Interview with James, Jacob's Dream

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album “Drama Of The Ages. Great to have you guys back …
James - Thanks.

I know the album hasn't been released yet, but have you had any kind of response from the media? And what are your own expectations for this album?
James - The response thus far seems to be favorable. We expect this album to be well received and do really well in sales.

The band has gone thru a few changes since your last album “Theater Of War” was released. What happened and why did David Taylor leave the band?
James - After "Theater Of War" we returned to the original members. Dave wanted to focus more on his family and decided to bow out. We are still friends and communicate with him.

Was it hard to find a suitable replacement for David Taylor, and what were you looking for in a new vocalist?
James - It took a long time to audition and make a decision. We were not looking for a Dave clone. We were looking for power, passion and dedication.

I think Chaz Bond fits your style very well, and you have found a good replacement for David in him. Chaz’ style is not that far from David’s, but he is a bit more raw and aggressive in his singing – did that have any effect on your song writing?
James - Most of the songs were already structured when Chaz came in. When we heard his voice with the music we really liked how well he blended and enhanced the sound. The rawness and aggression I think goes hand in hand with his passion

When I listen to your music, I hear one band above all as your inspiration source: Iron Maiden. But I do also hear references to inspiration from mid 80’s bands like Queensr˙che (early), Lethal, Oliver Magnum or Deadly Blessing – how do you feel about that? And how would like to describe your music? A lot of people would simply label it power metal, but I think there’s more to it that just that …
James - Iron Maiden and Queensr˙che were bands some of us grew up with, but are by no means our soul influence. Our music results from each member having different backgrounds and musical interests and melting them together. It is not our intent to try to sound like anyone except Jacobs Dream. I guess I would describe the music as powerful, melodic and having lyrical integrity.

Who writes the music, is it a group effort – walk us thru the creation of a Jacob's Dream song …
James - Most songs start as someone bringing an idea or riff and we all start jamming it and adding our individual influences. Some songs have been brought in as complete ideas but usually get altered a bit.

Who takes care of the lyrics – and what do you deal with in your songs and why?
James - John Berry and Chaz spend a lot of time on Lyrics and we will offer suggestions on how to alter and improve them. Topics vary. We deal with things we see and are affected by. We also try to show, that there is hope no matter how bleak things may seem.

Where have you recorded the album and who has produced and mixed it? And how do you feel about the result?
James - The album was recorded in our studio and produced by us. Rick May did the mix down and Joe Viers did the mastering. I think we ended up with a quality product, that any listener will appreciate listening straight through and hitting the repeat button.

Who has done the artwork for the album? Is there a deeper idea behind the concept? And is it as important to have a cool cover today as it was back when metal was on vinyl (still is to a degree I know)?
James - The artwork was done by Bret Melvin. The idea is that there was a lot of time between "Theater Of War" and now, but also, that the music itself is timeless.

I had the pleasure of watching you guys live at Wacken in 2000, how was it to be standing in front of such a crowd? And can you try to put words on the feeling of playing such a big festival in Europe?
James - We loved playing there. The fans are awesome and really support all the bands. It feels great to feed off of all the energy. Standing in front of the crowd is very satisfying because it is the reward for a lot of hours spent rehearsing.

You have toured Europe once (with Brainstorm & Armored Saint) – that must have been a huge experiences for you, what impressions did that leave with you?
James - We had a lot of fun doing that tour and look forward to going out again. As far as impressions, I just think it’s great that so many people come out and support their bands.

Do you have any touring plans in the near future, or does it all depend a bit on sales?
James - I am sure sales will have some affect as far as overseas is concerned. The money has to come from somewhere. We hope to hit the road in the states as well. I believe the sales will accommodate us getting to Europe though.

One thing I have to ask you about – who came up with the idea of the hidden track at the end of the album? And is there a reason why it’s included on the album, but not mentioned?
James - I had the idea to do the song and Gary had the idea to hide it. It is included because it’s a project I wanted to do for a long time and we decided now was a good time. As far as mentioning it, now that wouldn't be much fun, would it?

This is your 3rd album on Metal Blade Records, how many albums is your deal for? And are you pleased with the cooperation with the label?
James - The contract was for four albums. We have had good experience working with them. They handle a lot of publicity and that's a full time job. Obviously, for them to wait four years for an album there must be Good cooperation.

I know the Ohio metal scene normally only produces very good metal bands, why do you think that is … is it something in the water … LOL? Is there a strong connection between the bands in Ohio?
James - What is this strange new Ohio you speak of? LOL! We know some other bands, but I don't necessarily see a strong connection between all. I think most are just trying to do their own thing and get ahead.

To finish things off – do you have any famous last words?
James - We love you all and hope to see you all very soon. KEEP IT METAL!!!!

Good luck in the future!

Jacob's Dream - Drama Of The Ages

Album out on Metal Blade Records.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Jacob's Dream.