Jamie McLean On Music And Reeve Rocks Benefit

Interview By: Jeff Markunas

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation announced today that tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Reeve Rocks benefit concert on Tuesday, July 28th at 7 p.m. in New York City. To be held at Le Poisson Rouge, (158 Bleecker Street @ Thompson), the concert is bringing together some of the best new musical acts in the country in order to raise funds for the Foundation.

“It’s a sad truth that a large number of people who become spinal cord injured are young adults who receive injuries through sporting and car accidents,” said Matthew Reeve, member of the Reeve Foundation Board of Directors. “We’re hoping to unite the next generation of activists and advocates to this community through music.”

The driving force behind the spirit and generosity of those involved, including the Jamie McLean Band, Edison and Jesse Ruben, is the hope that everyone in a wheelchair might one day stand. Through the determination of all those involved and the supporters of the Reeve Foundation, Reeve Rocks will help fund the Reeve Foundation’s innovative research program and improve the quality of life for those living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

In addition to the live musical acts, Reeve Rocks will also feature a raffle, auction and gift bags, offering items such as rock n’ roll memorabilia and back stage passes. Ticketing is limited and includes three levels of entry, General, Premium and VIP. Prices start at $30 for general admission, $75 for premium tickets, and go up to $150 for VIP access. All tickets include one raffle entry and free show download; premium and VIP tickets also include open bar, private seating, gift bags and mingling with the artists. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ReeveRocks.org .

Senior Columnist Jeff Markunas caught up with Jamie McLean via the web for a quick Q&A.

JM: As Les Paul has famously said – You can learn something from everybody even if it’s what not to play – What have you learned from being a sideman that has influenced your own music?

JAMIE: When I first started playing with the Dirty Dozen I certainly played with a bit more speed and flash. I tried to get every phrase or scale in to each solo. After a while, I listened to the sax players in the band a bunch and noticed how they could milk one note. It really rubbed off on me. I realized that how you played was more important than what you played. One note played with your heart and soul always trumped a thousand notes.

JM: You’ve played on festival stages and done club gigs. How do you approach those different environments?

JAMIE: Every gig is different. I love the festival stages because they are big and have that extra energy that comes with tens of thousands of people. The sets are usually shorter so you have to go with the absolute best tunes. There really is something about an intimate club date though. You can connect with the crowd a lot more because they are on top of you. You can also stretch out he set over the course of the night and create an evening out of it. I love both situations.

JM: Since you play both acoustic solo shows and electric band gigs what’s it like to carry all the weight by yourself without band support to fall back on?

JAMIE: It’s fun to play solo. It is more pressure, but it also allows me to be able to create on the spot. I can pause, hold a note, extend a section or play with rhythms in a moments notice. I can follow my whims without cueing a band. It is a lot more intimate and allows me to sing differently. More subtleties. Dynamics and melodies.

JM: Your albums display a great deal of creativity, craftsmanship and growth, besides managing to truly Rock! In an attempt to get to know you musically, what are your thoughts on song writing?

JAMIE: It is a mystical process. There is no formula to it and every song comes in a different way. Some songs write themselves while others take years to finish. There are days where I write a few songs and there are weeks when nothing happens. I just try to latch onto it and make it the best it can be. When the lyrics and melody and vibe all work together it’s a beautiful thing.

JM: Does a song need to say something or does it just need to Rock?

JAMIE: It just needs to touch you. It can be subtle or vague or aggressive and poignant. How ever it works it just needs to be the best it can be in that mold. I don’t get a lot of Dylan’s abstract lyrics but they can move me as much as an AC/DC jam.

JM: How does your band figure into the musical process?

JAMIE: It has become more and more of a group thing. In the beginning I brought everything to the table and the band played it. I was touring a lot with Dirty dozen brass band and was not able to get together with the band much. Now it is much more of a group effort. Everyone writes or adds to or edits the songs which makes for a bigger stronger sound. I feel like our songs have gotten stronger each album and I hope our best work is ahead of us.

JM: What’s the balance between pleasing your audience and satisfying yourself musically?

JAMIE: I don’t try to fool anyone. If i don’t believe in what I’m doing the fans won’t. People are attracted to authenticity and I think I bring that. I don’t write for myself or an audience. The music really sort of finds me and I play it as honestly as I can. If I am pleased with it and play it as truthfully as I can I know that translates to the fans and pleases everyone involved.

JM: Now that you’re in the process of conquering California and becoming a true National Act what do you see for yourself in the near future?

JAMIE: We will be releasing another album in the next 6 months and touring behind it. I’m happiest playing for the fans and want to be expanding to as many new markets as possible. We are looking to tour with a few other bands which is always fun. As long as we can sustain a life in this crazy biz and continue to create and perform great music for the fans I’ll be happy.

JM: Why did you decide to get involved with the Reeve Rocks concert and more importantly the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation?
I was immediately drawn to the people involved. The foundation and everyone Ive been working with has been amazing. They really believe in me which is flattering and if I can help support them in any way I can I’m there. I hope we can help make a successful night and shine a light on this cause and the amazing work they are doing at the foundation. I couldn’t be more honored to play Reeve Rocks and look forward to a long and positive relationship with them.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: