Dave: Hi James! It's great to chat with you. Let's take a look first at the project you worked on as the lead role, Leonardo Da Vinci. The 'Leonardo-Original Cast Recording'. How did you get this gig??
James: Well, Trent Gardner who was involved went to Peter Morticelli and asked if I would like to sing the part. Peter called me and asked me if I would like to sing the part of Leonardo Da Vinci. I definitely wanted to do it.
Dave: So they asked you to do that particular part or was it something you requested to do??
James: They wanted me to sing that part. Trent felt that I he could hear me singing the parts as he wrote it. I took the part and wrapped myself into it and started cutting the tracks.
Dave: So how far back do you go with Trent?? How long have you been working with him??
James: I guess the first time I worked with Trent was on the album 'Age of Impact' in 1998. I sang some tracks on that album. The next time I worked with him was on my first solo album, Mullmuzzler-Keep it to yourself. We wrote a couple of tracks together for that album. Then there was Leonardo recording. Trent is a very talented musician.
Dave: I want to look at the Coney Hatch connection. I understand that you worked with the band at one time??
James: Yeah, I did. It was back just after 'Friction' was released. I was playing in a band called Trance that covered Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Edgar Winter, you name it we did it. All of these covers. What happened was a couple of the guys from Coney Hatch came into the pub we were playing. Carl had just left the band and they asked if I wanted to sing for the band. We layed some demos down, probably 7-10 tracks. I worked with the band for about 8 or 9 months.
Dave: So there are some recordings with the band somewhere??
James: Yes. they were recorded. I haven't heard those songs for a very long time. Probably since we recorded them. I would like to get a copy of them. It would be really cool to hear them again.
Dave: Looking now towards the Mullmuzzler music, I wanted to look at a track off of the first album 'Keep it to yourself'. 'Beelzebubba' definitely has a fair amount of humor to it, but I wanted to hear your take on it.
James: There is a lot of satire on it and references to your previous president. You know what was the funniest thing about it was not only the references to President Clinton, but to add insult to injury was the fact that it was a Canadian singing about it. We laughed our heads off on that one. It's all about the politics and things like that.
Dave: I have to tell you that I really like the new Mullmuzzler alot. There are similarities to the Dream Theater stuff especially in the fact that it is very melodic. The album does have it's own personality however.
James: That's great! I have been getting that response a lot so far. I wanted to make the songs immediately magnetic. Memorable and accessible. I wanted to really establish a sound from the mind, heart, and soul. It gives it alot of meaning.
Dave: It would be a safe bet that you are comfortable writing this type of stuff??
James: It's something that is a part of me. I am comfortable with what I am doing with Dream Theater too. I like to let people see all of the styles. I am very passionate about my writing.
Dave: So how about seeing Mullmuzzler out on tour?? Do you think we might see that??
James: That will all come down to the response of the album when it comes out. If response is good, maybe. I would like to. I am going to be very patient and sit back and see how it does.
Dave: Let's look at Dream Theater. The interview would be lacking without some talk of a few things that have been going on. How is the DVD doing??
James: It's doing well.
Dave: I understand there is a hidden feature of some kind on the DVD. Were you aware of this??
James: I wasn't aware. I'll have to check it out.
* For those curious about the hidden dvd feature, click this link to go to DVD Review.
Dave: How about some of the stuff that you have had out on VHS for a while. Is this stuff going to make it to DVD release??
James: I would say so. It could happen fairly soon although I don't know when. We do discuss those things though.
Dave: Stuff like 'Live at the Marquee' would be cool to have on the format. I am a big advocate of DVD and what it offers.
James: Yeah, there is stuff like 'Live at the Marquee' and 'Live in Tokyo' that could see release soon.
Dave: Are you involved in any other projects at the moment??
James: Just Dream Theater and those mentioned.
Dave: Dream Theater was definitely on the better side of the 90's. How do you feel about the current scene. Do you think it will improve and turn around??
James: The scene and rock radio are fairly pathetic. When you walk into a record store, there are so many categories and cd's. About 60% is terrible. It's unfortunate to see the way music is and that education in music is affected by this. The internet is great because of what it offers to people where music is concerned. There is a lot of great music however that is out there. I just don't like a lot of what the market offers unfortunately.
Dave: Well, thanks a lot James and good luck!