Gary James' Interview With
Jaimie St. James

You know Jaimie St. James from his days as lead singer for Black 'n' Blue and Warrant. Jaimie has had quite a colorful history in the music business and was only too happy to talk with us about it.

Q - Jaimie, where is the audience for your music today? Is it in the U.S. or Europe?

A - I believe it's spread out all over the place. Black 'n' Blue is one of those bands that, scattered around the world are a lot of people that know about us and love us and we're kind of almost like an underdog band in a way, but were really good. We have a lot of fans in America for sure. I think in Europe we have quite a few in different countries. I know I still get royalty checks. We play over in Europe quite a bit, Japan as well. Even though we never played in Australia, we do have fans down there as well. Good 'ole America has got a lot of Black 'n' Blue rockers that are still into us and we know that when we go out and do the festivals.

Q - Besides festivals, what other venues do you perform in? You don't play clubs any more, do you?

A - No. We don't do too much. Every now and then when we get antsy, we'll do a fly in. I think the last one we did was eight months ago. We did Phoenix and Denver. They were large clubs. But we don't do that very often. Basically we don't play a whole lot anymore. We wait for the festivals. Our next gig is actually the Monsters Of Rock cruise going out of Florida. It's a three day cruise with Cinderella, Tesla, Kix and UFO. We're out on a giant ship for three days going to the Bahamas and Key West and we're gonna rock all those thousands of people on this boat. It's gonna be pretty fun.

Q - Cruises seem to be the big thing in Rock 'n' Roll.

A - I've never done one, so I'll find out what it's all about. You know, my old band mate, Tommy Thayer is in Kiss right now and they just did one. He told me "Saint, you're gonna love it. It's gonna be a lot of fun. It's a great time." You know, we'll see. I'll find out. We still like to jump on festivals here and there, but we don't play a whole lot. It's just that we prefer not to get in a Winnebago and travel around the country doing clubs. Just not into that anymore.

Q - That must mean you have something else going on in your life, right?

A - Well, yeah. I have another band called Hard Rock All Stars and we play old cover tunes. It's a real kick-ass thing. I do that with Juan Croucier, the bass player from Ratt, the original bass player from Ratt and John E. Love from the band Love Hate, and my drummer Pete Holmes from Black 'n' Blue, who's also touring with The Michael Schenker Group. So, I do things.

Q - You have or had a company you started called Krazy Plant with two casino management executives, Brad Baldwin and Shawn Carlson. What was or is Krazy Plant?

A - Very short lived. I did get together with those guys. They had the idea and what the idea was, was to release rare and hard to find stuff on a website. We started out with putting out a rare Black 'n' Blue "Rarities" and demos. I got too busy and they kind of relied on me for the input and I was not really into it too much. (laughs) Anyway, it kind of fizzled. It was kind of a good idea, but it didn't take off. And those are good guys up in Detroit by the way. Really good guys. Great intentions. It just didn't pan out the way we wanted it to. I'm still really good friends with Brad today. He's a great guy.

Q - Wikipedia has it that Black 'n' Blue was a Glam band. How accurate of a description do you think that is?

A - Well, I've read Wikipedia before and some of it's kind of far-fetched and some of it's right on and some of it's not. Black 'n' Blue came from a band called Movie Star. Now, I've read it before where people call it Boogie Star. It was never called that. It was called Movie Star. We were not really Glam. We were almost a Cheap Trick meets Cars type of thing I was influenced by New York Dolls and Kiss way back in the early days. We had our Glam moments, but Black 'n' Blue formed out of Movie Star and when Black 'n' Blue formed, we were trying to get out of that and just become a heavy band. We were more influenced by the English Metal scene that was going on with the early (Iron) Maiden and Saxon and Motorhead and that stuff. That was always in my blood anyway because my favorite bands growing up were AC/DC and that kind of thing, so I just wanted to get away from that path we were going down, be it a little more Pop(py) and so I could take it. (laughs)

Q - You played drums for a Kiss tribute band called Cold Gin, not the Cold Gin that's out there now. What year were you in this Kiss tribute band?

