Jimmy Brown is one of those rare artists that keeps reinventing himself, keeps creating and keeps rocking like he's got something to prove. Look out metal stratosphere, there's a new Deliverance album coming and it's aimed at trampling your ears with sonic goodness.
It's a good thing that Sir Brown has the creative itch again, because he's a skilled songwriter, riff-meister and vocalist extraordinaire. Read on as original Heaven's Metal Editor Doug Van Pelt chats with original "Faster for the Master" speed metal king Jimmy Brown.
DVP: So, Jimmy, thanks from all of us fans for making new music. We so enjoy your talent, voice, style and songwriting. What do we owe this proliferation of musical activity? What made you get busy all of a sudden and what all are you working on?
Hi, Doug. Well, I appreciate it! With all my heart, genuinely!
The musical activity was sparked by my making the decision to quit the Casino Industry after 14 years, and take a job as lead engineer for 3 Frogz Studios. Being in a fully functional, state of the art studio is like locking the drug addict in a pharmacy! (laughs) After the initial shock of moving back to the Deep South again, I began writing again… And, Deliverance was invited to play the Exido Festival in Mexico, in which the super group was formed with Jim Chaffin on Drums, Victor Macias on Bass and George Ochoa on guitar. This naturally led to talks of recording again. George had a lot going on in his musical world with Worldview and other projects, and Jim, Victor and I decided to work together to write a record that reflected our roots in why we started this in the first place! Victor having gone on the road with us for our first US tour in 89-90, and Jim being an honorary member of the Big D, it seemed only natural for the 3 of us to devise and write a full blown thrash album!
I myself have not only D, but am always working with different musicians. ERASERHEAD, for instance is my new baby with Jon Knox on Drums, and Manny Morales on Bass. It is the rhythm section of the Learn and River Disturbance albums. I dub these “The Creative Years” of Deliverance. But rather than have two incarnations of the band active at once, I chose to begin EH. Both albums have their flare and appeal. To the fans of those Creative Years, EH is there for you. For the fans of D Thrash Years, Big D is here, Baby!
DVP: How have you enjoyed the evolution of musical gear and the technological changes in the songwriting and recording process?
Ya know, technology is so amazing and so wondrous, but can be so sterile and blah! I miss the days of tape and consoles in the recording studios! Being limited to 24 tracks caused you to be more creative and think outside of the box for how to achieve sound! Now, with unlimited tracks, unlimited effects and plugin resources, it's almost too much to handle! I guess, in my own simple way, I look at everything through Analog Eyes! I only view the computer with Pro Tools as a very nifty tape machine! And, I refuse to use amp modelers, etc… I only use tube amps! And I don’t use modern techniques of re-Amping and all that! Not because I can’t or don’t know how to, I choose to make it as good going down! There is no fixing it in the mix! None the less, gear has become more accessible and very user friendly! I prefer the older, harder way of working to get your tone! Not pulling up a preset! (laughs) As far as songwriting, I still do it the same… Write the guitar riffs, hand it to the drummer and bass player, record it, put vocals on it, VOILA! There's a song!
DVP: What can we expect to hear on this new Deliverance album?
The joke amongst the band is “It's our Reign in Blood”… Even though it's all in admiration and good fun, it really is! It's an onslaught from start to finish! I really dig the old school way we recorded it, and it will sound old school! No Drum Triggers, No MIDI, No over processing! Just the band doing their thing…
DVP: You've seen your share of small-minded judgmentalism, you've been the recipient of mean-ness, you've seen corruption, you've lived in this world... What makes you still hold on to Jesus? What brings you back to Him and keeps you centered? Why?
People are people! Human, corrupt, prone to error… I have “experienced” the Lord! That’s something that cannot be faked or ignored. At least not for me! My understanding of certain things have changed, and I don’t adhere to any one stance! But, when you really truly have that experience...! You can read about going to the ocean, you can talk to people who have been there, you can gaze at pictures, watch films, read about the molecular structure and the great mysteries! BUT, until you step your foot in that water, and float on the sea, and feel the current, and have the experience, you don’t know the ocean! I mean, if we really want to be “honest,” we don’t KNOW GOD! Read all you want, study all you want! Quote all you want! Recite all you want! But, until you experience the Lord, that’s when you know why your faith doesn’t stray! People will ALWAYS disappoint you! Because we are human! God doesn’t disappoint!
