Interview: Jared James Nichols
Thu, 07 Nov 2013 11:49:58
Jared James Nichols is just the kind of guitar slinger that the 21st century had been begging for. He's got mind-blowing chops, intense feel, and the ability to carry a heavenly heavy hook. His new EP Old Glory & The Wild Revival tempers old school blues with a little Southern biggie and hard rock flash. It's every guitar aficionados dream, and it heralds the arrival of a new six-string god.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Jared James Nichols talks Old Glory & The Wild Revival and so much more.
What do you feel like ties the Old Glory & The Wild Revival EP together?
In terms of what it started out as and what it ended up as, I didn't want to just go down one avenue on it. I wanted to do a bunch of different things and styles I loved. I didn't know if it was going to make sense at the end. I don't think I really cared [Laughs]. I wrote those songs, and we went in with the same mindset for each song. We were just honest with it. It just worked out. I can listen to it from front-to-back, and it's pretty consistent. There isn't anything where you're like, "That's out of place", even as the tracks go down. Right away, we started out with an ass-kicker, and we end it with another ass-kicker. I feel like it's a really good mix.
Is it important for the guitar riffs and lyrics to match up? They intertwine in a unique manner.
Definitely! That's probably one of the biggest things I spend time on. There's been so much great stuff coming out lately like Rival Sons and Gary Clark, Jr. I strived to get my own sound. One of the ways to do that was to try to get my vocals and vocal delivery to be concise with my guitar playing and make that all gel together. I approached the vocals like I approached the guitar. It works out. Once I get in the same mindset, the songs come together in a good way.
What's the story behind "Take My Hand"?
It's funny. We had four songs for the EP at the beginning. We recorded them. There were three days in between. I went to Phil Jaurigui and Warren Huart who produced it and helped write, and I was like, "I don't want to only release four. We have to do at least five!" They asked, "Do you have another song?" I had this other track. The end of "Take My Hand" where it's really heavy is what the song sounded like at the beginning. It was totally different from what you hear on the EP. I played it for Warren, and he said, "What I think you need to do is bring this back on the dobro?" I played it for about twenty seconds on the dobro, and we agreed. A lot of the music I grew up listening to was twenties and thirties blues. Although once it gets rocking, we bring it to the forefront. The whole intro and all of that is based off old Lightnin' Hopkins blues that's really simple vocals and guitar. That line, "Come on baby take my hand down by the river where no one lands", is really easy and simple to sing, but it meshes and hooks all together with the guitar. I kept singing that, and I knew it had to be the chorus.
What does it mean lyrically?
It's a bit different. Lyrically, it goes to a deeper level, and the listener can interpret that one as they wish. For me, it's all over the place. In terms of the lyrics, I wanted to write it like an old traditional blues gospel song like "Lay My Body Down" or "Down in the River". It didn't come from that deep of a place, but there's a feel from the old blues.
Where did "Sometimes" come from?
I've been kicking that around for a long time. It came from a good place. I was going through a lot of things at the time I wrote it. It was six or seven months before we started looking at doing an EP. I was going through a rough patch of trying to figure out who I was going to be as an artist and which way I wanted to take it. I thought about it and thought about it. The only thing I came up with was that line, "Just look for the full moon to take you home". I wrote that song, and I was like, "Now, we're getting somewhere". I was completely honest with myself, and I wrote what I was feeling. That's what came out.
What artists shaped you?
It's funny. I still listen to all of the music I listened to when I was 13- or 14-years-old. What's coming back a lot more now is my sixties and seventies influences. There's always an underlying blues influence. Then, there's the different ones like Traffic, Mountain, and Deep Purple. They were really at the forefront of rock. I'm always coming back to the guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In a certain way, it's always like, "What would Stevie do?" I've always loved that stuff. I've always kept it so high in the book. It's about the realness for me. I come back to the artists who didn't put out bullshit material. They put out music that really meant something to them. I come back to Hendrix, Stevie, Robin Trower, Cream, and all of the classics.
Are you working on a full-length?
Yeah, we're actually starting to write already. I have a lot of ideas down. There have been talks. In the bag, I have about 25 songs. I want to start going through them and working up with the band. Right now, it's only a matter of time.
If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
It's got to have something crazy as an intro. When we come in with "Blackfoot", it's crazy. You know The Road Warrior? That's got to be the intro! It's got to be a combination of The Road Warrior something like Roadhouse—I don't want to say that though [Laughs]. What do you hear?
Maybe The Last of the Mohicans?
Oh yeah, that's cool!
Or a western…
Like Tombstone or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…Let's go with The Road Warrior into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. That's what it's going to have to be!
What was your first guitar?
It was the shittiest acoustic guitar. You know how everyone has those horrible acoustic guitars lying around the house. It was one of those. It had like three strings on it, and it was never in tune. Basically, I started learning Black Sabbath riffs on the lowest string. I'd tune it down, and I'd learn songs off Paranoid. Then, I graduated to a Washburn starter pack. It came with the guitar, amp, strap, and picks. I found the distortion button and that was it. Once I found that, I was like, "Holy shit, this is it!"