"We’re all the same, the world over. We might look different, but our problems and our happy experiences make us all the same, and rock and roll music tells stories of things we all have in common all over the world."
Hogjaw: Fire On The Mountains
Hogjaw is an American Rock n Roll band with Jonboat (JB) Jones on vocals & guitar, Jimmy Rose on lead guitar, Elvis DD on bass, and Kwall on drums! Since its inception, they have ignored the boundaries the music industry has standardized for so many artists. Bringing forth mighty riffs, bellowing whiskey filtered vocals with a Boogie sound that can tear paint off the wall. Since 2007, when the group started, that’s the path they have chosen. In 2014, fellow guitarist Kreg Self had to leave Hogjaw due to health issues, which left a big hole in the core. With the band in limbo, Hogjaw had to figure out the next move. With Kreg’s encouragement to go forward, lead-guitarist - Jimmy Rose fell at the doorstep of the band. Being old friends in the music scene, Jimmy decided he wanted to help the band remain and contribute to what Hogjaw had already achieved. So with getting back to the roots, the band revitalized itself with hours upon hours of jamming and making the unit of four become one again. After releasing four studio records, this independent band is about to release its fifth (May 2015): RISE TO THE MOUNTAINS! The band believes lyrically and musically the album has the vibe of a "concept album". Of course, that is to be figured and determined by the individual listener. However, it definitely is a journey of music with the sounds of; Rock, Southern Rock, Blues and Country.
Hogjaw have released four studio records since 2008: “Devil in the Details,” “Ironwood” (2010), “Sons of the Western Skies” (2012), and “If It Ain’t Broke” (2013). This collection of songs is what defines the band, period. About to embark on a fifth release with (engineer/producer) Byron Filson at Villain Recording, it is believed this is a new frontier for the group and fans! “RISE TO THE MOUNTAINS” feature songs like; title track “Rise to the Mountain”, “I will remain”, “Another Day”, “Where Have you Gone” And “Grey Skies” are just a few of the tracks from this Southwestern band’s next offering. The live performances, which are another big factor in how bands shape themselves, are something in which Hogjaw definitely prides themselves. They have found themselves not only touring through North America, but even abroad in Europe & Scandinavia. In 2011 Hogjaw joined forces with booking agency Teenage head Music, enabling them to perform for fans in places they never dreamt they’d visit. Now, the 4th European tour is booked and a 2nd tour of North America is coming together!
Photos by Kristi Lynn, Brian Wagner and Kristi Kowalski
What do you learn about yourself from the Rock n’ Roll culture and what does “Beer & Whiskey” to you?
Jonboat Jones: I have learned how to stay up late and how to put energy out to people who come to shows, I may not run around the stage, but I have found my way of putting out the Rock & Roll, and whiskey certainly helps, it is like fuel! Haha
Jimmy Rose: Hard work, passion and a love of the brothers your playing with. Play what you love and feel, but always play it great! Whiskey is the sustenance of my Rock n' Roll, beer not so much...haha. Beer is more of a work up to the Whiskey.
Elvis DD: We’re all the same, the world over. We might look different, but our problems and our happy experiences make us all the same, and rock and roll music tells stories of things we all have in common all over the world. Beer and Whiskey are two things that naturally inspire people to stand around get to talkin and things.
Kwall: Let me inform you kids – the stereo type is true. Guys in Rock n' Roll bands like the taste of some good whiskey and cold beer!!! However in most other cultures - ladies and gentleman also enjoy the nectar of the gods… So the playing field is balanced. We just make it like that much more fun!!!
What characterize band’s philosophy and songbook? What is the story behind the name “Hogjaw”?
Jonboat Jones: For Hogjaw, The philosophy is to write about the things we know best, and to connect with those who would understand. Kinda took a page from Ronnie Vant Zants’ writing book there I think. I always try to keep it where I can understand it, and hope that or fans will too. Hogjaw’s name came from an old magazine article we thought was cool. It was about a food competition guy, he had a sign “Hogjaw’s my name, and eating‘s my Game” something like that. Hogjaw also means to eat/drink to excess, to live to excess, rock to excess! haha, we just thought it was a good name, and it’s difficult to find a band name these days, too many bands already took the good ones it seems...
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?
Jonboat Jones: I would say for me, the most important “meetings” I have had are some of the good people we have met along the way, We have connected with people who share the same interests and would have never met if it wasn't for the music Hogjaw writes and plays, and those experiences have been amazing to me, and I personally have some folks who I now consider close family and friends as a result. Best advice given, “Don’t Stop what you are doing”
Jimmy Rose: Getting to play alongside one of my childhood guitar heroes, on tour (Frank Hannon Band.) Best advise... Loosen up, feel the music and just jam.
Elvis DD: Probably the most important would be going to see great bands as a young person, which inspired me to want to have a great band of my own. The best advice….try to get into a band with guys who play above your level of expertise, and know more songs, and they will make you a better player, vs. playing with guys who are below your level and never having to push yourself musically. That’s been a constant in my music life, to play with really talented guys and strive to be better year after year in the band.
