May 1, 2008
Black ‘N Blue? Hell Yeah!
Interview with Jaime St. James aka The Saint
Intro by Debra Stocker
Interview by Susan Thorsen
Photo by Zlowzower
Black 'N Blue… Where did it begin? As singer Jaime St. James’ web site tells it, BNB “formed in the fall of 1981,” marking a transition for Jamie St. James from drummer with his prior band, Movie Star, to lead vocalist with Black ‘N Blue. “The band played original music along with cover tunes, and performed at local clubs in Portland, Oregon.”
Black 'N Blue started as Jaime St. James, Tommy Thayer, Patrick Young, Pete Horne, and Virgil Ripper. “We started writing songs and working up old AC/DC tunes and great rock ’n roll covers to play out live. We were pretty good and we had a blast. Our bar bill was huge, so we didn't make much money but it was one of the best times for us. Yes we drank, yes we got laid, and yes we cut our rock ’n roll teeth.”
After cutting the band’s first demo in Portland, it was time to get L.A. where Black ’N Blue would first perform at the Troubadour and the famous Whisky a Go Go. Only 1 year later, after performing through Hollywood from 1982 and 1983 and after meeting up with their new manager Garo Tashjian, Black ’N Blue was signed to Geffen Records 1983.
From 1983 to ’84 BNB was “Packing out clubs like the Troubadour, Roxy, Whisky, and The Country Club. These were great times and the strip was rockin' like it probably never will again.” Black ’N Blue was “the 3rd L.A. “metal” band to be signed out of the ’80s,” behind Motley Crue and Quiet Riot.
“After a failed attempt at recording in L.A…, we set our sights on Germany…and got Dieter Dirks of Scorpions fame. He definitely understood the sound we wanted.” The self-titled album “kicked ass,” making it “the album most BNB fans swear by.” That album’s hits “Autoblast,” “Hold On To 18,” “Wicked Bitch,” and “School of Hard Knocks” “still stand up today as great hard rock/heavy metal tunes. Soon after “Black ’N Blue was released in ’84, they were on the road with Aerosmith on the Back in the Saddle Tour.
"HELL YEAH" – The All-NEW Black ’N Blue is Back!
AAM: Black 'N Blue are back – and on the road... How many years has it been and why now?
Jamie St. James, aka The Saint: I think the last time we really had the band together for a real go at it was 1988 so it's time! Also I'm getting tired of my gig in the circus as the dancing bear.
AAM: After your performance last month at The Knitting Factory (which was excellent, by the way!), where is the road taking you?
JSJ: We go to England next and are booking shows now. We will see, but a band like us (as great as we are) won't get a proper tour so we will do fly-ins this summer.
AAM: What can your fans expect to see at Rocklahoma?
JSJ: A killer band that they haven't seen in years…if ever! We just might blow off your eyebrows!
AAM: What does Black 'N Blue expect from the festival in the UK (Birmingham) besides lots of '80's fans?
JSJ: I can't wait to see what happens. It's a mystery to me but I know we haven't been there since 1983, so look out, bitches!
AAM: What are you and the band most looking forward to with these shows – Rocklahoma and the UK Birmingham festival?
JSJ: The Black ’N Blue fans who never got a chance to see us live.
AAM: The camaraderie and chemistry between you and Tommy Thayer on stage together is great and so fun to see! Will he be making any more guest appearances?
JSJ: You never know! He is part of this band forever and we love him. I think he feels the same.
AAM: A tour is usually in support of a new CD. Can we expect to see this too, and when?
JSJ: We have a CD called "Hell Yeah" that has been in the studio closet for 5 years now... I hope to finish it one day, but money and timing are factors.
AAM: Any new material on the new CD? Will you please tell us more about it – who all is on it, where recorded/mixed?
JSJ: The CD was recorded so far in Portland, Oregon. It is all the original members and Shawn in place of Tommy as we are now. It kicks total ass.
AAM: The music industry has dramatically changed. So, do you feel '80s music is making a comeback? In your opinion, is there room for it?
JSJ: Always... ’80s music is an extension of ’70s music and that’s the best rock for my buck. People still love it... young and old.
AAM: The guys in Black 'N Blue have known each other for many years and have essentially grown up together. Have your personal relationships with each other changed? Are you still as close?
JSJ: We are as close as a bunch of crusty bastards can be. We laugh at stuff all the time and that’s the cool thing... we are really friends from the beginning till the end.
AAM: How has the band changed as far as the way all of you are used to working with each other? How are you managing to get any projects done with half of you living in Portland and the other half in L.A.?
JSJ: That’s the hard part. We have to deal with living 1,000 miles apart so it makes it hard to even take a photo. We are all a few years older but not many things have changed as far as personalities go.
AAM: What do you think the future holds for Black 'N Blue, now in 2008 and beyond?
JSJ: I'm gonna buy a solid gold cape with a "J" on the back, Woop is gonna have 6 more daughters, Patrick will get hooked on Xanax, and Pete will be our next president. Shawn will open a hair salon.
AAM: I know the answer, but tell our readers why you sign things “The Saint.”
JSJ: My last name is St. James and the guys in BNB just called me Saint... By the time I was in Warrant that’s just what they called me as well. It just happened, like I was in a gang or something... I'm glad I wasn't called Chico!
On behalf of All Access Magazine we wish you continuous success on your career, tour, and we hope to get a copy of that new CD “Hell Yeah” coming soon! Thanks so very much, Jaime, for your time and effort in helping us put this together. You all ROCK!