A hard rock band with a blues funk edge is the best way to describe Lone Wolf James and his band. This band gets around opening for national acts like Alterbridge, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Eddie Money, The Jefferson Starship among others.
James became a solo recording artist as Lone Wolf James in 1997 and developed his own style of acoustic hard rock with an edge. James is endorsed by Millennia Guitars and was hand picked by Lil Stevie Van Zant (Bruce Springsteen band) to perform at his Underground Garage Showcase in Rhode Island as part of a nonprofit to raise money for Africa.
His debut CD, "Prey" in 2000 brought him Best Artist, Best Album and Elite Musician Award. Alternative News Magazine presented him with Best Male Vocalist of the Year and inducted him in to the Music Meter Hall of Fame after his second release in 2002 entitled, "Native Groove." "Tribal Funk" in 2004 brought him a record deal with Chromium Records from the UK in 2005 along with a single from the album that held the #4 slot for three straight months.
James decided to trade in his acoustic for a Les Paul and Marshall amp which he showcases on his latest release, "VooDoo Moon." He's currently touring the East Coast with his band featuring Denny Russo on drums, Ron Vieira on lead guitar and Chris ”C-Rex” Ward on bass.
Examiner spoke with James about his up coming New England shows and his career thus far.
Examiner: Any road warrior stories opening for Lynyrd Skynrd or some of the others?
James: "It seems like whenever we open for a national act there is always some issue. When we did Carnival Of Madness in Worcester, we played with Alterbridge, Theory of A Deadman and Black Stone Cherry. Just one day before the event, the
venue was changed from a giant hockey arena to the Pavillion. They stuffed 25 bands in a place that would barley fit five. All the national acts were on the big stage downstairs and all of the support bands we upstairs on this tiny stage. So there were three or four bands on a huge stage, and 21 on a small stage. We had to dress in the balcony, set up in a 140 degree cement hallway with no windows and to get to the stage you had to go out the same door the bands getting offstage were going through. We had five minutes to set up and bands were smashing into each other in the space behind the stage. What a cluster blank."
Examiner: Tell me something you never told anyone else?
James: "I can't, then you would know."
Examiner: Why did you switch from acoustic to electric guitar?
James: "When I started playing guitar and writing songs I started out on an acoustic. I wanted to do something different. I played the acoustic like an electric guitar with attitude and grit. However, once I started adding members over the
years I would be playing with lead guitarist who had these electric guitars and huge amps. Because I was the rhythm of the band it was important for them to follow me, especially the drummer. I was sick of being drowned out on stage. So I
bought a Les Paul and a Marshall and made myself a presence in the sound forever."
Examiner: Were you always a singer but perfected your vocals training with Mark Baxter?
James: "No, I started out as a drummer in my early teens. One day at practice our singer didn't show up. They stuck a mic in front of me at the drums. After singing the songs, the band fired the singer and wanted me to move up front. I never left
the spotlight after that. I decided since I had the range and power to be a decent singer I wanted tolearn the right way to exercise my vocals. I had heard about this guy Mark Baxter. He was famous for working with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Gary Cherone of Extreme and Peter Wolf of J. Geils Band. Mark teaches you how to breathewhile you sing, how to warm up and warm down for shows. He didnt change your style or voice sound, just showed me how to use it night in and night out correctly."
Examiner: Tell me about your latest CD? How is it different from your other four
James: "The new CD is going to be epic. The most raw LWJ CD yet. Some songs have sexual references, another is a smack at the bible thumpers who try to push their religion on others and there is a song on there about how todays media
portrays what we should and should not watch or like. I have never been a follower. I always did my own thing my way. If that pissed people off, screw them. You only live once and I am gonna die, satisfied, knowing I left my thumbprint
in this world.
One thing that is different about the new CD is it is also the only LWJ CD where the live band are the same guys who recorded it. I always used different musicians in the past. So what you will hear on this cd, you will hear on
stage with the volume cranked. I have some great musicians with me now. My drummer Denny Russo has been with me for almost nine years, he's an old school rock drummer. My guitarist Ron Vieira for over four years who I compare to the likes of Jimmy Page, Joe Perry and Slash. He's that good! My bassist Chris “C-Rex” Ward for over three years holds it together with the technical essence to play hard. I'm very fortunate to be able to play with a group of talented musicians. Chris also brought some of the new LWJ songs to the table as well. We blend well together. Got killer chemistry and that you cant buy. You either gel or you don't. I am looking to see what we do on a more national level together."
Examiner: When you write a song, do you write the music first or the lyrics?
James: "It depends, if I get an idea for a song title then I write the lyrics first.
Sometimes I will get a riff idea stuck in my head and the music is done first."
Examiner: What inspires you to write new material?
James: "I never write about fake things or make believe places. It always has something to do with whats going on around me or things I see on television. My songs are about sex, love, betrayal, death, pain, water, fire, earth, money, hypocrites, and
standing up for yourself because no one else will. My mentors said rock n roll was a middle finger to societies ignorance, I chose to put up both my middle fingers."
Examiner: Upcoming shows in Massachusetts?
James: "We are now touring through out New England. We kicked off our tour last week in Lowell, Massachusetts. I have my huge festival of local bands coming to Salisbury Beach in July, sort of our Ozzfest. LWJfest, that I called Local Fest. This will be the 2nd year for that. We have some shows in the South Boston area this year. We haven't been there in a real long time. It all caps off with a huge label showcase in New York City at the end of the summer. I hope to get signed, and put on tour with nationals, so I can see the world through a lighted stage and a tour bus windshield."
June 13 - C-Note Hull, MA.
June 14 - South Shore Music Hall Quincy, MA.
June 21 - "Two To Lou Fundraiser Festival" Sandown, N.H. w/ THE FOOLS
July 5 - 45th Annual Biker BBQ, Dixfield, ME
July 19 - Sad Cafe Plaistow NH (ALL AGES)
July 26 - "LOCALFEST II" Uncle Eddies Salisbury, MA
August 9 - Milly's Tavern Manchester NH
August 17 - "Summer Concert Series" Salem, MA
August 23 - "North East Music Festival Showcase" Staten Island, NY
September 6 - Uncle Eddies Salisbury, MA