The Ultimate Jam Night Interviews with Simon Daniels of Autograph
You never know who is going to take to the stage during Ultimate Jam Night at the world famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. For the 71st edition of the show, Simon Daniels from the chart topping Autograph arrived to rock the capacity crowd at the iconic nightclub. The songs performed by Daniel’s versatility as a vocalist and guitarist
Prior to the show, we caught up with Simon Daniels backstage at The Whisky to discuss his participation with Ultimate Jam Night, as well as current happenings with the hard rockin’ Autograph including songs from new EP entitled Louder. Also discussed were adventures with his previous band Jailhouse, and other raging topics of interest. Read on…
How did you wind up involved with Ultimate Jam Night and how many have you done?
This is my second one and I got involved because I’m from LA and actually this is my scene. I’ve been here since the 80s and I know everyone from every band and the clubs. This just started at the Whisky not too long ago. Fairly recently. And I was playing a show with Autograph and ran into Chuck Wright and he was playing with Quiet Riot and he said “Hey, have you gone to Jam?” And I said no. He said you got to come next week, it’s pumping and stuff. So I came the following week and checked it out. So I came the first time and I love the whole atmosphere. The team is excellent. I wish people in the world would be this organized.
What can one expect from your show tonight, especially those who may have missed it?
Well we are going to do two songs – Hair of the Dog by Nazareth and Love Removal Machine by The Cult with our take on it. There’s going to be some jamming, some guitar solos. You are going to see some extensions at the end of the songs and stuff. So it should be real fun. Hard rock, in your face.
Let talk about a few of the new Autograph songs from the Louder EP. “Every Generation” tell me what inspired that song.
Well you know, if we think about it, we all notice that it’s common that every generation wants to be the happening one. The one that is – that knows better. That is the coolest. That’s been happening all along, from the 60s to the 70s. Then every generation thinks the other one, the past ones are not as intelligent, not as cool. You know? But there is a certain common desire which is to shine and to succeed and to be loved. And that never changes. Just the infrastructure of it changes. So that’s why it says in the chorus the need is the same. It’s just another generation, but the need is the same. So that’s basically, it’s not condemning it or complementing it. It’s just sort of describing what it is.
“I Lost My Mind In America.”
Well, you can look at things always from two perspectives, there is a positive and a negative. So once again I leave it kind of open. And when you say you lost your mind, that’s not something bad necessarily. Because when you don’t have your mind, you’re working out of your spirit quite a bit. So you don’t have a computer manipulating. But it has a little bit of that twist. So for me especially because I moved here in 1985 from Brazil and I’ve been here now for 30 years and I’ve always loved the lifestyle and the culture since I’ve been here, so I just thought that the name America would represent America and the whole world in, and the universe, because it’s so universal sounding. So I Lost My Mind In America for me is I found myself in America.
How close is Autograph in writing a new full length album?
It’s going great. We have these five songs and we are going to add another five, which two are already to be mixed and three other ones have to be tracked. But there is already instruments, drums and parts. And I can give you a couple of titles so you have an idea.
One of the songs is called “Meet me Halfway,” I don’t want to give it away, but it’s sarcasm. Meet me half way but basically do everything I tell you to do. [laughs]. There’s a song that’s really going to get everybody up, it’s called “Get Off Your Ass.” It’s euphorically exciting. Those are two examples and there’s going to be a real moody / cool ballad too. Really sincere, from the heart called “All I Own,” and then two more. Those five plus five more so ten songs on the CD.
What was the experience like playing Cathouse Live at Irvine Meadows?
It was very hot in every angle you can imagine. It was great because it’s such a wide open scenario. It was so hot you really had to focus on not fainting and at the same time delivering. That’s a give and take as a performer that you learn on stage where to save your energy and where to go full on. You can’t just go full on for the whole thing, and that wouldn’t give your dynamics if you did that. So it was very important in that situation to do that because of the heat. If you just did too much right away in the first song, you’d probably fall. I heard people’s shoes were melting and stuff.
But it was awesome, because it was the first time that Autograph, this lineup, played in California. For two years we’d been traveling, the drummer is from here too, but Randy moved to Georgia and Steve is in Florida. So a lot of the shows that we did, the tours were Northeast, East coast and some south. Middle of the US, so that was the first time in California. We had the second show here which was like a record release in January at The Whisky. That was kind of, I guess the second time and I don’t remember if there was a third time.
The Rainbow Anniversary show…
Exactly. Go figure. That was really cool because I played The Roxy so many times and playing behind The Roxy was something different. That was pretty cool at the sunset. I remember looking as the sun was going down and there was a lot of people, it was just blue sky and the mountains. I had never had that perspective from that stage and I remember just really enjoying it a lot. I was feeling a lot of love and feeling a lot of great energy from the people. I really loved that gig. Even though I almost forgot about it. One of my favorites, [laughs].
Has Steve Plunkett (original lead vocalist of Autograph) heard your singing, have you met him?
I did not meet him but Randy is friends with him so they’re in touch. There’s another guy that was his manager before that I know as well. So we’re in the same circle, but I heard good things. He gave us his blessing, he didn’t want to do it again. He thought it was, from what I heard, he was very happy with what I was doing because I’m not trying to emulate anybody. I’m just being me and putting what I am into it. That’s what we’re gonna do here.
Are you still involved with Jailhouse?
Not really. What happened was, in 2013 there was a reunion show just for fun on The Monsters of Rock Cruise. Without one of the guitar players. I played guitar so it was a four piece. Then on that cruise is when I was referred to the Autograph thing. That cruise was already kind of a fun reunion. There wasn’t anything that we followed up with. I’m in touch with them all the time, we’re all in the same circle. Now they’re reforming Rough Cutt, the guitar player produces a bunch of things for Disney. Matt, the bass player, he records everything and has a great recording studio. All of my solo stuff I did it with him, the bass player from Jailhouse previously. Then we’re all going on the cruise again. All of these people, Autograph and the Jailhouse people and the Rough Cutt people. It’s one big thing. I’m very involved in Autograph because there’s a chemistry and a friendship with the other members that is – hard to describe. It’s so natural. When things are easy and effortless, something is right. Everything just flows. So I am very, very grateful for playing with those guys. They were great friends as well. We can rely on each other and everybody has really good business sense, friendship sense – and musically everybody contributes. All the parts in the songs, everybody came up with their own part. It is a band effort. It’s always a band effort.
Any messages for Autograph fans?
Come see us because we’re playing only all Autograph material. It’s heavier, we’re not using keyboards. We’re more guitar oriented. The vocals are there, the melodies are there. The riffs are there. Everything is there, just a little heavier and deeper. The new songs, you get to see that too. The new songs are like an extension of what it was jumping 25 years with a little more updated sound.
Thank you to Lisa Woodard and Ultimate Jam Night for setting up this interview. Be sure to check out Ultimate Jam Night every Tuesday at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)