Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: April 21st, 2006
How’s everything going today?
Good just catching up with my e-mails.
Tell me what it was like growing up in the Snider household?
People ask me that all the time. You know what I don’t know what to tell you, it was cool. Dad yelled at me when I did bad things and so did mom. It was pretty damn normal apart from dad leaving for months at a time to go on tour which sucks. I can’t find anything different from my household then any of my friends. Dad was not a boozer and didn’t go out all hours of the night. It seemed pretty normal to me.
Who were some of your father’s friends that came over to the house that made an impression on you?
Well my father is pretty reclusive actually and he is very antisocial. So the few friends that he does have, has been his mainstay forever. The most bizarre friend he had was his old bodyguard Roger who was crazy. He was this gigantic scary person who can snap anybody in half. That was as freaky as it got. He didn’t hang with the guys from Motley Crue or Poison or any of the bands he was playing with. He went out he played and came home. He’s probably is a lot different then the other rockers of the 80’s.
What was it like on Halloween?
Halloween was always fun for us because my mom is a make-up artist. We always had the greatest make-up and costumes. My sister Cheyenne was born on Halloween so that is a big holiday for us. Especially now since my father has his ‘Van Helsing Curse’ project going. So he is going off doing as many performances as they can do. It’s a Halloween music orchestra because my father was tired of putting on the monster mash every holiday. When we were rich, well we’re rich again. But when we were rich back in the day before we went bankrupt, we had a hearse (one of fifteen cars we had) and we only drove it during Halloween. I barely remember that, I think we drove around in that once. I was eight at the time when we started selling things off to build things back up again.
How did you get the job with MTV2?
My father does broadcasting, and at some party, I happen to meet one of his agents and he liked me. So they sent me out on some auditions and the first audition I got was MTV TRL. I got a couple of call backs for that, from Damien (who ended up getting that job). However, they really liked me, and they said “when we get something else we will call you back in.” They called me back in for ‘Headbangers Ball’ a little while later: they were looking for a replacement for their MTV2 rock person, and it just so happened I was coming in for ‘Headbangers Ball’. So they gave me that job, which ended up sucking. When they started, they had a limited amount of VJ’s because they had a limited amount of music shows- so, I got the boot, because they only needed one rock VJ. If I had gotten the ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ job in the first place I would have still had the job. DAMN IT!!! But, that led to a lot of other jobs. When you’re in broadcasting, a diploma’s not going get you shit, but tape of you working for somebody else means everything. So at that point I’d done two or three specials for MTV2, along with some commercial things. So now I have tape to send out to anybody and I have done things for ‘Fuse,’ AOL and HBO, and the train keeps a-moving.
Tell me about the seven-song EP entitled "Now the Party Starts!"
That was just a demo we did officially and printed up. We used that to get a deal that we are putting together. We got a deal from that. Now we are redoing that. I was very unhappy with it, mainly because of the playing and quality of the recording. It wasn’t up to the standards I wanted. I got a new guitar player and bassist. The record company wanted to release the EP, and I told them I don’t want to release it. I told them if they would give me a little bit of money, I could go into the studio, redo it, and really make it worth their while and we could release that. The new thing we are going to put out with the record company is called the “Juggernaut” EP-that will come out in September. We redid the “Juggernaut” song-that was my favorite song-that was recorded the worst and we finally got it where I wanted it to be. So, we renamed the EP “Juggernaut” and that’s the lead track.
Have you talked with Jack Osbourne about the conflict you had with him regarding giving child stars a bad rap?
Well, I really don’t care and he probably doesn’t care whatever I say. Because he is that kind of guy. I doubt there is any conflict and I am sure we will run in to each other one day and not really care. (Laughing) I really don’t care; good, if I pissed him off, maybe he'll stop acting like such a tool.
Has your father contacted Joe Quesada at Marvel Comics yet?
