We usually find ourselves interviewing a lot of older bands but that’s NOT because we don’t really LIKE any new acts here at Legendary Rock Interviews. Vains Of Jenna are a newer band that have been quietly building a reputation as one of the better real rock and roll acts out there. The band is part of the new wave of sleaze rock acts that are gonna keep this thing going and are a band that should be on EVERYONE’S radar by now…..Read on. (Photos courtesy of Alex Ruffini and Jacki Stone)
Q: Thanks for talking Jacki…You’re the drummer of the band and have been there since the beginning. For those not familiar can you explain for the ten millionth time how you got started in music and how you came to form Vains Of Jenna ?
Jacki: I grew up listening to all kinds of music. We had mix tapes in our old Volvo when I was a kid and my parents blasted them everyday for me, it was awesome. We formed VOJ in early 2005, it was a natural feeling right away, it just clicked. Before VOJ Nicki and me had been in bands before for a couple of years.
Q: You came out to L.A. to do Cruefest for Stevie and Metal Sludge and he wound up being your manager….were you guys familiar with TUFF as a band and their part of the L.A. Metal scene? They were in Decline 2 for christ’s sake…..
Jacki: Yeah, he dropped off some merch when we were playing and we obviously did something he really liked. I wasn’t very familiar with him, Lizzy (our singer at the time) had been more into that scene for years… he knew about TUFF.
Q: Your homeland is pretty badass. What made you decide to officially set up shop here in the States and do you ever wish you were back in Sweden?
Jacki: It was a dream we always had to move to the U.S. When it became a reality that could actually happen, we took the chance… There are a lot of opportunities in America if you are a band, L.A alone is filled with record people, clubs etc etc. So it’s great if you’re a band. We are now back in Europe and we will have our base from Sweden. That feels really good after 6 years in the U.S.
Q: Your debut album was a breath of fresh air to us here in the U.S. The band seriously filled a void that was existing as far as new rock bands that actually had swagger and rocked. What do you remember about recording the debut and what tracks really stick out in your mind as classic VOJ, songs that will always be in the setlist?
Jacki: We rented a cabin in the forest in Sweden for a week, bought a lot of beer, cigarettes, some food and started recording the first album. It was just us having fun recording, we didn’t have in mind that it would actually be released as an album, but it was great when it happened! I’m proud of that album for sure….
“No One’s Gonna Do It For You” is the one that we still play from the album.
Q: You’ve recorded EPs over the years, in between the full length albums. Was the band mostly concerned with keeping new music out there or do you simply like the concept or format of releasing mini-albums or singles?
Jacki: Well you gotta get some fresh music out there often… It’s so easy for people to find new music all the time so you really have to keep them interested in your band.
But it is fun to record and release some material now and then, get some response from fans… It will soon be time for our next full length record.
Q: Your second album, THE ART OF TELLING LIES, was a little more interesting as far as the sounds the band experimented with. Do you think making it a point to change every album ala Crue is the right way to go or is it worth it to have a template sound like MOTORHEAD or AC/DC to rely on ?
Jacki: I don’t think like that at all. What we write is what write, that is what’s gonna end up on the disc. There’s always a story and a thought about songs you’re making, but there is never really any plan of thinking of how we’re gonna do the next album and then the next one etc. It just comes naturally.
Q: You’ve been pretty fortunate in some of the touring you guys have done, for instance getting the RATT/POISON slot when White Lion couldn’t do it. Is it more satisfying to open up for bands and blow the minds of the people that didn’t expect to see you or pack a sweaty club full of people who already love the band?
Jacki: Wow, that is a hard one… I love both situations. We’ve done a lot of touring on our own the last few years and it is truly a great feeling packing a club on your own and see them all go nuts.
The next tour I wouldn’t mind kickin a bigger act’s ass as an opener!
Q: The new covers album REVERSE TRIPPED is pretty much our album of the season. The song selections that you chose to cover are pretty diverse and not at all what some people might expect from a band like you guys. You didn’t make it a point to cover obscure songs noone has heard of or cover GLAM/80s songs that people would expect. Instead you put on your 70s sunglasses and really covered the entire American classic rock experience. It is a friggin amazing album. I would imagine doing this album and touring it would really inspire even better songs from you guys on the next album. Have you started working on songwriting for the follow up?
Jacki: Thank you!
Yeah playing covers, just in the rehearsal sometimes can give you a whole new understanding for a song and new ideas pop up. We have been writing and have lots of new material… We will keep writing til we feel that we like the material enough to take it to the studio and do a new album.
Q: How much of a hand did you guys all have in picking the songs that made it onto REVERSE TRIPPED? Did you all pick a favorite or agree on lots of them?
Jacki: We chose the songs and the label approved it… that’s pretty much how it went down, we had like 100 songs from the beginning and narrowed it down to 14.
Q: To us, the only thing holding back bands like VAINS OF JENNA, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR or BACKYARD BABIES is the lack of exposure in mainstream America. Most of the bands that break on radio or whatever here are pretty faceless. You might know their song or even the name of the band but they sure as hell aren’t “ROCKSTARS”. Besides press, what the hell does a band have to do to gain notoriety? Make a sex tape with an American Idol contestant?
Jacki: It’s all about making money… the industry is a dirty business and it’s hard for good rock bands to get radio play these days. I guess rock n roll is more underground than ever at the moment. That’s where internet comes in hand for good and for bad… but that is where it becomes important to capitalize on the exposure that goes along with being on the road.
Q: A lot of people that are casual fans here in the States are not even really aware that there is a HUGE scene over there in Sweden. It’s not a joke, there’s a LOT of sleaze bands and the fans are every bit a part of it. They dress like rockstars, act like rockstars and the whole lifestyle in general has blossomed along with all the bands. Is that the secret to a successful scene in general, the fans HAVE to be just as integrated and engaged as the acts?
Jacki: Well fans make a band survive, without them you would be nothing. But we have so many different fans and not all of them necessairly act or dress like us… I really like it when I see fans in the crowd that are just a regular guy or girl who look like they like whatever top 40 is played on the radio and are dressed strict, but still they are singing along with all of our songs. That is great!
Q: When you pull into some of the more out of the way spots like Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa, Carolina, do you guys sometimes get the proverbial blank stares from the locals at truck stops and gas stations? You can imagine how BORED we fans in the midwest are….Is it hard to find things to pass the time or get in trouble with in those towns?
Jacki: Yeah we do get those looks now and then. But it is mostly good vibes we get. Usually you don’t even see much of the towns as you just roll up for soundcheck, then to a hotel and then you play the show… the next day your off to another town. Killing time is usually being in front of the tv or computer in the hotels.
Q: The rock and roll life takes dedication. You have been at it for a number of years now even though you are still young. At any point have any of you started to feel the pull to start a family or become a businessman or anything goofy like that?
Jacki: Never felt anything like that but now that we moved back to Sweden I finally got the chance of getting a job as well, and that’s something I haven’t had for a long time… having another job other than just the music feels good right now.
Q: Thanks again for talking to us, we don’t bother interviewing bands we don’t love. Is there anything else you wanna say to people, websites or Twitters to plug or exciting stuff you didn’t get to mention?
Jacki: Thanks a lot! Yeah check us out on all the community sites, facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Reverbnation etc. add us, add me and get the latest news on Vains of Jenna!