Jimmy Gnecco Interview
June 17, 2005
Jimmy Gnecco was gonna come from Los Angeles to New Orleans for James Hall's concert. When Hall heard this he had a great idea: why not get Gnecco to open for me? So, on Friday, June 17th at One Eyed Jacks, the Ours lead singer/guitarist/songwriter will be joined by Ours guitarist Vinnie Static onstage.
Gnecco will be on vacation from recording his third album for the second time in New Orleans. The first time was last August when Gnecco came through with Ours to play a three hour concert at The Parish while on break from recording with producer Rick Rubin. What we said about the concert:
"The guy's voice made my toes curl up. It was so powerful and beautiful. When he let go on one of his screams, it was worth the price of admission right there. Just when I got comfortable and happy because I thought he couldn't take his voice to a higher register, he did...Ours had a vibrant sound. Gnecco was out to move his audience emotionally, and at times I was moved...Ours had a video hit with "Sometimes" in 2001, but since then they've been off the radar. They were compared to Radiohead, but Ours was much more hard-rocking and straightforward. They got the voice and the dark mood comparison right, though."
So, I jumped ahead a little bit with the history. What was true is still so. Gnecco is still off the radar, but considering the two and a half years he's spent recording the new album and his positive feeling about the new material, it would only make sense that he has a large comeback in the works.
Gnecco has a soaring voice that pushes beyond the norm. He can create a sound of hysterical fear or anger that is frightening. At the same time, he can sing in a falsetto that is just as beautiful as Jeff Buckley's. Unfortunately, Gnecco has been accused of being very derivative of Buckley. Buckley is obviously an influence of Gnecco, but Gnecco is an exceptional songwriter in his own right. He creates intricate and wonderfully passionate soundscapes of noise with guitars. Gnecco uses horns, violins, and other instruments that proves he paints with broader strokes than Buckley. On top of that, he explores dark caverns with his ethereal music that Buckley wouldn't have dared venture into.
So, the new album is almost finished. LiveNewOrleans.Com thanks Gnecco for taking time from his recording schedule to do a phone interview recently. Here are some snippets.
On control: "When you can let go of control and feel it all come back to you, it's a great thing."
On Ours' split from Dreamworks in November of 2002: "Dreamworks saw some things coming they didn't tell us about. We were six songs into recording the new album, and they told us they sold the company."
On the new album: "It's more like the first and not like the last record. A lot of the drum grooves have a tribal sound. The primal tom tom thing going on adds a darkness...The new record feels warm to me. This is me at my best."
On the plan for the James Hall show: "We'll play a few new songs and some from the last two records. Then, James and Michael(Jerome) will play with us for one new song called 'Murder.' We haven't decided what the other one will be."
On his first Pleasure Club experience at L.A.'s Viper Room: "We(Ours) played a show with them. At this point, I had put out two records, and I was on my path. When I saw them, I thought that if I needed to carry their equipment, I would. I wanted to do whatever I could to get people to hear their music. From there on out, I went anywhere I could get to to see them."
On the work James and Michael did on the upcoming Ours album: "I knew that Michael would do a great job. He worked very hard. He spent four months shaping and re-working his parts...James played trumpet and violin."
On the first time he heard of James: "I heard of James in '97. While I was out on the road, people started to tell me about him. I knew back then that he was a bad-ass, that the guy didn't f--- around."