Although some metal fans may remember him as the original frontman of Tigertailz, for almost thirty years Steevi Jaimz has performed with numerous groups including Treason and Jaimz Gang, whilst his most recent album, My Private Hell, has proved to be one of the most renowned of his career.
Jaimz discusses his early days, his rise to fame and his recent comeback.
Do you recall which artists or albums first made you want to be a rock star and what were your early influences?
First LP I ever got was Led Zeppelin. My dad gave me it when I was around 11 years old. Still gives me a buzz when I hear Communication Breakdown, I thought it was so heavy back then. Later I got into a lot of US bands; favourites were Black Oak Arkansas, and early Aerosmith. Jim Dandy was a big influence on me for sure.
When did you perform your first gig and what do you remember about that night?
My first gig was for Treason back in the very early 80s. I really don’t remember too much about it to be honest, I think we thought we were on the road to making it really big, hahahahaha. Those naive early days were great on the whole, though. Guess I really enjoyed it, ‘cos I carried on doing it.
Some of your earlier projects include Treason and Crash KO (both of which with drummer Ace Finchum), what do you recall of this era and how did these bands differ to your later work?
It was great fun back then, young and carefree. Treason were a NWOBHM band, completely different to later bands I was involved in. Crash KO, on the other hand, were way ahead of our time to be honest. Glam in look but with heavy tunes. It was just great being in those bands, I remember it all with a lot of fondness. There were so many bands coming out at that time all over the country. It all seems like another lifetime ago now.
How did you first become involved with Tigertailz and did you always intend for it to be a glam rock band?
I joined Tigertailz through an advert I found in Sounds, a weekly UK paper/magazine. They were already a glam-style band before I joined, albeit without any decent material. We changed dramatically after I got involved.
How difficult was it to land gigs and promote a band such as Tigertailz in Wales and how did you land your first big break?
It was much easier in those days to play and build up a following. But the Welsh audience were, shall we say, a little difficult at first. We landed our first real break by getting on the Tokyo Blade UK and European tour.
Was the writing and recording of the group’s debut album, Young & Crazy, an enjoyable experience and how would you describe the relationship between band members?
I was so drunk back then I hardly remember the process of the Young & Crazy record. As far as I can recall though, it was fun most of the time. Although relationships were starting to get a little frayed even by then. And it was the second time we had recorded that record too, we had done it months before in Wales independently, but the record company wanted it all redone.
What are your thoughts regarding the metal scene at that time, both in the UK and Los Angeles?
It was great, electric everywhere at that time. All good for everyone.
Despite the album achieving modest success you left the band soon afterwards. What prompted this decision and how do you feel about Tigertailz re-recording Living’ Without You with a new singer and its subsequent success?
It’s all been well documented in the past… It just reached an inevitable end, and I was drinking so much it was for the best for all involved.
I wrote Livin’ Without You in 1985, it’s still one of TTz‘s best known tunes. Even though I say so myself, it’s a great tune. Can’t say I cared for their updated version though.
After you left the band and they recruited Kim Hooker to replace you Tigertailz went in a new direction with their second album, Bezerk. What are your thoughts on that record and their new style?
Can’t say I’ve documented their career to be fair.
How soon after leaving Tigertailz did you form St. Jaimz and did you feel under pressure to match the success you had already achieved?
Between 6-8 months. Not under pressure, but it was very tough starting up and making a fresh start all over again. And kind of exciting all at the same time.
Other groups that you have performed with over the years include Jaimz Gang and War Party. Do you constantly try to avoid repeating yourself with each project and did you feel pigeonholed in the glam genre?
I have always played the music I like playing. But, unfortunately whatever I did or do, I have always been pigeonholed and castigated. I guess I’ll never be able to leave the past behind.
How did your latest album My Private Hell come about? How long did the entire process of writing and recording take and how do you feel you have progressed as an artist over the years?
It all started with my meeting Chris Laney, guitarist, songwriter, producer over the Internet. We started to demo tunes, and it went so well that we decided to write the album. The record took a long time to finish, mainly due to the fact that it was all self financed. So basically the recording had to be done when I had the money and when the guys had the time. Which was tough ‘cos they were both so busy producing other artists. But it was worth the effort, as it turned out fukkin’ great! It’s not so much a case of progressing, My Private Hell is totally different and way better than anything I’ve been involved with in the past. And working with pros showed me how it should be done properly. It’s just a great rock record in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the current metal scene and how have you managed to adapt and survive through so many changes in taste (such as grunge, nu-metal, etc)?
Music constantly evolves, changes and then reappears in fads. I think it’s healthy, and nothing lasts forever. And I have always tried to be true to myself and always will be.
Have you found that fans and press have been supportive of your last album and how were you able to promote it?
Surprisingly the press were really nice about it. It made most critics top ten of 2009. And the fans loved it, they are the people I did it for, so that’s very pleasing. We’ve only promoted it in Europe recently. We’re due to play a couple of shows here in the UK in September though, one in London. That’ll actually be the first London show for well over 5 years, so I’m really looking forward to that a lot.
What plans do you have for the future and what new challenges are you hoping to face?
To promote My Private Hell as much as possible… You can never guess what’s around the corner, so it’s a case of living everyday and taking whatever comes your way.