Interview by: Robert Cavuoto
LA-based rock band Roxanne, released their sophomore CD, Radio Silence on October 26, 2018, via Rat Pak Records. Originally formed in the late 80s, Roxanne garnered commercial success with their 1988 self-titled debut album which was well received with two songs charting on rock radio; “Cherry Bay” and “Sweet Maria.” As with many bands from that era facing the decline in interest due to the onslaught of the “grunge” scene, the guys in Roxanne went on hiatus. Now 30 years later, the band returns with Radio Silence, which features 11 tracks of pure adrenalized classic rock influenced music. It also features special guest appearances by guitar legend George Lynch, King’s X frontman dUg Pinnick, and Korn drummer Ray Luzier.
I caught up with singer and guitarist Jamie Brown to talk about the band’s history, the new CD, and working with members of KXM!
Robert Cavuoto: What happened to the band in the late 80s as you were just picking up speed with some radio success?
Jamie Brown: We formed in about 1986 or so and then put out a record in 1988 on Scotti Brothers Records. We had a little bit of success with that record but didn’t have such a great relationship with the label and didn’t feel we had much of a future in the music business. For that last 30 years, we all played in cover bands now we are putting a second record out on Rat Pak Records.
Robert Cavuoto: So the band never really broke up and everyone remained friends?
Jamie Brown: We were always playing together, sometimes all four of us or maybe two of us here and there. We spend our off time together as well.
Robert Cavuoto: What was the catalyst to put out your new CD, Radio Silence and why is now the right time?
Jamie Brown: Every once in a while we would run into people who would say that they heard our record and all of our friends are still in the music business. I have a background in film production making videos for people. From that I developed a relationship with Rat Pak Records. Once they figured out I was songwriter, they asked me to write for some artists. Rather than do that, I thought why don’t we put our own record out! That’s how the record deal came about.
Robert Cavuoto: Does the CD have material written 30 years ago?
Jamie Brown: There are two songs on the record that were written 30 years ago which we originally intended for them to be on Roxanne II; they were “Man on the Moon,” and “Quarter to Four.” Everything else is brand new and written just for this record. We didn’t know if those two songs were going to fit, then when we were finished writing the other material, we felt they worked.
Robert Cavuoto: The title of the CD; Radio Silence, seems quite appropriate since commercial rock had been overtaken in the late 80s/early 90s by grunge?
Jamie Brown: We had two titles for this CD that we were considering. I can’t remember the other one now. Once we started talking about Radio Silence that was it! The title has a few different meanings, but one of them is about that. There is also the military meaning of a secret mission and a few personal reasons for us as a band.
Robert Cavuoto: My favorite track on the CD was “Go Fuck Yourself” with dUg and you singing together.
Jamie Brown: The original lyrics were “Get off my Lawn,” and we thought let’s just go for it as it’s not going to get played on the radio anyway so let’s just say what we mean and not worry about it.
Robert Cavuoto: I also liked “Thin Blue Line” as it had a bit of an Extreme vibe to it.
Jamie Brown: That was one of the first songs that we wrote for the CD. It’s a statement on politicians dividing us then blaming the Police when all hell breaks loose.
Robert Cavuoto: How did George, dUg, and Ray get involved in helping you out?
Jamie Brown: Ray was a fan of our first record growing up in Pittsburgh. When he moved to Hollywood, we met through some mutual friends and immediately became friends. Then his career exploded with Korn. When KXM with Ray, George, and dUG got their record deal with Rat Pack, Ray suggested that I make their first video. He also played on the song “Man in the Moon.” From shooting the KXM video, I became friends with George and dUg. Kings X was my all time favorite band, so it was a great connection for me to make.
Robert Cavuoto: At the end of the “Super Bad” video, you and George have a drag race. Tell me about that scene.
Jamie Brown: It was an interesting day, and we weren’t really supposed to be racing, but George had something to prove [laughing]. We ended up racing a few times, and it was a little dangerous as we had people standing around with cameras and equipment, we were lucky nobody got hurt.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me how you collaborated with George and dUg musically on this CD?
Jamie Brown: I played George some rough demos, and when it came time to put the guitar solos on, he came out to the studio to play them. It was good that he came in so we could all vibe on what he was doing.
The same thing with dUg, he came in a put the bass parts down on “Man in the Moon” and then liked “Go Fuck Yourself” so he laid down the vocals. Originally he was going to do it home, but ended up coming to the studio and cranked it out in about an hour.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me how you direct a video when you are performing in it?
Jamie Brown: It’s a little bit complicated and tiring. With “Super Bad” it was shot over two days. The scene with George and I racing that was one day and when the band was performing that was the second day. There was about two weeks time between the two days. The day where the band was performing, I had a friend of mine, Joel Rogers direct. I know it would be too difficult to do it myself to be behind the camera. It was filmed at a friend’s house out in California, and he lives on ten arcs so we could race around and not get hassled. We did go on to the road just for a few minutes to shoot a scene with the lines in the road and the police showed up screaming at because we didn’t have a permit to film and even threatened to arrest us.
Robert Cavuoto: You brought the 80s back in full force with your videos, as they have cars, girls and humor.
Jamie Brown: We make due on what we can do and try to make it as entertaining as possible. We hope that other people like watching them. I have done videos for Lynch Mob, Jet Boy, Tora Tora, and Beasto Blanco videos; I think like 45 videos.
Robert Cavuoto: Can we expect a Roxanne tour?
Jamie Brown: We would love to get out and perform to support the CD, but nothing is scheduled. We have a few one-off dates for 2019. If we were to tour, I think it would be better for us to be a support act and play for about 30 minutes. I don’t know what we would do if we have to be on stage for 90 minutes [laughing].
and don’t forget our Roxanne review here.