Jimmy Gnecco - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Russ P   
Saturday, 02 October 2010 05:00

Jimmy_Gnecco-07bWhen I heard that Jimmy Gnecco was playing a few gigs in the UK in September I jumped at the chance to get to see this man play live. This man is as cult as Butch Walker in this country...more so actually. I've never heard any Brit talk about Jimmy Gnecco or his band Ours. So how did I get into the inner circle you may ask? By accident of course.

 

In 2004 I was 'tinkling the ivories' as it were - involved in some music creation and a member of the now defunct Garageband.com. Garageband was a kind of community that functioned by reviewing each other's sonic doodlings. It was in response to one such doodle that an American compared what I was doing to Ours. Never heard of them. So I looked them up. And wow. What a compliment. Completely untrue. But what a compliment! Could this guy sing or could this guy sing? I'd found a new band to fall in love with.

 

The music that Ours made was dynamic, raw, commercial and at times dark and gothic. Ours released 'Distorted Lullabies' and 'Precious' on the DreamWorks label before moving in with Rick Rubin's American label. With ties running the whole length of my record collection: The Black Crowes, Raging Slab, The Four Horsemen, The Jayhawks, Paloalto and The Mars Volta how could this be a bad thing?

 

Whilst it's true that Rubin and Gnecco's American dream is over it still wasn't wholly a waste of time. It produced the band's best album yet in 'Mercy (Dancing For The Death Of An Imaginary Enemy)'. I met with Jimmy backstage after his acoustic set at The Underbelly in London. He's over here promoting the release of his new solo album 'The Heart' - the first to be released in the UK. A Canadian fan and tattoo artist, who is travelling through Europe, has turned up to show Jimmy a fresh tattoo on his calf of the man himself. I find out that Jimmy and I like a lot of the same bands. We talk about the recording of 'Mercy', his upcoming European dates and bands, bands, bands and Jimmy? Well he answers in verse and in song.

 

Ours-Distorted-LullabiesI first became aware of Ours through word of mouth in 2004 after your first two major label albums had already been released. I bought them both at the same time and gravitated towards 'Distorted Lullabies' - particularly to the song 'I'm A Monster'. Which early songs are you still drawn to? Which ones have marked you?

 

I've got to say 'I'm a Monster' and 'Fallen Souls' from that record. 'Precious' I purposely made a completely different record from 'Distorted Lullabies'. I worked on 'Distorted Lullabies' for about four years and then they needed me to go back into the studio. I thought I'd do something different. I really felt that it wouldn't be until the third record that everyone understood why I made 'Precious'. Cause by the third record I was going to do a combination. I thought that some of the punch that we were looking for in 'Distorted Lullabies' we didn't actually get. And so with 'Precious' we had a lot more time but we lost all the textures. Ethan Johns, the producer, didn't want me to do a lot of tracks. On 'Distorted Lullabies' I had a hundred and something tracks. But 'I'm A Monster', oddly enough, I recorded on a 16-track machine so it wasn't any more than that. I recorded that in my bedroom. First I recorded it onto a digital 4-track. I had the vocal and two stereo acoustic guitars and a click track. And I dropped that onto a 16-track machine and then I recorded everything else to my guitar and the vocal - I played bass, played all the strings, electric guitars. But 'I'm A Monster' was definitely one very dear to me.

 

For me as a listener lyrics are not the be all and end all - it's primarily the melody and everything else that goes on in the song that attracts me - I get drawn in by the melody first and I might listen to the lyrics later on.

 

I'm that way too. Melody brings me in and then, when it's a great song for me, it's once you find the lyrics out and they're really great lyrics and you just go...great lyrics on top of that melody. Thom Yorke is that way. He's mumbling the whole time - you don't even know what he's saying but you go back and read his lyrics.

 

I've always enjoyed listening to Ours but it was the release of 'Mercy (Dancing For The Death Of An Imaginary Enemy)' that really heightened my interest. It's an album that I play regularly from beginning to end. The time that you spent making it really paid off to my ears. Can you recall specific moments when you were really excited and pumped about what you'd just recorded?

