Interviewed by Denys (Site Founder/Editor in Chief/Senior Staff Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today Jeff, how are you? How’s the promotion for the new W.E.T album coming along?
Jeff: Going great, there seems to be a huge buzz for this band and now this new album…its always fun talking about things you’re extremely proud of, kind of like a new puppy in the house or a new child!
Myglobalmind: Before we get into the new W.E.T album how are preparations going for the solo tour with your band? In support of Damage Control?
Jeff: Deep man, deep…haha, a lot more going into the new tour as we’re doing a bit more with it as well as the territories we’re hitting. For starters, we’re going out as more of a JSS roadshow that just a traditional tour with different support bands every night. The 1st band on the roster is a great band from Athens Greece, Danger Angel (I produced their latest album Revolutia) and just before I hit the stage is my lead guitar players solo trio, Jorge Salan Band. We’re hitting everything from the furthest north in the UK to the furthest south to Greece and all in between. I’m so amped to get back out there and rock again, the last full tour was in 2009 so its way overdue!
Myglobalmind: It’s been a few years since you been on the road in Europe, excited about going back?
Jeff: Yea, I guess I jumped ahead there, ha, very excited!
Myglobalmind: Let’s get into the new W.E.T record the follow up to the successful debut. Did you expect the debut to receive the great feedback that it got before it was released?
Jeff: I guess we knew it would be par for the course that we would get a lot of interest based on the 1st album alone but of course we knew we needed something that was strong to get that interest stirred. Keeping it a mystery and under tight lid certainly helped in sneaking out previews and from there the buzz grew that continues to do so prior to it actually coming out. I hope people like it as much as the 1st one…more actually!
Myglobalmind: So a couple years after the first one and what can fans expect from “Rise Up” in terms of the songwriting aspect as well as the musical direction? From listening to the record myself it looks you guys kept the same winning formula from the debut.
Jeff: We kept the same formula but also added the fact that we would do it more collaboratively than individually. The 1st album was more individually based then coming together to complete it, this time we did things together to complete the songs. Erik went well over the call of duty, even more than the 1st album, with production, tweaking and time in the studio to make it all perfect.
Myglobalmind: Tell me about working with guys like Erik Martensson from Eclipse and Robert Sall from Work of Art? Two guys who has their own band and are deeply embedded in the melodic rock/aor genre? I can only imagine It must be a plus to work with talented songwriters and players like them?
Jeff: They’re masters of melody and hooks, they really look at the art of songwriting with passion but coming up with things that stay in your head is their strong points. Their bands are both so different from WET as is my own career direction but it works because we know what we want this particular band to sound like. It’s a very focused yet not too taken seriously situation if that makes sense, we’re having a blast but we also have a responsibility.
Myglobalmind: Talk a little about the creative process behind the new W.E.T obviously you live back here in the states, and the other guys in Europe, talk a little about the process working across long distances like these?
Jeff: Like with Talisman, musically the ideas happen outside of my hands, I don’t want to dabble into that with those guys because they have a way they write and work. My part comes in later with lyrics or putting my own personality into the melodies they might come up with. With technology today, you can imagine its so much easier than in the 90’s when I was doing it with Talisman. Communication and recording makes it easy for anyone to do it this way!
Myglobalmind: I think you have stated before this time around with W.E.T. that it felt more like a band this time around, how did that translate into the new music?
Jeff: As I said earlier, we got to things collectively which exposes our own talents and contributions. That can’t be a bad thing as we’re so strong at what we do with our other bands and career.
Myglobalmind: You guys always do a great job of mixing in the heavier stuff with the more melodic numbers; a song like “Bad Boy” for example adds a nice punch to the record. Do you have any favorite’s cuts off the album?
Jeff: I personally like the heavier songs on the album best, I believe they’re stronger than the heavier songs on the debut but a song like On The Run just rocks!
Myglobalmind: Do you enjoy the heavier songs more than the more aor/melodic ones?
Jeff: Yea, same with the ballads, I find them more epic and strong than a straight ahead melodic song, I think they’re all great.
