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No Rest for the Jaded: an interview with Steven James

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Stevin James and his band, Stevin James and the Jaded, have been making waves as of late playing gig after gig wherever they can. And with his new album ready to drop, things only seem to be getting better for the band as they were handpicked to open the music festival, Fiesta de la Flor, which celebrates the late local tejano superstar Selena on April 17.
Steven took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to sit and chat with us.

The Vent: How long have you been playing music?
Steven James: I got my first guitar when I was 12 and pretty much never left my room after that.
Spent my teens learning Nirvana, STP, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins.
Then my parents gave me some Jimi Hendrix and Beatles records and that really blew my mind.
I started my first band in 6th grade, and played my first live show in 7th grade. My parents had to drive me to shows at clubs in Houston when I was 14 because I wasn’t allowed in without a guardian.
My first time to record an album in an actual studio was when I was 14 with my first band.
After high school, I moved to Austin for college and really hit the ground running as a working musician after that.
That city taught me a lot about being a musician.
V: Are you originally from Corpus?
SJ: I grew up in Houston, but I’ve been coming down to Corpus Christi since I was a kid.
We’d come down here because the water was prettier than Galveston and there was more to do.
I moved here about 5 years ago with my wife, and we bought a home and planted roots. We really love it.
V: What kind of style do you describe your music as?
SJ: A lot of people say I sound like the singer from Kings of Leon, and I’ll take that because I love those guys.
Our sound is dirty Texas rock, with a little country thrown in the mix; definitely some indie vibes too.
Everybody in the band brings something of their own to the table.
Our lead guitar player Shae Vivant is an amazing guitar player who channels Stevie Ray Vaughn, while our drummer Adam Holloway likes more modern rock sounds like Mars Volta. Our bass player Romain Garnier is from Paris, France and loves any kind of indie-rock dance music.
How does it feel to get invited to play such a huge local event honoring someone as loved as Selena?
SJ: Selena is such an icon in Corpus Christi and Texas in general, so it’s a real honor for all of us to even be included in the same sentence as her.
When I moved here 5 years ago, I didn’t know a single person except my wife and my boss at the time.
To have worked hard to make connections with local venues and club owners, musicians, and music fans; it’s feels like being invited to play the festival is a culmination of all that hard work, and feels amazing. Like we’ve arrived in our hometown. We try to give back to Corpus Christi as much as we can. All our music videos are filmed here, and we always represent when we are on the road.
We also really appreciate being asked by the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to play. They have a great team over there right now who are thinking up big things for this city. This is only the beginning.
V: What does the festival mean to you?
SJ: I think it is a chance to really show a large audience what we are capable of. They say luck is when opportunity meets preparation, we’re very lucky to be included in this line-up. But, we’ve been preparing for an opportunity like this for several years now. We’re all excited and ready.
V: How awesome is it that you get to share the stage with so many Grammy winners?
SJ: We’re going to be totally starstruck opening up for Los Lobos. I’m a big fan! My Dad used to play them when I was a kid. They are great musicians and I’m really looking forward to watching every single band perform at that top level.
When can we get our hands on the new album?
SJ: YES! Our CD release party will be Saturday, April 11th at Executive Surf Club. We should announce an iTunes date right around then too. Right now we’re just trying to get all the artwork and packaging together and finished.
For this record I returned to my roots in Austin. I re-connected with my old producer, Lars Goransson at Sounds Outrageous Studios, who is from Sweden and got his break recording The Cardigans.
It was a real joy to connect with my old friend whom I haven’t seen in years. We are both total Rolling Stones and Beatles junkies, and he has all this vintage gear, some of which was actually used on Rolling Stones records, so it was like playtime for me recording each song.
We’re really swinging for the fences on this new album and I hope it resonates with music fans.

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