 

Yeah there were a few. A lot of the special part about 'Mercy' came in the writing for me. When I finished writing 'Ran Away To Tell The World' I felt like something special was happening. I'd had it in moments now and then on the first two records but it wasn't until 'Mercy' that every song I recorded I got exactly what I hoped for out of it and then more.

 

And that doesn't always happen. Sometimes you're chasing something down and sometimes it's a let down from what you had pictured it would be. And with 'Mercy' it exceeded my expectations. And my expectations were high on that because they needed to be to make sense of the first two records - of why I made such different records - I needed 'Mercy' to be a record that we can go out and play from beginning to end and it would cover the spectrum of what we do.

 

To clarify, I say we but the first two records were essentially solo records and the third record - even though I wrote everything - I left space for people to contribute - to make it bigger than what I could have done on my own. I could've come up with all these different guitar parts - something like what Static was doing - but I left that space for him to be a part of it. We really had an amazing team of people. It was a great combination of me getting everything I wanted out of it and then so much more by having other people involved. So that record was a series of good decisions.

 

Ours-MercyI couldn't see any credits in the sleeve notes to 'Mercy'.

 

We had those online. We never put them in the packaging because we wanted to put in all the lyrics and by the time we got to that we were just running out of room.

 

What I couldn't clarify was whether or not James Hall did anything on that album. I'm a big fan of James Hall. You're a fan of James Hall. He's got that...[gesticulates towards the stomach]...from the gut thing...

 

Primal.

 

...yeah.

 

He doesn't over think it

 

I haven't heard anyone quite like him.

 

I got to know James around '97. I formed the band around '92. By '97 I signed a deal and I'd started to do some touring around the country before I made 'Distorted Lullabies' and people were saying you remind me of this guy James Hall...aside from the obvious you remind me of Jeff Buckley, Bono and Thom Yorke...this guy James Hall...you know...you have to meet him. And that's what people said to me about Jeff before he died.

 

And I was playing for years and people were like..."I don't know what you remind me of...you're kind've doing your own thing". And once Jeff came out people were saying..."oh, you remind me of Jeff". And then I started hearing "you remind me of James Hall" so I thought I gotta meet this guy. So I got his music and I fell in love with his band Pleasure Club - that first record [Here Comes The Trick].

 

One night I went to see him in Athens, Georgia and I'd just played in Atlanta and I had a big crowd at my show - a few hundred people - and then I went to see him and there were about 9 people in the place - 45 minutes away from me and there were 9 people in the place - "what is going on, this is not right". So I approached him right then and there and I said I wanna help. If I'm playing in front of 300 people tonight in Atlanta you should be playing in front of at least those people. So why don't we come together and I can push you in front of all my people.

 

They did have fans but for whatever reason it wasn't catching on as much as it should have. We were both struggling but I was in a little bit better shape than he was. So I approached him about it and he was busy at the time he was thinking about his second record [The Fugitive Kind] so he was busy and said: "naah I really don't have the time we're going to do a record" and I said okay. And I kind of let it go.

 

And then, when we started with Rick Rubin, I wouldn't let it go any more. Cause I had some juice now. I could kind of lure him. And I could pay him as well. So we actually had Michael Jerome - the drummer from Pleasure Club [claps hands together] I mean that elevated the record - compared to our past records - right there. And I kept saying to Michael we've got to get James on here. And he called James. I remember the night. So James came out and we've been brothers ever since and we look out for each other. Any time I have a moment to be in a room with him, onstage, off-stage - I take it. My sister lives in Atlanta and so does James now so I try to see him a lot.

 

Jimmy_Gnecco_05If James Hall had been here tonight my life would've been complete.

 

I've not given up on the thought of trying to get him over somehow with us...so...

 

It's hard for me to separate out songs for special attention from 'Mercy (Dancing For The Death Of An Imaginary Enemy)' because they work so well as a whole. But, if I'm after a quick fix, I'll more than likely play 'Black' or 'God Only Wants You'. 'God Only Wants You' was one of the first songs that you built the album around. When did 'Black' appear?

