Interview with Jeremy McComb
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Answer: I'm a story-teller. I grew up listening to the great storytellers & songwriters that lived in the records my dad had. It started with Willie Nelson & The Marshall Tucker band and as I grew up it was on to the next group of songwriters. Jim Morrision, Jim Croce, Then onto Shawn Mullins and Ryan Adams. So my show is heavy on interaction and connecting with my audience. I'm an entertainer, a songwriter and a storyteller...
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
Answer: The past 18 Months or so have been incredible. With my fiercely independent album release last year of "FM"(pro-nounced Ef'em) yarning over 1.1 Million streams and our fanbase growing even bigger here in the states than ever before. It’s really humbling and exciting and incredible to be in this place after touring like I have been for years and years. To see the Hard work paying off is just surreal.
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how's it doing?
Answer: Well, FM is the last release, like I said it's been an unreal record. The way it’s connected with people and the way it’s made me feel as an entertainer & recording artist. This year (March 2017) I'm recording a LIVE album for my new tour which is called the "TroubleMaker Tour" and I think it’s just another step to completely show people who I am and what I do.
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?
Answer: I think they each have their own thing. Every album I've made is a place and time in my life, a snapshot of who I am and for me I've never really had to throw it around. Normally the album title for me comes even sometimes before the songs. It's just a vision, a feeling and writing to that vision. My 1st album was an introduction to me: "My Side Of Town" - My second was really allowing myself to become outwardly who I am internally without worrying about what the industry thought: "LEAP & the net will appear" and "FM" is just a statement, aimed at my industry, and it’s meant to be a battle cry for people who are running the hard roads, to say who gives a shit what other people think. Go succeed on your own terms. No one owns me and I like that.
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
Answer: I do. Every album for me is just so personal. There are a few writers I connect with on some amazing levels where I've added another writer’s song to my record… but it has to be a song I wish I wrote, a song I've lived and just didn't get in on that write (haha) Rick Huckaby is a close friend who I've cut outside of my stuff, sometimes there’s just things that hit you so hard they feel like they belong to you in every sense and it calls out to be part of that project. Those are the only outside stuff I look at, the ones that kill me, that just hit me in the face and push me to be a better writer or human.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).
Answer: It’s funny because I pick so much up from so many places. The past few years I've really been into the folky kinda pop feel. A lot of the "country" that's out now just doesn't inspire me. I'm not bashing it, it's just not inspiring to me right now and if it doesn't inspire me then I don't waste my time on it. So i purposefully don't listen to a lot of it. I really got into Matt Nathanson & Ben Rector on the pop side of stuff. I think Ben Rector is writing some amazing stuff…stuff I would've expected country to go. I dove back into Texas guys Like Darryl Dodd & Radney Foster along with the amazing Tony Lane & Travis Meadows writing.
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?
Answer: Well Theres been (Hopefully) major jumps between each of my records, so I'll look at 2016's "FM" compared to the Live Album approach of this year. "FM" is one of my proudest moments. It sounds amazing and I'm not too shy to say that. Jamie Tate my producer just found me and pushed me and allowed me to be who I am and he produced the shit out of this thing. I would put it against anything on the radio sonically and now to the "TroubleMaker Live" album I'm about to do, it's really going back to what I DO LIVE. Its Raw & Real and vulnerable and funny and inappropriate. I just let the Live show go where it needs to. So it's going from the Radio Polish of "See I can do that too" to Here’s what Those songs and really what I am sound like with just me and guitar, on Stage every night connecting, 200 days a Year out here.
Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
Answer: "Didn't We" is the tune people are playing from "FM" and I think there’s more than a few that could be singles on this record for me anyway but I'm biased, so what the fuck do I know Hahaha. But I'm proud of this album songs like: "Your Fault" & "Keep me There" or "Yours In The Morning" They're just so close to me. But That being said "Didn't we" is a song Tim McGraw had on hold for his last record, They ended up not putting it on there so I took it back and recorded it. It’s about Young love and the feeling of warm summer wind rushing through the cab of a truck while you sneak out and run around the mountains in North Idaho. It’s amazing how many people relate with this song. The stories I hear and messages I get about. It's crazy and humbling and just an honor to be able to still be doing this.
Lamitschka: What will your next single be?
Answer: No Idea.... Hahahah You pick one.
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
Answer: Again for me I'm big on the truth and connection. For me if it hits me, maybe it will hit someone else so that’s really the test for me.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?
Answer: "Yours in the Morning" is a song from "FM" that I wrote on the verge of quitting this business. And really coming to terms with the sacrifices, I've made and more especially the people who love me have made to do what I do for a living. so Its kind of an apology to my wife and a Love note to the truth of my life. That I've been an asshole, and I fall short but finding the path that allows you to allow yourself to feel like you’re worthy of the people who care for you. That took a lot for me, to realize my own self-worth and in that song I found a lot of answers I needed to be better, and it re inspired me and my wife re-inspired me to push on and to remember who it was I really am.
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?
Answer: 100% of everything in my business from touring to writing to booking shows, I'm a control freak so I'm
involved in every aspect which means I don't sleep much but I'm just in love with what I do so everyday its a stressful pleasure to get up and do this job.
Lamitschka: There's a lot of work that goes into a number one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?
Answer: Haven't Hit #1 .... YET =0)
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?
Answer: I've had a handful of people get lyrics tattooed on them, which is just such an honor that something you felt and wrote down meant enough to someone else to live with it forever.
Lamitschka: Most careers don't last as long as yours. What's given your career the staying power?
Answer: I'll be Honest, it's been just being "Too Dumb to quit." I've never given up and this road has been 20 years of starting in Clubs at 15 to going on the road, working my way up, and just when you feel it's coming together you get punched. You've gotta power through the garbage in this business and keep pushing, you gotta out work everyone else and stay true to yourself. For me the work ethic is the thing that I think has kept me in it. Just doing everything I can to tour better, harder, write better songs and put out better work each time. I had a mentor tell me one time… Fame, Fortune all the shit that goes with it, at the end of the day, it's only the work that matters and I believe that 100% - The work is bigger than us all.
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de ) for Country Music News International