A - It was in the '90s, I'm gonna say mid to late '90s. Right around that time period. So, somewhere between '95 and '99, no earlier than that. It was in the mid '90s. It was certainly after Black 'n' Blue broke up. Actually we were the first band in Los Angeles to kind of do something like that. There was also the Atomic Punks around then doing the Van Halen tribute, but that was it. There weren't a lot of tribute bands. But we really took over the city. People loved it. We put on the full make-up at first and then it took off so well we got the full costumes. There wasn't a lot of tribute bands going on back then.

Q - You're right. Outside of a few Beatles tributes, you didn't really hear much about tribute groups.

A - Oh, yeah. Exactly. It was really rare and an idea that the guys just wanted to get together one night and play some Kiss songs. I said "If we're gonna do this, then we're gonna put the make-up on. I don't see any reason to do it unless we do it that way." And then we took it to the same people that make the boots. We had everything perfect. We really tore down the city. Anytime we played, it was packed. Gene and Paul would come see us. Gene would come in and said "I had to stand in line." (laughs) Then we ended up touring the country and touring Japan.

Q - To have Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley come see your group must have been a thrill you couldn't have foreseen, right? And then on top of it, you got to write a song with Gene Simmons.

A - Well, you know, we toured with Kiss in 1985, the Asylum Tour. It was our "Without Love" album and so we toured with Kiss in the mid-West, the East coast. We actually opened for them in Madison Square Garden, which was pretty cool. That was '85. And Gene also produced two of our last records. So, we were kind of friendly with Kiss. It was very cool that they would come to those gigs. And they had a blast. They would come to every one. They'd just stand back and enjoy it. They loved watching it. I don't know if they'd ever seen it that often, maybe ever. It wasn't going on, so it was pretty cool. They'd come back before we were going on and show us how to put the make-up on right. It was pretty cool.

Q - So, you were playing drums and now you're fronting a band.

A - I was playing drums in the late '70s and in 1980. In 1981 we formed Black 'n' Blue and that's when I became a frontman for the first time. We formed in Portland, Oregon. Nobody else was around that I thought could sing and be a frontman. So I said I know I can do it. So I'm just gonna do it. I know a great drummer. Let's make the switch. Tommy Thayer was in Movie Star with me. He was in a lot of the early bands that we were in before Black 'n' Blue. Him and I were the ones that formed Black 'n' Blue.

Q - How big of a jump was it for you to go from pounding the skins to fronting a band? That's a pretty big jump, isn't it?

A - The only big jump is I didn't have anything in front of me. I always sang. I sang all the background. I even sang lead vocals on some stuff while I was playing drums. So the singing part was no big deal. It was like, Wow! What do I do with myself? I just have a mic. But I learned quick. I had a knack for it. When I learned to play drums, I never took a lesson in my life. I just knew I could play 'em. I just jumped on 'em and started playing 'em. Same thing with being a lead singer. I said I know I can do this. I visualized in my head and I just did it. So, it just came naturally.

Q - You're one of the lucky ones then!

A - I suppose. I was shown three chords on the guitar when I was fourteen and that's it. I learned how to play guitar. I just figured it out.

Q - You're a quick study.

A - I think I was just hell-bent basically. (laughs) I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Q - P.J. Proby told me that Jimmy Page really struggled to learn how to play lead guitar.

A - That's crazy, man. That's crazy. I never did learn how to play lead. I couldn't play a solo to save my life. But I learned chords and would even make up chords. I don't even know if it is a chord, but I would write a lot of the songs and I still do. When I'd show my guitarists, whoever they may be. It's like, "wow! Where'd you come up with that?" I don't know. It sounds good though, doesn't it? (laughs)

Q - If it works, it works.

A - Yeah.

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