 

I had most of the record written and I was searching for a chorus...I wasn't sure if I had one for 'Lost' I just had that [starts singing] "all of the time I lost" and I was messing around with...[hums the melody of Black]...so I was messing around with 'Lost' trying a different chorus for it - that's often how I write new songs - one song feels like it's missing a bridge I'll write a bridge and if it doesn't fit in that song then I have the beginning of a new song.

 

And that's what happened. We were staying in these apartments in Los Angeles rehearsing and I got up early before everybody and I went to the studio. Played around with it, and I came back and I had the whole song. And I sat and played it for everyone and it was Rick's favourite song on the whole record.

 

And...it almost didn't make the record because we'd finished the record without it. I had a message that I was trying to say with that song and I started to get afraid to say it. We were travelling around seeing so much racism still alive in the world - in our country - it was really starting to wear on me - it breaks my heart - I couldn't stand to see it everywhere. With that song I was lashing out at certain groups just feeling like fuck you and your hate. And I started to be concerned that by singing that song I'd be contributing to more hate. So I wasn't sure if I was going to put that song on the record. I had a long talk with Rick about it, I had a long talk with Michael Jerome about it and with my buddy Zambia Greene - who used to play drums with us - and another black guy - an old friend of mine. And I said this is what I'm trying to say. I can't pretend to relate to what you've been through but it still frustrates me when I see it. I wanna say something about it. But I don't want people to look at me and say: "who do you think you are saying something about it. But I so want to say something about it. So what message are you getting from this song? Is it okay?" And everybody unanimously said absolutely - put it out. So it almost didn't make the record. It was the first time that I was ever nervous about putting a record out because I didn't want to create more of an issue - as some sort of a problem - I wanted it to be part of the solution.

 

In the spoken part of the song 'Black' there's the word...nigger. That's a hard word for me to say.

 

That's why it was very hard for me cause I don't say it. I can't even say it now. It doesn't roll off my tongue. I can't say it. I've just grown up not saying it. Not believing it. I can't do it. And that was the whole problem. What I'm saying in the song is I'm the equivalent of how you look at them. You, as a white American, looking at them in that way...and if they are...[the word is in the air - Jimmy can't say it]...then I am as well. Cause if you look at anyone in this world that way then what's to stop you looking at me that way? And I don't wanna know you. And that was me drawing a line in the sand with that lyric and that's what it means.

 

And I'm not fully sure if it comes across that way cause I've had some people come up to me and say: "we have to talk Jimmy - why did you say this?" And I was brought to tears trying to explain to them that the last thing I am - the last thing - is racist. Anybody that knows me knows that I'm quite the opposite of that. I accept everybody. Even horrible, horrible people I have a way of still not judging but forgiving. The last thing I am is racist. So it was an interesting one.

 

But as a song, even without the end, I really love it and I'm happy that we put it on. I see how much it's affected people and I really loved playing it night after night. It was awesome. I miss playing those songs. I felt that we were finally hitting our stride as a band. And it's unfortunate but it's a question of how we keep that going financially. I'm hoping to be out on my own now - where it doesn't cost as much - and get a chance to get to everyone and finally start playing, build it up in order to bring over the band. So I have to take a few steps back before before I can do that.

 

Deciding on the correct running order for the songs is important when sequencing an album. Did you have any trouble deciding on the running order of the album?

 

Of 'Mercy'?

 

Yeah.

 

Yeah. That was the biggest challenge. That's where Rick Rubin finally got very involved. He wasn't involved much before that. He was involved with the song writing process - just by listening to my songs. I'd go there and I'd play them for him and he's say: "maybe cut that part out, you don't need it" or "maybe do that part twice". But he didn't interfere in the sense of trying to make it anything it wasn't. Ever. "Okay you have these parts, you don't need these parts, okay, try this here. You should see if that works" and then we'd try that and I'd say: "You know, that didn't work but I tried it here and it worked" and he'd say: "Perfect. You got it." He leads you to the answer. He doesn't give it to you. But he'll lead you to it by trying a bunch of things. So he wasn't very, very involved in the studio. Not one day. But when it was all over and it was time for the sequencing he was very involved.