Myglobalmind: Your last solo record last year Damage Control had you bringing things back to that melodic hard rock mold, but we all know the versatility of your vocals and your music you think that in the future you will be sticking with this style of play as opposed to other varied styles like soul, funk etc that you have implemented in your works in the past?
Jeff: I’m at a point right now where I wanna rock again as you can tell and duly noted…I want to take it up even further than a notch on my next solo album as well, I want it to be heavier and deeper, I tapped the surface with DC but mixed it with melodic rockers, I think the next one will be a ballsier affair overall. I guess I got the ‘funk out of my system’ with Beautiful Mess and the more streamline stuff can be heard on WET so the natural step for me personally is to do something that I’m not already doing but make it rock!
Myglobalmind: Is W.E.T something that from this point on a stable fit for you? Can we expect more music from you guys?
Jeff: We’re taking it day by day, any time there is an addition to one’s career, in this case 3 of us, we have to base it on whether there is interest for us to continue, we’re far too busy for vanity projects that appeal to only us so yes, if we can keep this up, we’ll continue for sure.
Myglobalmind: Stockholm was filled a few weeks back when you guys hit the stage for only the second time together and shot the live DVD which I’m sure will be released later this year? How did that go?
Jeff: Better than we imagined, we were happy if 100 people showed up but none of us expected a sold out show, not in Stockholm. Believe it or not, it was a hard sell even for Talisman and the band was based there…same goes for Eclipse and WOA so we expected much of the same…actually less as no one knows this band yet! But a sold out show and a great night for us musically will be a magical release later this year!
Myglobalmind: I wanted to mention about Talisman I recently got the deluxe edition reissues of Talisman the self title debut, Genesis, Humaninal and the Live in Japan concert from the kind folks over at Sun Hill Production. Great stuff sounds awesome and just too reminiscent on some of that time period for you and Marcel the late Marcel Jacob, how important was that time period in the music business for you?
Jeff: Probably the most important to be honest with you. Nowhere in my history do I have any band or situation that lasted 19 years…musically it was the only thing that kept me challenged, interested and fulfilled. Marcel was a major part of my life and the body of work we leave behind goes beyond pride.
Myglobalmind: I asked you about this last time we spoke and that was the consideration for the Kamelot gig to fill in for a few shows when they found out their singer left the band. I saw that you joined Kamelot on stage for a guest performance on their North American tour in Anaheim I think it was? How cool was that?
Jeff: Love those guys and I was ‘this’ close to accepting the offer to join the band. Various reasons and timing kept me from following up further but it was a nice tease to sing a tune with them that night. Tommy Karevik is great, I’m happy they have him in the fold now.
Myglobalmind: I read somewhere that the first concert you went to was at World Music Festival with Toto, Cheap Trick & Ted Nugent in April 7, 1979. How was that? You we’re just a kid then?
Jeff: Yes, I was 14…most people don’t believe me, especially in person but yes folks, I am 47 years old haha…I hide it well I guess and there is not a sign of plastic surgery or Botox here, all natural.
Myglobalmind: Time for some fun questions Jeff, you ready?
Myglobalmind: Tell me the most personal song you had ever had to sing onstage?
Jeff: It wasn’t onstage instead it was at Marcel Jacob’s funeral…I rewrote lyrics to a Talisman song Since “You’ve Gone” for him and I could barely get through the last line of the song without breaking down.
Myglobalmind: Are you a pc or mac guy?
Jeff: 1,000,000% Mac
Myglobalmind: Killer Queen or Another One Bites the Dust?
Jeff: Killer Queen!
Myglobalmind: Hey Jeff you’re always great guy to talk to and thanks for taking the time to do this, don’t forget to check out the new W.E.T release Rise Up coming up February 26th here in the USA. And February 22nd Worldwide.
Jeff: My pleasure as always, the fact that after all these years there is interest in what I am doing and so much new stuff to talk about keeps me excited!
Myglobalmind: Final words are yours my friend!!!!
Jeff: Words escape the gratitude I feel for having this charmed life, I thank you one and all for allowing me this pleasure of serving you with song!
Thanks and good bye!!!
Webzine review for W.E.T – Rise Up: