You’re also affiliated with Sundancer Productions, which places music in films and commercials. How is that relationship going so far?
I signed with them in May 2008. It’s working out really well. It is very difficult to focus on the music when you have to worry about this business end as well. I am extremely fortunate and appreciative to have them believe in the Jimmy Whip Project and handle the business aspects, as well as advice on the artistic end.
It seems that old school rock and metal are really back into focus when it comes to the public eye right now.
It goes back to the content of the classics, the time tested brilliance. No offense to anyone as far as nu metal or what have you. It’s not a conscious thing that I write that way, it’s just where it comes from, and I am glad that it’s coming back around. I don’t think it has ever gone away, but it is more at the forefront of the scene today than it has been in recent years.
How did you meet up with your drummer?
Kenny found me online about six years ago. I was searching for musicians, putting ads out, to their usual no avail. He called me up and we started talking about music, life and politics. I went to his website, and it was just full of this killer jazz fusion type playing. Kenny was a really big session player in the Boston area, working with major producers like Jack Douglass (Aerosmith). I listened to his playing, called him back and said, ‘Are you sure you want to play on my songs?’ Because he was playing Steely Dan type stuff. But Kenny is a metalhead at heart. So it is working out well between my style and my influences and his style and his influences. I think it gives it that little something different.
Who is playing with you in the live band?
Right now, it’s just Kenny and myself. We are still searching for other members, but when we play live, it might be musicians for hire until we get the full complement for the project. That’s a real tough thing. Sometimes it’s just a logistical nightmare. I had a bass player from Nebraska, a guitar player from Texas and my drummer lives in Nantucket. Kenny and I have these conversations all the time, that we will have to hire some heavy-duty pros to come in for now. We both have no doubt that once the product is fully done and out there that the players will be knocking on the door for the opportunity. If that’s the way that it will have to be, then that’s the way that it will have to be. Done right, no compromise.
Then you guys do a lot of MP3ing back and forth?
It’s MP3s back and forth. All the drums that you hear on the demos, he played the drums, but he did not play them to the songs. He sends me drum tracks, which I write to and most of the time, I don’t cut them up or paste them. That’s why I make it known that they are demos, because certain parts have changed and certain parts are a lot tighter. When I am writing to the drum tracks, I have a change that works, but it’s not always dead on tight. That’s why they are preproduction demos, scratch pads if you will. I am really psyched to get the CD done and heard, because people like the songs now, but the way they sound after Kenny and I incorporated the changes and tracked them together, then throwing in Tony (Franklin)’s playing, it’s just a night and day difference.
Tony is playing bass on the CD?
Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder, Whitesnake), a.k.a. the Fretless Monster. His tracks are just amazing. He brings the songs to where they need to be. Tony is a world class bass player. He is really great to work with, a super nice guy and really cares about what you are looking for in the song. He is not just one of those high-profile cats that’s just playing on everything and anything. If he doesn’t like it, he won’t even do it, which is cool. I am happy that he is digging it, because I am digging what he is sending back.
Were ever thinking of calling it something other than the Jimmy Whip Project?
I didn’t want to use that name for years, but Kenny was adamant. I wanted a band, not ‘So ‘n So & The Backup Band.’ I am not trying to be Joe Limelight, that’s not what I am doing it for, that’s not what I want out of it. But he fought me tooth-and-nail, and I finally gave in. So now that some really positive things have been happening in the last couple of years, I really don’t want to change it.
Do you have any live shows planned?
I have lot of interest from some major metal festivals for the spring and summer, as well as a few CD release parties in the works for both coasts, but I just want to focus the next couple of months on getting the CD done.
The debut release from the Jimmy Whip Project is coming out in April. For more info, visit jimmywhip.com