Interviewed by Stephanie Rademacher
Date: September 30th, 2005
I noticed that there are a lot of musicians that helped on your latest CD, but only two that made it to you site. Are they the only regular members of your band, or do you have more that tour with you?
When we recorded “The Inside,” we had only two days in the studio, which meant we were pressed for time. Because of that, we ended up using the demo tracks that were already recorded by various artists in Nashville. The only two guys that we “hired” to help on the album were the guitarist, Tom Bukovac and the one-man string section, Jonathan Yudkin. We don’t carry a string section on the road, and our guitar player at the time wasn’t able to pull off what we wanted in the studio. Those were the only reasons we didn’t record with only the members of the band. On most songs, our regular drummer, Brian Hobaugh, played the parts; and on most songs, I played the bass parts.
We tour as a 3-piece band: drums, bass, and guitar… that’s it.
Tell us about the members of your band.
This band is actually just a solo project. I, Jasmine Cain, decided to move from South Dakota to Tennessee to pursue a career in music. I met drummer, Brian Hobaugh while he was playing in a bar band in Deadwood, SD the fall before I left for Tennessee. I told him of my plan and he said he was definitely in. Brian is definitely the entertainer in the group. You won’t find a more animated person, and when he gets a little drunk he turns into a different guy altogether. Enough so, we had to give his alter ego a name, “Jimmy.” Jimmy likes to get drunk and get naked. You can find the streaker at most house parties. We have gone through a series of guitarists since we moved here. Our first being Mike Reeves who was the lead guitarist for the metal band Full Devil Jacket. They had since broken up and he was looking for a new project. After months of collaboration, we decided that Mike wasn’t our guy and kept looking. We found Rikk Legions (the one that is currently on our website) through a mutual friend and he became the guitarist for Jasmine Cain. Rikk did everything with the band except for playing on the album. We toured together for almost 2 years before he finally had to quit and take care of his family. He has 2 kids and just recently got remarried. That means that just 2 months ago, we went guitarist shopping again and found our current guitarist, Miguel Cancino in Nashville. He hails from Santiago, Chile and plays guitar like nobody else I’ve ever seen. He loves the band and for only 23 years old, seems like he knows what he’s doing. That is the current band.
I see that your CD is for sale at some of the download sites. Is this your doing or did they pick it up elsewhere and how do you feel about it?
Depending on what sites you’re talking about, I have given the okay for some major distribution sites to have my music available. Some of those sites include-- ITunes, Rhapsody, and a few other PAYING download sites. I’m sure that people are going to pirate my music and get it to their friends… that’s part of what to expect now, but it not really something you can do anything about… other than finding those people and prosecuting them individually, which could take forever. If I get big enough that there are more people involved that want their money, then that could certainly happen. For now, I’m the only one really that gets screwed. So if they want to do it, they’re gonna do it. It’s time that artists embrace the internet as the new record stores. That’s the way the world works now and it’s just a matter of working out the kinks in a new situation until we have a fluid system that can appeal to the entire world. As much as I still love to go to record stores and flip through music, I can’t help but notice that they are a disappearing thing and that the internet has taken over. We can boycott that or go with the flow and make something work for us. Technology is constantly changing and we need to stay up on it if we want to be successful. I’ll tell you what really burns my ass, and that’s when someone comes up to me at a show and says they bought my album and loved it so much that they made 10 copies and gave it to all their friends. Now THAT makes me mad! That’s 10 people that would have otherwise BOUGHT my album because of their friend’s recommendation, but now have a pirate CDR that he made for them. They really think they’re doing you a favor by getting your music heard by giving it away to all their friends, but they don’t realize that they’re making it impossible to pay for the making of the album that they bought that started this whole mess! That sucks!
Other than bass, what other instruments do you play, if any?
I started out on acoustic guitar. My dad taught me what 3 chords he knew when I was age 4. I bought a chord chart and taught myself the rest. I use guitar when I write songs. I was given a keyboard when I was about 8 years old and learned how to play somewhat, but never really took to it. Now I wish I would have tried a little harder on that. My brother had a drum kit and even though I wasn’t allowed to touch it, I’d watch him play and learned the basic techniques for playing drums. Now I get to play drums on one song every night at our shows. If I practiced at all, I think I could get it figured out pretty good. Bass is my main instrument and it’s definitely my niche. I fought it at first, but it claimed me. There’s nothing you can do about it.
Is it your love for singing, writing, or bass that has gotten you this far?
All of the above... it’s my love for MUSIC, which involves all of those things and more. It’s not just a love for something, though that gets you where you’re going, although that is certainly the core of it. It’s determination, focus, drive, and motivation. You have to get off your ass and make it happen. See the end result and do everything in your power to get yourself there. It also takes a lot of encouragement because this is the hardest business in the world.
Do you have any plans to sign with a big record company or would you feel more comfortable with an independent?
