Declassified with JT: Jaime St. James - The Voice of Black 'N Blue

by John Tedeski / 118 days ago / Comments

How often do people get to experience having one of their dreams come true, but when it does it is something that you remember for the rest of your life? As a huge fan of 80’s rockers Black ‘N Blue, one of my dreams, as a drummer and music lover was to be able to see Black ‘N Blue live and get to meet the band. Both parts of that dream came true, yet at two separate times and somewhat in reverse order. I was able to meet Jaime St. James, lead vocalist/frontman of Black ‘N Blue in Ohio back in early 2000 while he was playing with his solo band at the time called St. James. A couple months later, through a unique set of circumstances, I received a phone call from St. James asking if I would be interested in playing the drums for what would be billed as A Night of Black ‘N Blue featuring Jaime St. James, how could I say no to such an incredible offer? This ultimately trumped my dream of seeing and meeting the band in a big way. I made a few trips to Cleveland, OH to rehearse with the band. St. James had assembled. The band featured two of his St. James band mates, Joe Frietchen on bass guitar and Danny Morris on keyboards and on lead guitar was Morris' cousin Billy Morris who had just come off the road touring as lead guitarist for Warrant. Roughly about two months after receiving that initial call we played that gig, and to say I was on cloud 9 would be the understatement of the year.

Let us now fast forward roughly twelve years and the first ever Monsters of Rock cruise in which Black ‘N Blue was one of about 20 or so bands from the 80’s arena rock era that would be performing. It was going to be great to reunite with St. James after twelve years, although we did communicate a few times in that twelve years via email and few text messages, yet I was soon to see another part of my dream come true and that was to actually see Black ‘N Blue live and also meet the band. At this point, however, original lead guitar player Tommy Thayer was no longer with the band as he was now a full-time member of the band KISS and original drummer Pete Holmes was unable to make the cruise due to contractual obligations that he had with the Michael Schenker Group that he was playing for. I was still able to meet original bass guitar player Patrick Young and original rhythm guitar player Jeff “Whoop” Warner and of course catch up a bit with St. James. What a blast.

Let us fast forward yet again to 2017 and Black ‘N Blue are starting to make waves all across the states once again as they work on filling up their tour schedule. Black ‘N Blue these days still have three original members, St. James (vocals), Young (bass) and Holmes (drums) while having recruited two new guitar players in Brandon Young who replaced Warner when he could no longer tour due to health issues, and newest member Bobby Capka replacing Shawn Sonnenschein who replaced Thayer originally. The band just came off the Monsters of Rock cruise in February and they are primed and ready to hit the road hard.

I know there is a ton of bias in this article, but that is just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. However, from the very first note I ever heard played after buying my very first Black ‘N Blue album when I was only 14 or 15 years old, I was hooked and they became my favorite band right next to KISS. Black ‘N Blue music has a sound of its own and they do not sound like all the other bands of the time, yet for whatever reason they just never caught on as so many bands did and a lot of the bands that did just leave me scratching my head to this day trying to figure out how and why they became household names when Black ‘N Blue did not. I could go on and on but I digress. 

Black ‘N Blue released four albums on Geffen Records and all four albums, as I like to say, are all killer and no filler, meaning every song is awesome. The band released Black ‘N Blue in 1984, Without Love in 1985, Nasty Nasty in 1986 and In Heat in 1988 with highly successful tours throughout the United States, Japan and Central America, supporting some of the biggest names in rock music at the time following each release, as well as, three videos, “Hold On To 18”, “Miss Mystery” and “I’ll Be There For You”, all of which seen heavy play on MTV at the time.

Unfortunately, after their four album contract came to an end with Geffen Records, the future of Black ‘N Blue was up in the air and the members went their separate ways, pursuing different music avenues until reuniting once again, ten years later, in 1998 for a one-off performance in their hometown of Portland, OR. Fortunately, the show was recorded live and released on CD which was aptly titled One Night Only: Live. This CD is no longer in print so it is somewhat of a gem if you can get your hands on it. One more reuniting of all original members would take place again in 2010 when the band was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, and if you ask me they should also be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, again that is just my personal opinion.

Between changes in band members, hall of fame inductions, solo careers, spending time as members of other hit bands such a Warrant, Michael Schenker Group, Uli John Roth and KISS, Black ‘N Blue was once again able to release another album in 2011 titled Hell Yeah! On Frontiers Records. The album is a bit heavier than its predecessors, but it is still very much a Black ‘N Blue album and one that will hopefully garner as much attention as the rest.

Alright folks I’ve said enough, so now it is time for you all to kick back, relax and listen to my one on one with St. James in which he details so much more eloquently than I the last 35 years of his journey as lead vocalist/frontman for Black ‘N Blue, as well as his ventures outside of Black ‘N Blue and how it has all come full circle with 2017 shaping up to be the year that Black ‘N Blue treks across these great United States once again more than they have in roughly two decades. Without further ado, I give you my interview with the ringleader of it all, Jaime St. James.

 

Follow Black 'N Blue

Black 'N Blue Tour Dates

09/07/2017 ~ Penn's Peak Jim Thorpe, PA

About John Tedeski

John Tedeski Journalist

I’ve been a musician since the age of 7 when my parents bought me my first drum set. By the age of 16, I was playing the local bar scene. I’ve played around the east coast, and in 1994, through those travels is how I met Founding member of Center Stage Magazine, Tommy Lemon as we were both auditioning for the same band in the Boston Massachusetts area and we’ve been friends ever since. Through the years I’ve met a lot of great musicians such as Vinny Paul (Pantera), Bill Leverty (Firehouse), Ace Frehley (KISS), Marc Ferrari (Keel), Bobby Dall (Poison), and even got to share the stage with Jaime St. James (Black ‘N Blue) and Billy Morris (Warrant), just to name a few. Unfortunately, life had a different path in store for me other than being a full-time musician, yet I’ve been blessed to still be able to play on the weekends with some great local talent. Here I am now with another huge blessing, still within the music world, but this time as a journalist for Center Stage Magazine where I get to talk with and interview musicians who do what I have always longed to do. It’s all good and much less hassle than having to lug my drums all around the country. Rock Out, Roll On & Follow Your Heart ...