Yeah this is an interesting story. The short version is that I’m a big comic book fan and I am trying to break into comics right now as a writer. I have a couple things at Marvel which I have been working on with some of their editors. All this started when I was sixteen: I was taking a bus to the Chicago ComicCon. We had some friends over at Wizard who were big Twisted fans, so I would get in free but had to pay for the bus. Knowing a couple of the writers for that stuff I met some of the creators and one of them was Joe Quesada. I am not sure if he was the editor in chief yet at Marvel but I was a big fan of him. Someone mentioned to him who my father was, so we met and he was really nice to me. So like fifteen years earlier my father allegedly slammed a door in his face while he was assisting a friend at a recording studio. My father claims it was probably Mark Mendoza but he says it may have been him. Joe hated my dad and said one day I will get back at him, and he kind of felt that since I was a fan of his art it was like a small victory. He talked about it in an interview and was asked “What was your greatest convention experience for this year?” He talked about one from five years ago and mentioned me and my father vaguely, not mentioning our names. Someone told me about it and my father said, “That’s it, I’m going to reach my hand out and try to contact this guy and see if I can bury the hatchet.” It’s good for me because it reestablished communication with Joe and I got to meet more people at Marvel and get that career moving. We’re friends at this point and Joe and my dad are buds.
You worked at Planet Comics.
Yeah, a long time, for three or four years, my favorite job.
So is your comic collection big?
My comic collection is huge. I have statues up the ass. It’s my passion, and so are DVD’s and the Muppets. Big Muppet fan and I like Jim Henson.
So do you have a favorite comic?
I have two favorite series which I recommend to people all the time, Savage Dragon and Preacher. Savage Dragon #’s 1 thru 75 are R-rated, funny-as-hell, irreverent super hero books, and Preacher is sac-religion and hilarity. Of course, I am a big Batman and Punisher fan. I’m trying to write some Punisher scripts right now to get into Marvel.
Yeah I have about 10 or fifteen long white cardboard boxes up in the attic now full of comics. I have a friend named Dave McCarthy who was a big comic book collector and he would help me pick books to hold for the future. Plus our webmaster Carlos was the owner of a comic book store.
Comic books went through a small revolution where they were very popular and people would buy a shit load of them, so they basically flooded the market and killed the market. The comic companies were just printing as many as possible because people were buying for collecting because they thought they were worth a lot of money. It’s a lot stronger now, but like that Spawn comic book #1 Image release they are nearly worthless because people got so many.
You were going to go into pro football?
Well, I played in high school and I always wanted to play in college, but I didn’t. So I ended up getting stir crazy not playing any sports. I like to play hockey, football and lacrosse. I got a call from a friend that was playing flag football, so I ended up playing that. Met a guy who was playing semi-pro football for the Brooklyn Mariners who lived right by me and we hit it off. He invited me down and I joined the team three years ago, and have been on it ever since. We just won a national championship last year with my team. I’m getting a white gold championship ring for 2005-pretty sweet! I am a special team’s guy who is the lead tackler (which is fucking great): This year I will get in some reps at running back, seniority be damned, I shall get the ball!
So what happens if that career goes further?
That career’s not going to go further. I’m not six foot, I’m not 300 pound. I’m not big enough. I got the heart and I will take a hit like no one else and I will get up and drag you to the floor. I’m not going to make it to the pros; you have to be slightly realistic about stuff. But as far as playing and having a good time and doing something you love, I will be playing as long as I can.
Tell me about the Butch Walker Tribute album?
I just did a track for the Butch Walker tribute album. I was trying to do it with my band but I did not have a guitar player at the time. I couldn’t commit to doing with my band so the guy who is running it says I can get you a band. You sing the song and we’ll put it together. I did it with this band called Frankenstein 3000, cool guys. The song is called “Sugarbuzz”, and came out real nice. The CD is called “Ready Tribute Go” and is on Megaphone records. Butch Walker is more known for producing Bowling for Soup and now Pink and others, but they won't be on the tribute record.
Your band started in 2001, right?
Yeah, we are in the middle of changing our name now. Originally we were going to go by Blaze. It was really frustrating, but in 2001 when we were just a garage band, we tried to make a website for it. That’s how you try and have people check out your band. So the moment we had our simplistic website up, the national/ international review sites got a hold of the web address and started reviewing our tunes up there. We just started this garage band, we had the crappiest recording up there that was recorded with the worst recording devices, and now this was going international. “Dee Snider’s son throws his hat in the ring.” People are going, “Doesn’t he even know there is a band called Blaze? I guess his dad didn’t teach him well.” I guess I learned a lesson the hard way. It really pissed me off that I had to add a “d” at the end of “Blaze” because I had to settle for it, even though my legal middle name is “Blaze”. It’s six years later, I’ve got a whole new lineup, and these guys are a real band. We are writing together, and it’s not the Jesse Blaze project. It’s a new band. We are hoping to debut our new name at the Double D show on May 5th in New Jersey and another show on the 7th at the Whiskey Tango in Philly. Hopefully those will be the first new shows of (insert whatever cool band name here). I don’t know yet.