At this point, I have released this album on my own. I like that because I don’t have to answer to anyone else. I paid for everything and I collect the profits. It’s not a “get rich quick” scheme, but it’s honest and I appreciate that. Ultimately, I would like to get signed and the biggest determining factor on who I sign with will be “who can do the most for me?” and “Who has my best interest at heart?” That’s what’s important to me.
Are you working on new material? If so, when do you expect your next CD to be available?
I am working on new material now; however, we are not rushing a follow up album. I have sparked some interest with some people that could actually get me to the next level of getting signed and I’m trying to work with them in finding and establishing what it is I really am and what it is I want to be as far as a singer, songwriter, and performer. We’re creating a character… an image, true to my roots and my inner core. We’re looking for something that I can do night after night and feel like I’m portraying an honest representation of me. That’s a difficult task and it’s going to take some time. This is more or less a rebirth for me and I want to do it right. Plans for the next album are on hold because I have a feeling the next one I release will be under a record label.
When you decided to go into the music business, what were your family’s thoughts?
I knew I wanted to be a musician/singer when I was four years old. I told my dad every year on my birthday when he would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up. They thought it was cute for a long time, and then around age 14, my dad thought it would be smart if I started looking at a real career. He wanted me to get into dentistry or be a lawyer of some kind. Actually, I was very smart about both of them, but it wasn’t my passion. When I recorded “The Inside,” they co-signed on the loan I took out to pay for the making of the album, but my dad wasn’t that thrilled about it. It was only after he saw me at my CD release party with my hands full of money from albums that I sold that night that he finally understood that you can make a decent living from this if you’re smart about it and do it right. They’re both pretty supportive now. Dad’s a businessman… you know?
Where you in any other bands before this CD, “The Inside”?
Man was I. I started in my brother’s family band, Blackjack when I was around 6-8 years old. I played with my brothers on weekends a couple times a month until I graduated in 1996. I moved to Custer, SD and joined a Bluegrass music show called ‘The Mountain Music Show’ where I played guitar and yodeled 7 nights a week. As soon as summer was over, I went to Bismarck, ND and messed around with a blues band, which never played out. I came back to Rapid City, SD in 1997 after school was out and joined a top 40 country/southern rock band called Red Mountain Freeway. They hired me to get better paying gigs and then fired me so they could get more money each. I played for little to nothing for quite a while, but was in a bad place, so I did whatever I could to get by. I played with them off and on for the next couple years before starting my own group Wildfire in 1999, an 80’s and new rock band. Very successful band! I dealt with managing a band for my first time and realized that band members were like babies most of the time. Our gigs were always threatened by one or more members that were trying to get leverage for more money by threatening not to show up or something like that. That’s when I decided to start a few other bands all with different members. I started a blues band called Twisted Krust, and country band called Screamin’ Angels, and a hip-hop/funk band called Ezmerelda. I had 4 bands going at the same time with different members in each one. That way, if one of the band members from any other band was giving me trouble, I’d just pick a different band to play that weekend and everybody was out… everybody but me. That helped keep them in line a little better. I also played in an original music band for just a short period of time called Abby SomeOne. I filled in with other bands occasionally too. So, yeah, I stayed very busy!
Do you have any suggestions for someone starting out in the music business; what pitfalls to watch out for, etc?
There is no set path in the music business. Ultimately, what I’ve found is that people are interested in the artists that do it a little different. That means you have to make your own path and be unusual. That sets you apart from everyone else. There are lots of pitfalls in this business: people make you promises and never keep them, you’re constantly surrounded by drugs and alcohol, you’re always financially in debt, I could go on and on. However, you can avoid most of those things by being headstrong and determined. Remember that everyone else’s problem is not your problem, stay away from the mind altering substances… you need to think clearly, believe promises not when they’re made, but when they’re delivered, and never be lazy. Get off your ass and make something happen, it’s not going to come to you. I said it before, but it’s the hardest business in the world. That’s why so many artists don’t make it… not because they weren’t good enough, but because they weren’t tough enough.
What are you listening to?
Right now, I’m trying to write, so I’m listening to some of my favorite writers. They include any band with Chris Cornell (Audioslave, Soundgarden, etc), Ian Thornley’s first album, and some King’s X. These are some obscure bands, but very inspiring. If I get tired of being inspired and just want to listen to something fun, I pop in The Darkness and cruise to Sonic for a blended root beer float. If I’m working on my vocals and need to hear some great vocalists, I’ll put in some Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and I’m not afraid to admit that Kelly Clarkson has a kick ass voice. I am also a fan of Christina Aguilera. If I just want to rock (and sometimes I do), I listen to Ozzy or Pantera. I always flip to the songs I really want to hear first and then listen to the whole album.
Are there any new bands out there that you would suggest we give a listen?
They’re not new by any means, but definitely underground. Try Kings X. Listen to songs like “Goldilocks,” “I can feel the difference,” “Static,” man I could go on and on. Just check it out. Also, if you don’t have it or never heard of Ian Thornley, you need to. He used to sing with a band called Big Wreck and his voice is somewhat reminiscent of Chris Cornell. Look for his first album and listen to songs like, “So far, so Good,” “It’s my fixx,” and well, there isn’t a bad song on the album. Check it out. It’s very melodic, which is what I love!
