St James Bassist Robert Jacobs Interviewed

The band that audiences loved to hear in the late 1980’s still sparks interest today. From coast to coast, they brought the house down.

How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?

I was 13 and needed something to do and saw a picture of KISS in a newspaper and became curious. I heard Alive and that sealed the deal I know what I wanted to do! Then Van Halen Came along and I really fell in love with Music.

How did you become a bassist? Are you proficient in any other instruments ?

I started playing bass because my brother James the guitar player in St James was already playing guitar. I wanted to do something different and I started admiring Geddy Lee from Rush. I also play guitar, but I learned it to do some writing and also to learn how to follow along and jam…

What was the local scene in Connecticut like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?

Connecticut never had a big scene. I was long time friends with the guys from Steelheart and even started working on a record with their singer Mike who goes by Milli now. He had just started to get better from the stage accident that had given him what was later found out to be a traumatic brain injury and we started going through songs for a St James records. Our visions were different and I could tell he wasn’t completely better. We ended up parting ways and he hasn’t returned a call or e-mail since. You can watch the accident that hurt him on youtube. Steelheart used to be called Red Alert and they were a huge part of the scene. I was too young for Twisted Sister, but they were legendary. The scene did have a lot of great producers I got to work with or just hung out with: Felix Cavaliere from the Young Rascals, Paul Leka who worked with Steelheart, REO Speedwagon, Harry Chapin,and Earl Cohen who engineered all of the Lady Gaga Record.

Has there been times when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?

We always put the music first we liked to drink…we liked to have fun and hiding in a closet snorting powder did not seem like a way to meet people and have a good time. There were some gigs where the alcohol did make it a good time.

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How would you best describe your sound?

East Coast commercial AOR Rock.

Is doing ticket pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?

Not really if the gig is guaranteed…. we never had that issue back in the day we would sell out 1500 seat theaters on out own.

What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?

Kiss Alive was the first… I probably own 5 copies of Pearl Jam Ten… I love that band… my dream is to be able to jam with them someday…

Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?

40,000 we did a radio gig with The Hooters from Philadelphia. they had two big hits at that time All You Zombies and And we danced it was for WPLR in New Haven Connecticut… amazing time they closed all of the roads down.

Is commercial rock radio dead?

It was suicide by playing the same songs over and over… so yes, but it may comeback but it won’t be the same

Favorite songs on the new album and why?

This is a new old record…I would have to say Shelter Me it deals with mental Illness and how it effects people…. Jim did a great job at putting anxiety and depression into words.. Jim ahd been writing a lot and we have a lot of new material for what will be a great new record.. we are going to start once Carl gets a break… he has a lot of things going on with The Rods right now, but we talk all of the time and we’re putting material together

Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?

Probably “Princess of Pain”.. takes me back in time

Are there any political or social issues hidden in St. James songs ?

To quote Viv Savage of Spinal Tap: Have a good time all of the time.

What was the process of putting the songs in order?

Jim and Carl did most of it I just put my stamp of approval on it… there were certain songs I wanted to make sure made it.

What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?

I use to have a lot D’Addario , SWR….. I have 99 Basses and guitars when we finish the next record I’ll see what is out there… I really don’t want or need any right now… I would really have to love a product. Ampeg for amps, G&L and Musicman for basses are some of my favorites….. I have about 5 of each of them.. I love Tom Hamilton from Aerosmth’s signature basses… they are amazing… and the Ernie Ball Sting rays are right up there too….. Jim is also very picky about what he plays he has a couple of BadCat amps that were made by Mark Sampson and he would have a difficult time committing to another company … he has a few Les Pauls and he really loves the EVH guitars… Our friend Joe Delaney is the head guitar builder at Randal and we would talk to him before anyone if we were looking for an amp company because Joe is an amazing amp builder…. we spent months playing with sounds in his studio…..

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Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?

Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam and Pearl Jam…. just kidding Aerosmith, Van Halen, U2 all of the heavy hitters…we did a lot with Joan Jett when we were younger and I got to hang with her the other night she was always great to us..

Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?

Pearl Jam Live on two legs, Beatles White Album, Van Halen Fair Warning

Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?

I can’t wait to get some new material out there… and thanks for the time…

Categories: Interviews

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