INTERVIEWS

Cosmic Rock

Today’s guest is none other than long time musician, producer, songwriter and more the great Jamie Hoover.  Super talented and respected across the map, Jamie has spent many years with his band The Spongetones, jamming with The Smithereens, working with Joe Walsh, Don Dixon and others.  We caught up with Jamie to discuss his music history, inspirations, thoughts on music today and news. -G

 

1.Jamie how’re you doing bro. Good to speak with you again bro. How is everything?

Doing good.

 

2.Tell us a little about your back ground. Did you grow up in Charlotte and how did you get into music?

 

I did grow up in Charlotte-was born there on 2/11/56 in Presbyterian Hospital. Lived there all of my life until I moved to Clover, SC in 1986. Then from there to Monroe in 2001. Then here to Southport in 2015.

3.What artists and favorite albums really inspired you in your early days?

 

The Beatles of course. All the 60’s Mersey bands. Todd Rundgren. Klaatu. XTC! Bob Lind!!!!

 

4.What about concerts from your early years? Which were your favorites and why?

 

First big one-Hendrix at the old Charlotte Coliseum! Amazing! CTA was the unknown opening act (Chicago). Everyone came through there. Tull, The Who, ELP, Prince, Queen…the list goes on. Also the old Park Center-Grady Cole…..many great shows! Alice Cooper! White Witch, Bloodrock, Boston, The Ramones and Runaways, Flood (from Love Valley), Edgar Winter and White Trash, Zappa….many others…..Milestone Club—Alex Chilton, TMBG, The Rock Cats, The Plastics, 999……

 

5. Those are amazing man. My first introduction to your music was from your group The Spongetones. Excellent music and times man. How did the group form and what are your best memories from your thirty five plus years?

 

Pat, Steve, Rob and Jake Berger at very first-several gigs. The Keith Brooks was in for a few. I saw them then for the first time and fell in love. I was lucky enough to be asked in when Brooks left. I was at The Double Door-in the front near the door when Pat asked me to play. I was with my friend Alan Kaufman-we had done a session together for a Christmas 45 for Thomas Moore—at Bob David Sound. A BIG day in my life!

The highlights were big shows in Charlotte like Springfest and The Festival In The Park. Thousands of fans. My fave though was going to Japan with the Tones!!! Best thing to ever happen, musically. Being on The Tonight Show with Graham Parker and The Small Clubs was another…too many to remember them all though….lots of fun over the years. I have been blessed. and still continue to be!

 

6.What have the years held for your music in the best and the most challenging ways? Favorite memories?

 

Just learning how to do it and getting better. Studying the Masters and making records like “the big guys”. Learning how to exist with others musically. Playing music alone, although fun—is really just masturbation. Masturbation is valid and fun too—but music with others is like sex. The best!

Sessions with Joe Walsh, Graham Parker, Bob Lind, Don Dixon….big highlights.

 

7. You filled in as the bass player for The Smithereens‘ Mike Meseros for over a year-from May of 1997 until June of 1998 as a regular player. I remember meeting Pat at Reflections years ago, he was a kind mellow guy. I always thought he was a great songwriter. Any memories or thoughts about those days?

 

There is nothing quite like being the guy who gets to start of “Blood And Roses” in front of several thousand people! People exploded when we played “Girl Like You” and so many other of their huge records! Pat was a nice guy. Very complex, but very friendly to me. I stayed at his house and met his mother. Dennis Diken was a great friend too-I stayed with him and Donna once. He played on my Paparazzi cd I did with Bill Lloyd. He’s an amazing drummer to be a bass player with. Jimmy Babjak—a really great guy—who could drink me under the table…which wasn’t an easy feat back then. I am 2.5 years sober now….

 

 

8. What are some of your favorite films?

Watership Down. On Golden Pond. Ordinary People. A Christmas  Carol (Allistar Sims). Fantastic Planet. Up.

 

 

9.Favorite books?

Watership Down. Animal Farm. Dune. A Confederacy Of Dunces.

 

10.What is one life skill you think everyone should have?

Kindness/Empathy.

 

11.Yes of course. How do you feel about the music business today with social media and the current era of indie music?

 

Good and bad. If we would have had the internet back when our records were new in The Tones—if would have been a different life. We could have ruled the world if left to our own devices. Back then people bought and supported their favorite bands and artists. If we could have cut out the record executives that kept their heads up their asses at bay and also bypassed the arrogant shithead kids that worked at most (but not all) of the record stores with their “search and destroy” mentality….we would have been much bigger.

 

People still need to listen to music and decide for themselves what is real and what is shit. They still really want to be told…or for things to fit in a box with a bow that says “this is what you like, airhead”. We never fit into those boxes.

 

The good thing? People really love and devour music still. The bad thing: they have NO intention of buying it. Never has there been a time when music was so valued…and so unvalued.

 

12.Bro all too true on all you said man. These are strange new days for musicians. What advice would you give a new artist just starting out?

 

Follow your heart. Do what makes you happy-serve nobody else. What you put your heart into needs to be something that you would have always done—for free anyway. Those are the only things that really matter on a large scale. Make a living however you have to—but make music for your soul. Don’t depend on anyone but yourself. Don’t drink..it will cut years off your life and make you old before your time. Educate yourself. Treat people like you’d like to be treated yourself. Don’t hold on to bad thoughts. Parade! Make yourself happy. Be smart. Don’t sell yourself short.

 

13. Wise words in all ways man. Much respect for all your music and success brother. You have so many skills in music and years of experience. What continues to inspire your songwriting?

 

They either come from joy or misery. Either way-you need to talk to the world about those things. Share.

 

14. Any other creative activity you are interested in? Art, writing, etc?

 

Not really. Music is about all I can do well, and even that is debatable….I appreciate anything people do from their hearts….sex, love, and music.

 

15.You also have an extensive history as a producer. There are many great records you have had a hand in creating. Are you producing any interesting artists these days?

 

I am always working with individuals on their projects. As a producer and as a co writer I can sometimes really help others to get their art out of their heads-where it belongs. Some people play golf-and that’s cool too, but what I do is make records. They last. I also teach recording and production at our local community college here in Southport. There is so much I have learned. I have to pass it on before I go. I did get to produce two really great albums for my hero Bob Lind (Elusive Butterfly) in the last 10 years. I am very proud of them. Also Stepford Knives (me and Otis Hughes), Judeth Seed Irwin, Scott Franklin Randy Franklin, Southport Johnny and the Bizness (my blues band guys) , Christine Martinez, Rich Williams and others. One person I’m working with right now that I’m excited about and his name is Catesby Jones. He wrote a number one hit in the 80s for Travis Tritt named “country club”. He is an amazing guitar player and songwriter!

 

16.Really great bro. Any new recordings from your own projects coming out down the line?

 

I will release singles on vinyl I believe this upcoming year. They are real and can only be stolen directly from me….and I’ll give them away before I let anyone steal them.

 

17.Thats for real man!  look forward to hearing them. Any last words for your readers today?

 

To quote Todd R……”Use your head…use your heart…save yourselves.” Thanks Gideon!

 

 

You're welcome man. Thanks to you bro always good to hear from you, keep us updated on your news rock on G