What would your ideal venue be?
A. ‘Madison Square Garden.’ No, I don’t really care as long as the people are there for us and are making a lot of noise. That’s what I get off on. There’s nothing cooler than when you’re playing a song you wrote and the people in the audience are singing it louder without microphones than you can onstage. Kick ass!
Tell us one of your most memorable tour stories.
There are a million stories about Jimmy, but I’ll tell you one about Lil’ Rikky (That’s what we used to call him). We were playing in Dubuque, IA at a marina where the stage is actually built out of the side of a boat. The band’s hangout room is actually in the living quarters of the boat itself, which is cool. The stage is about 4 feet off the ground which makes for a pretty hard landing if you fall off the stage, which is exactly what happened. We had just finished rocking hard for our last set ending with some “Domination” by Pantera when Rikky tripped over his guitar cord and sent him sprawling across the stage. He put his left hand out to break his fall, but all is did was break his guitar rack that was setting on the left side of the stage. About 4 guitars were sent sliding across the concrete floor 4 feet below, but that didn’t even break his momentum. He fell to the stage with the top half of his body falling over the edge and his legs trying to hold him onstage and keep him from doing a face plant 4 feet below. But Rikky couldn’t hang on, so he tried to grab on to the closest thing he could find to help. It was a 10 ft. tall fake palm tree. He got a hold of the base which tipped over and collided with our speaker stacks. The top speaker was thrown from its stand and did a flip through the air and landed right near a shocked audience member. Rikky still didn’t stop and ended up doing some kind of backwards summersault onto the steps and eventually to the floor. The entire band had quit playing and I was standing there with my hands over my face knowing that he couldn’t possibly come out of that without some kind of injury, but he stood up and plugged his guitar back in and slammed the last note with us… completely out of tune, of course! The moral of the story is, if you’re gonna fall off the stage, take as much of it with you as you can.
How do you feel about you fans?
There are no words to describe their loyalty. I mean, what good is a “show” without an “audience”. These people mean everything to me. All the times I wanted to quit, all the times I wanted to cry, and all the times I wanted to end it all, I would think of those people that I would be letting down and it would give me the strength to continue. They don’t realize the power they hold. I am forever indebted to their encouragement and loyalty to my music and my general well-being. I live for them.
What are your feelings about the music scene today?
Well, I guess that depends on what level you’re talking about and what part of the country you’re talking about. I’ve always said that the best bands in the world are playing some bar that you’ve never heard of down the street. It’s amazing how much talent there is out there. In the Midwest, the music scene is still strong because they haven’t been oversaturated with music throughout the years like a lot of the big cities have. People in big cities don’t get as excited or appreciate the entertainment that comes through there as much because they have such an abundance of good music. In the Midwest, they have yet to see a lot of these bigger acts, so those concerts will be sold out. They still have that appreciation for good bands and support them very well. However, in the big cities, your original material is better received. They want to hear your music and what it is that makes you different, whereas, in the Midwest, they want to hear something they recognize. It’s different everywhere you go. I’m just commenting on what it is that I’ve done and what I’ve noticed from playing in those areas.
Do you think the Internet has helped a lot of bands get noticed? Has the internet helped you get a larger following?
I think the Internet is a great tool for expanding your following. I think it’s a vital part of almost any business now. It has helped me, most certainly, but you still can’t beat word of mouth. If people are talking about it, other people will check it out. They don’t just find your website when they’re surfing around the net. Chances are they heard about your band from a friend of theirs and decided to check your site out. That’s usually how that happens.
Any plans for a video?
Already doing it, I shot a video for “Sweet Euphoria” a month ago and we have a live video of “The Inside.” We are currently putting together a DVD of the band on the road with live footage on and off the stage as well as those 2 music videos and hopefully a 3rd music video with the whole band. Since we just changed guitarists, we need to do something that includes Miguel, so people are up to speed with things.
This week, what is your favorite song on the CD?
“Gettin’ High,” This week only.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
Any one that someone in the audience requests! It’s cool when the crowd is requesting your original songs. I really like playing “Landshark,” but I really like singing “Help Me.” It’s impossible to answer this question.
Whom would you like to tour with? (Bands or performers)
We’ve hung out with Skid Row a few different times and can honestly say they are some of the coolest guys out there. Scotti Hill is so friendly and easy to hang with. They’ll share their beer with you and tell you stories about the road and different people that you grew up idolizing. Plus, he can give me tips on eye makeup! That’s cool. I have a lot of people I think would be fun. I think Butch Walker would be funny as hell. You should check out that guy if you ever get a chance. It’s amazing what he’s always involved with. You won’t believe it! Also, I heard that he likes to run around naked when he’s drunk too, so my drummer won’t be alone. Although, I would just really love to be the headliner… is that okay?
Is there anything you would like to say in conclusion?
Just that I heard a joke: Two cannibals were eating a clown when one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?” That’s a good one!
Rock Eyez Review of 'The Inside' by Jasmine Cain.