 

I had 'Murder' close to the top of the record. I had it starting with 'Moth' originally. 'Moth', 'Ran Away To Tell The World'...'Murder'. That was my order. Rick said: "You can't have 'Murder' that close to the top of the record". I said why? He said "it's destructive, just don't. Just don't put it that close to the top of the record. Put it towards the end." And I said: "Most people I talk to that's their favourite song on the record. I don't understand why it's destructive."

 

Ours-PreciousI knew how he felt about 'Mercy' - the song - and I said that I was thinking about putting 'Mercy' as the first song and he said: "Do it." I knew he kind've wanted it, though he wasn't pushing it. So as soon as I said that, it's like: "yeah that's it". And then we still went back and forth. Ten times. No, it doesn't come soon enough - he liked 'Moth' as well - he wanted 'Moth' close to the top of the record. So I think it's in the fifth spot now and I'm not sure that even that was enough for him, I think he wanted it second or something but I originally wanted it first.

 

So, once you change one thing everything changes. And there's no easy way to sequence a record. You can't do it on paper. Every time you do it you have to listen - I do - from the beginning of the record to the end. That's how I did it with 'Distorted Lullabies' as well.

 

'Precious' I fucked the sequencing up. I was getting beat up by the label: "you gotta put this song near the top" - I don't care - I got tired. I fought them for four years. By the time 'Precious' came out I was tired of fighting. "You know what? Whatever. Oh you want me to do a cover? Yeah I'll do a cover [The Velvet Underground's 'Femme Fatale']- whatever." But by 'Mercy' I was like: "Fuck that. I'm not going to get tired this time. I'm going to see it through. Every little step. Even if it's: "I need a little bit more top end on this verse, on this song - let's remaster it." Every little thing. And Rick was the same way luckily. Sometimes when I thought, right we're done he'd give me more notes for mastering [exasperated noise] it's going to be another six months! Because that's the way he goes about it.

 

But sequencing a record for me. You have to go through every minute of it. Sometimes you have to put it away for a week and then listen again. Alright 'Mercy' ends...what comes next?...what do I want to feel? It's like putting a movie together. You have the first five songs. Okay. But I've got a new song 'Black' put that in and it's changed the whole sequence again. So you have to keep listening right up till the end. It takes a while to really sequence a record properly. I take it very seriously. Cause I feel like, if you don't, you're fucking up the whole experience.

 

None of your albums have been released in the UK.

 

We have the rights to 'Mercy' - for someone to release it in Europe. If we can find the right home for it Rick will let us release it here which is more than what DreamWorks did. They just weren't going to release it and they weren't going to let it go either.

 

Would you say that you're better known in Europe than the UK?

 

I don't think so.

 

Is this the first time that you've been in the UK performing?

 

No. I was here twice last summer. I did shows with Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli [The Gutter Twins]. I also played in Manchester with The Duke & The King.

 

As long as you haven't been in my neck of the woods and I've missed you.

 

Where's that? What would be your neck of the woods?

 

Wales. Cardiff.

 

No. I've only driven through there with John Leckie. You know him?

 

Yeah. Yeah. John Leckie. He's the producer who's worked with Radiohead (The Posies, Muse, Thee Hypnotics, The Verve). What can you tell me about driving through Wales with John Leckie?

 

He drives fast. [everyone laughs] In '98 I came over to spend some time with different producers and I spent a couple of days with him. I was trying to figure out who was going to do my record.

 

Did you check out any studios?

 

We didn't work at all but we went around and visited studios. We went to Peter Gabriel's place, Dave Stewart's place - I don't know whether he still has that place or not [The Church now owned by David Gray], Abbey Road, Air Studios - we went to Rockfield.

 

That's just up the road from me.

 

John pointed out some other places where Zeppelin had worked. Where else did we go? He drove soooo fast.

 

You've been performing a-ha's 'Take On Me' for a good few years now and you're friends with Paul Savoy - you must be very excited to be taking part in the band's 'Ending On A High Note Tour'.

