Long Live Rock 'N' Roll

17 February 2018 by Ron Willemsen

He has been making a name for himself in recent years as the singer for Carmine and Vinny Appice’s ‘Drum Wars’ project as well as the singer of the tribute band Hair Nation and, most recently, for Appice, the band. Besides that he also released four solo records and played on several tribute albums. His little black book is filled with names and numbers of famous music friends. So it comes as no surprise that when it was time for his fourth solo album he approached some of them. He might not be the best known singer in the world, he for sure is a force to be reckoned with. HeadBangers LifeStyle spoke with Jim Crean who is born and raised in Buffalo, New York.

Jim, when did you start singing and was there a special reason you started?

,,I started at the age of 13 and started performing live a few years later. The reason? The love of music!’’

And when did you know you wanted to do this for a living?
,,I always felt a strong connection with music and knew right away that I wanted to do it professionally as a career.’’

Who are your influences as a singer?
,,I have many influences. Singers such as Ronnie James Dio, Steven Tyler, Frank DiMino, Robin Zander, Phil Naro & Mike Tramp.’’

In Europe you are not as known as you are in the United States. How are you going to change that?
,,Well with our new Appice album and my solo album ‘Insatiable’ both being released in Europe, my name is becoming more recognized and we plan on touring Europe soon. I have been getting a lot of radio air play in Europe so that has helped as well.’’

There are 2 main reasons for this introduction. Your role as one of the singers on ‘Sinister’ by Appice and your 4th solo album called ‘Insatiable’.

First of all, how did you become a part of the Appice family? You played with them on the ‘Drum Wars’ tour in the USA, you’re the singer of Appice and you’re on Carmine Appice’s record label Rocker Records… That is a whole lotta Appice.
,,I have been with The Appice Brothers for many years now as their touring singer. I did a few shows early on and became the voice for Appice. In 2014 we recorded and released a live album on Cleopatra Records worldwide and we just released Appice's ‘Sinister’ (2017). My last solo album ‘Insatiable’ was released on Carmine’s Label Rocker Records and has been doing really well with international distribution.’’

You are in the music business for 38 years, Carmine for almost 50. Does he still give you advice?
,,Yes, he gives me a lot of advice on things but also gives me a lot of respect and acknowledges the fact that I am a seasoned veteran vocalist who has a lot to offer, not only to the live performances but also with my song writing capabilities.’’

You released your 4th solo album ‘Insatiable’ a while back. The album contains mainly cover songs. Why? Why did you pick those songs? Do they have a special meaning for you?

,,The cover songs on the record all just kind of happened that way. The Kiss cover of ,,Magic Touch” was previously released on a Kiss Tribute Album ‘A World With Hero’s’, that the great rock journalist Mitch Lafon had put together. The LA Guns song ,,Over the Edge” happened because my dear friend Phil Lewis of LA Guns agreed to sing background vocals on the record and I felt that it would be cool to re-make that great track with him as guest background vocalist. Another very good friend of mine is Mike Tramp of White Lion fame. Mike also agreed to guest vocal on the album, so we decided to do the Freak Of Nature [Tramp’s former band] song ,,Can’t Find My Way” as a duet style. The song came out great and we filmed a video for that song. The Dio cover ,,Caught In The Middle” came together while out on tour, me and Vinny [Appice] thought it would be a great idea to cover a Dio song for the record. We asked Jimmy Bain [Dio/Rainbow] to play bass on it and while out on tour I had one of my influences Frank DiMino [Angel] come up and sing a few songs with us. He was such a cool guy, that I asked him to guest on my new record, so we did the song as a duet. The song came out great and is a highlight on the record and proved to be one of Jimmy Bain’s last recordings before his untimely passing.’’

Why not all self-written material?
,,The original material on the record I feel is very strong.’’

You have an impressive list of guests on the album. How did you manage to get all these people to participate?
,,They are all my friends in the business that I have known throughout the years, and I just reached out to them to see if they would be willing to appear on the record. They all came to my side really easily.’’

‘Insatiable’ is 2 years old already. Isn’t it time for anything new?
,,Yes! I am currently in the recording process of making a follow up record. All the songs are written and demo-ed out and I am very excited for the world to hear this record. I have the amazingly talented French guitarist Steph Honde [Paul Dianno of Iron Maiden/Hollywood Monsters/Chris Holmes of WASP] on the record along with many BIG name guest musicians. I am looking for a summer release.’’

You are also the singer of a tribute band called Hair Nation. At the moment there is a real revival of hair metal bands going on. How do you benefit from that?

,,My tribute band HAIR NATION has won many music awards and we have been together for 18 years. We have opened for just about every band you can think of from the hair band era and I have made many contacts and friendships from this. It also helps keep my voice in great shape, singing some of the hardest songs to sing.’’

What advice would you give to kids who want to become a singer/musician as well?
,,Just believe in yourself and only do it because you feel it. Make it REAL!’’

Where can we see you on stage?
,,Out on tour with APPICE, Hair Nation and the Jim Crean Band.’’

Any chance of seeing you in Europe for example with the Appice Brothers?
,,Yes, that is the plan to play some of the bigger festivals.’’

If you could pick your favourite musicians for your own band who would it be and why?

,,Ironically enough I have played with most of my favourite musicians and I play with the two best drummers in the world with APPICE.’’

You have 38 years of experience in the music world. What are the biggest changes since you started? Best change? Worst change?
,,The best change is the resurgence of Arena Rock Music! The worst change was when the grunge movement came and really there hasn’t been anything since.’’
Follow JIM CREAN on Facebook and visit the Website here