James Durbin: ‘I Never Wanted to Be the Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll Rock Star’
It’s been an amazing year for James Durbin. The vocalist rose to fame during season 10 of American Idol, continually spouting the phrase “give metal a chance.” After American Idol wrapped for the season, Durbin landed a record deal with Wind-up and began crafting his debut album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster.
Now, Durbin is ready to take his show on the road, walk the black carpet at the Golden Gods and serve as a role model for kids.
Durbin will serve as a spokesperson for the be a STAR Alliance, an anti-bullying initiative, co-founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE. Durbin is a rabid wrestling fan so the partnership makes sense. Living with Asperger’s and Tourette’s Syndrome and being relentlessly bullied while in school helps Durbin relate to kids on a personal level.
“I flew down to Miami and did two be a STAR events with WWE superstars at middle schools in Miami Dade county and it was absolutely incredible,” Durbin tells Noisecreep of his recent stop in Florida. “You show up, these kids know who you are and they idolize you. It’s so great to be a role model to these kids. They are so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It feels really good because you know there’s people out there who have let them down… they are being told our stories and we’re there telling them that if they are being bullied now, it’s not the end of the world and it’s not the rest of your life. We’re going to put an end to it… there’s a light on the horizon.”
In addition to his work with the be a STAR Alliance, Durbin speaks out about living with Asperger’s and Tourette’s in the documentary, Different is the New Normal: Living a Life with Tourette’s. The 60 minute film tells the story of 17-year-old Ariel Small, a Chicago teen living with Tourette’s Syndrome. Small reveals the highs and lows of his life… and gets to interview James Durbin in the process. Durbin explains that his management was approached about the film… and when he learned of Ariel’s story, he had help.
Watch Different is the New Normal: Living a Life with Tourette’s Trailer
“After I was told his story… it basically represented who I was and everything I had gone through,” explains Durbin. “Some of the things were pinpointed exactly what happened to me, happened to him. It was a no-brainer. I had to be a part of it. With whatever celebrity I’ve been given from Idol, I’m fortunate that I can put it to good use and inspire people. I never wanted to be the sex, drugs, rock n’ roll rock star. That typical sleaze bag. It’s about the music for me. It’s deeper than being a persona. I love to play music and it’s what I do to support myself and my family. For guys like Ariel who respect that … I’m just a boy with a dream and so is he.”
Revolver Magazine nominated Durbin for a “best vocalist” Golden God award. He’s up against Sebastian Bach, Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides), Amy Lee (Evanescence), Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch) and Jonathan Davis (Korn). He will also present during the April 11 ceremony.
The next day, on April 12, Durbin will return to the American Idol stage for a special performance. While he wasn’t allowed to reveal the song choice, he did drop a few hints.
“I’m honestly surprised about what song we’re doing, I’m very happy about it. I didn’t think it was going to be able to happen like this… it’s going to be big and make a splash and that’s what we’re excited about. It’s rock n’ roll. It doesn’t matter if it’s American Idol or anything else– we’re still gonna bring it just as much as if we were anywhere else.”
Durbin and his band will also hit the road this month and will provide support for Buckcherry on certain stops. You can also catch James Durbin live at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio on May 20.
April 12 Los Angeles, CA The Viper Room
April 17 Austin, TX Stubbs w/Evanescence
Apr 18 Corpus Christi, TX Brewster St. Ice House
April 21 Lubbock, TX Xfest – radio show – pavilion stage at Lonestar Amp
Apr 24 Odessa, TX Dos Amigos *
Apr 25 Houston, TX Warehouse Live *
Apr 26 Little Rock, AR Juanita’s *
Apr 27 St Louis, MO Pops Nite Club *
Apr 28 Concho, OK Lucky Star Casino *
May 3 Panama City, FL Club LaVela *
May 5 Miami, OK Buffalo Run Casino *
May 11 Clear Lake, IA Surf Ballroom *
May 16 Winston Salem, NC Ziggys *
May 17 Baltimore, MD The Power Plant Live *
May 18 Huntington, NY Paramount *
May 19 Santa Cruz, CA Beach Boardwalk
May 20 Columbus, OH Rock On The Range
May 21 Clifton Park, NY Northern Lights *
May 23 Knoxville, TN Valarium *
May 24 Biloxi, MS Hard Rock Live *
May 27 Carlsbad, NM Walter Gerels PAC *
* are performances with Buckcherry