BLACK ‘N BLUE SINGER JAME ST. JAMES ON UNRELEASED MATERIAL, “TOMMY [THAYER] AND I HAVE ENOUGH SONGS FOR TWO MORE RECORDS”
Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx spoke with Black ‘N Blue Jamie St. James. Excerpts from the interview paper below.
Sleaze Roxx: What are the chances we’ll get a new live album by the current Black ‘N Blue line-up?
Jaime St. James: I don’t want to say never. I’m open to the idea. I have even thought about a new record, but it would be for the art and fun of it. I do miss writing a song and watching it come to life in the studio. I miss that. I’m hooked on it and I miss that — a lot. It’s hard to get someone to spend the money to properly release a record like that by a band like Black ‘N Blue. As far as a live DVD or something like that? If we can do it right, I’d love to do that but until that happens, I’m happy getting out there playing live.
Sleaze Roxx: A while back, I caught up with Ron Keel and as I was going over his discography. You popped up a number of times on some of those records. What’s your recollection of cutting Fool For A Pretty Face?
Jaime St. James: [Long pause] Boy, I barely remember that actually [laughs]. I’ve done so much work with Keel… I remember the first time Gene [Simmons] threw me into the studio and said “Do something [laughs]!” There were other times where I had more of a say. I hate to say it because Ron is a good friend of mine but I can’t recall much about that. I had Ron come in and sing on our Nasty Nasty record on Best In The West. He did an incredible job. I’d like to hear some of those songs again. I did some vocals on their last record [Streets Of Rock ‘N’ Roll] and I never heard that. I need to do that [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: I’m glad you brought up Best In The West because that was the next thing I wanted to ask you about. There’s a lot of cool things happening there. You have Ron Keel, you have Peter Criss of KISS and the album was produced by Gene Simmons of KISS. What was that environment like?
Jaime St. James: That’s an interesting story. I saw Peter Criss and his wife at The Rainbow. I knew we were going to bring in some guests. I spoke with him and said “Hey man, we’re making a record and we’re working with Gene. You should really come down.” Peter said “No, no, no. Gene and I haven’t spoken in years.” His wife came up to me afterward and gave me his number and she urged me to make him do it. So, I set it up. Peter said “I don’t know. Gene and I don’t really get along.” I finally convinced him to come down and the night he came down, we didn’t record a thing that night [laughs]! It was Gene and Peter sitting around the studio telling stories. It was such a cool thing to be have been a part of. Listening to those stories was almost better than having him on the recording and Peter sounds cool on that recording.
Sleaze Roxx: That was a hell of a way to close out Nasty Nasty.
Jaime St. James: It was. I remember Gene being shocked when Tommy and I suggested putting brass on Best In The West. We hired a horn section to come in and he was like “What?!” After he heard what we had done, he was like “You know what you guys were right. [laughs]”
Sleaze Roxx: You must have a number of unreleased songs in the vault, right?
Jaime St. James: Tommy and I have… From ‘82 through ‘88, we have enough songs that we could have put together two more records. We recorded everything really cheap during rehearsals on a four-track tape player. There’s tons of songs that were never used. We would write for a record with nine-ten songs. We’d write 20-22 songs. They’re all on cassette in a box in my garage.I see those songs as a time capsule, because I can’t write like I’m 22 or 25 years old anymore.
Read more at Sleaze Roxx.
I first discovered Black N Blue on the second pressing of the first Metal Massacre compilation by Metal Blade records. Great band! I saw them perform at the County Club in Los Angeles, opening for Steeler (with Yngwie on guitar!!). They put on a great show! I had demo recordings of Black N Blue I recorded on cassette off a local metal show broadcast on KLOS radio, well before their first album was released. Great songs…. Here Comes Trouble, Violent Kid, Hold on to 18, and Signed in Blood. I still have it somewhere in the house…. While a couple of these songs appear on the first Black N Blue album, I always thought the demo recordings were much better due to their rawness.
A few years later, I got to see KI$$ tribute band Cold Gin perform, with Jamie St. James as “Peter Criss” and Tommy Thayer as “Ace Frehley” (come to think of it, Thayer still performs in a KI$$ tribute band… ha ha).
At a minimum, I hope James and Thayer release the demo versions they have recorded. While demo versions of some songs have already been released, I would love to get the recording of Here Comes Trouble ( a crappy sounding recording is available on YouTube, but it’s not from the demo I had on cassette). Next to Violent Kid and Chains Around Heaven, it’s one of my most favorite songs by Black N Blue.
Never was able to get into Black N Blue. Not sure what it was, but they just never clicked with me. I think I bought one their albums (on cassette, I believe) after reading about them in one of music magazines back in the day. Not sure which one, but it had to be one of their early records. I listened to it once or twice, and gave it to my younger brother. Again, I have nothing against the band. Just could never get into them.
Perhaps fake Ace can go back to his real band so the real Ace can get back in Kiss.