Red Sparowes Bassist Calls Jamey Jasta ‘the James Brown of Hardcore’
Long before he was a member of instrumental post-hardcore outfit Red Sparowes, who have an album called ‘The Fear Is Excruciating, but Therein Lies the Answer’ due in stores April 6, bassist Greg Burns lived in New Haven, Conn., and played in this little hardcore band called Jasta 14. Now defunct, the band famously featured Jamey Jasta on vocals before he started barking for Hatebreed.
All these years later, Burns, who now lives in California, looks back on those early days fondly and recalled for Noisecreep what it was like meeting a young Jamey Jasta, perhaps one of the most determined teenagers the world’s ever known.
“I went to high school with Jamey, and it was the kind of thing where I think I was a sophomore when he was a freshman. And he came in, and there were different cliques at the school,” Burns explains. “Half of the school were punks and the other half were gangsta kids. It was a weird school. He started hanging out right away, but everyone was like, ‘Who’s this kid?’ He didn’t play an instrument, and we were all playing music, and we had our group of friends that we’d play with. But he stuck in there and he’s just a very natural hardcore singer. He’s always had a great voice. He always knew what he wanted to do, and there was never any question in his mind.”
Burns says at 16 he and the rest of the band were doing everything “we could to pay for a rehearsal space.” But no one worked “harder than Jamey. He works harder than anyone I knew, and still does. He’s like the James Brown of hardcore, and I learned a lot from him. I have never forgotten that work ethic.”
Red Sparowes, which also features Isis guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer, will be touring the spring in support of the new disc with Doomriders, Caspian and Fang Island. But fans should not expect to hear the band’s tunes as they sound on their albums.
“When we play, we don’t try to sound exactly like the record,” the bassist says. “There isn’t a lot of improvisation. But we do improvise. Every show is different, in that way, which, to me, is important as a player, because I get bored playing the same songs every night exactly the same way. We also have projections live, a pretty big screen will be set up. We have a mix of projections so there is that visual element. We try to create an atmosphere and have a setting for what we do.”