Rock and roll's gonna save the world if Jesse has anything to do with it...
What are your earliest memories of heavy metal – was it love at first sight/hearing? “My earliest memories would have to be Metallica‘s ...And Justice for All, and Faith No More – The Real Thing (which is still absolutely one of my top five favourite albums ever.) Megadeth was one of my early heavy metal loves as well. I loved those three bands and albums, but it was Vulgar Display of Power and Chaos A.D. that really got me hooked for life on metal music”.
What was the first metal album you bought with your own cash? “Faith No More’s The Real Thing once again. That album probably set the whole thing off for me”.
Are there any bands you loved as a youngster that cause you to wince now and ask ‘what was I thinking’ ? “Not really. I still like all the same stuff for the most part. I mean everyone has music from back in the day they think is funny now. But ya know if Ice Ice Baby comes on the radio I’ll still crank up the volume, laugh, and have a good time. I really do enjoy all kinds of music”.
Who were the first band you saw live? “My first big concert was ZZ Top on the Antenna Tour. It was pretty epic! Really blew my mind. But my first big metal shows were Pantera with Biohazard, Ozzy with Korn and Deftones. Pantera live was absolutely the game changer for me. Any doubts I might have had about wanting to be a musician were crushed after I saw Pantera. I’ve been to thousands of concerts now. Everything from local shows, to my own bands performances, to attending stadium shows, to working production for all sizes of band as well. It all kinda blurs together after a while (laughs)”.
How hard was it growing up to get info on the bands you loved- was there much mainstream media coverage where you lived? “I would buy a lot of Rock/Metal Magazines as a teen. I’d look up anything that had a cool album cover, or even any band I saw on some strangers T-shirt I’d never heard of. I’d say that growing up a metal head in Omaha, Nebraska was and is definitely a black sheep situation. There is lots of metal kids rolling around. We hold on to our music like a treasure chest full of gold around here. There’s not much else to do a lot of the time so music can become a great thing to help cope with that. At least it was in my day”.
Do you think the internet has taken away the mystique of being in a big band for young people today ? Do we know too much about our heroes in 2016? “YES! Without a doubt. The internet was basically a nuclear bomb that went off inside of music everywhere. I believe that someday soon the dust will settle and a new beginning of some kind will flower for all of music. I sure hope it does, many people think that will never happen. Values of all kinds have shifted all across the globe to much shallower interests. Everyone is out for themselves and the quickest fix possible. It’s seems almost nothing is sacred anymore, especially not in music. It seems to be much worse in the States than overseas”.
Were you a big festival goer as a junior headbanger? “Heck yeah! I attended Ozzfest many times. I Would travel to multiple states to catch shows, festival or not. I went to Tattoo the Earth, Ozzfest, quite a few Radio Festivals… Sounds of the Underground was another, Mayhem Fest, KnotFest more recently. Oh, and SxSW is another big music event I like to go to when I can”.
How hard/easy was it for you to get to big gigs growing up? Would you have hitched hundreds of miles to see your favourite bands if necessary? “There was lots of car pooling with Friends. But I was probably the most hardcore about it. I’d always be ready to take off to go see a cool show. Still am too!”
What five albums have stayed with you since your formative metal years? “The Real Thing, Faith No More, . Vulgar Display of Power by Pantera, The
Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura‘s Chaos A.D. and Countdown to Extinction by Megadeth”.
Did you have a metal crush? “I’m pretty sure every metal dude had a thing going for Sean Yseult during White Zombie’s heyday. My walls were completely covered with clippings from Rock Magazines, Posters and flyers of tons of metal bands! Now days it’s hip to be an “alt chick” or whatever. I’m sick of seeing metal and punk lifestyle bleed it’s way into pop culture without the real recognition it deserves going to the music. If Lady Gaga loves metal so much why doesn’t she put out a metal record? But yeah I still have crushes on metal women all over (laughs)”.
Anything else you’d like to reveal about your metal upbringing? “I grew in a time that Metallica had owned the “metal sound” for a long time. It no longer sounded new to me. Other metal bands to choose from (for the most part) were following a lot of the same musical format. In one hand you’d have evil tough guy real metal all kinda sounding the same. On the other hand you’d have shit like Poison come on MTV and really confuse the hell outta a young man. Enter Nirvana. Everyone knows Nirvana changed everything, and I think for the better! I’d even go as far to say that they may have been the thing to help breath life into aggressive music in whole, and push it to survive. The mould had been broken and genuine art and aggressive music were part the mainstream during that time. I believe that the nineties were the BEST era of music in history. The peace and love of the sixtiess and seventiess didn’t work out. The electro pop of the eightiess didn’t last either. The nineties music was about the revolt, anger, freedom, and violence that we were witnessing everywhere. Nirvana, Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson were living in the dying times of what a rockstar was. I only hope that the music of Narcotic Self can be valued by some people the way that I valued my music growing up. It saved my life without a doubt. Once the dust settles in music it will be interesting to see what happens next. But in the nineties, at least people were aware and pissed off about what’s happening in the world. Now dayspeople just scroll their way through life without even looking up from their phone. When was the last time you bought and listen to a full album? Whatever your answer is, it’s not enough. Music has the power to change and save the world. I think that metal music is the only true Rock and Roll left with the power to do so”.