Although he is not the antagonist in the classic pop punk song If U See Jordan, there is a definitely Something Corporate connection here. Jordan Thompson is the frontman for Striking Back and his new recording The Restless EP was produced by Jim Wirt, who has worked with Andrew McMahon on both his Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin projects. And while in high school, Thompson’s previous band opened for Something Corporate and hung out with them after the show. Everything has come full circle, and The Restless EP is certainly a passionate, introspective work well worth checking into. Here is an interview we recently conducted with Jordan Thompson…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Striking Back, and how long the project has been together.
Hello, I’m Jordan Thompson. I’m from Seattle, WA and I write songs that will melt your face off. Striking Back started with me and my acoustic guitar (Nele–who got stolen shortly after) in August 2009. After recording The Restless EP with Jim Wirt last year, I’ve finally put my band together. They are rad. I’m excited.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Well, my first attempt to make people pay for my music was in high school–so I guess I’m out of Prosser, WA. It’s a small town in the wine country of eastern Washington–where high school football rules all, and people actually still think pot should be illegal. Here’s the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosser,_Washington. The music scene was (and mostly still is) non-existent in that region, but we proudly produced Loudermilk (eventually Gosling), and Sir Mix-a-Lot–but that’s about it. Seattle has always been the promise-land in my mind.
What made you decide to go with the Striking Back for your band’s moniker?
Well, it’s all about “striking back” against the things in my life that prevent me from being who I want to be. I worked a corporate job for 3 years prior to this–and I won’t say I regret it (the money helped). But I will never sit in a cubicle again. Fuck that. But it was about other things, too. Unhealthy relationships, money, crutches–I’ve refuse to let those things get in my way.
How did you wind up opening for Something Corporate and with your previous band Fighting For Nothing and were they cool to hang out with?
Well, it was really just a stroke of luck. That was actually FFN’s first official show. My girlfriend was on the school’s activities board–what can I say? What’s hilarious is that the crowd HATED us, haha. FFN was total metal. Anyway, yes–they were totally cool to hang out with. They watched our set (which was cool by itself), but they also came out to my apartment after the show and partied until the sun came up. That’s how I first heard about Jim Wirt (Andrew was finishing up Everything in Transit with Jack’s Mannequin at the time). That was in 2005–funny how things have come full circle.
What do you think of the Something Corporate song If U C Jordan?
“Fuuuuuck youuuuu Jordaaaaaan!” Let’s just say that every one of my friends sang that to me for months after our show with SoCo.
What made you decide to go on your own and what happened to Fighting For Nothing?
FFN just kinda fizzled out. None of our hearts were in it. After that ended, I thought I was done with trying to “make it.” But, after a couple years in a corporate job, and becoming a pretty unhappy person, I wrote Dark Day Afternoon, got Jim’s attention, left my job, spent all my money…and here we are. Now I have a bad-ass EP, and a bad-ass band. I’m a happy kid.
Your producer Jim Wirt has worked with a lot of classic bands. What was it like working with him and did he give you any good advice?
Working with Jim was absolutely amazing. It was also a bizarre experience, because we never actually met until the day we started recording. I actually lived in the studio (in a little loft) in Santa Monica during the 14 days we recorded. I was pretty damn nervous when we got started, but we hit it off–I love that guy. We definitely hang out every time I come to LA–and I’ve found a good friend out of this. When it comes to his talent…when I try to relatively quantify my artistic ability, I say it’s about the size of a golf ball. Jim’s is at least the size of a beach ball. I don’t know how else to say it. When I came into the studio, I was concerned about his ability to help me realize his vision. As we got going, I quickly understood that I should be concerned about HIS vision–because it was MUCH doper than my vision.
Being from Seattle, how much were you into the grunge scene and are you a fan of Nirvana?
Well, I completely missed out on the scene. I never got into Nirvana until 1996–two years after Kurt died, but I was in 7th grade and lived in the middle of no-where. I truly love Nirvana, and I love their songs. They are my favorite Seattle band of all time, hands down. I cried when I watched the Unplugged in New York DVD when it came out last year. Yeh. I’m also a very big Foo Fighters fan.
Please cite two songs from your new EP and what inspired you to write the lyrics.
Restless. Read the full lyrics here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDGR8FkeUtw
It’s basically about finding a sense of purpose. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Who am I as a person? How do other people see me? Why am I spending time with the people that I’m spending time with? Why do I feel like I’m holding out for something? These questions are consistently very hard to answer, and it brings me a lot of anxiety. I don’t want to waste my life on trivial BS, but I know I do it all the time.
Dark Day Afternoon. Read the full lyrics here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY824l1D5UU
It’s basically about being a confused person. Writing that song helped me deal with a lot of that confusion. I feel a lot of people from our generation have felt torn between different paradigms–those cultural expectations from our grandparents, our own parents, and then the people in our own generation. Also, we are torn between the cultures than define who we are. For instance, I’m defined by Prosser (conservative, loyal), I’m defined by Seattle (progressive, independent), I’m defined by the musical community I belong to (unstructured, competitive). I’ve let a lot of those aspects of my life determine who I am–and that seemed to constantly change as I jumped between groups. I felt like I lost who I was, and the song is about me accepting my faults and discovering who I really am.
What was the name of the very first song you wrote, how old were you, and what inspired you to write it?
Well, I started writing original material when I was about 7, when I started taking piano lessons. Too bad for us, I didn’t own any recording devices until I was like 14. The first song I can remember having a name was “Legacy.” Man, I was a depressed little bleeding heart when I was younger. The song was completely about hating myself for ruining my relationship with my girlfriend. There’s actually a studio recording of it!
Have you ever played here in the Los Angeles area and/or plan to do so in the future?
I love LA. I recorded my record (and lived during that time) in Santa Monica, and have made some great friends. My management is also out of LA, and I come down pretty regularly. But, no. We haven’t played in LA yet, but we are making plans!
Do you have any messages for people reading this now who might want to check your music out?
Give Striking Back a chance. I can proudly say that we are some awesome, genuine people. Every penny and every second I have is dedicated to this thing, and I need your support. If you don’t care, we’ve already lost. Oh yeh, our record is coming out on June 15th–buy that shit! 😛 And our website is www.strikingbackmusic.com
Interview by Kenneth Morton