Interview with Jimmy Whip: Crack That Whip

Jimmy WhipJimmy Whip is New Jersey’s neo-classical guitar hero, bringing his own crunching brand of metal and hard rock back to its purest roots. With his namesake, The Jimmy Whip Project, this axe man and vocalist reflects the vibes of forerunners like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and Todd Rundgren, the last of which he sees as a mentor not only in the musical sphere, but also in terms of what he has done career-wise. “Todd has worked with so many people as far as producing, arranging and writing. His body of work is definitely a big influence. It basically comes down to making a living doing the music that you believe in. Music that has meaning and purpose, something that evokes emotion and can stand the test of time. That’s what I am shooting for.”

Whip told of previous musical co-conspirators and associates such as Vision, Brian Vadimsky, Paul Crook (Meatloaf), Mike Orlando, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), whilst at the present time, The Jimmy Whip Project consists of Jimmy and drummer extraordinaire Kenny Howard, but that has been enough to compose a self-released CD that will be available by the end of April. The Aquarian spoke to Whip before his trip to the NAMM convention in CA, which he described as, “A super networking opportunity. It’s like a candy store for musicians, with all the different instrument makers from all around the world showcasing their new line of products, and a lot of their endorsing artists are there.”

‘Different’ has a fiery swagger to it, would you like to discuss that one?

That song, not vocally, of course, I got this Dio/Black Sabbath groove/vibe/energy in my head. When I get ideas, I don’t want to sound like somebody else, I just try to take their kind of vibe and translate it into my language, my music. Most of the stuff up on my website is two or three years old. I have been working on a lot of new material that’s going on the CD.

It’s basically a mix of the tunes that I have had for two or three years, and a lot of the newer material that is not on the site yet. I have had different people pick a lot of different songs that they considered the best or their favorites, and so it’s tough to get a three song demo together. Of course, I believe in all of them, so it’s comes down to the never ending battle between going with your gut instinct and listening to other people, and seeing what they like.

You’re a producer as well, so does that make it harder for you to produce your own music?

I think it’s a lot harder, because I am going to really nitpick. That’s why it’s good to have a bunch of guys that I have done work with over the years to try to bounce ideas off of. They keep telling me, ‘You’re being too picky.’

I have been working on this project for nearly half-dozen years. I have been doing a lot of other things in the meantime with other people’s projects, but it’s time The Jimmy Whip Project gets out. It needs to be heard, and it needs to be seen. I am focusing all of my attention to the project, but still doing some engineering and producing for other bands. That actually helps me when I work on my tunes, because I see how I can think outside the box. When I am working with other bands, I usually say something that makes me think, ‘Hey, I should listen to my own advice when I am working on the JWP.’

What other bands have you worked with? Do you do a lot of session stuff as well?

I have been doing a lot of sessions. I have worked with tons of bands. I have done everything from backup vocals on hardcore/punk CDs to playing John Paul Jones in a Zeppelin tribute band to playing guitar in a country band. I did quite a few shows this summer helping out my friends Mean Venus filling in on guitar. I am also working with a major jazz horn player—I am working on his CD. It’s a progressive jazz/fusion kind of thing. Very Mike Stern meets the Yellowjackets. I try to keep my options open, which in turn really helps me in terms of broadening my mind and translates well when applied to the JWP.