 

Yeah. It's surreal for me. It's one of those things - I'll believe it once I'm walking onto the stage.

 

Are you going to be vulnerable out there - just you and your guitar?

 

No. Full band.

 

Full band? My God.

 

Yeah. Full band.

 

And where are your band coming from?

 

They're coming from the States - nah I can't do that. I mean I can, but I don't want to. I like playing shows like this with my acoustic guitar but I like playing with the band.

 

I can understand that. What kind of material are you going to be doing? Are you going to be slipping in anything from Ours?

 

[Jimmy silently nods]

 

Jimmy_Gnecco_02You shouldn't say that. [laughs] I'd like to see that. So how did you get to know Paul Savoy?

 

I met him in '96. My friend was playing with Savoy and I met him then. And then I got my deal. It was weird because I'm a huge fan of a-ha and Savoy's first record ['Mary Is Coming']. I mean I like a lot of his records but the first one I'm such a huge fan of. And then I started making records and he genuinely became a fan and he called me - he loved 'Precious' - he asked me if I wanted to sing on anything I said: "in a second!" then I went down and I sang on a bunch of songs and then he asked me to join the band and I said: "sure" - I'd be like an honorary member you know.

Then they went back and talked to their record company and the record company was like: "we like your voices that's why we signed you" - they didn't really want me to do it. They didn't know me. I'm sure they liked it but...I'm hoping to do something with Paul in the future.

 

I read that you're interested in collaborating but not joining an existing band...you've been linked with Velvet Revolver, Alice In Chains and INXS. I can totally understand that unless you're totally creative and free in what you do then there's no point in making music at all. Is that how you feel?

 

I would do a new band with people but the INXS thing...I wouldn't have been the singer for INXS...but I would've written songs with them and formed a new band. And that's what we were doing. Before they did that television show [Rock Star: INXS] they'd brought me some songs over and I worked on them for about a week. I was driving around, writing melodies and then I heard that they were doing that show and then I stopped working on them. It's one of those things.

 

I know what made that band tick. Michael Hutchence was a sensual cool cat. He was really awesome. Strong voice - meat and potatoes - but he had some real rich tones to it. And when they went and got that other guy [J.D. Fortune] who could maybe do something but he didn't have that...[Jimmy sings a perfect, breathy and sensual Michael Hutchence melody]...and I could have done it but...[Jimmy sings again: "I've got to let you know"]...I don't know. It was sacrilegious to me. Michael Hutchence was beautiful and...they should have done something else. So when they did that I was beside myself. And I like Garry Beers. I've spoken to him about writing songs and doing things but once they did that I just felt...you guys just aren't thinking clearly. I know you wanna continue and go out and make music but there's just something weird about that to me. When you have someone who's that much a part of it. Some bands have done it obviously. AC/DC and I'm sure there are a few others who have made that transition. Iron Maiden for one - they did it. But Michael meant too much to me.

 

Well you take the Queen situation. I'm a big Queen fan. I'm a big Free fan. But Queen and Paul Rodgers? [we both silently shake our heads for a while]

 

Strong voice but doesn't have the swagger and Freddie is not a replaceable person. I mean George Michael would have been the best bet for me - if you're going to have anyone go out and sing.

 

I agree with you. Very much so. Jeff Scott Soto does a pretty good turn and I heard your version of Bohemian Rhapsody...I'm a big Queen fan and I'm very unforgiving...there's something about Freddie's tone that I think George Michael, Jeff Scott-Soto and you can all pull it off.

 

Again it's almost that Michael Hutchence thing again too. Freddie's singing is...[starts singing convincingly and emotively like Mercury: "Mama...just killed a man" before switching to an equally convincing and equally different "Mama...just killed a man" in the clipped, chesty style of Paul Rodgers powering up and gaining volume "put a gun against his head"]...I mean, he's great but...[segues into George doing Freddie: "Mama..."]...you know George Michael he has that same...he's weeping...and moaning almost in his singing.

