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Interview with Jared James Nichols

Interview with Jared James Nichols on 16th August 2018 ahead of his UK tour with L A Guns

The tour follows the release of Jared’s latest studio album Black Magic and his UK tour with Stone Broken & The Bad Flowers in February/March 2018.

Over the past four years Jared has built up a solid reputation as a stunning heavy edged blues rock act and stage beast, having shared stages with the likes of ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Zaak Wylde, Glenn Hughes, Walter Trout, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO and Saxon.

All those tours were executed within a short period of time in support of his highly acclaimed debut album “Old Glory & The Wild Revival”. Jared has quickly reached international status and has continued to deliver crashing propulsive blues tones with soulfully insane guitar solos.  It’s raw, raucous, and righteously real.Jared James Nichols by Adam Kennedy (2).jpg

The tour dates are listed at the bottom of the interview.   I am looking forward to seeing Jared in Milton Keynes.

Hi Jared, is everything OK, are you keeping alright?

Yeah, everything is great, everything is cool, just busy and all great stuff.  I am just making sure I seize every opportunity.

You have a massive tour coming up very soon with ‘L A Guns’

Yes we are going on be on the road after our local Los Angeles show and then we leave here on 29th and I will get back to Los Angeles on 26th September, so yeah we have a bunch of shows, all over the UK, all over France, Netherlands, all of Europe with ‘L A Guns’ and top of that we have some headlining shows happening.  We have a headline show in Wales, Spain and also on top of that I am doing guitar clinics along the way because it seems really cool and a lot of people are into it.  I am doing guitar clinics in Guildford and Manchester.  It is cool to do these too and so we will be really busy!  It will be a fun month, although I think it will go really fast.  The busier it gets, the quicker it goes.

Yeah, absolutely, it will be gone in the blink of an eye really, if you are packing all of that into a month

I think you are right, its going to be jam packed.  I like it like that on tour because it is so much to get over to Europe, it’s a massive undertaking and so whilst we are there I am so happy that we can fill it up with stuff to do and so it feels that by the end of the tour it has been an accomplishment.

Are the guitar clinics a new thing for you?

It is starting to be so.  It is funny with me and my guitar stuff I didn’t think, I would hope but I didn’t think it would grow as fast as it has.  We have so many cool things happening with the companies I work with like ‘Gibson’ and ‘Epiphone’, I am going to be releasing a signature guitar here in January and so I am very excited about that.  The first one we did was in London at ‘GuitarGuitar’  and we had over 100 kids turn up and we had only announced it a few  days before and so it funny, we were blown away by the response, without promotion and so we said “Lets start doing this more because it is another way to get the music out there and a way to interact” whilst on tour and the best part is that we can do it during the day.  We can hammer out the guitar clinic and meet with a bunch of different kids and especially the young kids, the ones that can’t make it into clubs.  It is a really good thing for everyone.

That is an amazing thing to do and I bet you get a lot out of it?

Yeah, it is really cool to see the young people that are genuinely loving blues and rock n roll.  For me that is such a win on so many levels, to have young people come to me as an inspiration that is how I was, and it reminds me of myself in so many ways.  It makes me excited and want to work harder and do more.  I envisage that in America and Canada we will keep doing the clinics as well as the touring as I think it goes hand in hand.

It sounds great, I know that other bands say that it is good to have things to fill the days with when you are touring as the night is exciting as there is a show but the days can drag.

It makes the day along too and by the time I get to a show I am all warmed up and have had the opportunity to get into the zone already.

How do you prepare for as intensive a tour as this one?

I used to do so much, I used to overthink it all to be honest, and rightfully so, because as most normal people when you say “Hey, you’re going to be gone from the next month of your life, you are never going to stop and you are just going to keep going to a different city everyday” a lot of people would go “What?, How, When?  What do I pack?” so I used to pack a lot, totally all in.  I have realised now, doing this a few times over that I am better off just trying to eat healthy, get rest, go the gym and be mentally prepared before I leave.  I think the biggest thing is your health, right? Having time when we get there to get through the jet lag, to have 24h hour block before the first show.  I remember on our first trips we would fly in and it would be show that night, we would get in at 11 and then the show would be at 8 or 9!  I remember being so shattered, you are just done.  You learn things every single time, which is cool because it makes it more enjoyable each time, as instead of worrying or “how do I do this?” you can literally, just say to yourself “well I know I have this”.

The mental health side of it seems to be really important, we hear a lot about anxiety and a lack of confidence.  How do you protect yourself?

I just make sure that musically I am 100% sound, well I can’t say 100%b but I am as prepared as I possibly can be, because us as musicians, are always pushing and trying to better and be better for every show.  There is something to be said about being prepared musically and so it is the little things, like your guitars, your gear, your things, just knowing how everything works.  It is all about not having any surprises and by surprises, I mean bad surprises.  You know, things breaking down or this doesn’t work or won’t stay in tune and being stressed about that.  So that is one thing and the other is performance wise just taking the time to be prepared.  It is like an athlete preparing for a big event or going to the Olympics.  You just have to think about it a bit and be ready mentally.  That is the hard part about it, of course, the travel is strenuous and there is a lot of time when it is down time, sitting in the van or back stage and so there are other ways to keep your mind occupied when you do that.  For me the best thing, as of lately, is trying to eat better and keep my body in tune, as it is the worst thing being sick on the road or not being able to perform.  There are so many factors and so knowing your schedule and knowing where you are going to be on certain days helps.  I know a lot of times on tour, I will be “Where are we going next?” and you don’t always have to be set up for the unknown you can at least familiarise yourself with your surroundings a little more.  I think this is really it but it comes with time, I am not saying that I am there but it has taken some years to figure this out.