[Editor's Note: The band's name has changed since the interview was conducted. Blazed is now known as Baptized X Fire.]
Omar Zerrei (guitar) and Bobby Lycon (bass) left.
Yeah, a loose term, that Bobby and Omar “left”.
Ok, you got rid of them...
(Laughing) every musician has a different story. I have been in various bands growing up. I left bands that I knew the band wasn’t good enough to play with. I knew how harshly people would judge me. I was in a lot of different high school bands. The whole premise behind me setting up “Blaze” was that I was fed up with being a spoiled brat, so I said, “Fuck this, I’m tired of playing other people’s music. Nobody is willing to work with me on my music.” The very incarnation of the band was with my drummer Kris Dalene, who died in a car accident in August of 2003. The band was called Daisy Cutter. We never played any shows with Daisy Cutter, but we did some demos and went through some lineup changes before me and Kris started Blaze.
When Kris passed away, I tried to separate myself from our guitarist Omar because we had a difference in musical outlooks. He thought “Live, what the hell,” and I thought “Live, play the best you can.” When you think so differently you get yourself into a lot of conflicts that way. As a person Omar is awesome, he and I love each other, but when it came time to rehearse or play live all our priorities were all over the place. I put it off a long time, and I finally had to say “This is not working.” So we split and went our separate ways, and we’re still friends.
At this point, I have a phenomenal drummer named Benjamin Clap, and when I got him, I knew I had the right guy. Along the way I got Dan Carlysle-our bass player- and I found this dude Danny Wacker, whom a photographer friend had e-mailed me about doing a shoot at one of our shows. I told him we had no shows coming up, but if you know of a guitar player let me know. This girl sent me this dude’s website and I listened to Danny Wacker's clips and was blown away by how meticulous he was and how straight ahead and creative his riffs were. I called him up and left a message on his machine saying, “I think you’re my new guitar player, give me a call.” (Laughingly) it worked out really great. We just finished writing a song together called “Phoenix,” and it’s my favorite song I’ve ever written. Everything is off to a great start and the EP is amazing. I’m feeling pretty great. Dan just broke from New Blood Revival, so the timing could not have been better. Dan is a great guitarist.
Who is Mike "The Godfather" Clemente?
Mike is a good guy. Great guy-played some great licks and did some shows. We just couldn’t hook up on writing. I have no problem with Mike, he’s my bud.
Is it true your fiancée was offered sex in front of you by another woman at a show in PA, and that they offered you money for the night?
(Laughing) That’s true. (Laughing) It was a hot chick, too, and she wasn’t offering it to me. I said, “Man, that’s not fair.” We were cornered. We came around the hallway corner and you couldn’t even get past the naked chick without touching her. She came up to us and said “I will fuck you so good.” My girl is very prim and proper and was mortified by this.
You opened for W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns?
I tend not to be star-struck by anything. Usually the stories you hear about a band not acting well is when a fan is trying to be buddy-buddy with the band and creates an uncomfortable situation with them, and they say “Hey dude, get the hell out of here.” As long as you’re someone who is just hanging out and not making an uncomfortable situation with the band, you can hang out a bit. Both W.a.s.p. and L.A. Guns were cool guys-it was a good day for us. Most of the bands are really nice, and as long as you’re not a loudmouth you will not get any negative reactions. There are some assholes out there.
Has your father pushed you into the music thing or was he the type of dad that said, “Do what you want to do kid?”
It’s always “Do what you want to do.” I try to keep him out of the loop. But when I have demos, I definitely go to him for a first opinion. For the most part, I am self-sustaining and like to do it myself and I hope he likes it. I am also delivering a new mandate. All right, fine, I am Jesse Blaze Snider, son of Dee Snider. Because every time I do an interview they want to know if it’s Jesse Blaze or Jesse Snider or Jesse Blaze Snider. Whatever...
Does it upset you or bother you that people say that you only got the job or are doing music because your father is doing it or helps you?
