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Interview conducted April 23 2011
Interview published April 27 2011

Straight from the school of hard rock - Jaime St. James - that all American man in Black 'N Blue is back with his band, ready to rock on, and wrap those chains around Heaven. 'Hell Yeah!' is their new studio release, and it proves once again that the strong-willed rock.

I had an interesting conversation with the misunderstood man of mystery. Perhaps it did not warrant some of his frustration, which might have been against those other sketchy journalists who have continually been drilling him about what happened with Tommy Thayer.

Indeed, he did not mean to automatically blast me for actually having and liking his solo album. Overall, that wicked '80s kid and I had a very fun conversation, sometimes in heat; but never nasty, lasting too long, or even without love.

Hail, Hail Black 'N Blue are back and still knocking on Heavy Metal's door!

MettleAngel: Hey Brother, how is it going? Today I have been jamming on your solo CD 'American Man'.

  • Jaime: Whoa! You mean that you actually have that album! I hope you understand that this was never meant to sound like a Black 'N Blue release.

MettleAngel: Usually when an artist does a solo album, it is meant to be a departure from his main band. I recognized your unique voice, right away, which I appreciate.

  • Jaime: Thank you!

MettleAngel: Overall, I like the album. I enjoy songs like the opener "Testify", "Hello, Halo", "Magical Taxi Cab", and "Die Like A Star". It was a bit difficult to find any information about it over the net.

  • Jaime: That is probably a good thing.

MettleAngel: I read one review which was less than generous, but that is because the author did not want you to have that "dated" sound. He also did not know how to spell your name correctly. I could not find the album at iTunes. There were other artists with the St. James name, though.

  • Jaime: Wow, other bands with my name, how dare they...ha, ha!

MettleAngel: Dude, your name is mispelt all over the Internet too. Did you know that there is a porn star with the name Jamie St. James?

  • Jaime: Oh Yeah, what a crazy world, huh! Anyway, I agree that the album is a bit more "Pop" than what my fans are used to hearing. I am not too pleased with it.

MettleAngel: Why is that?

  • Jaime: I guess I just do not like the mix. I was not even sure if I wanted it released, until I received a decent offer. My take on the whole thing is that they are good songs, which have a horrible sound. So tell me have you heard our new album?

MettleAngel: Well, of course! I am a fan of the band. I have been playing it for the past two weeks.

  • Jaime: So, what do you think?

MettleAngel: I am digging it. I like the way you have captured the essence of '80s Black 'N Blue, but you have an updated, almost, dare I suggest modern sound. Even without Tommy, the band has written a great record.

  • Jaime: Well it is 4/5ths of the original line-up. Face it Tommy is gone, and we accept that; since he is now in Kiss, and you cannot beat a gig like that.

MettleAngel: That is cool. If he wants to be Ace in Kiss, let him. This does not mean that the band is any less worth hearing without him. I assume all the songs are newly written?

  • Jaime: Hell yeah! All the songs are fresh. I may have had some demos left over, and some of the songs might almost be almost ten years old, but they are all new to me. In 2007 I put out a 'Rarities' release which contains the original demos of songs like the title track, and "So Long".

MettleAngel: I have wanted to hear that.

  • Jaime: We took these demos and re-worked them. Our new guitarist Shawn Sonnenschein worked with Jef "Woop" Warner and myself. We created some great new song selections.

MettleAngel: The only other thing I want to mention about you and Tommy is that I heard that at one time you were both in a Kiss cover band.

  • Jaime: We were called Cold Gin, and we wore the make-up. I played drums and dressed like Peter Criss. Gene and Paul used to come to our shows, and liked what we were doing. Who knows, maybe we even inspired them to go back to wearing make-up themselves?

MettleAngel: You certainly cannot deny that Gene Simmons was a tremendous help in your career. He produced and helped to write the music for the albums 'Nasty Nasty' and 'In Heat'.

  • Jaime: Well yeah...

I want to go on record that I am a big fan of your time spent with Warrant. I really dig 'Born Again'. It is my second favourite Warrant album next to 'Dog Eat Dog'.

  • Jaime: 'Dog Eat Dog' rocks!

MettleAngel: I am curious to see what they will again do without Jani Lane (John Kennedy Oswald) on their forthcoming 'Rockaholic' album due in mid-May.

  • Jaime: I enjoyed my time in Warrant. I think people should give the 'Born Again' album a fair listen. We played some great shows, and had some great tours when I was in Warrant.

MettleAngel: Well I am from Cincinnati, and I know one show which you played at a club called Annies, where the fans would beg to differ with you.

  • Jaime: Oh no, were you at that show?

MettleAngel: I was not able to attend, but one of my friends informed me that it was a disaster.

  • Jaime: I know. That is because I was so drunk. I apologize for this, and I wish I could go back and fix it. I sang off key, and cleared the whole room.

MettleAngel: You also had three strikes against you in the first place.

  • Jaime: Oh no...

MettleAngel: Primarily Cincinnatians are die-hard supporters of Jani Lane, who is from Ohio. I personally do not belong to this group, but most of my other acquaintances do love Jani and Warrant.

  • Jaime: Oh really?

MettleAngel: Second, we here are all very conservative. We fear change, and like to keep things simple. Again this is excluding myself, as I do not always agree with my city's social standards.

  • Jaime: I hear you...

MettleAngel: Finally, you were drunk and tried to make amends by wanting to play Black 'N Blue songs - when all the fans wanted to hear was Warrant. I heard that it was a total fiasco.

