Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. When I was 14, I experienced a fishing accident that caused permanent damage in my right eye and nearly blinded me. It required major reconstructive surgery and essentially a convalescing period where I wore a patch for over six months. During that time, I really couldn’t do much and had to keep my heart rate and activates low due to the scar tissue. I had to get my eye examined nearly every day by a team of optometrists and surgeons and could not lift anything above 5 lbs. because the trauma was so severe. It was actually so bad I couldn’t even read.
All I could do was lay upright in bed and listen to music. I had always loved music, but now it became my inner sanctuary—my survival. I remember one day specifically where I was listening to a Police record “Reggatta de Blanc” and suddenly heard the entire record and its sounds all at once. It was if there was something that had been literally unveiled from my hearing that enabled me to discern sonic relationships in a mix and understand melody and harmony for the first time (prior to this point, I always struggled with understanding melodic music theory and had only formally studied drums/percussion).
Once I recovered, I started attending high school that fall and it was determined by one of my teachers that I knew college level music theory without ever taking any formal theory courses. Still to this day I can’t really chalk it up to anything other than a supernatural awakening event. That was really the catalyst that opened me up to start diving deep into guitar and songwriting.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I’ve had a lot of crazy things happen in my career thus far. But one of the craziest highlights for me has been recently working with Eric Gales, Kenny Aronoff and PJ Farley on my new single “Reveal Me.” To be surrounded by such Rock ‘N Roll royalty is beyond belief. It really is crazy to be collaborating with guys that literally inspired me to keep pushing my creative limits on instruments and music in general—pure legends and icons. And to be automating faders labeled as “EG” “KENNY” and “PJ” during the mixing process was a trip… so crazy!
What has been the high point of your music path?
For me, the highest points are ultimately when you hear from individual fans and listeners that something deeply resonated and inspired them in your work. That’s the ultimate high point for me any time—to know that the music is making an impact. It’s deep.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
My creative process is a bit all over the place. Playing multiple instruments is definitely a blessing, although it can get a little fragmented at times. I’d say nearly 98%+ of my ideas never make it past my iPhone voice memo app. But out of that 98%, there are thousands of demo logs. So that 2% when it hits is pretty sweet and quite abundant.
I always say that my best stuff has written itself, usually within 15 minutes. It’s a download—it’s hard to explain. It almost feels like there’s inspirational lightning in the air and I’m just a rod that gets struck by it in those moments. Those are the absolute best because you know that you are getting out of the way of something magical and just channeling and documenting at that point.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I’d say the biggest challenge an indie artist will face is lack of knowledge and unwillingness to take focused/aligned action. Make the changes necessary and do the inner-work required to get you to where you truly want to go—and be okay if you find yourself pivoting and adapting on a regular basis and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone and challenging it. It’s necessary.
If the industry was to change one thing, like any other industry or educational establishment, I wish there was more of this said “knowledge” readily available for younger folks to really prepare them for the real world of the industry (and life in general). In other words, preparing you for repeated failure and how to deal with it in a healthy cognitive manner. I do believe the internet has helped with this accessibility, although it’s also simultaneous added to the noise. One must indeed dig deep to find it—seek and you shall find… and don’t stop until you do.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Oh, there’s so many. Unfortunately, half of them have left us and I believe way before their times. But again, I’d say Eric Gales—he’s easily one of the best, if not the best guitarist in the world right now—and I’m thankful to be able to call him a friend. He’s a phenomenal and genuine human being. I look forward to the schedules aligning sometime soon so we can rock it out in a live setting.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? Rehearsals are interesting because when you have the right people surrounding you, it takes 90% of the work out of it. I think one is always better to over-rehearse than to under, just because you never know what you’ll be dealing with on stage. Your emotions have minds and bodies of their own—as well as the environment itself. You need to prepare for that by overcompensating in your rehearsal time whenever possible.
One of the best teachers I ever had back in high school, Marilyne Shugart, taught a technique that’s stuck with me both in solo and band situations. Whenever a mistake is made, go back and repeat it a minimum of 5x or until the kink is completely worked out and there’s no longer any thinking involved. Do the heavy lifting in rehearsal so you can forget it all and let loose on stage. People are coming for that freeing energy—you should be the one to facilitate it—not inhibit or stifle it due to lack of practice or unpreparedness.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Ironically, “Reveal Me” was probably one of the most challenging to write simply because we had a short window with everyone’s schedules. Eric was getting ready to do his record with Joe Bonamassa at the time and Kenny and PJ were preparing for their commitments with John Fogerty and Fozzy. I had a rough demo of just the chorus laying around on my voice memo app for over two years—I just didn’t know what to do with it. It definitely took an afternoon of sequestering myself away in the studio and wrestling around with verse themes and ideas until it all finally clicked and came together.
What's coming up in the future? So much—between acting projects, live shows, and continuing to host The Jason Damico Show, I’ve got my hands full! But it’s great. And we’ve got a new single dropping in the Fall feat. guitar legend and virtuoso Gary Hoey. It’s definitely an exciting time for myself and the team.
Tell us where fans can access your music? We also have a guitar give-away contest going on where you can enter in to have a chance to win a signed guitar by myself and Eric Gales. See link below for more information. Stream on Spotify Find on Apple/iTunes View on YouTube: or Vevo For more information, please visit Jason Damico's website. Listen to Jason's Podcast: Check out Jason's Guitar Giveaway Contest
About Jason Damico
High octane, blues rock, recording artist/actor, multi-instrumentalist, producer Jason Damico is an emerging and driving force in the entertainment industry. Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina this “rocking young Turk” has already racked up many awards: Carolina Music Awards Rock Male Artist of the Year and Youth Artist of the Year; Triangle Blues Society Solo Blues Challenge Winner competing in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis; Best Overall Musician Award; Youngest Member (15) of the Duke University Jazz Ensemble; Song of the Year Semi-Finalist Winner; winner of multiple music video awards, and more.
Damico’s “amalgamation” writing style, high energy, deep, powerful, baritone vocals in the vein of Jim Morrison (The Doors), Peter Steele (Type O Negative), and Johnny Cash, blended with blistering guitar riffs in the styles of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Zakk Wylde, and Jimi Hendrix, results in an undeniably, soulful swagger of a satisfyingly “new blue” sound.
Over the years this artist has had the privilege of sharing the stage or opening for world-renowned, musical greats in a multitude of genres. Some notable names include Claudette King, Joe Louis Walker, Slam Allen, Mr. Sipp, Tony Holiday, Mike Mc Kee, Vito Luizzi, Brad Russell, Galea Galea, Buddy Guy, Joe Chambers, Monty Alexander, Trae Pierce, Big Daddy Wilson, Will McFarlane, Lucky Peterson, Jason Marsalis, Ray Codrington, Vincent Gardner, Kevin Mahogany, John V. Brown, Sonny Rock, Jason Adamo, John Arthur Greene, and more. The most prodigious honor came when Jason Damico opened two pre-shows for the late great B.B. King at the Durham Performing Arts Center.