Here's my interview with singer Robert James who had so much to share on his musical beginnings.
How'd you get started in music?
At 15 years old I bought my ﬁrst bass guitar, A friend and my older brother wanted to start a rock & roll band. this was in the 70” s , before we actually got started playing as a band, we ﬁrst had to learn how to play the instruments we had chosen to learn. My brother Ronnie James, had drumsticks but no drums and practiced using books and just about anything he could use. although he had some learning experience. as young child he took some lessons at a church for a while. he was just now waiting to save enough money to buy himself a drum set.
I didn’t have an ampliﬁer to practice my electric bass for quite some time, money was tight, so what I did to hear my bass a little louder was to lean the headstock of the bass guitar against a hollow section of a wall, on the drywall, to hear the sound a little louder. this helped me quite a bit until I could get my ﬁrst ampliﬁer. My Friend Danny Carpenter, the guitar player in the band, was already practicing on his own till we met. by this time, we had drums and amps. I called the band, SNO Then we started Rocking & Rolling We were a basement band and were popular with the Neighbours and friends. All the music we played was original, Loud and unique. We were all hard workers, had day jobs as well and practiced as much as we were able.
After some years, as life has it my brother
Ronnie & Danny moved away, for their own reasons. I Later worked with another
friend of mine, Brian Letual , who was primarily a drummer at the time. he and I worked
creating a few original tunes of our own. I also took up the 6 string guitar and
sang a little by that time. Brian and I also worked with two the guitarist & Vocalist ,
Jerry and Louie , and formed a band called 4x4 . We put together enough music, some originals and
some covers, and then played a couple of gigs on weekends. It was my ﬁrst stage
experience. We did not stay together as a band for very long and we all chose different
After these experiences I remained solo for many years after that and worked very hard to make a
life for my self and family. I drove a tractor trailer for 31 years straight. Fast forward to about the year 2013 or so, My Younger brother Allen had progressed his abilities on guitar & songwriting , and we began to work on some music together. Fast forward to today, most of my works are solo efforts, but some include my brother Allen and we arecontinuing on creating more music to this day. also to mention, My long time friend Danny, from our original band, SNO are still working to create music as well in the near future. All of us are very close and are still creative with music ,and have our own recording studios so we can collaborate. Recently I started to learn how to play a 10 string Tapping instrument and used this instrument in 3 of my solo releases. I had never before released any of my music until May of 2021, most of my music is new , and some songs created within 10 years or so. Well that about sums it up,, “Better late than never!
Who are your biggest influences & inspirations?
I remember the ﬁrst record
I ever purchased,, by , Diana Ross and the Supremes , a song called “ Love Child “
It was a 45 vinyl single . At
about 11 years old I used to like to dance and listen to music. A few years later,, I purchased my
ﬁrst vinyl LP. by “ Black Sabbath It was their ﬁrst
album . Growing up as a young teenager I guess I was quite typical, grew my hair long,, rebelled a little, and loved the
heaviest and Strangest music I could ﬁnd. To name
some here ,, “ Black Sabbath “,” Deep
Purple “ “ The Who“ “Pink Floyd “Emerson Lake & Palmer “ “ Frank Zappa “ “ Devo
“ “ Ultra Vox “ “Roxy Music “ ‘ King Crimson “ “ David Bowie “ “ Gentle Giant “ “ Greenslade “ “ Brian Eno “ “ “Allan Holdsworth “ “
Robert Wyatt “ “Trey Gunn “ “That is to
name a few ,,, To this day, I still listen to a lot of music , both new and old. I have
recently Discovered a lot of Independent music out there, and there is a whole world of new
music to discover everyday from artists around the world the because of internet
& technology .
What's your advice to any aspiring musicians? If I were to give any advice to someone just starting out as a musician I would have to say,,, Anything goes , Not to worry about what other think of your music , there are so many styles and genres of music out there, and an audience for every kind & style of music. Most of us are inﬂuenced by someone else”s Art , I don’t think we should try and be like them,, after all we can only do what come out of us. Practice ! this is something that should be stressed,, its something I’ve been guilty of not doing enough of . some of the best ideas for creating music comes from intense practice. Ideas that come from your mind are sometimes the most difﬁcult to put down,, so if you get these Ideas record them right away. I have lost a lot of these ideas because I was busy, or too tired
and said to myself, I should remember in the mornings, the morning comes , and your idea is gone, never to be found again. Start young, the sooner you get practicing you instrument the better & easier it will be for you later in life. I must say that I am Guilty of not taking my own advice to some degree. I guess if we set our goals high, and try hard to reach them, we would most likely get close to where we would like to be. Another thing would be,, success, what does it mean to you,, Popularity is not success. If you have spent the time to create something, whether it be a song , a painting , or a poem for example ,and you are pleased with it,, That is “ Success “
How do you set yourself apart from other bands & singers?
Well ,,, I think if someone asked me what sets me apart from other
artists or musicians is, not much,, I would rather leave that up to the listener of my
music. But, if I was to toot my own horn , I would say the music I have produced is
powerful , and sometimes exciting and original . Like its been said many times before,, Its
all been done. I guess if you are producing original music and you are pleased with it, and
you are your critical of your own work,, this will set you apart from others to some
degree. Some have told me
they hear inﬂuences of other bands or musicians in my music and Guess that's true, and that's Ok. There is a long history of music out there and you are bound to sound similar to someone else or some other band. Because we are all different to some degree, our music will be set apart from others ,, and the listeners will discern this.
Any new gigs or albums in the future?
Because I am a solo Music creator, engineer, and producer of my own music, I’ve been working hard on releasing single songs for now. I have released so far , About 10 songs & two videos that are available if someone is interested on Apple music, ReverbNation and so on. I plan to put out an album some time in the near future consisting of short songs , Each from one to three minutes long. I already have some of these songs in mind, and some will be created soon, I have noticed that peoples attention spans seem shorter these days, and people listen to just parts of songs, and then move on, the other reason for this short song album Idea is that sometimes you can ruin a song by adding too much length to it. As far as giga, most of my original band lives in different places , so no planned gigs. Robert James .
Special thanks to him for this interview & I wish him luck in his music also be on the lookout for some new vids of his which will be featured next week until then Ill catch you on The Flipside stay awesome & rock n roll!