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James Durbin joins Staind and Godsmack at X-Fest 9 Saturday

Posted: April 19, 2012 - 11:02pm



James Durbin joins Staind and Godsmack at X-Fest 9 Saturday

Reminiscing of his theater days, James Durbin, from season 10 American Idol, naturally sang every word to his favorite middle school and high school performances from more than 10 years ago. Hooked to the show after dying his hair for the first time for a play, Durbin said he has never looked back.

Now 23 years old, with 100,000 record sales and a sold-out tour, Durbin is joining headliners Godsmack and Staind for their Saturday show, X-Fest 9.

X-Fest 9, Lubbock’s rock and roll concert, is an all-ages event at the Lonestar Amphitheater. Tickets cost $42, plus service charges, and can be purchased at Ralph Records or online through Front Gate Tickets.

For a musician who grew up idolizing rock and roll, Durbin said the reality of playing with well-known bands still shocks him.

“My old band would play at packed bars and we would practically throw free shirts and CDs for people just to get noticed,” said the singer from Santa Cruz, Calif. “Now I’ve sold 100,000 records, am going on tour with Buckcherry and get to perform with some of my all-time favorite bands.”

Though eliminated in the Top 4 of American Idol in the spring of 2011, Durbin signed with independent label Wind-up Records that September and immediately began working on his album, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” released Nov. 21.

His album sold 28,000 records within the first two weeks, debuted at No. 36 on the Billboard 200 and at No. 8 on the Billboard Rock Chart.

Growing fast in popularity, Durbin stood out not only because of his vocal range and rough voice, but his openness with personal adversaries.

Durbin’s father, also a musician, died of a drug overdose when the “American Idol” star was 9 years old. Shortly after his father’s death, Durbin was diagnosed with Tourrete syndrome and Asperger syndrome, which he announced nationally while competing on the show.

Instead of hiding behind his past, Durbin embraced his disorders and even appeared in a documentary, “Different is the New Normal,” that focused on teen efforts to overcome Tourrette syndrome.

“I’m definitely trying to break that stereotype that rock starts have to be all about sex and drugs,” said the husband and father. “It doesn’t have to be. I don’t do drugs, I deal with my problems and I use my powers for good, not evil.”

Besides, Durbin said a sold-out concert is all a rock star needs to reach a natural high.

Infatuated with performing since he was 8 years old, Durbin said the freedom behind rock music, mixed with the crowd and adrenaline, provides a complete feeling of satisfaction.

“Rock isn’t safe,” he said. “It isn’t perfect. It’s sloppy. You can play any version of a rock song and make it completely your own. There’s a freedom to be you and be who you want to be.”

Durbin found his love for rock music through bands such as Queen, Kiss, Aerosmith, 30 Seconds to Mars and European-based Hardcore Superstar, who co-wrote his song “Outcast,” on his CD.

A believer in true musicians and living for the music, Durbin said his life goal is to make Hardcore Superstar famous in the U.S. Their lyrics, combined with their versatile sound, inspire Durbin to become a better artist.

“I sing to inspire,” he said. “I sing to aspire. I need to keep growing as a musician.”

As for his own inspiration, Durbin said he often reflects on life experiences for his music. Though he comes from hard times, he said music cannot be created without the ability to look inside and see the beauty in everything.

True musicians, he explained, sing and write what they feel and successfully convey it to others.

“You can’t sing without ‘is’,” he said, noting his philosophical thought, “and what is singing without being, living, or being enamored with the feeling?”