NI ROCKS Interview with JEREMY BRUNNER of X DRIVE
The first interview published in 2015 is actually one I’ve been pursuing for a little while. Back in August I posted a recommendation for the debut album from X Drive entitled “Get Your Rock On” (http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/back-stage/music-reviews/1628-ni-rocks-recommends-qget-your-rock-onq-by-x-drive.html ). X Drive featured Burning Rain singer Keith St John on vocals, former White Lion bass player James Lomenzo and drummer Fred Fischer. However, the driving force behind the band was guitarist Jeremy Brunner. To find out more about the project and future plans I sent Jeremy a few questions to answer just before Christmas.
NI ROCKS – Jeremy, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. Your band X Drive released their debut album entitled “Get Your Rock On” back in August. It’s an album you’ve been working on for a while. How long do you think passed between your first conception of the album and the actual release?
JEREMY - My pleasure, thanks for having me. I've been playing music my whole life and I've had most of the music for the songs on the X-Drive record written for a long time. I really don't know how far back the first conception goes, it's been a while though.
NI ROCKS – You’re from Oregon originally, but now live in Los Angeles. Was that move inspired purely by musical reasons?
JEREMY - Well when I originally relocated to Los Angeles I'd just gotten out of a marriage and thought for once in my life I was going to do something for me. It was perfect timing as I had just starting talking to Keith (the singer) and instead of emailing tracks back and forth I thought it would be easier for us to be in the same place. So I guess I can actually thank my last ex for helping me pursue my musical aspirations.
NI ROCKS – You clearly developed some good contacts. How did you manage to get the late Andy Johns on board?
JEREMY - I met someone at a studio I was working at who knew Andy, and they gave him a call. Then Andy got in touch with me and told me he wanted to hear some of the music, so I sent him over the "California" track, he called me back not long after and told me he liked it and wanted to do the project.
NI ROCKS – When you were developing the tracks, you obviously had a certain sound in mind. Did you have a wish-list of potential singers that you would be happy working with?
JEREMY – I didn't have a list of potential singers, but definitely had a vision for what would fit the music I had written. Along the way I did audition a lot of different people, some with names, some not. Even one guy from a band that had a gold record in the late 80's and I had really liked the band he was in and his voice. I was really excited about working with him too but it just didn't fit musically.
NI ROCKS – How did you link up with Keith St John and how much did he input to the lyrics and final format of the tracks on the album?
JEREMY - A journalist I was working with knew I was on the search for a singer and sent me some phone numbers and Keith's number was amongst them. So I checked out each singer's work and once I heard Keith's vocals I knew he had the voice that I had envisioned for my music. To answer the second part of your question, Keith wrote all of the lyrics and melodies to the tracks on the album. So he had a huge input on the final format of the tracks.
Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site
NI ROCKS – The first single and video from the album was “California”. Why that track and how much of that track reflects your own experience of moving to Los Angeles?
JEREMY – I got the most positive feedback on that song from everyone that was involved with the project. A lot of people think and ask that but the song was actually written before I had even made the move to Los Angeles. But if you think of it, it does kind of apply to me though.
NI ROCKS – The X Drive line-up is completed by James Lomenzo on bass and Fred Fischer on drums. Had you worked with either of those two previously?
JEREMY – No, but Fred and I actually go way back. He was in a few local bands, and I knew from the first time I saw him play that he was the drummer I could work with on a project like this. The way I met James was Keith invited me to go see him and James playing in Lynch Mob, and I was definitely a fan of him in White Lion, so I thought it could be a perfect fit for what I was doing. I asked him if he would be interested in playing on the project, and he said yeah and to send over some stuff. I did, and he liked it and the rest is history.
NI ROCKS – Are there any firm plans to get X Drive out on tour and if so will that be with the same line-up that recorded the album?
JEREMY – No firm plans for anything. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other right now. If X-Drive develops a wide enough fan base, who knows??
NI ROCKS – The debut album has only been released a few months, but are you already giving some thought to the follow-up and if so has any work commenced on that.
JEREMY - I've already recorded 25+ mores songs and will be putting together another project with those.
NI ROCKS – Who were / are you influenced by as a guitar player? And is there another guitar player that you’d really like to work with in the future?
JEREMY - Eddie Van Halen for sure, and George Lynch. They both definitely influenced me as a guitar player.
NI ROCKS – On a similar vein, I always like to ask those I interview if they can remember the first gig that they went to and the first album that they bought?
JEREMY – First gig would be Slaughter/Cinderella at BSU Pavilion in Boise, ID and first album would be Quiet Riot – Metal Health.
NI ROCKS – Another question that I usually ask is to find out what music people are currently listening to and if they have any bands that they’d recommend to us.
JEREMY – I listen to top 40 radio, anything good, just good songs. I love Steel Panther and The Winery Dogs are great too.
NI ROCKS – Finally, as 2014 comes to a close, what do you hope to have achieved with X Drive by the same time next year?
JEREMY - I just love to write and play music so if one person enjoyed the X-Drive album than mission accomplished. By the same time next year I will definitely have another album out.
NI ROCKS – Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. Best of luck with everything and I hope 2015 brings a load of success.
JEREMY - It's been great talking to you. Thank you!