Kwall: I met the drummer from a group called New Model Army in the early 90’s. In our sharing a Beer, he mentioned to me – as a drummer. “If you play music you have to make people dance” that has always stuck in my mind.
Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio which you’d like to share with us?
Jonboat Jones: I try to always talk with people at shows, this is one of the things we all try to do in Hogjaw. I hear all kinds of shit from people, its crazy some of the stories, some inspirational. When we first went to Europe for touring, this was probably my most memorable event to date. I had never been out of the US, and did not know what I was going to see or find. I was quite nervous at first, but what happened was amazing, it wasn’t anything like I expected, and all the people we met, were the same as us! We found that we are all inspired by the same things regardless of culture that really opened my eyes.
Jimmy Rose: Every time up on stage with these boys is a great memory. Always love the start of rehearsal with an all-out jam to see what kind of debauchery we may end up with. One of my favorite memories is the first time on stage hitting some guitar harmonies with JB and realizing how tall the boy is.
Elvis DD: There are memories from every night on tour...sometimes you don’t remember them until a year later, but there are memories of every night. So that’s too many!
Kwall: Honestly, after years of playing music things tend to blur together. I have played in multiple bands, been on many, many tours…. Every experience counts – I like to live in music!!!
What do you miss most nowadays from the Capricorn era? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
Jonboat Jones: Marshall Tucker Band - I hope the Sounds of Capricorn music comes back around, and Hogjaw may be a part of it, however small...
Jimmy Rose: I miss that this type of true, gritty, real player era is not what the masses can get a hold of now. My hope is that the generation to come will have the opportunity to experience throwing a record on, closing their eyes and feeling what those artist gave to us. Photo by Brian Wagner
Elvis DD: I miss the honesty of the music… I miss music played from the heart and the soul and the stomach, vs this perfectly crafted studio rock they have now. No one goes out on a limb musically and really jams anything anymore, even in heavy rock and metal bands. I fear that in the future, everyone will be doing their music and guitars with samplers, instead of picking one up and learning how to make it sing.
Kwall: The 70’s were a very special time for many different genres of music. It was still pure and untainted by the music industry we live in today. I think in today’s market with the internet “YOU” as an independent artist have so many things at your disposal. You can either sell yourself short by being told how your songs are designed or you create your own voice. The future is uncertain, so we just make present as an example!
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
Kwall: I am not even sure. I have fantasized about many things since I was young about music and careers. Your mind set changes when you have been at the bottom in the trenches and out on top and then down again. The reality for me is – just enjoy what you have in the moment.
What are the ties that connect the legacy of Blues with Southern Rock and continue to Honky Tonk & Jam Rock?
Jimmy Rose: I'd bet ya any amount of money, if you asked any southern rock/honky tonk or jam guitar player who their influences are, the first one would be a blues player. The blues put the soul in guitar playing that we hear in all types of music. Without it, we are all just playing scales with no voice. In my humble opinion, those blues legends laid the groundwork to all guitar players of past, present and future.
Elvis DD: Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Albert King, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd…something like that.
"Hogjaw’s name came from an old magazine article we thought was cool. It was about a food competition guy, he had a sign 'Hogjaw’s my name, and eating‘s my Game' something like that. Hogjaw also means to eat/drink to excess, to live to excess, rock to excess!" (Photo by Kristi Lynn)
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the music circuits?
Jonboat Jones: I had fun in the recording studio. We try to keep things fun, and I will say, I have enjoyed the new vibes Jimmy is bringing in now. He’s a fun feller, and I think there is a “refreshing” of the band going on, it’s hard to explain. I think it can be heard on the new record coming out. We will see what people think...
Jimmy Rose: Elvis! Yeah, Elvis cracks me up continually. To be on stage and see people emotionally attached to our songs. It's the reason we play....
Elvis DD: We have been going to Europe since 2013 in the fall. When we announced our new album and tour, all of our friends from there began to get excited, and I found out that most of them know already exactly when and where we will be in their region, before the tour schedule has been posted anywhere online. This is not expected, we were a garage band from Peoria Arizona, and to think that people thousands of miles away are already reserving their spot at the bar for our next tour, it’s the biggest payoff to the whole thing.
Kwall: Social media makes me laugh a lot. I remember the music circuit being much bigger before the internet had become mainstream, this was how people were social. Now you can see the videos & photos from the gig the night before. WHY GO to the show, right? Makes me laugh.
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
Jonboat Jones: I wanna see dinosaurs. And Why not?
Jimmy Rose: Any day sitting in the studio with Jimi Hendrix. Would've loved to see him change guitar history in person.
Elvis DD: I decided just recently, after thinking about this very question for many years, instead of going back to change history or stop something (which seems to never work), I would go back and visit famous people who I wanted to ask questions of while they were still alive. The first was cliff burton, from Metallica, whom I missed by one year. Ronnie Van Zant, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, people like that.
Kwall: I would want to go hang out with the guys from “time bandits (movie)” that way I could enjoy multiple time travel.
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