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James Durbin Talks About Standing Up to Jimmy Iovine and Playing “Heavy Metal” with Zakk Wylde with a Little Help from Chris Jericho

Recently I got the chance to talk with James Durbin about “American Idol,” his new album “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” I even asked him about Adam Lambert and his dismissal of James. While I was very much interested in that, specifically the new album, I really wanted to hear about playing “Heavy Metal” with my personal guitar hero Zakk Wylde. My favorite band is Aerosmith and like I said Zakk is my personal guitar hero. That night when Zakk walked out on stage with James Durbin I was so happy for James that I had tears in my eyes. James told me very nearly every detail of this story and it is such a good story that I decided to give it it’s own article. Here is how it all went down.

“Wow, I was just telling someone else this story yesterday. It came time for songs from the movies week and I had just come off of an explosive performance, literally explosive the week before when I did “Saturday’s All Right for Fighting” by Elton John. I blew the piano up, I had so much momentum, where was I to go, but up? I wanted to do a movie that not many people had seen. Maybe a couple more people saw it or were aware of it because “South Park” did the parody of it, which was great. So I chose “Heavy Metal” from the movie “Heavy Metal” from the magazine “Heavy Metal.”

Jimmy Iovine didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about (laughs). When you don’t know what’s going on and you don’t know that is, most of the time you say no. He didn’t like it, he said no. He tried to change a song of mine a couple weeks before. He did actually, he changed when I did “Living for the City,” I was going to do a different Stevie Wonder song and he hated it. I went in there and I said you’re not going to change my song now. I had my whole idea for the song. He wanted me to sing “Pinball Wizard” by The Who and I was like, ‘dude we just came off of Elton John week, I’m not going to sing another song that Elton John sang in the movie. People want something different, they don’t want the same thing.’

So I wanted to give the people at home something different, show them something deeper into my mind of madness. That week he had changed, Scotty’s (Mccreery) song and he also changed Casey’s (Abrams) song. After Casey saw that I stuck to my ground and even cried over this and had an up close confrontation with Jimmy, Casey was inspired by that and went back to his original song and Scotty also changed his song back to his original song. It was very inspiring all around. Casey, Scotty and I talked about it; whenever we talk we talk about that.

In order to prove to Jimmy Iovine that I’m not some Sammy Hagar impersonator I brought out the big dogs and I got Zakk Wylde in there. I had a connection with him from my now lead guitarist Dylan (Rose) who went on tour with him for two tours opening for Black Label Society. Then I started hanging out with Chris Jericho who was on “Dancing With the Stars” at the same time, which was filming in the same studio. Jericho is best friends with Zakk. We got Zakk in there and it was the perfect fit. It was kind of like that standing up to bullies sort of thing. It proved that I’m a risk taker, and if I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down on my terms. I didn’t go down. Personally I felt I went up. I stuck to my ground and people noticed and respected that."

BYLINE:

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.