Jared #1@Fonda 9_3_16_2

It sounds like an ever-evolving thing?

Oh yeah, for sure.  Obviously where you are touring or who you are touring with really makes a difference.  If you are with a band that you can’t stand or someone you don’t get along with personality wise, or if you don’t like what you are doing.  If there is an aspect that you don’t like, they really start to factor in and pile on top of each other.  It is generally not one thing, it is a combination, lack of sleep etc and then all of sudden you are like “oh no.”

You have had a change in the band up with the arrival of Gregg (Cash) how has this changed the dynamic of the band?

You know what, Erik (Sandin) had been here for so long and we had developed such a relationship that went beyond music and when he decided to take his exit stage left, due to the things we just talked about, the travel and the grind, its not for everyone.  I think a lot of people looking from the outside could say “Oh I can’t believe you left” but for Erik I think he was tired of traveling so much.  There is a grind to this, you have to understand the wheel does not stop spinning.  I am pretty sure cos I told him that I wanted to be on the road as much as possible and maybe, that was not the way that he wanted it.  We wish him the best of luck.  It was funny, when he did leave Gregg was one of the first people who came to mind because he is such a breath of fresh air and such a passionate guy.  When Gregg is on stage, performing or in his mode he is such a live wire, he is so energetic.  Gregg was literally like an electric shock for the trio, because when he came in it was like fresh blood and we just loved it.  To have someone new and fresh step in it almost gave us a new sense of Whoa, like this is really, really cool to have Gregg here and to be able to create music with him.  I loved it because the first moment we picked up our instruments I hit a chord and then he hit something back and then I hit something back and we were already connecting musically, so quickly.  It was exciting to have that feeling again, its like any new relationship you have that sense of feeling of a new friend, a new musical and traveling friend, it’s so cool.

I think you can tell, not saying anything bad about Erik, as he was great but the energy feels different now.

Yeah, 100% and it is cool because it gives me more of a spark.  It is almost like, as musicians we always desire to be better and then an outside source comes in and you want to be better because of it.  I am so happy at the growth we have had, we are writing so much and there is so much happening.  The future is so bright and I am so excited.

Talking about the future do you have any plans to do any collaborations, I can see you musically duetting with a female, sultry blues singer

Oh, I would love to.  At this point there is nothing in the works but you never know, maybe next month, everything is always changing.  I would love to do that, I would love to do more of that.  We have been talking about the future and we would love to delve into, it would be so much fun.  Like when (Joe) ‘Bonamassa’ teamed up with ‘Beth Hart’ I would love to do that too.  We are definitely going to do that, I would love it.

You said you are writing and so are we looking forward to a new album?

Definitely, I would say that an album is a snapshot of where you are at the time and so having Gregg here, we have been doing a lot more jamming with an Almann Brothers meets Cream sort of feeling, which is very exciting for me as I love that music so much.  So it is exciting in  a way that it is growing, the writing has never stopped but for me as a guitar player I push myself so much to try and create my own sound and style, obviously I am still working on this every day and I want to do the same with my writing. So yes, expect new songs, new music, all of that stuff.  As soon as I can physically manage it get it out, its all on the board.

Some of your guitars have nicknames, how do you come up with the names?

Laughter …. It’s so funny, guitar players are weird right? We tend to be very attached to our instruments and I am so like that.  Before I recorded my first record I needed an instrument that really, really inspires me to play and about 3 days later I stumbled into a guitar store in Los Angeles and I found this Les Paul, Gibson Les Paul Custom and I remember seeing it and going “Wow”, visually for me it was striking and when I picked it up and started to play I went “Oh Wow.”  There are certain moments that guitar players and artists and people get when they connect to an instrument and it literally transformed my guitar playing overnight.  The reason I cam up with “Old Glory” is harking back to all of the music that I grew up loving and respecting so much and idolising.  So “Old Glory” is my interpretation of that and me trying to put myself in that style.  That guitar has grown with me now to the point where, like I said, it is going to be a model that people can buy at the stores next year, which I am really excited about.

That is amazing

Oh, it is definite dream come true, bucket list thing and I could not be more excited for the future of that as just as the trio grows I would love to continue to grow my brand as a guitar player and inspire a new generation of guitar players just like I was.

Do you listen to a lot of other people’s music and if so what are you listening to?

I do yes.  I try and listen to more as sometimes I can get stuck in my own world and I just trying to do my own thing and the next thing you know I am “wait a minute, what am I listening to?” I am trying to get into a lot more of the newer stuff, there are so many good artists coming out now.  I need to listen more to a lot of my friends like Blackberry Smoke, Rival Sons, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, The Bad Flowers.  On the tour with LA Guns we are a band called Stone Trigger and I am excited about that.

 

Jared James Nichols tours the UK with L.A. Guns from Friday 31st August.


31 Aug: O2 Islington Academy, London

01 Sep: Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd

02 Sep: Riverside, Newcastle

04 Sep: The Robin 2, Bilston

05 Sep: Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes

06 Sep: Rebellion, Manchester

08 Sep: Tivoli, Buckley

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Jaredjamesnichols

Twitter:  @JaredJamesNichols

Samantha Lamb

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