US blues rock guitarist Jared James Nichols is the special guest on the Blue Oyster Cult tour that comes to Rock City on June 28. Kevin Cooper finds out more from the man himself
How does it feel getting the Blue Oyster Cult tour?
This was another one which for me was high on my bucket list. I am a huge fan of rock music and also of Blue Oyster Cult. When I have finished my set I become a little kid and simply watch those guys perform. It’s also cool because we will be playing some of the same venues that I have played already such as Rock City.
You’ve been here supporting Glenn Hughes and Walter Trout. What did you learn from being on the road with those guys?
The thing which I took from both of those guys was how high they set the bar when it comes to their work ethic together with how excited they both are to still be playing. It showed me that with the correct amount of determination and enthusiasm you can still do this for many years to come.
When I opened for Walter, that was the very first time that I had played Rock City and it was such a cool night. Rock City is a cool ass rock club. The whole place and set-up is perfect for a guy like me. It’s big enough to allow you to turn it up but it is also intimate enough for you to really be able to connect with the audience.
Dennis Holm (drums), Jared James Nichols (vocals, guitar) and Erik Sandin (bass, vocals)
How far into recording a new album are you?
We have nearly finished. Right now everything has been written, a ton of stuff has been recorded, and once we have finished this tour we will be going straight back into the studio to put some final touches to it. It will be ready to roll in September. Having spent the last two years out there on the road, I have tried to put all of those experiences into it. I have taken more chances on this record than I have ever taken before. I haven’t held back on any level.
There are some really heavy hard-core blues songs on there together with some upbeat rock tunes. There are also a couple of ZZ Top type softer songs too. It has been great for me to be able to go around all of the bases.
Who has musically influenced you along the way?
In the beginning it was the classic rock bands, guys like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix. I still listen to that stuff but then I got heavily into the blues, people like Albert King, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, all of the classic blues guitar heroes. Then when I moved to Los Angeles and started my own band I got in to guys like Grand Funk Railroad and, of course, Blue Oyster Cult. For me if it has got a great groove, a great guitar with some soul behind it then that does it for me.
Is the blues currently in a good place?
Yes it is, I really do think that because there are still a lot of people that love to hear it plus there are still a lot of guys out there who are trying to play it. I think that as long as there are guys like me that really do love playing this music then it certainly will not die with our generation. I think that almost all of the modern music is soul blues based and it is such a great time to be playing this kind of music.
Which current artist would you gladly buy a ticket in order to see them playing live?
Well funnily enough I have just bought a ticket to go and see Robin Trower. He is the classic guitarist. I have also bought tickets to go and see Blackberry Smoke; I think those guys are musical geniuses, I love them. I think that what a lot of artists are doing, for example Joe Bonamassa, is continuing to open the doors for everybody else to play the blues. I really do admire Joe’s work ethic and what he has managed to build up for himself as a player and also the following that he has achieved worldwide. It really is a huge melting pot now and long may it continue. Whenever I see what Joe has achieved it gives a guy like me a lot of hope.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I honestly would be happy if I were continuing to do what I am doing now – writing, recording and playing the blues. I would love to play for as many people as is humanly possible. I just want to connect with the people more. I would love to be able to tour and see the world more. I would love to be able to come over to the UK and play in every city that I can. For me, it’s not necessarily where do I see myself in five years’ time in a material way or anything like that, I just want to continue doing exactly what I am doing now.
What was the first record that you bought?
That was We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘n’ Roll by Black Sabbath. From that moment on I was really in love with Black Sabbath and their body of work.
Who did you first see performing live in concert?
The first band that I saw playing live was Aerosmith supporting Kiss). Not a bad first concert was it? It was at that moment that I thought ‘wow I want to do that’.
Rock City, Talbot Street, Nottingham, Wednesday June 28, 7pm to 11pm, £30.25 (includes booking fee), alttickets.com