Tue, 23 Jun 2009 20:58:30
Music can save lives.
Through organizing the St. Jude Rock N' Roll Hope Show, Kingsize frontman Jason Thomas Gordon proves that fact. Jason wanted to help St. Jude continue the fight against kids' cancer. His vision was to organize a series of rock shows benefiting St. Jude, and it all commences on Wednesday July 1st 2009 at the West Hollywood House of Blues with Stone Temple Pilots and Kingsize playing to a sold out crowd. For Jason, this has been a dream-in-the-making, and he couldn't be happier that it's almost here. He spoke to ARTISTdirect.com in this exclusive interview about St. Jude Rock N' Roll Hope show, lending a helping hand and his band's forthcoming album.
How did Kingsize get involved with St. Jude?
My grandfather founded the hospital so I've been involved with it since I was born. Tom Carolan from TotalLiveMusic.com is our manager; he actually signed and discovered Stone Temple Pilots. When he took us on, I told him that he was taking on St. Jude as well. I also told him I wanted to do these concert events for the hospital. I figured once Kingsize was further down the road and more established we'd do these huge events. We had a St. Jude event for kids and I invited Tom and his little daughter to it. At the event, a patient got up and sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." She was the most beautiful little girl. It really was moving. Tom went home that night and just held his daughter all night. The next day he called me and said, "That was unbelievable. Tell me more about that concert benefit you were talking about." I explained to him what I was thinking, and he said, "Why are you waiting? Let's do it now!" It lit a fuse under him. Kids are dying every day, and cancer isn't sleeping. He knew we could do something right now, so he called STP and asked if they'd do the benefit show. The next thing you know…this is what we're doing.
It sold out immediately too.
It sold out in like one minute! That's the power of Stone Temple Pilots. It's amazing. To be doing this is incredible.
Well this is only the beginning.
We had a meeting with LiveNation, and they've come on board with House of Blues. This is going to be a traveling concert event that will happen for the rest of our lives. It'll get bigger and better. We're starting grassroots, and learning from it. It's something like the Bridge School Benefit. We're trying to nurture it the right way and make it something that people will want to be a part of as time goes on. We're just going to travel across the country and play different House of Blues venues. We're working on lining up more dates now and getting a sponsor. We want to get as much money for the kids as possible.
How immersed has everyone become?
I took all of the guys in the music industry that are helping us to the hospital in Memphis. We toured it so they could actually see firsthand what it is we're fighting for.
It must be especially exciting for you to bring music and charity together in this way.
Oh yeah, St. Jude is something we talk about a lot as a band. It's always been part of our mission statement. We always wanted to fight for St. Jude so we're pretty excited about this show. We've been working so hard on every little aspect—from the information that people will see when they're in the club about the hospital to our intro with the kids for the show. Even though it's a rock concert, we still want people to walk out of there knowing about what they were there for. I want them to leave feeling something positive like they helped save a child and helped cure cancer for real. You will help cure cancer by being at this show, and I want people to leave knowing about St. Jude. We're doing it in a way that will fit the mood of the night though—where it's celebratory, hopeful and awesome and not awkward.
It's just natural.
That's what we're working on the hardest right now. I'm hoping that people will have fun and learn something. That's what I think will separate these events from other events that I've seen done for charity. There's a time and a place for everything, but to pull off something like this at a rock concert, there's such a fine line. The trick is to get people to come out not feeling sad, but feel empowered like they've made a difference. It's not going to be a night of sadness; it's going to be a night of strength.
What's next for you musically?
Our latest EP, The Bad Night is almost like a prequel to our other EP The Good Fight. It was actually recorded first. Except for one song, it was recorded with just Cary Beare and I playing everything. That was when we were getting the band together, and we were still working out some things. It's a little more on the sloppy rock n' roll side of things. The Good Fight is a little more defined, and it has the whole band playing on it. We call The Bad Night EP "the dirty sister" to The Good Fight. We're just about to finish our brand new album, All These Machines right now, and we'll play a lot of those songs live at the show on July 1st.