"Hi Nick... I'm glad to see people are still releasing CD's - I am still buying them and probably will until I die or go deaf. My own experience has taught me that I dont have the nads to deal with the physical product…"
"I was reading your bio and it always disturbs me when an artist is willing to throw in the towel regarding CDs. Though it is true the sales of these shiny little platters have declined immensely, it is also important to remember that CDs are an…"
Fan of Music, Musician, Song Writer, Recording Studio
Style of Prog
Art Rock, Neo-Prog, Krautrock, Progressive Metal, Crossover Prog, Also a fan of other genres of music
In 1981 I was 21, newly married and looking for some way to make a living. I had just gotten out of college, and there were no computer jobs anywhere, so I went back to what had put me through college – Music. I had played in a band called the Warheadz to help pay my way through school. We were a three-piece band, Drums, Bass and Guitar. We played in the worst clubs imaginable. If there is an exact opposite of an A-circuit for bands to play on, we played on it. We recorded a kind of punk version of ‘On Top of the world’, and Warheadz Guitarist, Mark VonBeck, who was a really great guitarist and did a lot of session work in Seattle, played it for Jim Valentine, The leader of a band called Jaugernaut, who had mentioned that Jaugernaut was looking for a bassist who could sing. One thing led to another and that’s how I hooked up with Jaugernaut.
We wrote and played our own music, with little or no regard for what was cool, or what was selling at the time. Some people would say we were stupid, looking back, I’m genuinely thankful that we weren’t a part of the ‘Men Without Hats’ movement in America. After 2 albums and just a few local sales we were done. We didnt have the hair or the sounds that dominated 80's music.
After the band split in 1985, I went to work for Washington State as a Computer programmer. I continued to play in cover bands for the next two years.
Jim Valentine and Geoff Woodhouse packed up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. They planned to put together a new band, and play until they were noticed. They started a band called "Electric Eye". They produced a demo tape, and played every venue they could in the L.A. Basin. After a few years they started to accept paying jobs where they played cover songs, eventually becoming a top act. Jim and Geoff one day decided that they had had enough of the Cover band circuit and Abruptly quit, returning to L.A. to regroup and refocus on the original aspect of their music. As for me, I quit playing in 1988 and for about 7 years just got fat and happy. I returned to playing music in 1996 playing with the old Jaugernaut Drummer Jeff Wade in a cover band called Nitecrew. In 1999 I quit the Casino Circuit and moved to Texas to escape the rain of Seattle.
In 2000 I was contacted by someone in Europe, asked if I was the Jim Johnston who was in Jaugernaut. Apparently some of our albums made it over to Europe and were being sold as rare collectibles. Wierd. So I re-released the old albums from 1980 and 1983 on CD - they were originally only on Vynil. Suddenly the collectors werent interested in it any more. I guess being considered "rare" is better than being "good". Anyway I caught the bug to start recording again. I also invited the other guys to join in and at first they said yes, but when I tried to get them into the studio, they simply didnt have the time, so In 2005 I released Contra Mantra under the name of Jaugernaut (a.d.) – as in “After Death” I had originally hoped the guys would get with me on it, but no luck. - what, should I have called it “the Jim Johnston CD”?? That would suck… Ok, so this kinda does too, but it not like anyone is going to use the name again is it? - actually some NASCAR guy used the same spelling on his auto website – yeah buddy, like no one can tell YOU don’t have a college education!…
In 2008 Contra Mantra was picked up by Progrock Records and is now available worldwide. More music will be forthcoming in 2010. I dont know if it will make it to CD at this point. Though I still love writing and recording music, my enthusiasm for releasing and creating a physical, marketable product is waining. We will just have to see how The original two Jaugernaut albums do on CD, and if Contra Mantra ever inspires me to do anything beyond private releases. I love writing prog and neo-prog songs, its the idea of releasing an entire albums worth of music at one time that is flawed.
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I was reading your bio and it always disturbs me when an artist is willing to throw in the towel regarding CDs. Though it is true the sales of these shiny little platters have declined immensely, it is also important to remember that CDs are an important part of any band.
As a Label I have found that most all media is still not receptive to mp3s for reviews, and when I go see a band live I want to buy the goods CDs t-shirts and anything else I can get my hands on. I don't want to remember nor can I remember a web address for bands download sites.
If the music is good and properly marketed it can be very rewarding, one must also consider building a fan base in today's market of over saturation it’s much harder to stick out and one cannot afford to rely on word of mouth to do the work like in the 70's
In any case I wish you the best as I really enjoy music, but you will not find me downloading your music.
If the quality of music shows you listen to matter, then check out my shows on House of Prog every Tuesday when I spin some of the best new vinyl. Yes vinyl! Because music should flow not be compressed.
Attention Bands... Do you have a vinyl release and want to be featured and played on my shows?