Ancient Visionz interview with Colossal Street Jam

Questions answered by Gene Potts of Colossal Street Jam.

1. How long did it take to come up with album name and why did you choose the title Living Free?

We chose "Living Free" because its kind of the motto of the band right now. Nothing to hold us back now or delusions of grandeur to keep us from writing the way we want. When we were younger we had rock star dreams, now we just write what we feel and do things our way. So coming up with the title was easy, we just picked this song.

2. Do all the members work together in creating and writing the music?

Its kind of a process at this point that works. Sal Marra, our guitarist, comes in with the ideas, sometimes just riffs other times an idea that has parts. We get together and I write the lyrics, if Sal hasn't written anything to it already, but when he does he gives me freedom to change them. Then we all get together in the same room and throw ideas at each other. Its been working so far so we have kept that going.

3. How long did it take to write and record Living Free?

All in all about 16 months. We changed drummers after the first group were recorded. We had to go back in and cut some different drum tracks while we were writing the rest of newer tunes. So about 16 months in total.

4. Do you write the music before the lyrics?

For the most part yes. I'd like to hear how the music makes me feel and what direction it takes me. We do have a few that I wrote before hand but for the most part I like to get a vibe from the idea first then write.

5. What influences your ideas and concepts for CSJ'S music?

Personal experiences, past experiences and sometimes what is going on in the world. When Sal writes he likes to write about positive things and that's why we have songs like "Living Free".

6. Which songs are your favorite or favorites from Living Free?

I think we all have different favorites but my favorites are "Won't Last This Way" and "Songbird". Two songs on totally different ends of the spectrum.

7. The album's title track Living Free features a female backing singer. How did you guys form this collaboration?

Laura Catalina Johnson is a close friend and she is the lead singer of a band called Strumberry Pie who are very popular in our area. She's a very passionate and fiery singer so she was the perfect choice to add vocals on to this song. Our original idea was to have two female backup singers but once she laid down her vocals we knew we didn't need anyone else.

8. Are you all happy with the feedback received surrounding Living Free?

The feedback we have gotten for this release is bigger and better then we ever dreamed of. Its been absolutely amazing!

9. CSJ has a deep soulful sound and it is something, which I think holds listeners ears. Is this a concept you guys had aimed for since forming CSJ?

I think its what we are influenced by and the music we all personally love. I love the soul singers of the 60's and 70's and I and the band are influenced by them and the bands they are in. I don't think we ever tried to pinpoint our sound to that concept, I just think its inside all of us.

10. I can hear the blues influences with CSJ. Reading about the band I can see that you have played with some artists from that scene. Does CSJ also have a blues rock/blues following?

We do. Its the scene we play in and the bands we seem to open for. Its a die hard fan base and we are happy they are onboard with us. Our shows are always so much fun and crazy because of that crowd. They believe in us and we so greatly appreciate it.

11. In your opinion what is the best practise to maintain longevity as a band?

Listen to each other. It helps the band grow and when others think their ideas are taken seriously they feel like a part of the team. It keeps the band more like family then just a bunch of musicians getting together. Of course all families fight but when you have that common respect, it really helps.

12. Who has CSJ you enjoyed supporting throughout your career?

We have a long list but some of my favorites have been Robbie Krieger of The Doors, Kings X, Johnny Winter, Bruce Dickinson and Gov't Mule (to just name a few).

13. What shows do you all remember the most?

The Johnny Winter shows and the Bruce Dickinson show. We got to hang with them, they really gave us good advice and even watched our show side stage. They also gave us good reviews. It was a great thrill to have legends dig us.

14. I'm not sure if you have played outside the US, but if not where would you all like to play?
We are actually working on that. We would like to go to the U.K., Germany and any place that will have us. How about Australia!

15. Who have been some of your favorite artists and bands throughout the years?
My favorites are Mark Farner of Grand Funk, Paul Rodgers of Free/Bad Company, Prince, Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes and I could probably list many more but those guys are some of my favorites.

16. What are the biggest changes CSJ has seen with rock and metal since you formed?

Its more underground then before. The music biz is all pop generated and although there are some great artists I think many more are left undiscovered or forgotten about because of this computer generated music. Give me a garage band playing their hearts out any day over the Biebers of the world.

17. Has CSJ started working on a follow up album to Living Free?

Yes we have and are shooting for a late 2017 release. If all goes well which it has so far. The songs are edgier and I'm digging the direction of the band. We are wearing our love of 70's classic rock on our sleeves for sure!

18. As musicians do you enjoy increasing collaborations with other artists?

We do. Its always fun to have musicians sit in on our shows and on our recordings. We have a new tune we are recording now that we are bringing in a popular harmonica player from our area in for. Its always cool to have special guests.

19. Are there any new bands you would recommend to our readers?

I am infatuated with The Marcus King Band, that's one to definitely check out. I also like Crobot.

If you like soul music, you have to check out Allen Stone! I've seen him 8 times over the last 3 years, the kids voice is unreal.

20. Do any of the members of CSJ play in any other bands?

We do but mostly cover material to keep the chops up.

Our drummer Dave does tour once in a while with Asbury legend John Eddie.

21. If there was something you could change about the music industry for the better what would that be?

The fact that we are unsigned for starters, LOL! I think its a hard business to get into and its a hard business to make a living in.

I think I'd like to see unsigned bands on tours. Could you imagine if a band got a shot to be part of something big just because they were great? How many new bands we'd all discover, it would be awesome.

22. When relaxing what do the members enjoy to do?

I love sports and concerts, hanging at a beach bar. Dave our drummer loves Funny Cars and Jet Fuel racing. The other guys just love being with their families, the beach and just any downtime they can get.

23. What other music do you all enjoy?

I love RB and Soul music. Prince, D'Angelo, Allen Stone and Terence Trent D'Arby. I am also a metal head. I love all styles but mostly Classic Rock, Soul and Metal. I think the guys are mostly influenced by Classic Rock, Funk and Soul.

24. What are some your favorite movies?

Rocky is my favorite movie ever. Caddyshack is another. I'm into a lot of the superhero movies too.

Thanks for answering the interview guys and I wish you all the best with future shows and music. Respect guys. Gaz, Ancient Visionz.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. We cannot thank you enough! All the best to you as well!

Colossal Street Jam

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Buy CSJ's 'Living Free' @ the link below.

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About Ancient Visionz

Gaz Visionz is a writer and Internet Radio DJ with the punk/metal show 'The Wastelands'. He is also a YouTube podcaster/creator, host of Ancient Visionz Talk Radio, co-host of Paradigm Radio with Planet X Films, and a passionate fan of hardcore punk, metal, underground hip hop, movies, science-fiction, comics, and indie film.
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