You know what? For a second, I gave a shit. People are so fucking stupid and insane about that shit… to think that anybody can get where they are simply because their father is there. Same time, my dad is Dee Snider, not Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney. It’s helpful to a certain extent, but on a larger extent it’s like not good.
I love my dad, I know he is friggin’ amazing, and I love his music and think he is one of the most talented guys on the planet. Not everybody thinks that about him, and to a lot of people he is just some guy who dressed up in drag and danced around like an idiot. Some people have some strong negative feelings about my father, so all those negative feelings don’t translate into “Oh my God, if Dee’s so cool, Jesse must be even cooler!” It doesn’t translate that way. It translates into “Dee’s kind of whatever now.” I get that negative, too, and there is plenty of negative. So yeah, I get people who know my dad and really like him, who go “Yeah, I’ll check out Jesse,” because they know my dad’s a really cool guy, so they say, “Hey, Jesse is a cool guy too.”
But the rest of people are making judgments about his make-up, or whatever he did in the 80’s, and putting all these things on me. It’s really tough and it made it twice as hard when we first started out. At this time, I’ve been around six years and enough people have heard about me through numerous websites and whether they made any sort of judgment before, between now and then I haven’t blown up into anything big just because my dad’s a rock star. I have been continuously working in the music industry for six years. Now they’re going, “Well, he didn’t blow up because his dad’s a rock star. He is still here and he is still working-maybe I’ll give him another chance.” Then they’ll listen and say “Hey, this guy is pretty good.” Whereas before, they said “This guy is going to be famous for no frigging reason. I hate him and I’m going to give him crap.” It sucks, but at this point it kind of works to my advantage. You can’t dwell on it and as long as you don’t suck it’s going to be ok (laughing).
Let’s go into the new EP. How many songs will be on it?
Seven tracks, almost the same as the prior EP. We originally led with “The Party Starts Now,” which was our old opening song. I actually am working on a new opening song with the new lineup. “The Party Starts Now” was written by Handsome Dick of Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom, and we took it and totally rearranged it and was our opening song. But it wasn’t ours, and wasn’t the strongest track, and I was leading with it on our old EP. When people hard the word “party” they would say “Oh, PARTY,” like with the band. I renamed the new EP “Juggernaut” and the sound is a bit darker and heavier. I wanted to give it a harder vibe as opposed to a “party” vibe. We are leading the new EP with “Juggernaut”, “Fuck You” and “Make it Hurt”. “Fuck You” is interesting because people either love it or hate it. Some people can’t get past that it is just profanity: other people see that there is a legitimate argument going on there. I like to be straightforward, and “Fuck You” is the straightest way to say that to all the people who are making judgments of our music and me.
Do you have a cover for the EP already?
No, not yet because the record company will not be releasing it until September, and plus we still have to come up with a new band name. The record company does a really nice Digipack with CD and DVD thing. So we are trying to get together, to film all our shows and things and we want to do on a video for “Juggernaut.” So, the DVD will have video, live footage and interviews. I also want to print up some limited edition copies of stuff for people who come to our shows in the next couple months.
I was reading articles a few hours before you called, and people really do not give you a chance before even hearing you because of who you are. That really fucking sucks.
No, it definitely does, it really blows. You keep banging down those doors and interviews are a really good forum for me. I’m a nice guy. I’m out to make friends. I’m not a dick, not a spoiled brat, I’m not here saying “I am great and all high and mighty,” but I know I’m a nice person and try to be nice to people. In interviews you can hear that in my voice, and people will see that and not think I am some kind of Jack Osbourne dick. They’ll actually go check out my music, and they go and listen to it with ears for, “Hey, I want to like it” as opposed to “I want to hate it.” You can’t listen to a demo saying “I want to hate it,” because you’re going to hate it. It really sucks, but at the same time if you want to hate it but it’s so good (laughing) it can work for your advantage.
Say you had a million dollars in your pocket. What cause would you donate it to?
That’s a very good question. I never thought about it. Maybe the March of Dimes “Bikers for Babies.” It’s a cause close to my family. My brother and sister were premature babies. It’s a cause me and my lady can get behind. I think the health and welfare of preemie babies is a good cause.
Jesse, this has really been a good interview. Would you like to thank anyone?
Thanks, man. Yes, I would like to thank Danny Wacker, our guitar player, and his friend Lisa who has been setting everything up for us.