  • Jaime: It was, and I truly apologize. Let your friends know my sincerity.

MettleAngel: I will, and I will explain your inebriated attitude. No worries, as you are not the first artist to piss fans off, and definitely not the last. Now let us get to Black 'N Blue.

  • Jaime: Hell Yeah!

MettleAngel: That is the name of the new album, so I like your response. My journey with Black 'N Blue goes back to when I too lived in California. I was in High School, and I was listening to Metal Shop, when I first heard "Autoblast".

  • Jaime: Oh, that is so cool Man!

MettleAngel: That song sold me, and I became an instant fan. I love the first two albums. I did not support the rest back then, as they were wimpy and a little too glam for my taste. (Thanks Gene!) I like all your body of work now, and I appreciate your longevity. I am grateful that the new album has a current feel.

  • Jaime: You mentioned that...

MettleAngel: I know Frontiers likes their bands to achieve that '80s sound. Do you feel that you have captured that?

  • Jaime: What does that mean anyhow? How can you have an '80s sound? As a band we play what we play. We do not try to do anything. We are who we are.

I respect that.

  • Jaime: Face it, I am '80s!

MettleAngel: I did not mean that sarcastically. I am '80s too. I am not stuck in the '80s. I am not living in the past. I am always open to what a band has to offer. It is just that I love and appreciate the music from that era so much.

  • Jaime: I hear you!

MettleAngel: I feel that people need to expand their horizons, which is why I support your work in Warrant.

  • Jaime: Man, if we were stuck in our past, we might as well stay home and just listen to Pink Floyd all day. We knew what Frontiers expected of us, but we decided to write the album which pleased us, and not really concern ourselves with what others think.

MettleAngel: Good for you! I admire that endearing honesty, and I respect that attitude. Was the band able to get together and record the album in a studio?

  • Jaime: Well, of course! We always want to do it the old fashion, but honest way. I may have worked some demos through the Internet, but we recorded the whole album in a studio.

MettleAngel: I know that nowadays it can get quite costly booking studio time.

  • Jaime: Yes, but that is how it should be done, do you not agree? Sure we took our sweet time, but it was worth it. I feel that it is so cool to be in the same room as my band and friends.

MettleAngel: That makes it more personal, and intimate.

  • Jaime: Damn right it does! I cannot imagine my friends not being there to comment or critique my singing and songwriting.

MettleAngel: This is how you and your band all learn from each other. I also appreciate your sense of humour on the album.

  • Jaime: Oh no, please tell me that you too are not going to give us a hard time about the song called "A Tribute To Hawking"! C'mon it was meant as a joke.

MettleAngel: Uh, wait a minute. I was not even thinking about that song. I burned the album on a CD-r once I received a digital promo. I did not even include that song, because I wanted to add some bonus tracks from your live album - 'One Night Only'.

  • Jaime: So then to what are you referring?

MettleAngel: Honestly, I had completely forgotten about the "Hawking" track, which I barely played once. I did not find it too irreverent compared to what I see on a show like "Family Guy''. I was alluding to the song called "Jaime's Got The Beer". I thought that the song was hilarious.

  • Jaime: Oh Man, I am so sorry for jumping on your $hit. We have just been inundated with people asking about that track and the absence of Tommy in the band.

MettleAngel: Yeah it sounds like you are a bit wound up, so just relax. I am here to keep it all cool.

  • Jaime: I have been doing interviews straight since 10:00 a.m., and I am so glad to get a dude like you who appreciates me. Anyway, yeah that song is a bit of a joke that Shawn wrote.

MettleAngel: I like the fact that it is acoustic, and then it leads into the killer song "Angry Drunk Son Of A Bitch".

  • Jaime: The deal is we were at a party, and I was chasing this chick, but I left with the beer. The guys were wondering where I went with the beer. It was all a big laugh for them, and I did not think they would make it into a song. I know it is short, so I am cool with it.

MettleAngel: A song like this lightens things up, and shows that the band does not take itself all too seriously.

  • Jaime: Exactly, we are all here to have fun, and just enjoy life. People need to give the whole "Hawking" song a rest.

MettleAngel: I agree. Are there any plans for the band to tour?

  • Jaime: We are booked to play the "M3 Rock Festival" in May.

MettleAngel: That sounds like a good bill with Whitesnake, Kix, Tesla, and a whole host of Frontiers acts playing.

  • Jaime: Other than that, we only want to play live if it is worthwhile. We are in our late forties and do not need to rent some van and play $hitty clubs.

MettleAngel: I can sympathize with that.

  • Jaime: We will just see what happens. We will have to see what our fans think of the album. We will keep the fires lit.

MettleAngel: I will tell people that I think overall you have created a quality album sure to please any Black 'N Blue fan, new or old.

  • Jaime: Thanks Man, we appreciate that! I admire your no bull$hit mentality.

MettleAngel: I am very opinionated, and not sycophantic. I say what I feel. If I did not like the album, I would let you know exactly why. Have you heard the Canadian band Cauldron, who did a mean cover of "Chains Around Heaven"?

  • Jaime: I think so, I am not sure.

MettleAngel: You should definitely check it out. They are signed to Earache. I know you are very busy so I will let you go, with all my support, and appreciation.

  • Jaime: Thanks Man, it has been a blast!

MettleAngel: Do you mean that it has been an autoblast!

  • Jaime: Sure Man, take care!

See also: review of the album

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