LA MUSIC EXAMINER
Catching up with James Durbin of American Idol (exclusive interview)
Belinda Thomas , LA Music
Santa Cruz, CA native James
Durbin, 22, rocked the stage of “American Idol” every
week with his signature high-pitched scream and touched the hearts
of America throughout the season as he opened up about his Asperger
and Tourette Syndrome condition.
Examiner: You came up with the "Give Metal a Chance" slogan that really caught on. How did you come up with that? Was that your plan going in?
James: It was definitely
a plan that I was going to do. It's all music that I love that doesn't
get that much attention in the main stream world.
James: It was unlike anything
I'd ever done before. I always dreamed of going on a tour. It was
kind of the makeup for a small town boy who has an undying love for
music to get plucked out, which I was and being put on this grand
huge scale, and to be onstage in front of all those people, it was
definitely an eye opening experience. It was something I might never
have done before if it hadn’t been for Idol.
James: Judas Priest, Motley
Crue. I'm a big fan of a band called Steel Heart from the late 80s
early 90s. A band that did not get much attention. Mike Matijevic
is amazing. His was one of the voices I immediately took a liking
to. His notes were unlike anything I'd heard before and I really took
a lot of influence from him. Just where he goes with his voice. He
still has a note on there that I can't hit.
James: The title is about
looking back on the course of my life and memories of my life, it
being a thing of beauty now in what once I thought was chaos...through
the beauty and the pain. It makes me who I am today and I wouldn't
be able to change that.
James: It's been great.
My whole goal in shopping for a record contract was to find a label
that looked at me as more than just a number on their paycheck......Others
label that we went to didn't really want to, didn't really seem to
care. Their main thought was how we are going to make money off this...With
Wind-Up, before I was even signed yet ... two days after I went and
met with them, they called me up just to see how I was doing, to see
how the tour was going. I took that to mean that they really cared,
and they do really care, they still really care. They're all about
me growing as an artist.... They really care about you.
James: I'd never collaborated
before or done a co-writing session. It was a really eye-opening experience
in getting to do that versus going on TV and singing some covers.
It was so much fun. I can’t wait to get back in the studio and
to get back into a writing session and do it all over again. It was
just a lot of fun.
James: It was great. Mick
is such a character and such a real person. Coming in the studio and
getting to watch Mick Mars record and getting to watch him play was
so cool because he is so unique and has a unique style of playing
his guitar, to getting his tone and his tuning, everything how he
plays and watching him play. He's such a real person. I still stay
in contact with him. He called me up to see how me and my family were
doing and to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving. I enjoy talking to the
guy. He's great.
James: Charlotte Chaffey,
Steven McDonald and Anna Warnoker wrote the song. I got that song
played live for me when I was on tour. It was actually one of the
first songs that I heard while we were getting ready to make the album.
Originally I was like, ‘wow it’s this really cool Eagles,
Aerosmith vibe’ ... I was just listening to the song over and
over. I sort of tripped out on it and vibed on it. It's really a great
song. It's one of my favorite songs to perform live with a band. That
feels real good ...like when you see Steven Tyler singing, sometimes
his body starts doing convulsions when he's singing. It is not because
he is tweaking or anything. He's so deep in the music, you know. And
with that song, I really get deep into the song. Man, it's just such
a fun song.
James: “Higher Than
Heaven,” it’s a co-write with myself, James Michael and
Marti Frederiksen... it’s about my life before I met my fiancée'
Heidi and the date that I met her. It is kind of like wow. Nothing
before this. Nothing before the moment I met you matters. My life
is.... starting now, starting again. Nothing that I do before matters...
I want to make her proud of me.
James: Of course. Myself,
Stefano, Paul and Casey keep in contact. Stefano is going to be my
best man at my wedding. We shared a lot of time together so it...
to not talk and keep in touch would be a total waste of time. We all
had so much fun and shared some great memories up there on Idol...fun
times I will never forget.