Heart of Steel: Interviews

Mojo Rib Interview with Lead Singer Jay

Interview by Keith McDonald

Mojo Rib, an LA based hard rock outfit, has been making some noise in an otherwise lame music scene. The band prides itself on attitude driven rock 'n' roll. Now it's always easy to compare some new band coming out into it's own to a band from a few years or even a few decades ago. One thing is for sure though, with the noise and attitude that this band delivers, it's only a matter of time before something big happens. I had the opportunity to speak with lead singer Jay who gave me some insight on his band. You can check out their website at www.mojorib.com for more information.

How would you describe your music?

Mojo Rib is the 21st-century edition of the good 'ol American party rawk; the stuff that makes you wanna get laid, tailgate with your buddies, or miss first period at school because you were too busy smoking weed in the parking lot. We are high-octane and 100% irony-free.



Tell me about your album. 

It's balls-to-the-wall, bro -- if you've ever found yourself wailing along in the car to "Stranglehold", then this is the record for you, definitely. Every track on the album was quality-tested for maximum overdrive - then recorded over a long, hot summer to get as much sweat and stank into it as possible. What we ended up with is a tailgate party for the ears.

As far as the production team goes, we couldn't have been luckier. We recorded at a place called Groovetree Studios in Venice. Matt & Jason, the owners, were looking for a project to use as a kind of resume piece for the studio -- thanks to their tireless efforts, we ended up with an inexpensive record that sounds like a million bucks. I'd encourage anyone who's looking to record to ring them up www.groovetree.com.

If you can't find our CD in your local record shop, you can buy it online at CD Baby and Amazon - it's cheaper that way, anyway!



I see you have been compared to a Roth-era Van Halen. How do you feel about that?

Hell yeah, what could be better? I don't think it applies in terms of our sound, but it sure as hell does in terms of the attitude - Mojo Rib is a party, and everyone is invited.



What do you think about 'nu-metal' and the bands from that genre? 

I think there's room for everybody - if that's your trip, cool. But as a fan, I'm glad the whole rap-rock thing is all but dead and buried. For me, the mold for metal begins and ends with Priest & Maiden - great songs, great playing, and real, sing-able melodies. As far as new heavy metal goes, right now I'm spinning High On Fire, Fireball Ministry, Monster Magnet and Nebula.



How is the LA scene nowadays? 

Like a lot of towns, its been the land of the tribute bands for the last few years - this is pretty much the only way the club owners make a buck these days, which is a shame. Bookers are more interested in "draw" than in nurturing a scene, and as a result, things are pretty mercenary. A band brings its crowd to the show, they leave, then the next band does the same thing - not much support from band-to-band.

Fortunately, that seems to be changing now; there's a small group of bands like us in town that are playing the RAWK, and we're slowly finding each other and our audience. Obviously, the solution is for us to gang up and put on our own shows - and thanks to the internet and digital distribution, we no longer need to be beholden to anyone for our success. With some ingenuity and hard work, it's possible to be captain of your own ship, which is what we're working toward.



It seems Mojo Rib is based on crunchy guitars, hooks and big harmonies. Do you agree and is that the idea?

Sure, but not in a cheesedick retro-'80s sense. We're coming more from the space of meat-n-taters rawk like AC/DC, Bad Company, dope-era Aerosmith, etc. You gotta have the meaty guitars and the rhythm you can sit your ass down on - but it all starts with the song. If you can't break a tune down to a voice and one guitar around a campfire, you've got nothing.



Do you think good-time rock 'n' roll is missing from today's music and a band like Mojo Rib can deliver that to fans?

That's the mission, my friend. The whole alt-rock "we don't want to be rock stars" trip was, is, and always will be bullshit. Nobody gets into this to not have their work heard. Our aim is to reach as many people as possible without compromising what we do - no apologies.



Who would you classify as your influences and how does the songwriting process come about?

We're a pretty eclectic group, but I'd say our common ground is stuff like AC/DC, VH, Nugent, Aerosmith, Supersuckers, Nashville Pussy, etc. But the thing that makes it unique is where our tastes differ - I'm as much into Johnny Cash as I am Johnny Thunders, and the rest of the guys are just as diverse. It makes for an interesting and volatile mix…

As far as songwriting goes, it's collaborative - someone brings in a riff, someone will add another part and we throw it into the blender. Sometimes I'll bring in a complete song, and the guys will spice it up. Of course, all the best songs are written in 5 minutes…



How energetic is a Mojo Rib live show and what can fans expect?

Dude, our shows are like a revival meeting colliding with NASCAR. I love looking out there and seeing folks who you can tell just got off a lousy work week - by the end of the show, they're drunk and their skirts & shirts are over their heads.



How much, and where, has the band been touring?

Is it difficult? So far, we're left coast only, but hopefully not for long. The South and Northeast would be bitchin', because rock 'n roll never goes out of style there. We're also looking into doing something in Europe this summer, we'll see if it works out. If there's a gig, a burrito, and a floor to sleep on, I'm in!



It seems the band has quite a buzz going around. How did this happen and how important is that? 

For a band like us, who are pretty much doing it all ourselves - from the label to publicity and booking - "the buzz" is everything, and you gotta take responsibility for it. Basically, I am a pimping machine for this band 24/7; sooner or later, if you're lucky, it starts to snowball. But you have to be relentless.



Who is in the band and how did you guys come across each other? 

It's the time-honored five-piece lineup - myself on vox, Drew Simon and Joe Favazza on guitars, Michael White on bass and the dangerous David Avery on drums. Drew and I originally started off doing rock songs as an acoustic duo, but once we discovered electricity, we never looked back. After we got Joey in the band, we got even more focused on taking rock 'n roll to its next evolutionary stage. With Mike and D'Avery pounding out righteous rhythm, we've just about reached hard rock Valhalla…



Has radio given any support to the material? How difficult is it to get radio's attention? 

Strangely, the most radio and media attention we've gotten has come from the UK and Germany. Maybe that's not so odd, though - there's a real pub culture over there, they like their rock 'n roll with balls and a wink. So Internet radio has been really kind to us in those places - especially Andii Wax at TotalRock.com (a fucking kickass station, which you should all listen to).

Radio in America is a little dicer - formats on commercial radio are so regimented. Live shows, the Internet, and word-of-mouth are the things that are going to break us more than radio. If radio picks up on it, great. If not, no sweat - as long as we kick ass live and people leave with a mile-wide smile, we're doing our job.



What lies ahead for the band? 

Like our friend Tony Montana said in Scarface, "The world…and everything that's in it."

Mojo Rib Website

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