I never really tried to hard…

  • Is there a book or novel that you would like to create songs or the score for? Why is this?

I would love to score any of the classic Stephen King books, not movies! Mostly “IT” or “Christine” Not just for a scary heavy factor, more for the ambient vibe and suspense. Ever since I was a kid his novels had me captivated.

  • Tell me about your knowledge of Native American culture

Growing up in Wisconsin it was all around me. As a child, I learned everything all of the different tribes in the different regions of the state. I honestly find Native American culture fascinating. My favourite read is “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown.

  •  Name a recording (an album maybe) that really ‘grew’ on you and has ended up as essential listening? What is it about this recording that you value?

Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings. The first time I heard it, I couldn’t really understand it. It was way above my head in terms of feel and meaning. But there was something in those recordings that grabbed me. I felt the power and pain in his voice and guitar. Now I can’t even go a week without listening to the whole collection.

  •   Name a piece of music that makes you laugh (intentionally or otherwise)

I’ve always cracked up at “Big Balls” by AC/DC. How can you not?! Especially when you see the live footage of 70,000 people screaming along the lyrics on the top of their lungs..

  •  Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? Where and when was this?

My first concert at 14 years old was KISS and Aerosmith with Kenny Wayne Shepherd as the opener in 2003. I didn’t know anything about guitar or blues/rock at the time but after that night, my live changed. I knew I needed to rock!!

  •   Name a TV series where the theme music was better than the actual shows and do you know who created or recorded it?

Another tough one! I’d say the “Dukes of Hazzard” I love Waylon Jennings, I catch myself singing that one from time to time. That show was pretty ridiculous when you think about it!

  •  Which of your own recordings show you at your most a/ aggressive b/ relaxed c/ confused?

-Aggressive: “Playin’ for Keeps” & “Blackfoot”

-Relaxed: “Now or Never” or “Come on in my Kitchen”

-Confused: anything recorded live, I get absolutely wild on stage and let the music and myself go. It can get confusing really quick!

 Pete Sargeant

Jared James Nichols’ new album “Old Glory & The Wild Revival” is out now.   Jared plays The Black Heart in London on Tuesday June 23, the Duck and Drake in Leeds on Wednesday June 24, and The Hobbit in Southampton on Thursday June 25. Jared returns to Europe and the UK as special guest on Glenn Hughes’ European Tour.  For further details of Jared’s new album and upcoming UK shows, click here: http://bit.ly/1NcVpBM

 (Many thanks to Jared James Nichols for taking part in the ’20 Questions With… series, Glenn Sargeant for question contribution, Kieran White and Peter Noble at Noble PR for making this possible and all of his support)