Photography by SHGfoto.com
Whether you first hear Jason Charles Miller with his group Godhead or performing solo, his rich deep full sounding voice immediately sets him apart from other performers. Jason didn't pick up a guitar until he was 14, but long before that at the early age of 5 he was already performing as a vocalist. Consequently, he has always used his guitar to portray his voice. Classically trained, but always wanting to rock, Jason started to perform in rock bands at clubs long before he was of legal age to drink. Often he had to wait in the car, and have his hand marked with two x's before his performances.
In the next two decades that followed up to the present day, Jason has lived through a lot of changes in the music industry, and has found new and different ways to use his voice and musical talent to make a living. Though with all of the changes occurring in the business, with music being so readily available Jason noted that you still "need a break" and "a big machine" to help you get your name out there. But he added that this big machine nowadays can be a lot of things or several things like a corporation, label, investors, or even a grass roots campaign that promote you to new fans beyond your die hard fans since so much music is out there being made by so many artists.
The group Jason played with back on the East Coast in Virginia, Maryland and DC when he was 17 morphed into Godhead. Initially Godhead was a 3 piece inspired by King's X, Alice in Chains, plus others and not yet the Goth band that they'd become. Godhead got their first record deal in 1994 from a German Label, Marlboro Music owned by the Marlboro Cigarette Company. Though morally conflicted by taking money from a cigarette company, Jason thought he could use these negative resources for a positive outcome. In 95 & 96, they toured in Europe in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Their first EP and LP were released only in Europe. In '96, Godhead added another member and became a 4 piece.
Marlboro didn't blatantly display their brand logo at the concert venues, just a small logo on the back of cd's that said Marlboro Music. But Marlboro also didn't stay in the record business very long, so Godhead had to soon find another label. Jason reluctantly admits though that Marlboro being a corporate sponsor of musicians was ahead of its time, since now more corporate sponsorship of bands is occurring to cover the producing and promotion for even some larger unsigned bands and super stars which was formerly provided by labels.
Unfortunately for Godhead, they seemed to sign with labels that all either went into other businesses or under before they could even get dropped. Next up after Marlboro Music, was Sol 3. They did 2 records with Sol 3 "Nothingness" & "Power Tool Stigmata." But Sol 3 morphed into The Orchard, a digital distribution company and ceased to be a record label. Now The Orchard is recognized as one of the largest digital distribution companies in the world. These albums caught the attention of Marilyn Manson's label, Posthuman Records. The album they produced "2000 Years of Human Error" sold over 200,000 units. However, Godhead was the only band that Manson's label signed, and Godhead was one and done with Posthuman, since Manson decided he no longer wanted to be in the record label business. The pattern continued and each of the next three labels went under after releasing one album each. At the last label, the label went bankrupt just as the album came out, so there was no budget for radio promotion, tour support, or even an internet marketing campaign. Godhead had to rely solely on its email list and MySpace page to even let their fans know that the album had been released.
Continue to Part 2 for Jason's discussion of his solo career, his song writing, and upcoming trip to Nashville.