By William G. Muir
If shows like American Idol and The Voice have proven anything, it’s that Americans will do just about anything to get their 15 minutes of fame. We have all dreamt, one time or another, of walking out on stage in a packed arena and having tens of thousand of adoring fans chanting our names. To be sitting backstage among the booze, the drugs and all the groupies. It is a life style we have all imagined ourselves in, but only a select few ever get to achieve.
Today I am honored to be able to bring to my readers the following interview with a man that has lived the Rock n’ Roll lifestyle. Jesse Vest has toured with the likes of Rock Gods Metallica, he has played The Tonight Tonight Show and has even played at the Super Bowl. As his latest band The Louisville Crashers get set to release their debut album, The Louisville Crashers, Jesse has done me the pleasure of answering a few questions.
I do hope that after you have finished reading this interview you head over to itunes and support The Louisville Crashers by purchasing a copy of their debut album. I guarantee you it will be worth it.
1. How long have you been interested in music? When was it that you knew that you wanted to make a living playing your music?
I’ve had a deep love of music for as long as I can remember. My mom was a big music fan, and as I grew up I was exposed to all the really good stuff. Bob Seger, CCR, The Eagles, Van Halen, ZZ Top, and tons of other great artists were always playing on our cassette player. I grew up poor, and didn’t really know anyone who was successful in a profession. If I’d grown up around doctors, lawyers, or stockbrokers I probably would’ve been one, but I grew up with Led Zeppelin. That was my image of what success meant as a child, so that’s what I chased after. I was also an awkward kid who wasn’t good at socializing or sports, so music presented me with an activity that I enjoyed, which would also give me the opportunity to build relationships with my peers.
2. How did you get involved with your current band, The Louisville Crashers?
In 2004 I started working at Mom’s Music in Jeffersonville, IN. Eventually, I was picked to play in the Mom’s All Star Band, which was a new experience for me. Virtually my whole life I’d been in original music projects, and it was a lot of fun to learn music from other artists and put my own spin on them. After a while we realized the potential of the band and decided to start doing events outside of the store, and the rest is history.
3. You have had success in the past with your first band Days Of The New and your second band Tantric. Now you are in a new band who is getting ready to release their first album, What is the experience like this time around compared to those of the past?
Completely different!! I love the guys in my first two bands dearly, but I think they’d agree with me when I say that both DOTN and Tantric were full of chaos and drama. There were drug and alcohol problems, constant fighting and discord, and we were basically all unstable, mentally and otherwise. It was a very reckless period in our lives. This band is the polar opposite. There are no drinking or drug issues. We are all stable, decent family men, and we haven’t ever hit each other… Yet.
I’d say the biggest difference lies in our work ethic, though. I’ve never worked this hard in a band in my whole life. My earlier bands were successful because we were talented and lucky, not because we worked hard. This band is talented and works VERY hard, I guess we just have to wait and see how lucky we are.
4. How would you describe The Louisville Crasher’s sound, and how does it compare to your previous work?
I actually had a conversation about this recently with some guys at the studio. When you listen to the first Days of the New record it’s very dark, almost depressing. The Tantric records still had a darkness, but you could always see a light at the end of the tunnel. There was hope in those songs. The Louisville Crashers, on the other hand, is all light. It’s not all necessarily happy music, but it’s mostly upbeat, positive music that you can dance to. It’s completely different than what people are used to hearing from albums that I’ve played on.
5. You are originally from Charlestown, IN, what is it like to be a small town boy who grows up to be a rock star?
Rock stars don’t exist anymore. Axl Rose was a rock star. Gene Simmons was a rock star. Believe me when I say that I am not, nor have I ever been, a rock star.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen success in music. I’ve sold over 4 million albums worldwide, toured with Metallica, and have played on the Tonight Show. The difference between me and a rock star is that 95% of the people I meet or talk to on a daily basis don’t even know these things about me. To most people I know I’m just ‘Jesse’, or ‘that guy with the beard’.
I love Charlestown, and I miss living there. But to be honest, I achieved a lot of success at such a young age that I don’t see a big distinction between the boy who grew up in C-town and the boy who was famous for a while.
6. What can we expect from the debut album, what will be the first single?
You can expect good times! Listening to this album is guaranteed to make you feel younger and be more attractive to the opposite sex! It will also make you more intelligent, and make you a better dancer! Money will fall from the skies wherever you happen to be standing!! (disclaimer: these statements are lies.)
The truth is, this album feels like summertime to me. It’s a feel-good, cruising-down-the-back-road-with-the-windows-down album. The first single is “All I Need Is You”, and is available to view on youtube now.
The album will be available on July 2nd at Mom’s Music and iTunes, and also at our performance at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater on July 3rd. It’s free and all ages, come see us!
7. Who would you say your influences have been?
To tell the truth, the biggest influences on my bass playing have not been bassists. I have been much more influenced by the drummers I’ve played with. Anyone who has watched me play would probably agree that I’m a very percussive player, I hit those strings like they owe me money. For me, being part of the rhythm section is all about finding the groove, staying in it, and making people want to bounce with me.
The Louisville Crashers are:
- Mark Maxwell – lead vocals
- Shane ‘Powers’ Isenberg – guitar, ukulele, backing vocals
- Howard “Gusto’ Gittli – guitar, trumpet, mandolin, keyboards, backing vocals
- Geoffrey “Maestro’ Gittli – keyboards, saxophone, flute, percussion, backing vocals
- Max Maxwell – drums, backing vocals
- Jesse Vest – bass
You can follow The Louisville Crashers at:
- Website: www.thelouisvillecrashers.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/thelouisvillecrashers.com
- Twitter: @crashersband