Idol’s James Durbin Talks Cheeky
Durbin Discusses Songwriting,
Domino's Pizza and Conan O'Brien
by Kristen Mitchell –
January 20, 2012
After a successful run
on Season 10 of American Idol, James Durbin is out with a
new album and he’s ready to rock. Cheeky sat down with James
to talk about his recent album release, his life after Idol and his
end-of-the-month show at Austin’s Saloon in Libertyville.
Cheeky: You were down to the wire on American Idol Season
10. Tell us about your journey onto the show.
James Durbin: Well, I was working for Domino’s Pizza at the
time in my hometown of Santa Cruz. One day they brought us into the
back office and told us, “We have no money whatsoever. We’re
bankrupt.” So, I had no job come Sunday and American Idol
tryouts were two days away. I was pretty surprised about losing my
job and then I remembered that the Idol auditions were that week.
It was a blessing and a curse.
Cheeky: And what have you been up to since finishing American
JD: I’ve been on a promo tour—just playing a few gigs
here and there promoting my recent album [Memories of a Beautiful
Disaster]. It came out on November 21—Black Friday.
Cheeky: What was it like making Memories of a Beautiful Disaster?
JD: I drew a lot of the songs from life experiences in general. I’ve
had great things happen and then not so great, but that’s what
makes us who we are. The process of making the album and recording
it was a lot of fun actually. I found that I work very well under
what would be stressful situations.
Cheeky: What song off the album do you enjoy playing the most?
JD: “Love in Ruins”… It’s got a very throwback,
classic rock feel. My other favorite song to sing is called “Crawling
Home.” It didn’t make the record, but it was released
as a pre-order bonus track on iTunes. Hopefully, we’ll be able
to re-release it.
Cheeky: Is there anyone you worked with on the album that you were
really excited about?
JD: I got to work with Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe)—he’s
a class act…great guy—Producer Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith,
Buck Cherry, Ozzy), James Michael (Sixx A.M)… Just really great
writers. It was a world that I’d never really been in before.
There are so many great songwriters out there and I was working with
some of the best.
Cheeky: What was the songwriting process like working with the talent
you just mentioned?
JD: I co-wrote about four or five songs and the others were written
for me, about me and with me in mind. Co-writing was a fun thing to
do and I enjoyed the creative process of it. I find it’s a little
easier to co-write than it is to write on my own. When I write on
my own, I get frustrated if I can’t get things down the right
way. With someone else, you both have the same vision for the song,
so it’s kind of like an extra brain.
Cheeky: You played on Conan O’Brien last week. How was that?
JD: Playing on Conan was a dream come true. I never imagined that
I would be able to perform on a late-night talk show or talk shows
in general. I’ve had the privilege of performing on Leno and
Ellen, but Conan was it for me… it was like… “I’ve
made it.” I was very honored and very privileged to have been
on his show. He knows his stuff and it was fun to watch their rehearsal
before they filmed. It would be interesting to look inside of his
mind and walk around for a couple of hours.
Cheeky: What’s next for you?
JD: I’ve got another music video coming out. This one’s
for the song “Stand Up,” a rock single, and the video
comes out on January 24. There’ll be a regular version of the
video and then we have a sports version for the NFL that will be on
espn.com. I’m also really excited to come play Chicago [January
27]. Chicago was really good to me when I played on the American
Idol Live Tour and I’m excited to see what it brings this
Be sure to check out future tour dates and merchandise on James’
website, follow him on Twitter and visit his fan page on Facebook.