Interview with Jesse Damon
|My first run-in with
Silent Rage was just a few short years ago. A close friend gave me a compilation CDR
filled with songs from various bands I had never heard of, one of these was the title
track from "Shattered Hearts". It left such an impression on me, the song
became an obsession for awhile, was the first thing I heard when I woke up and the last
thing to put me to sleep. When Z Records re-released "Shattered Hearts"
and "Don't Touch Me There" in cd format, I had my preorder in. Their
Whitesnake/Y&T hooks and confident masculinity that energizes each song was a rare
treat and delight, very much now as it was then.
With their first album since the end of the 80s, that's over a decade for those with mathematical difficulties, "Still Alive" now out and available in an import store near you, Jesse Damon has been kind enough to grant us this interview that takes a look into the band's past, an inside look at their music and a hopeful glimmer at the future.
|1) How did Silent Rage get started as a
JESSE: It all started with the three of us, (EJ, Mark, and myself); weve been long time friends since our high school days. The three of us together, started the band RAGE. Through numerous drummer changes, just like the Spinal Tap syndrome, and working hard at creating our own style, and sound, the band moved forward. Its now 1986, we recruited a new drummer, and a new band name was chosen SILENT RAGE. We started off recording song demos, then we found our selves writing, and recording for our first album, collaborating with producer/artist Paul Sabu. In 1987, we landed our first record deal with Chameleon Records, and Shattered hearts was released!
2) What was the circus of the 80s rock scene really like from your experience?
JESSE: There were a lot of great bands from the 80s, Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken, Great White, Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses to name a few. We know some of those guys; weve jammed with, and opened up for some of them. Looking back, those bands had some influence on us, but also, that was our competition. Tons of gigs, and lots of partying! When wed play a concert, youd not only have your fans in the audience, youd see all the musicians with their strong looking stares, and their arms crossed, as well as the wanna-be dress up like a rock star types. It was one big chaotic networking party! It was a circus mentality
3) Any standout and/or amusing moments from these early days that you would like to share?
JESSE: I remember playing a show at The Whiskey, and at the end of our set, I ran off stage, and straight outside for some air, only to see a couple hundred people running down the street along side a flat bed truck. It was Dokken performing Its Not Love as they drove down sunset strip. I liked that song, and getting caught up in the moment, I found myself running down the street with everyone else. We stopped when we reached The Rainbow Club, and now there must have been 500 or more people out in the street, and sidewalks watching them perform. Guess I got my second wind
4) How did Gene Simmons discover the band back in the 80s?
JESSE: SILENT RAGE was looking for management after the release of Shattered Hearts CD and we sent out a lot of press kits, one was sent to a company affiliated with KISS. A man named Howard Marks, the president of Glickman & Marks Merchandising Management Company. He flew from New York to LA to see us perform live. Although he told us he liked the band, and seemed to be impressed, he said, what you guys need is a personal manager, or someone to help launch you, and I know just the guy. He said, Gene Simmons, Im gonna pass your CD on to him, cause I heard hes starting his own record label. Gene contacted us 2 months later, and the rest is history
5) "Don't Touch Me There" and "Shattered Hearts" original pressing CDs were being sold for outrageous prices due to their rarity prior to the re-release on various online auction sites. What are your thoughts on these being so highly prized (and priced)?
JESSE: When I first saw the auctioning prices online I thought to myself, thats Too expensive, you mean thats the only way to get one of our CDs, then I thought if people are willing, and continuing to bid for, and pay those high prices, then theres still a fan base that wants SILENT RAGE product!
6) What do you think about the music scene in the USA and do you believe there is anything that could be done to change it for the better?
JESSE: I think that the rock concert market is strengthening. I think that Festivals are becoming more popular now in the USA. The more multi band billed concerts there are, the more its going to open up opportunity for new bands to be seen, that have a lot of talent. Promoters want a strong billing to sell tickets. Most tours with 2 or 3 bands are all big names. We need to get back to the headliners taking some chances, and taking a new act out to open for them!
7) Why release another album after ten years
Questions by Alanna Evans