DVP: Lyrically, what are you saying on your new songs?
Oh, a little of this, and a little of that! (big laugh) I keep my lyrics subjective for the most part! Everyone will have to make the determination of what’s being said from the understanding of the lyrics. I LOVE to dig into what song lyrics mean! Face value lyrics like “I Love You” seldom attract me! I want to dig deep! So, I guess I write from that same desire to dig!
DVP: We haven't had a chance to talk or do an interview in a long, long time. We've got to catch up on a few items. One of which is David Bowie. How did his passing impact you? What did you think of his final output/album? What did his art and voice mean to you as an artist?
Bowie was the “musical mentor” I never met… It was once said of the Beatles that “there isn’t a song written since 1969 that hasn’t been influenced by the Beatles.” There is a lot of truth to that statement, but for me, Bowie is right there and more evident in not only musical prowess, but his vocal sound, his fashion sense, and unabashed approach to testing the bounds of what is normal in music! He is a larger than life character for me, and a true remarkable genius that will be remembered for many years to come! Blackstar was his parting gift to us! What a brilliantly crafted swansong… Bowie will always mean the world to me Musically! As I have read many letters of people telling me that my albums have helped them through rough periods in their lives, I can without a doubt or question say the same for many of Bowie’s albums.
DVP: I just heard that Glenn Rogers is working with you on the new Deliverance album. Is this true? How did that relationship reunite? (I don't know if you ever drifted apart or not, but you haven't worked with him in ages, right?) Tell us about that and also tell us about the other musical collaborations you've had. If you can, share the links to some of the fun interviews we've seen on Facebook. It'd be fun to list many of those as a resource for anyone reading this article.
YES! Glenn is back with Deliverance… Glenn and I had stayed friends throughout our years, and Glenn in 1991 even worked with me and Scott Blackwell to do a solo album. Glenn and I often talked about doing something together over the years, but time and distance never seemed to allow it! But this time, it was right! It was good! And we are lucky to have him! We did have Greg Minier do some guest solos on the record, but Glenn will be the main 6-string gun slinger for Deliverance again…
Anyone can view my YouTube channel. Jimmy Brown. Easy to find. I have a lot of cool and dorky stuff on there… As well as some rants, which if anyone knows me, I have always got something to say…
DVP: So, what's happened to the rock music scene in general? What's happened to the Christian hard music scene that used to flourish? Why?
That’s a good question! I don’t think I have the answer to it, nor can I make an educated guess. So, I will endeavor an uneducated guess… (laughs)
The “scene” was over engrossed! A lot of the same thing being repeated over and over… Same with the festival network, etc… Now, it doesn’t exist, and it’s a shame! Maybe it was an unwillingness to progress? An unwillingness to be more open minded? I mean, people change! Music Changes! But, the “scene” in the everyday world has changed as well, not only CCM bands… I believe technology in all its glory has had its hand in a lot of this… Think about it… A lot of people don’t pay for music. They don’t pay for movies. They won't go to the theatre, because somebody will have a digital copy torrent online within days if not hours of the movie premiere. So, no need to wait in line and “interact” with other humans! Just you, your smelly socks and a laptop connected to your TV! Or if you have a Smart TV, you're already there… People don’t want to connect anymore… Social activity is almost seen as an anachronism, and we call making comments on Facebook and Twitter interacting with (people)??? Again, technology is reshaping the way people think, act, process and ultimately this false sense of “living”, all without leaving the privacy of your own house! Frightening and Alarming! Only People can make change! Not Social Media! People!
That’s my take on it… (laughs)
[Ahhh, I miss that big laugh of Jimmy's. It's so good to hear it again. Bring on the Deliverance!