Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 82: Interview with James Christian

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Interview by Fabiana Spinelli

James Christian is a man who really shouldn't need an introduction to readers of Fireworks Magazine. Singer of House Of Lords for 30 years, Christian released his first solo album, the classic 'Rude Awakening', on fledgling AOR label Now & Then back in 1994. Now on the cusp of releasing his fourth solo offering, 'Craving', Fireworks caught up with the man himself to get all the latest...


James-Christian

Let's talk about your new solo album, 'Craving'. Four solo albums in 24 years? Does that means that you really dig deep into yourself before publishing something just in your name?


I don't go out of my way to make solo albums because I love the feeling of being in a band rather than being a solo artist. But if I do a solo CD, I like to step outside of what people expect. It's a time for me to record songs that have a very personal connection to me, a time to try things that I might not do with House of Lords. I have a very broad range of taste in music, it's not all Rock. When my daughter Olivia decided to choose a path on Broadway I went head first into it with her. I now consider myself pretty adept in Show Tunes. They are actually very complicated pieces of work. I love how the singer sings and acts the song on stage. I'm into many different styles of music as long as there is a melodic element to it.

'Craving' is beautifully crafted, a delicate and intense album. I'm impressed by the lyrics, so can you please tell us something more about its contents?

'Craving' has a lot of very deep and thoughtful lyrics. I worked with various songwriters who contributed so much to this CD. I'm a very spiritual person and this time around I let myself express that belief. I am aware that the older I get the closer I get to the other side. I find that faith gives me as much joy as music does so why not sing about it? The lyrics are always important to me. They can be sexy, political, spiritual, funny ... as long as it says something that I can relate to. On the this new album there are a lot of spiritual moments. There are a couple of songs I wrote with my partner Jeff Kent. I had a few songs that we did that we never got a chance to finish, so I finished them in his honour.

You wrote a long and interesting biography on your website, closing with a sentence that I found inspiring: "My dream was fulfilled on the day I signed my first legitimate record deal." Does it means that dreams are a starting point, but it's our daily commitment that realises them?

No, for me the signing of a record deal was the dream and everything else that happened was a fringe benefit. My dream was always getting a deal. I don't know why, but that was what I thought about. It made me so happy to accomplish that. It was no easy task and took many years in the business. When I was out looking for a record deal, it was a very difficult process. I made a lot of trips into NYC. I played all the dive clubs in the city. CBGBs was one of them. I remember the place was a dump, but everyone was playing there. It has its own history, but my dream ended up being fulfilled in Los Angeles, California. I have Gene Simmons to thank for that. It was a great time to be in the business. It's not like that anymore.

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You are songwriter, producer and performer. Which aspect of your career do you think is most difficult?

Writer is the hardest for me because I sometime like to do things that fall outside of what is expected of me. I hesitate to release those songs because I feel that it might not be accepted in our community. I sang a song on this album which I sing in a falsetto voice in the vein of The Beach Boys. This was a band that I loved, growing up. 'Pet Sounds' was one of my favourite records. I decided to record the song because it made me feel good. The song is called 'If There's A God'. I'm not sure how my fans will react to it. It is kinda like The Beach Boys meets George Harrison! I'm always happy to work with other songwriters and it does not matter if I write it or someone else writes it. I have songs on here from Cliff Magnus, Richard Hymas, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Daniel Volpe. If it's a strong song I wanna sing it. I also have a song I wrote with my guitar player Jimi Bell. In closing, I find that willpower is an important element in creative writing. Good songs don't just appear, they take time and you need the willpower to wait for it.

I find 'Craving' so elegant, starting from the artwork. It reminds me a piece of an old manuscript. Is there a special meaning in it?

I have a great CD designer, his name is Richard Jones. That is his work. He understands that I am an old soul. I have always loved album covers that had a grandiose look to them ... bigger than life. That's what I loved about the 80s. There was so much mystique in the bands and their look. We used to prance around Sunset Strip and the Rainbow. It really was a magical time.

'Amen' and 'Jesus Wept' are two intense songs. I would like to ask you something more about your vision of religion and spirituality. I firmly believe that, as the songs says, 'Love Is The Answer'. Would you like to give us an opinion about connections between faith, love and music in these hard times?

Those three songs are all meant to be a message of hope to those who have lost faith. I wrote 'Love Is The Answer' with Jeff Kent. He was a close friend and co-writer. This song was written over three years ago but after his passing. I wanted to record it and have it out there.

Are you going to start a tour to support your new solo album? Have you ever thought about something special on stage with your wife Robin and your daughter Olivia?

I will tour with House of Lords but as far as doing a solo tour, it's just not my thing; I gotta have my band. Robin will do a tour this year and I will join her as a player and Olivia is very busy in New York. She is kicking ass there. HoL is gonna do more shows in the States this year.

Of course, I have to ask something about your future plans. Is there another House Of Lords album on your way?

Yes, of course, another album is in the pipeline. But we are just now starting to look at new tracks so it could be a while. We have really kept a rapid-fire pace for the past few years, so a little room now to write and enjoy life is needed!

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