The Jared James Nichols Band


18 Juin 2017



Interview Jared James Nichols (face to face)

Hello guys, can you present the band for our readers?

My name is Jared James Nichols, and I play guitar and I sing. On the bass and backing vocals Is Erik Sandin, and the drummer is Dennis Holm. Both of these guys are from Sweden.

First of all, how did you feel about participating in the Hellfest this year? Had you heard about this festival before?

It felt amazing to even be selected to open on the mainstage, it was a dream come true. To be on stage with some of our heroes, Deep Purple, Aerosmith among others, is an honor. We had all heard about Hellfest before, we always checked the schedule, wondering how we gonna get there. And today we made it.

How did your set go? It was 10:30 on Saturday morning, never an easy task. Did you get a good crowd?

Yes, honestly it felt great. I was actually surprised. I thought everyone would have been hangovered but we had a great crowd, very energetic. We played, we were on fire. We have not slept for two days, because we came from L.A., so we had to get our act together to stand up on stage and put up a good show. At the end of the day I think it was a great show, and people were really into it. It’s also pretty amazing to play this kind of music at a heavy metal festival. Really amazing.

So you have an endorsement from BlackStar amplifiers, but what about one for strap locks? You had a lot of issues with your strap today.

Oh I know. Actually the entire thing was ripped out of the guitar. You know, I don’t treat them that nice.

Ok so we can read that you are following the steps of such rock/blues stars as Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa or Jonny Lang. Would you agree with that?

Oh yes, absolutely, these guys have opened huge doors for any guys like me trying to come up. They had to go through a lot to get where they are today. It’s awesome for a guy like me to know that there is an audience for music like this: Guitar based blues rock!

Your style if definitely guitar based blues rock. And I love it don’t get me wrong, but this is not really a mainstream choice. Why this tough choice?

Yes, it’s a hard choice. It’s funny because when I started playing and when I felt in love, it was purely for the love of it. I never ever thought about turning into a job. But now that I get older, I’m asking myself how are we going to make money to live and keep us on the road. It’s a catch 22 for me because I love it so much that I would never stop. And back to your previous question, it’s good to know that there are artists out there that make a living of it. We just have to keep on pushing.

I read somewhere that Leslie West was your most important influence. Have you ever played with him?

I wish. Not yet, but he is still around and he is still playing. I hope I’ll be able to meet him and play with him before too long. That would mean a lot to me. Because he is the only one guy left from that era that I truly respect. Him and Clapton. We played "Mississippi Queen" today during our set.

I noticed that, at the end of your set, you left and hesitated and came back for a little more, with a short cover of "Cat Scratch Fever" from Ted Nugent. What happened?

We were all in shock when we finished our set. And then Dennis or Erik looked at me and said we’ve got three more minutes. And I’m like what are we going to do in three minutes ? Then the crowed started to shout “we want more” so I told the guys, you know what, we travelled way too far to leave three minutes so we went back real quick. 

It’s funny you picked that song because I was thinking to myself while taking pictures that you looked a lot like Ted Nugent when he was younger.

You know I think my mom went to see Ted… no I’m just kidding.

We also read that the spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan lives right next to your home town. Can you explain why?

Here I grew up, I was raised on the same street where he died in a helicopter accident. So when I started playing guitar, everyone in town was asking me if I was going to play some SRV. It was a big deal there. I took the guys there, and you can feel some sort of spirit in the air, or maybe it was a squirrel, you never know [laughs].

You operate in a power trio like many older bands of the 70s, is this the perfect lineup for your music?

Yes I think so. The best thing about all those trio is whatever each individual brought to it. If you take Hendrix, Cream, there is a certain spark of creativity, in pushing the music forward. And I think that’s the biggest thing that needs to happen. For us it’s to keep pushing forward and trying to keep it fresh.

I noticed that you play right hand with your fingers, why ? Isn’t this harder?

Yes it’s hard, and my hand gets pretty beat-up from it. It’s a feel thing. I like to feel the strings when I’m playing. With a pick, you don’t.

You started getting some press while supporting an amazing list of artists such as Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Glenn Hughes, and many others. How did this happen? Luck? Relations? Talent? All of the above?

I think it was our sexiness [laughs]. Oh no that was not in your list... [laughs]

You know what I think it is? Whenever we get an opportunity, we push it and squeeze for what it’s worth. So for example when we got a chance to play with the Doobie Brothers,  ZZ Top, Kid Rock, Skynyrd, we were able to build relationships with them, with their crew. We showed them we were in there for the long run. And it’s pretty evident that when they hear us playing, when they hear my style, they realize that we have not started yesterday. It’s been a long time coming. Maybe, I don’t know, I cannot speak for them, but maybe some of those guys hear in my guitar playing, some of what they did when they were younger.

All of these bands are heroes from the 70s, but you are not even 30. How do you feel about this?

I feel good about it. It’s like "Back To The Future". It’s funny because I think it’s a great time with all those bands still playing, those guys still touring actively, it’s a great transition time for young people like us that really care. Learn from these guys first hand, and then let us take over. Trust us for taking over.

In your band, you play guitar, of course, but you also decided to take on singing. Was this a difficult decision?

It was. I never really wanted to be a singer. When I move to L.A., I figured out very quickly that either I would have to deal with someone else’s personality, or do it myself. Also if you want this to be successful you need someone that is really committed. It came to a point where I realized all my favorite guitar players were also singers anyway. They were all guitar virtuoso and had their voice. So I decided to go for that too.

You never took singing lessons did you?

I started on my own. Trial by fire. Then my manager hooked me and Erik up with a voice coach called Debra Byrd in L.A., she works at American Idol. We took two lessons with her. It was really cool.

Does the singing impact your guitar playing at all? Do you wish you had a singer in some cases?

If anything I think it helps it now. It used to fight against me at the beginning, because I couldn’t do certain things but now I don’t have to think about it.

I read somewhere that you used to practice your instrument twelve hours a day. Do you still do? And do you also spend a lot of time on the singing?

I used to have a lot more time to play, but now with all the traveling, I don’t... so a lot is happening live. When I’m home I practice four to five hours a day still. It’s different practicing. I’m not running scales anymore, now I’m writing music. But when I was a kid I was really pushing to see how far I could go. I remember trying to see if we could do twenty-four hour practicing in a row, and at hour seventeen, I puked. I practice my voice every day. Voice is a muscle so you need to work it out. I do one hour a day. I’m still a new singer so I need to practice a lot.

What’s on the roadmap for you after this weekend? More festivals? A new album?

After this week we head to the UK where we do a tour with Blue Oyster Cult, and we do some headline shows. Then we have two more festivals, and then we will be supporting UFO. Then, we are trying to finish up a record that will be ready in September and then we would really like to do a headline tour.

Thanks a lot, and I’ll leave you the last words for our readers…

Thank you for your continued support. Check us out if you don’t know us yet. We will see you on the road.