 

You're also a producer. Self-producing is a double-edged sword that gives more control but demands a lot of different skills that take you away from simply performing your music. How deep have you gotten into sound engineering and mixing?

 

I do a lot more than I say I do. I recorded 'I'm A Monster'. I mixed the reprise to 'Drowning' on 'Distorted Lullabies'. I produced...I had an engineer with me but we recorded 'Sometimes' on our own. I recorded a bunch of the vocals for 'Mercy' on my own. And guitars. I mixed a couple of tracks. Usually when I'm mixing with an engineer I usually give the engineer the credit. I don't need to say I did this, I did this, I did this. I try to educate people who are interested in that and want to read about it - I try to put that information out there - but sometimes like on 'Mercy' I'm like: "do I really need to write out again that I played this or that?" Cause I still did a lot on 'Mercy' you know we had Michael Jerome but I still played drums on a few things. I played bass on most of the record. Still did most of the electric guitars. All the acoustic guitars. Do I really need to put all this on the sleeve notes? On 'Distorted Lullabies' I did because I needed people to understand my involvement and what kind of record it was. You'll notice on 'Precious' I didn't put anything. I just said "performed by" and I put on names. There are just some things that I let slide under the radar now. But engineering and mixing I do it. I don't love to do it. It's not my passion. It's another mindset. So when I have a great engineer with me - who really cares about the project - I'd much rather them get the credit so that they can continue pursuing that. It's more important to me that people know that I wrote the song than it is that I recorded it.

 

You've had experience of recording a song and it not being right. Then revisiting it some time later. Can you put into words why some songs are so reluctant to be recorded? Are you able to put your finger on why?

 

About something that I don't have the answer for I could say I have the answer. I don't have the answer. It's so hard to tell what makes a song or a specific recording work. Sometimes the bass is so loud that you go: "wow - this track just works". On old Motown songs the bass was just everything and it made them work. If you took that bass out it wouldn't work. It's not as simple as just cranking the drums up, cranking the vocals up - that's Rick's recipe: kick drum, snare, vocal. Now, if you listen to a U2 record you can't always hear the kick drum. Sometimes The Edge's guitar is the loudest thing in the track. Sometimes it's the bass. Sometimes it's some crazy...[Jimmy provides sound effect]...that's making the track. You don't know what's going to make the track work. And it's like a constant...okay take that out...put more of this in...and that's why it's so tricky for me.

 

If you record a song and you know that it's the guitar that really makes the track work. And you send it away to a mix engineer and they're not approaching it from the same standpoint. They're just approaching it by: "I know made the drums sound good, I made the guitars sound good...it doesn't always work, it's not as simple as that. You have to find what makes the song tick. And, to me, that's always the challenge.

 

I think the answer is that it's never the same answer. It's never just put the vocal up really loud and it works. You can make records that way if that's what you wanna do but you have to make sure that the vocal's great. With Rick Rubin's records - if you want a great vocal, kick and snare record you better make sure that kick sounds great, that snare sounds great and the vocal better be great. But sometimes you can get a song across without the vocal being superbly amazing. Some of The Beatles stuff, John Lennon's stuff more specifically was about the way the song was delivered more than being a perfect vocal.

 

You enjoy doing cover versions live don't you?

 

I do when it's something that inspires me and I wanna do it. I don't like doing it when a record company tells me you should do a cover. Which is what they always used to do in the past. It's a quick fix for them to find a way to get people to embrace you.

 

What's the most ridiculous cover that's ever been suggested that you do?

 

I can't remember but sometimes people scream some crazy things at gigs. Sometimes it's the current song that's out at that time - a Britney Spears song, a Lady Ga Ga song - who knows? I hear that often. One time in Alabama somebody said to us: "Fuck it, play 'Whipping Post' - an Allman Brothers song.

 

Do you ever take them up on it?

 

You know, I said I'm going to learn some of them just to fuck with people so when they call out this ridiculous cover...everyone calls out the obvious - 'Freebird'. I'll have to learn that: "you asked for that you're fucking getting it".

 

I suggest you don't play it all or your set will vanish. You're a vocalist that makes people go wow. Who makes you go wow?

