Much-lauded blues-rock singer and guitarist Jared James Nichols is back in the UK. As well as opening slots on dates by Blue Oyster Cult and UFO, Jared is also appearing at Ramblin’ Man Fair and Steelhouse Festival. I had a quick chat with him about the dates as well as getting the lowdown on the forthcoming new album ‘Black Magic’.
Hi Jared, welcome back to UK shores for a mixture of headlining dates as well as support slots with Blue Oyster Cult and UFO. You must be buzzing!?
“I’m buzzing like crazy! I’ve had a whirl-wind of amazing support slot tours over the past few years. It’s a pretty unreal to tour with your heroes. I’m living that dream right now.”
Did the shows with UFO come about because of the dates with them and Saxon in the US?
“Exactly! We all became good friends while on the road in the US. I was so happy to hear they wanted me to support them here in the UK. The scheduling worked, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
A friend of mine in America went to one of the shows, as he is a massive fan of both Saxon and UFO, but he came away talking about you the most! That was a very diverse bill indeed!
“That’s awesome! The US tour was so much fun. I really let it hang all out with our support slot. I was a little nervous about how we would go over, it turned out superb! It’s important to ‘hit them over the head’ and really leave a lasting impression. It makes all the difference.”
You round off July with appearances at Ramblin’ Man Fair & Steelhouse Festival. Who will you be checking out after your sets finish?
“The line-up for both festivals this year is INSANE! Honestly, everybody. I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends in the other bands as well!”
You have also just played Hellfest, where Aerosmith headlined. One of the highlights, for me, on the current Aerosmith tour is the blues segment mid show. Joe Perry totally wails on ‘Oh Well’, and it proves again that one way or another, everything really did begin with the Blues. Did you catch their set?
“Thankfully, I did! Every time I see Aerosmith it’s a blast. They were such a great example of blending together blues & rock and making it sublime. It’s all blues to me.”
With so many young Blues players coming through at the moment, some of the old guard fans are insinuating that in order to play “the Blues” you must be old enough to have experienced them. That’s bullshit, surely? If you are good enough, then you are old enough?
“Those guys need to keep themselves locked away in their homes and never come out. It’s the same shit they said about guys coming up in the late ’60s blues boom. Personally, I play from the heart, ALWAYS. I don’t worry if it’s bluesy enough or whatever. It’s 2017 for crying out loud, have you turned on a radio or tv and heard what they play?? Those people should just be happy young guys are still trying to push this music FORWARD.”
You have worked with Joe Perry’s son Tony on the new album. How did you meet?
“We actually met through his dad, when Aerosmith was recording their last record ‘Music From Another Dimension”
I caught Tony when he was part of the three-piece Tab The Band. Your own band are a trio too. What is it about a trio that makes them really stand out from other bands? The phrase “power trio” springs to mind, but no-one ever coined the phrases “power duo” or “power quartet, did they?
“I don’t really know what it is! For me, the trio is the perfect machine for blues/rock. It’s partly the simplicity matched with monster players. With the right players, it’s absolutely electric.”
So… the new album… ‘Black Magic’ is due later this year. ‘Last Chance’ is the current single. Is this a good example of what to expect on ‘Black Magic’? To me, it seems way heavier?
“It’s just one shade of the new record. I’m really excited about this album. I wanted to hit people over the head with the new single. This record covers so much ground. Honestly, I don’t want to make the same sounding music over and over again forever. What’s the point? The music is as much alive as I am, changing everyday. I always play what I’m feeling. This album has stone cold blues, heavy stuff, and even a little funk.”
Tell us a little bit about the guys in the band, Dennis and Erik. They make one hell of a noise!
“Great people, great musicians. They are both originally from Sweden, now living in America. We have been jamming now for years. It’s fun to play with these guys because we seem to have a deeper connection and know exactly where each other wants to go in the music. I’m happy to be able to tour the world with them.”
The only time I’ve ever witnessed someone taking a cardboard guitar to a gig was back in the ’80’s, and the dude went full Van Halen. He had it painted red with the signature EVH stripes across it, but you went one better and actually played one of Eddie’s Kramer Strypers. What was that like!?
“Unreal! I was nervous! What a special guitar with an unbelievable history. When you pick it up, it’s got THAT SOUND. Even for a guy like me who doesn’t even play anything like Van Halen! I’ll never forget being able to rip on an absolute piece of history.”
Lastly, with the album due in September, when can we expect you back for some more headlining shows?
“We want to come back again in the fall! If everything works out, I would love to do some more headlining tours here in the UK and Europe. I’ll know more in the coming weeks, so be sure to have a look at my Facebook and Tour Schedule for more details.”
Well plugged, sir! Haha! Thanks for your time, Jared. Hopefully the weather will be kind to everyone during the festival season!
Interview: Dave Stott
Band image: Dustin Jack
More information can be found on the official Jared James Nichols Facebook