JP WHITE INTERVIEW:
May 13, 2007
In two short years Vains Of Jenna (www.vainsofjenna.com) have managed to become one of the most popular and most talked about sleaze bands from the thriving Swedish scene. Last year the band released their debut full-length album Lit Up/Let Down and have been supporting it ever since. Now the band is starting to work on material for their follow-up album and bassist JP White decided to talk about the upcoming CD and Vains Of Jenna’s quest for fame.
SR: What is new in the Vains Of Jenna camp?
JPW: Right now we are back in L.A. writing tons of new material. We are going into the studio in North Hollywood next week with Brent Woods (Wildside) as a producer to record 2 new killer demo songs.
We are also gonna do a couple of shows around the L.A. area and a small trip to the northwest very soon to play some shows with our friends “Scarlet Rose”. But the main thing for now is to write new shit.
SR: Is the new material in the same vein as the debut album?
JPW: Yeah but a lot better, we have grown a lot as a band and in our songwriting. The songs on “Lit Up/Let Down” are the first songs that we ever wrote as a band 2 years ago so it has happened a lot since then, we get new inspiration all the time, it might sound a bit different but it is still the same kick ass rock n roll.
SR: Will the new album also be on Bam Margera’s Filthy Note label?
JPW: We don’t know yet.
SR: How have sales of the debut been?
JPW: It could have been better if we would have had more CDs out in the stores and if it got pushed more in the press. The label put out 3000 copies around the U.S. which was gone a long time ago so the only way to buy the album now is on our website or at our concerts.
But so far we have done around 5000. The album was recorded and produced by ourselves in one week so we are pretty happy about the sales.
SR: How do you think you can improve the distribution of the band when the new CD arrives
JPW: We need to be seen more in media, TV, Magazines, Radio, etc. A lot more press!!! People need to be fucking brainwashed to buy an album nowadays. We also need a bigger tour with a more well known band that draws a lot of people to the venues so we can steal their fans.
SR: But it must be hard for a new band to get those things without major label backing, do you have any majors showing some interest?
JPW: Yeah it’s hard, it’s all about the money. We have had some big names looking into the band and hopefully the new demo recordings will get us something big.
SR: How did you get involved with Brent Woods and was Wildside one of your influences?
JPW: Our manager has known him for a long time and came up with the idea to do some shit with him at his studio. We are all fans of Wildside so I guess that we have a little bit of Wildside in our songs.
SR: Is Stevie Rachelle of Tuff still your manager? How has he been to work with?
JPW: Yeah, he is still our manager. It’s fucking great to work with him, he works his ass off and gets things done!
We met him the first time 2 years ago and since then he has taught us a lot about the music biz and lots of other shit that is good to know about. He is like a big brother to all of us.
SR: How did the band first come together?
JPW: It all started early 2005 when I moved back to my hometown from Stockholm. I had some personal things to take care of back home and I needed to do something besides that so I decided to start a rock band. Me and Lizzy had talked about starting a band when we were all fucked up at some Swedish festival the summer of ’04, so I called him up and asked him if he still was interested.
He liked the idea and we did some songs in his studio. A week later I asked my brother Jacki if he wanted to join the band and he did. We tried some lead guitar players but no one was right for us. The only one we wanted was this punk called Nicki Kin. We asked him to join the pack and he finally did and Vains Of Jenna was born.
SR: How did you come up with the name Vains Of Jenna and what exactly does it mean?
JPW: I came up with it when we had been out partying back home in Sweden. I woke up the next morning and saw this piece of paper with 10 different band names on it. Vains Of Jenna was the first band on the paper and I thought it looked cool.
It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a misspelled name that looks and sounds fucking great!
SR: How did you manage to get Gilby Clarke to produce your early demos?
JPW: Our manager hooked us up with him the first time we were over here in the States in 2005. He showed Gilby some of our demos that we had done back home in Sweden. Gilby liked it and invited us to his studio for one day to record. We recorded 4 songs live and that was it, 2 of them are on “The Demos”.
SR: What sort of advice did Gilby Clarke give you, besides stay clear of Axl Rose?
JPW: Haha, he said that we should work hard and keep it going.
SR: There are hundreds of great bands coming out of Sweden these days, what is it about Vains Of Jenna that have made you one of the more successful of the new bands?
JPW: Fuck Yeah!! There’s a lot of good bands in Sweden. But I guess that we have taken a lot of chances that other bands don’t do. We quit our jobs, sold all our shit, dumped our girlfriends, and just put all of our effort into the band.
We were the first band outside the States to play Cruefest, we lived in a car for more than a month in central London and got lots of gigs just being out on the streets.
I talked to the guys at Cruefest and they got loads of demos from European bands who wanna play there after we played there. And lots of unsigned Swedish bands go to the U.K. to play. I think that we showed everybody that you can do that shit without a record deal.
SR: What differences have you noticed between fans at American shows and at European ones?
JPW: The rock scene is bigger in Europe at the moment and a lot of younger kids are very into sleaze/rock and its style. They look like fucking rockstars when they show up at the shows. Over here it’s still not in the fashion yet, people go “What the FUCK!!” when they see us. But it’s getting better, we see more and more kids with bandanas and tight pants all over the country.
American fans also have something for moshpits, I don’t know why…
SR: What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on the road so far?
JPW: There has been a lot of strange shit man, haha!! I can’t tell all of it sorry… (to personal)… But one of the moments that I can remember must be when I walked in on Racci Shay (drummer of Wednesday 13) when he stood and peed in his mouth and just gave me a nice smile like everything was normal.
SR: What are some of the bands you’ve played with and how have they treated you?
JPW: We have played with bands like L.A. Guns, Hardcore Superstars, Crashdiet, Pretty Boy Floyd, Tigertailz, Bang Tango, Alien Ant Farm and done bigger tours with Wednesday 13, Fireball Ministry and Artimus Pyledriver. And so far everyone has been fucking great to us.
SR: With all these bands coming out of Sweden, is there a lot of rivalries between groups?
JPW: Not what I know of, the more bands the better!
SR: What are some of your favorite Swedish bands right now?
JPW: Hardcore Superstars, Crashdiet, Innocent Rosie, Backyard Babies, Hell N Diesel, Babylon Bombs, Gemini Five, fucking great bands!!
SR: Has Bam Margera tried any ‘Jackass’ type stunts on you guys yet?
JPW: Not yet. But he almost killed us when he let us borrow his fucking 4-weelers at his crib. Me and Nicki went out and drove those things at 4 in the morning after a case of beer and a bottle of vodka and crashed!
SR: A big part of the 80s hard rock scene was drugs and alcohol, how carried away have you guys got so far?
JPW: I guess it’s the same shit today as it was back then. It’s just a part of Rock N Roll and has been since the 60s. There still is loads of it. On the road its pretty much party every day.
We party pretty hard and sometimes too much but you just have to listen to what your body tells you and everything will be fine.
SR: Where do you picture Vains Of Jenna in 5 years?
JPW: On a BIG world tour as the headliners, still kicking everyone’s dirty asses!
Thanks to JP White