BY JULIA CIRIGNANO
Hard rockers Black ‘N Blue are coming back to New England for the first time in over 30 years! The band will be making a stop at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., on July 20th. Local rock band Sinners Inc. will open the show. Click HERE for tickets!
“We haven’t been to the Northeast since the Asylum tour with KISS in 1985,” said original vocalist Jamie St. James. “Believe it or not, we’ve never played in Canada even though we recorded our second record Without Love in Vancouver BC. So, this is going to be great for a lot of people who might never have seen us live.”
While the original members of Black ‘N Blue have been playing music together on and off since 1981, they are always eager to perform on stage for their loyal fans.
“We have our original bass player Patrick Young and drummer Pete Holmes and, of course, me. In addition we have Brandon Cook and Bobby Capka on guitars,” St. James said. “The band is still sounding great and we play all the old tunes from the four Geffen records and maybe a song off the 2011 release Hell Yeah!. We rock hard and loud!”
Black ‘N Blue toured with the notorious KISS in the mid-80s and St. James recalled their tour with them.
“We had a blast!” St. James said. “The year before we were out with Aerosmith and it was KISS next so that was crazy for me as I was a huge fan of both those bands. I used to sit in the arenas and watch the KISS sound checks. Paul [Stanley] would ask me what I wanted to hear and I would call out old KISS tunes. They’d play em for me!!! Last show of the tour Paul said ‘check this out’ and they played our song ‘Without Love’!!!”
Gene Simmons of KISS ended up producing two Black ‘N Blue albums after touring together: Nasty Nasty (1986) and In Heat (1988). St. James talked about what Simmons was like as a producer.
“He was and probably still is a great producer,” St. James said. “He let us be ourselves and really dug in with us during pre-production and writing. Of course he kept a damn tight budget. We had a hell of a lot of laughs as well. It was a great time in my life.”
Black ‘N Blue is also associated with KISS because their former guitarist Tommy Thayer replaced Ace Frehley in KISS in 2002. Thayer and St. James founded Black ‘N Blue together in 1981. Although Thayer made the decision to play for KISS instead, he is still on good terms with the remaining members of Black ‘N Blue and the door is always open for his return.
“Tommy is welcome on stage with us anytime he wants,” St. James said. “He and I started the band in 1981 and we played in bands together even before that. He is and always will be a great friend of mine and ours. Tommy and I wrote most everything Black ‘N Blue did so he has a big place in his heart for our music. He’s got a pretty good gig though right now.”
With a vast history in rock ‘n roll, Black ‘N Blue hasn’t released any new music since 2011 when they released Hell Yeah!. When asked about future recordings, St. James said, “There are no plans at this time. I love being in the studio and creating new music but it’s a different world now. Never say never.”
Looking back on the band’s five studio albums, St. James likes them all but does have a favorite.
“I like them all for different reasons but I think my favorite is Without Love,” he said. “It should have been huge.”
In 2013, guitarist Brandon Cook joined the band, replacing Jeff “Woop” Warner. Cook has managed to fit into the chemistry of the band family perfectly and will be premiering his skills on tour this summer.
“He fits very well. He brings lots of energy to the group and his personality fits well.” St. James said about Cook. “That’s just as important as being a killer player. You gotta deal with bandmates like family members at times only we get to choose them…the three original members just happen to be allergic to assholes!”
Since co-founding Black N’ Blue in 1981, St. James appreciates his success over the years and has a ton of amazing memories.
“The creativity, the fun, the live performances, the friends we have made along the way and being able to look back on all that I have achieved since this kid of 13 years old decided he just had to play music and rock,” he explained.
The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets are available online by clicking HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. Parking is free.