To say that I am familiar with MICK’S JAGUAR would be to stretch the truth. But I want to know about them. Answers from John Martin. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a new a couple step back because so much time has passed and so many new bands have entered the scene since the last album or do you just pick up where the last one left?
-It’s not about new bands entering the scene, that happens all the time and we’re not super influenced by new shit. Though John won’t shut the fuck up about how good he thinks the White Reaper and Culture Abuse records are. But really though we all listen to old shit for the most part, and yeah it does always feel weird to go back into the process. We wrote these songs over a year before the record came out – and we love it – but it just takes so long to refine the songs, record them, mix them, master them, release them. We’re constantly trying to write new songs so we never feel like we’re starting over, but there’s always a bit of that.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistical same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-Well since this is our first record we don’t know yet. But most likely the lyrics are gonna stay on a similar path – John’s not going to suddenly morph into Bob fucking Dylan. And we’re not going to suddenly be playing 7/4 time signature prog songs. While we love the Stones, GNR, and Thin Lizzy and how they all evolved over their records, there’s something so pure and badass about bands like AC/DC and the Ramones: they arrived fully formed and did not fucking change. It’s awesome.
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
-Alcohol helps. We do a million takes in practice, and just keep the handheld recorder on. Then it becomes and editing game picking the best bits. Most is garbage, but you find some nuggets of gold in the baggie from time to time. I’m not a fucking poet who sits down and feels inspired. We drink beers and play rock n roll. I know I have the right lyrics when the band all seems stoked to sing the chorus.
I am old school. I like really cool album covers but from what I’ve gathered some bands tend to spend less on art work because people don’t buy records, they download songs. What are your feelings on this?
-It’s retarded. You’re a band making a record, you’re not a Soundcloud rapper with face tattoos named Lil Douche. You don’t need to spend a ton on artwork though. We didn’t really, and the label laid out the cover for us and we basically did it over text and email. I’ve heard there’s a trend towards shorter songs because you get paid on streams, and shorter songs = more streams, which is also the lamest shit I’ve ever heard. Can you imagine making short songs just to game an algorithm? Go work on Wall Street, you’ll never write November Rain. Haha.
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpretated because of the music you play?
Sometimes yeah. People think we live these really crazy rock n roll lives. Which we do, at times.
-But we also go through all the normal shit that everyone else does, like buying fucking toilet paper at the grocery store. But when we get together the craziness definitely escalates – we have a lot of people who have said “I can’t believe you guys are still alive”. We played a one off show in Montreal with Nightseeker (Deener from FUBAR) and it was so fucking fun that we just stayed for three days. We had a friend who was sort of tour managing us on that and he texted me after he got home and said “Micks Fucking Jag ruined my life, I can’t go out with you guys anymore.” His girlfriend dumped him and he had to chil out for a bit. He recently got in touch and said he’s coming on our upcoming east coast tour.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
-The positive is that you get exposed to so much more music. It’s overwhelming. It’s also a negative. Like when I was a kid and I’d go to the record store and buy 1 CD, I’d treasure it and listen to it over and over. Some days if I had money I’d buy 5 CD’s, and only listen to one or two of them. I feel that’s been exacerbated in the current digital culture. Ultimately exposure to music is a good thing, but there’s something special about the hunt. Reading the liner notes of …And Justice For All, seeing what band shirts James Hetfield was wearing etc and discovering music that way. A lot of that’s been lost.
Back in the days you had to trade tapes if you wanted to hear new unheard of bands. Today you are just a click away from discovering new acts. Do you feel that this development in some ways will do more harm than good in the long run, that it will eventually kill off music as we know it?
-See above, but no I don’t think it’s doing more harm than good. There are seemingly more bands than ever and more touring bands and that’s good for music. There are absolutely downsides for both the fans and the bands though.
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-It’s really hard if you don’t have a booking agent. DIY places and house parties are rad, and you often end up doing those because venues will be like “unless you’re represented by an agency we don’t care” which is just so obnoxious. I get it, you’re busy. Everyone’s busy. The good venues will hit you back with that and then recommend places to check out in their market but really the only way to book your own tour is to find local bands in each market to play with who are going to have a local draw, make some new fans, and then repay the favor when that band comes to your town – set them up with a fun show and get them paid and drunk.
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
-If there was video of the night AC/DC played CBGB’s that’s what I’d want to be like. Just wild and crazy and out there rock n roll. I love big stadium shows and saw Guns N Roses like 3 times on the Not In This Lifetime tour. It’s awesome and amazing. Iron Maiden too. Even AC/DC has an insane visual show which just runs you over. It’s so rad. And maybe you need to do that big stage shit when you’re in a huge venue. The Stones have their big screens but in a way it feels stripped down compared to others. I’ve always see the Jesus Lizard when they decide to play and it’s no bullshit pure rock fury. Or a band like Les Savy Fav who may be the best live band ever, it’s super pared down except fo the singer who has crazy costumes which inevitably come off within the first song and then it’s just loud guitars, blood, sweat and beer. And that’s rock n roll.
What does the future hold?
-We’re booking our fall tour of the east coast of the US now. We’re pretty much done writing the new record and going to demo that in July. We want to tour Europe and play festivals next summer for sure. Can we please party?