 

George Michael, KD Lang, Marvin Gaye, Björk.

 

Ours-SourWhat would you say is the difference between the voice of the Jimmy Gnecco who recorded 'Sour' [Ours' first independent record] and the Jimmy Gnecco who recorded the major label 'Distorted Lullabies'?

 

Between those two records I think that there was definitely more control to my voice, I had better pitch. I was a kid when I did 'Sour'. It wasn't the first time that I was in the studio but it was the first thing we completed. My voice was growly at times - it had some barking - this young aggression - my anger. There's no anger in my voice on 'Distorted Lullabies' and I had anger in my voice on 'Sour'. I was young and I didn't have the coping mechanisms to deal with certain things in my life so I still had some anger.

 

Were you able to hear the difference yourself?

 

Oh yeah. I definitely felt a world of difference. I can still go back to 'Sour' and listen to it and appreciate it for what it is. I'm proud of it because I was really young and it was something that me and the guys that I was playing with at the time, did on our own. So I wouldn't beat it up personally. I thought that certain moments of 'Distorted Lullabies' were good and I thought that on 'Precious' there were some vocal moments for me when I felt: "OK now I'm really singing". Specifically on 'Places' I just felt that from beginning to end - its chorus was very difficult [Jimmy sings the rising melody] the way my voice opens up as it goes - it took a lot of air and support to do that without hitting that breaking point when you go from your full voice to your falsetto. That was one that I finished singing and said: "I never want to sing that song again cause I'm not sure that I'll ever get it as good." It was essentially live for the most part. I may have used a word or two from another take but the vocal on 'Places' was when I really started to feel better about my ability. I was still working through a lot of it on 'Distorted Lullabies' and my demos, like I said, there were some demos when my voice was really good.

 

I've recommended Ours in the past - as a band that people should listen to. Who would you recommend?

 

James Hall and Pleasure Club.

 

Perfect answer. Shall we stop there? [laughing] You're passionate about music. Which artist, who hasn't released anything for a while, would you love to see release a new album?

 

I wanted to hear another Blonde Redhead record but they've just put it out yesterday [Penny Sparkle]. I wanted to hear something from Smokey Robinson and he put something out not long ago [Time Flies When You're Having Fun]. I love Seal and I really want him to put another good record out - if that counts. Depeche Mode put one out not long ago [Sounds Of The Universe] - I love them. I don't know if Suede have put a record out recently or not. I love Suede.

 

spidermansoundtrackOK. I'm going to feed you a line and see whether you take the bait - do you like Jellyfish?

 

I love Jellyfish. But I'm not sure that they'd ever put another record out.

 

I don't think so either but Andy Sturmer...where is he?

 

Last I heard...I spent time with Roger Manning Jr recording a Spiderman song...and he told me that Andy was producing Japanese bands...said he's gained a bunch of weight...pretty unbelievable band and vocalist. If there was any chance of Jellyfish putting out another record they would be at the top of my list. I was trying to be realistic. If I had a wishlist...because they can...they're all still here so...

 

Did you get a chance to see them live?

 

I did see them live.

 

Which tour?

 

I saw them a couple of times. On the 'Spilt Milk' tour. I saw them in Jersey. I was this close to Andy Sturmer. I stood right at the front. I was going like this to everyone behind me [Jimmy looks incredulously over his shoulder several times and then sings: "heal me darling pleaded the playboy bedroom eyes"]...it was so good.

 

Jimmy-Gnecco-The-Heart-EUROPEThe future is uncertain for us all but what I want to ask is how far in advance are you making plans - a week, a month, a year?

 

Not far beyond a couple of weeks these days. I know I should have a whole year planned out - a new record and stuff - but I don't.

 

Well thanks for taking the time to talk to Über Röck and we wish you well with those European dates supporting A-ha and we hope to see you back in the UK really soon.

Jimmy plays Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Basel in October and his debut solo album 'The Heart' will be released in Europe on 18th October.

 

http://www.myspace.com/jimmygneccosolo

http://www.jimmygnecco.com