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Jesse Damon

Jesse Damon

Jesse Damon best known as vocalist with Silent Rage and as a solo artist, expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.

Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?

I started to sing at age 8 years old, and yes at that early age I knew I wanted to be a singer.

My early age influences in the sixties were Elvis, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Tom Jones and Louie Armstrong. Each had something to offer me that I was drawn to like a great melodic voice, a band with so many harmonies, a storyteller, a singer with a powerful commanding sound and a talented charm that captivated hearts.

As I grew up and listened to rock in the early to mid-seventies, I really liked Robert Plant, Ian Gillian, David Coverdale and Steve Walsh.

By the later seventies it was Steve Perry, Lou Graham, Micky Thomas and Klaus Meine.

When the eighties came, all the influences I just mentioned helped to shape my own sound and style.

Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?

I have had discussions with several bands, but I only auditioned for Matchbox Twenty.

You have appeared on a number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?

KISS Revenge 1992! I was given an opportunity by Gene Simmons to co-write with him and we wrote "Thou Shalt Not" together that made it on the album. Also, Silent Rage was given the opportunity to demo some of Gene's songs in the studio that were in the running for the "Revenge album." Lastly, Gene called to ask me to come down to the studio to sing background vocals when KISS was recording the Revenge album, and of course I said yes!

Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?

Oh yeah, I still do get a buzz out of singing live, but each performance varies. I love connecting with each audience and my goal is making sure they get off from my singing.

It goes both ways when they're having fun so am I.

Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?

Resting my voice is important, I do voice warmups as a regular routine and always before a performance. No alcohol intake before or while performing.

I also like a little greasy food before a gig. Lol

Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?

I met Dhani Harrison several years ago and would love to write a song with him!

I also met Kenny Wayne Shepard back in 2016 at the Doheny Blues Festival in Southern California and would love to Jam together and maybe write a song together!

Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days with Silent Rage, or any other projects you’ve been involved with that could be released?

Yes, there is some material from Silent Rage but it's in demo form and would have to be re-recorded for any purpose to release. I also have some new solo material in demo form as well as a few songs fully recorded.

I have more material from another band called Electric Caravan which inspired me to create and perform live for my "Southern Highway" album. I'm hoping to release a new 5 song EP from this band.

As you may know, I sang on (Germany's phenom guitarist) Markus Pfeffer's Band project called Barnabas Sky.

The first album entitled "Inspirations" a 2021 release, I co-wrote 2 songs with Markus called "Till the End of Time and Youngblood," and sang lead vocal on both songs. The second album entitled "What Comes to Light" released January 2023, I co-wrote another song with Markus and sang lead vocal on "Grant Me a Wish from Heaven." All three lead vocals for these songs were tracked and recorded in North Hollywood Studios by Producer extraordinaire Bill Metoyer and Paul Sabu sang on all backgrounds for these songs. This project has been much fun to be a part of and has a cast of many talented people involved. Both albums released by Pride & Joy Music. There's talk of another third album release...

Another few projects to mention, Brothers in Arms, a new brainchild band and album project from guitar slinging extraordinaire Jack Frost hailing from the east coast, USA. I co-wrote a song with Jack and sang lead vocals on it called "Voices Are Calling." It's heavier material with a darker lyrical vibe. The album is entitled "Sunset & Clark," a reference to the two cross streets where the famous Whiskey A Go Go is located and the material on the album is the ever-continuous mayhem and fun time vibes from the Sunset Strip 80's Era! It has a classic and very talented line-up of singers and musicians on this album! Just waiting for word if there'll be another album...

Lastly, there's AOR music releases from Frederic Slama's many creative album projects. He has a catalogue now of many titles and partnered up with the very talented guitarist Tommy Denander to track and produce these albums. I was involved in two of his releases entitled AOR "Return to L.A" and I sang 2 songs called "Angels Never Sleep" and "The Breaking Point" released in 2015. The next album was entitled "AOR L.A. Darkness" and sang the song called "Blueprint for Love" released in 2016. Currently, Frederic is still busy at work releasing new AOR albums and our paths could cross again in the future!

Do you have any plans to release another solo album?

I am currently writing new songs and that has been a constant in my life through my whole career. I'm always writing new ideas and parts for new songs, that's what I do.

If the right future situation happens, then yes, I'll release a new album.

I enjoyed your set at Firefest in 2011. With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK, solo or with Silent Rage?

I do want to come back to perform live in the UK and around Europe. It's very costly, so to book through festivals is a way for costs of traveling, lodging and transportation to be negotiated with promoters. I may come over for a hand full of dates and bring another guitarist to do an acoustic unplugged tour, that's another way to go. Bringing a full band on my own to tour is very costly unless I've been offered a spot on the bill of a tour.

So, I'll leave it there, I'm working on it and it's a work in progress...

Have you ever thought about doing any production work?

If you're referring to me taking on a Producer role for album project, that's not my thing.

I do like to produce harmony parts for singing and arrange musical parts such as harmony guitar solos with other guitarists, song intros, and endings with my bands and others. I've also worn the hat as Music Director for a TV production a few years back. They needed context for the actors on how to hold instruments and look believable while they're acting out a scene. Also had to tutor the main actor and give lessons to him. That was another profession for me in itself. But that's the extent so far!

Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?

I am still alive and well and I hope to bring you all new music and live performances for years to come!

Thanks Stu and all at Fireworks Magazine.


Interview by Stuart Dryden


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