Bob Zerull of Zoiks! Online recently conducted an interview with “American Idol” finalist James Durbin, whose debut solo album “Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster”, will be released on November 21 via Wind-Up Records. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Zoiks! Online: On “American Idol” you showed us a wide range of your rock and metal influences, from the classic JUDAS PRIEST stuff to the more modern MUSE stuff. What type of album is “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster”?
James Durbin: I’m not going to go out and say that it’s a metal album. I took the aspects of metal that I love, and the stirring vocals of people that inspire me, like Bruce Dickinson, [Ronnie James] Dio and [Rob] Halford and people along those lines. I put it into something that can reach a wide variety of people. It’s a rock album, a hard-hitting hard rock album. It’s got its ballads and it’s absolutely great. I’m just really excited to put it out there and put it in my fans hands and hopefully anybody who likes rock, pop or metal can find something they enjoy in it.
Zoiks! Online: What was the songwriting process like and did you have any experience in that department before making this album?
James Durbin: I had no experience prior to making the album, actually. I mean I’d write my own songs here and there, but nothing I would really put on a record. I got the chance and opportunity to sit down with amazing seasoned writers like Marti Frederiksen (AEROSMTH, OZZY OSBOURNE), James Michael (SIXX: A.M., MÖTLEY CRÜE) and DJ Ashba (GUNS N’ ROSES, SIXX: A.M.), to name a few, and Mick Mars, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR. It’s like these guys have been doing it forever.
Zoiks! Online: You mentioned Mick Mars. Tell me a little bit about that amazing experience?
James Durbin: I got to the studio a little bit before hand. I was heading down to the bathroom trying to squeeze that in… trying to squeeze that out so that I didn’t shit my pants when I met him. [Laughs] I was finally able to hit the bathroom and in walks Mick Mars. It was pretty crazy. It was funny. As soon as he pulled out the guitar and plugged it in, found his tone, we got to work on finishing the song “Outcast”, which is written by HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, an amazing metal band from Sweden, Mick Mars and myself. All through long distance, they sent it over and we tweaked it and went with it. Mick was never the guy that was shredding scales; he was much more than that. His solos and his riffs are so much more recognizable, so much more memorable. It’s absolutely great. He really put his stamp on that song and really brought something great to the record.
Zoiks! Online: Now that you’re out of “American Idol” you get to deal with the bloggers and sites like Blabbermouth with the stupid comments. For every good thing said, there are ten bad things said for all artists.
James Durbin: If not more. (Laughs) That’s the whole thing about Blabbermouth. The people that are writing the articles are giving me great reviews and that’s all that matters to me. For every one person that is writing a bad comment, there are a hundred people saying great things. I’ve looked at Blabbermouth long before I was doing anything on this scale and I knew that people have always written stuff like that. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone from “Idol” or if it’s Dave Grohl, there are always nasty people out there. Like I said, for every one person that writes something nasty, a hundred people are saying something great. As soon as you see that nasty comment, that’s what kills you. It’s like, “Really? Am I really?” I don’t read that stuff.
Zoiks! Online: How do you avoid it? Do you just not read them at all?
James Durbin: If I find a great article that someone wrote something nice about me, then I might read it, but I definitely stray away from the comments section. [Laughs] There’s a community board on my web site, and those are my real fans. Those are the people that are making profiles and making kind words. That’s what I pay attention to, my Twitter followers, my Facebook fan page. Those are the people that are there for me. They’re the ones buying the record; those are the people discovering new fans. They’re out there doing the work on the street team. That’s who I listen to. That’s who I aim to please, not some guy who’s pissed off and hates music and hates what’s going on in music. You can’t please everyone, you can only try.
Read the entire interview at Zoiks! Online.