A QUICK DOZEN with J D SIMO

A QUICK DOZEN with J D SIMO

By Shane Pinnegar

According to arecent press release, Nashville trio SIMO have widened their sound on new album Rise & Shine, with slow-smoked soul ballads, Stax-worthy funk rockers, psychedelic desert-rock instrumentals and hard-edged, bluesy barn burners. The album began taking shape on the road, where SIMO’s three bandmates — singer, guitarist and namesake frontman JD Simo; drummer Adam Abrashoff; and bassist Elad Shapiro — spent most of 2016 on tour. They played 215 shows that year, leaving behind their Nashville headquarters and traveling to nine different countries in support of their Billboard Top 10 blues album, Let Love Show the Way. The trio worked on new music along the way, hashing out chord changes in hotel rooms and tweaking song arrangements during soundcheck. It was a time of growth and self-improvement for everyone, and they became better friends, better musicians, and better people.

J D Simo took time out of his busy schedule to throw down a Quick Dozen for 100% ROCK…

1. Tell us a little about your new album, Rise & Shine. Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material that only diehard fans might pick up on?

It’s the most effort we’ve ever put into anything. The songs where written over all of last year which we were gone most of – nearly 300 days to be exact! We took over a month to work out everything before we went into the studio. Then we moved into the studio for nearly a month working pretty much everyday. Then we took several months to mix. It was an intense experience. We weren’t happy with our artistic output and pushed at every part of the process to go above and beyond what we thought we where capable of. I’m really proud of it. There’s so much detail in everything that I’m sure listeners will be able to pick out different things from each listen. However I don’t think any of it is hidden necessarily. Everything is very direct.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realised you wanted to be a musician?

When I was 3 or 4 years old I saw Elvis Presley on television. I was spellbound. I immediately wanted to be an entertainer. I became obsessed with anything and everything I could get my hands on. Starting with Elvis was very fortuitous because from him I found all the rest of the Memphis stuff… Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison. Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly. All the 50’s stuff. Rufus Thomas, BB King, Howling Wolf, Ike Turner who where all on Sun Records. It was a great way to start!

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Man, anything I’ve ever heard really. I guess Elvis, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Beatles, and Curtis Mayfield.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

I’d love to work with D’Angelo!

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

If Isaac Hayes and his band fused with the Grateful Dead.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Simply getting to play music man!

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’m usually the cook. Elad usually gets the drinks and we never sit around and sing.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

To be a cast member of Saturday Night Live.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep, or you would like to be able to “do over”?

I’ve had a ton of missteps but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am who I am because of them. I’m not a dweller. I’m always looking on to the next thing.

10. If you were made ruler of the world, what would your first orders be?

I’d never want that responsibility. Banning war might be a good start though hahaha.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d love to have been involved in making Isaac Hayes’ “Hot Buttered Soul”. The sessions took place in Memphis at Stax in 1969. It’s a huge landmark album for me. I’ve taken so much inspiration from it! The guitar work from Michael Toles is especially big for me.

12. What, for you, is the meaning of life??

Love… If you don’t show it, accept it, want it or have it to give. You ain’t got nothing.

A QUICK DOZEN with J D SIMO

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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