Return to James Durbin






James Durbin

Richie Frieman

I think PEV has found its favorite American Idol of all time – the rocker with a Wrestling Ring Playset complete with “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth – Mr. James Durbin. Sure, there may be countless more seasons of the reality show, but honestly… can it get better than Durbin? The guy loves wrestling, rocks hard and can write a song or two (make sure to check out “Higher Than Heaven” on his latest record).

We caught James just as he wrapped up his American Idol Tour, a forum where he was able to spread the word about his aforementioned album titled “Memories of A Beautiful Disaster”. Obviously the collection already stands out in our memory of music from American Idol alums due to it’s rock n’ roll flavor, and Durbin elaborated on that fact with us: “Being on American Idol – as much as a great experience it was and I’m grateful for it – you’re basically singing Karaoke. And once you get a good fan base and fans get a good understanding of you, and who you are, they don’t get to see as much of you until your own album. You want to be able to show them, you want to give them something special. And that’s what I wanted to do.” Whether or not you caught the Idol on your television, check out “Memories of A Beautiful Disaster” (not that you need the added motivation, but Mötley Crüe lead guitarist Mick Mars was one of the guys James got to work with on the effort).

James will be busy setting up his own tour, preparing for his next record AND finalizing plans for his upcoming wedding. Hearing that third one, Durbin may be the busiest rocker on the planet at the moment. Obviously, you need to learn more, so keep reading below for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: James Durbin (PEV): James, hi how are you?

James Durbin (JD): I’m doing just fine, thanks.

PEV: Where’d I catch you?

JD: I’m at home, playing with my son. Doing some last minute wedding stuff.

PEV: When’s the big day?

JD: Man, it’s coming up. Coming up soon…

PEV: Are you really involved or do you like to sit back a little bit?

JD: I’m trying to be. It was tough while I was on the Idol tour. It was sparatcic but now I’m being as involved as I can.

PEV: So after you get off tour and you get to sit back at home. What can we find you doing in your spare time.

JD: Relaxing, cruising around on my skateboard. Play guitar… being a dad.

PEV: After you came home, off the Idol tour, how did all of your friends and family react to your success?

JD: The support has been great... It’s been perfect. There hasn’t been a bad part about it. I mean, I got outside and people are like, “James! James!... Come here!” People pull up, roll down their window say hi.

PEV: What was it like when you got to play your hometown?

JD: It was great. It was right after I got booted off Idol and I thought the homecoming wasn’t going to happen. But due to the support of the city of Santa Cruz, we were able to do that show anyway. And that was crazy. We had 35,000 people show up.

PEV: That’s insane! Such a good feeling. And when you think about where you are now, do you ever sit back and just say to yourself, “Wow! I can’t believe it.”

JD: Yeah, yeah, it’s great.

PEV: With the new album out, “Memories of A Beautiful Disaster”, you had an interesting quote about the album, you said, “I tried to make an album as much as real life as possible.” That comes from your rock n’ roll background and bringing back that whole rock atmosphere. With that, what can fans take away from this album?

JD: Well, I think, being on American Idol – as much as a great experience it was and I’m grateful for it – you’re basically singing Karaoke. And once you get a good fanbase and fans get a good understanding of you, and who you are, they don’t get to see as much of you until your own album. You want to be able to show them, you want to give them something special. And that’s what I wanted to do. I already have ideas for the next one, and the next one and the next one. You’re nothing without your fans. You can be the best musician in the world but be a complete dick and you won’t have fans.

PEV: The title is very interesting for the album. What is the story behind it?

JD: “Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster” is about me looking back at times in my life, when I thought it was disastrous. And to look at it now, and see the beauty of it now. It’s all made me who I am today.

PEV: With the singles coming out and the videos, how has the making of this album different than the work you did before, knowing the impact you were going to have, the outreach you were going to have? What was the behind the scenes part like?

JD: It was a very fast process. Most albums you take your time on. Most albums you can sit back, write as many songs as you can, pick out the ones you want - take your time. But with me, coming off the American Idol tour, it was a completely different story. We had to go straight into shooting songs, and writing songs. I co-wrote some songs, the others were sent in from writers. So, we were working faster than others.

PEV: Is there one song that sticks out over the others that you feel is the them of the album?

JD: I think the song that best describes the album is, “Higher Than Heaven”. It’s a song I co-wrote. That song was about basically, tells my story. About what I was doing… or what I wasn’t doing with my life. Then I met my fiancé Heidi and it gave me everything in life that I need. I was always so worried about the bad things I was getting myself into. Then I met her and I stopped worrying. I started to accept them for what they are and that I’ll learn from them. You learn from your mistakes. I met Heidi and I learned not to take things for granted and live for the day. Carpe deim, seize the day.

PEV: You talked about people you got to work with on the album and as well you got to work with Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe.

JD: Mick was great. Mick is definitely a man amougnst boys. He’s a legend. Anything he puts his hands on it becomes a Mick Mars classic. The song that was cowritten by me, Mick and my favorite bands in the world, Hardcore Superstar, the song just came out great. It’s an awesome song to perform live. We came off the other night at the half time show at the 49ers and Steelers and it was a great reception.

PEV: Well, I wanted to talk to you about your work at the halftime shows. You’ve been doing a lot of these shows, how have they been for you?

JD: We did two so far and plans for more. Atlanta was alright (laughs). I’ll tell you one thing, they did not want to hear rock music. It was the first time they had ever had a rock band. Usually they’ll have like Sean Kingston or Lil Wayne, so we were a little bit out of our element there. But it was still a lot of fun.

PEV: Well I guess that’s one of the down parts about life on the road. So how is life on the road for you?

JD: It’s good. It’s pretty easy. I don’t like being away from my family. That’s something I had to adjust to. Being on American Idol, you don’t get to see your family at all. Absolutely just taken away from them and gone for six months. You get to see them a little bit while you rehears for the tour. I was fortunate enough to get my family in LA while we rehearsed on the tour but then you’re off again. Then we got back, and started recording my album. Luckily, they were able to be with me again in LA.

PEV: Do you still keep in touch with anyone from your season?

JD: Casey and Stefano will be at my wedding. Stefano is actually my best man.

PEV: That’s interesting and so good that you made a connection when you were together on the show.

JD: Yeah, I mean those guys were great to be around. But I mean post Idol it’s a test of time. You find out what friends are really there for the right reasons. It’s really about after Idol that matters. Everyone goes back to their old friends, family, partners, and I’m lucky to have Casey and Stefano.

PEV: And are you still a big pro wrestling fan?

JD: Huge pro wresting fan.

PEV: That’s great. Everyone at PensEyeView is as well, so you’re in good company.

JD: I’m at my desk, looking at my vintage WCW wrestling ring playset with Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth.

PEV: So what’s next for you?

JD: We’re setting up for a tour and writing more music. Everyone’s taking a little break for the holidays but then we’re back and going out on tour. The album is selling great every week. We sold about 10,000 copies last week, and like 60,000 in under four weeks, so I’m just absolutely… I mean words can’t describe it. My fans are great and I have the best fans in the world.

For more on James Durbin, check out as well, check out James' video for "Stand Up" premiering on Vevo and ESPN, this week, on January 24th.