By Todd Houston
Following is an interview with Rockford native Jason West.
Rockford Rocked Interviews (RRI): What has Jason West been up to since leaving Rockford over 14 years ago? (Try to keep it down to a couple sentences, if possible.) (laughs)
Jason West (JW): Well, a lot of things, actually. When I first left Rockford, I moved down to Sarasota, Florida, and got hooked up with a blues artist from Houston, Texas, named Sherman Robertson. He is a killer singer and guitarist! I started touring with him and playing shows touring internationally, etc. We toured all over Europe, and did some shows here in the states as well.
Next, I got hooked up with Sarasota-based metal band Neurotica. We released a record on the WWE label, Smackdown Records. We also did the Ozzfest tour in 2002! Needless to say, their label did not last very long, and the band split up shortly after that tour.
I then packed it up and headed to San Antonio, Texas, to join the industrial metal band Pitbull Daycare! I played with those guys for about six years, toured the country numerous times with bands like the Genatortures, Mushroom Head, Dope and Ministry, just to name a few. We released two records: Unclean, which was on Cleopatra Records, and You, Me and The Devil Make Three, which we released on our own label. Pitbull Daycare lasted until 2007.
Next was a tour playing drums for ex-Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach. We did a few headlining shows in Japan, then toured Australia and New Zealand opening for Guns N’ Roses. That was a crazy fun tour!
In 2011, I got hooked up with the Murderdolls, which features Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison and Wednesday 13. My first experience with them was playing the Soundwave festival in Australia in front of about 10,000 people with no rehearsal! It was a little nerve-wrecking, but ended up turning out great, and it was a lot of fun.
RRI: So in other words, you haven’t been doing jack s—! (laughs) You grew up in a musical family. How much of an influence were your father and uncle on your wanting to be a musician?
JW: They were a huge influence on me! My dad was a killer drummer! He was with the Daggers there in Rockford for a while. I remember him always playing killer music around the house — Deep Purple, The Sweet, Montrose, Cheap Trick, just to name a few. I also remember right when CDs first came out, the first CD he bought was Cheap Trick Live at Budokon!. Something in me just clicked after listening to that album, and I think that was when I decided that I wanted to give drumming a try.
RRI: Who were your favorite local area bands growing up?
JW: There were so many I could never name all of them, but a few were The Names, Ript, Sarcoma and Pure Aggression.
RRI: Tell us why and when you left Rockford.
JW: It just didn’t seem to be working out there for me. I just felt I needed to branch out. Besides, it was too damn cold!
RRI: What was playing with former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach’s band like? Is Baz the jerk everyone says he is, or is he just mainly misunderstood?
JW: (Laughs) He is definitely misunderstood! He was always cool to me, and we had a ton of fun jamming together.
RRI: You opened for Guns N’ Roses in Europe while with The Baz man. What was that like?
JW: It was pure insanity!!! We were playing in front of 20,000 people every night! It was so much fun. The after parties were as well. I never imagined in a million years that I would be in Australia, hanging out with Sebastian Bach and Axl Rose, drinking and jamming out to Cheap Trick! Craziness!
RRI: Your band The Murderdolls wore a lot of face paint, not unlike a lot of the other bands. Do you ever feel silly painting your face, or does the crowd really go for it?
JW: It is something that I never did before, but it’s fun. The whole Murderdolls-Wednesday 13 crowd is really into that stuff.
RRI: What’s next for Jason West?
JW: More music and touring! Busy, busy!
RRI: Thanks, Jason!
From the Dec. 24-30, 2014, issue