AMERICAN IDOL ﬁnalist James Durbin and QUIET RIOT guitarist Alex Grossi have announced a collaboration entitled “Maps To THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS” – The ﬁrst 5 song EP will be released worldwide via NEW OCEAN MEDIA on February 17th, 2017. The band is currently putting the ﬁnishing touches on “Maps To The Hollywood Scars – Volume 2″ – Set for a spring release, as well as their ﬁrst video, which will be released in the coming weeks.
– What’s new in the world of James Durbin?
I’m very pleased to say that ‘Maps To The Hollywood Scars’ is the latest addition to my world. It’s been a real pleasure building this together with Alex.
– How was it recording your EP Maps To The Hollywood Scars Volume One with Alex Grossi from a studio production point of view?
It was one of the smoothest productions I’ve ever been a part of. Alex & our producer extraordinaire AJ St. James had worked on everything so it was ready to go as soon as I arrived. We got right to work as we were recording all vocals in 4 days & even got a head start on Volume 2.
– Where the did the idea come from for the band name?
I had come up with the name ‘Hollywood Scars’ for a band I had in 2010. The band was shortlived but I knew that I wanted to revive the concept and name at some point. Enter October 2016, Alex & I had been steadily writing and started tossing up name ideas and I through it out there. Alex tossed in the ‘Maps To The’ and the rest is history.
– Since the days of you being in American Idol has much stuff changed in the music business?
Many things have changed since 2011, believe it or not. The Active Rock label that signed me post ‘Idol’ released my first album and sold 40,000+ copies the first week. These days sales that high would get you to #1 lol. My 2 major label releases cost $40-$60k to make! My 1st Independent release ‘Riot On Sunset’ was made for $5k. My label released Music Videos cost $30-$50k, my Independent release videos cost $200 and some favors J I made a stop motion Lego and paper music video with my 7 year old on an iPhone 5c all for FREE with FREE apps and it got picked up by Billboard and a slough of other awesome outlets! The point being, its not about how much money you put in these days because you can still make quality content with all the tools you already have, which is pretty fuckin cool ha!
– What are some of your proudest accomplishments as a musician?
I’m very proud of my stint on ‘Idol’. I’m thankful, grateful & blessed to have been given that opportunity. I got to sing Happy Birthday with Stevie Wonder to Steven Tyler, play ‘Heavy Metal’ with Zakk Wylde, rock the Finale with Judas Priest and so much more. My other proudest accomplishment is crowd funding my last solo album, raising the funds, co producing, writing, playing, recording, etc. ‘Riot On Sunset’ means a lot to me as it’s full of songs that were turned down by the label, songs I really love.
– Your voice is a delicate instrument. How long did it take you to perfect it? What do you do to keep it strong and healthy?
I’ve taken vocal lessons as a child, all free or community programs. Music in School was the biggest for me. Weather it was men’s chorus, concert choir, jazz choir, honor choir, musical theater, be in your own band, etc. If there was a stage and an outlet to sing, that’s where you could find me. These days I just do a little bit of light warm ups, I don’t drink milk as it’s the worst for you voice, never dairy on show days or studio days, no Desani water as it has salt in it for some reason which dries your vocal chords. I guess I just have this short list of things I learned from ‘Idol’ that are just part of my routine now, I don’t even think about it anymore.
– Is the band fans of Spotify and similar streaming services? What are your thoughts on this?
I personally don’t use Spotify or any streaming services. My wife and I still go to shows, buy CDs, iTunes, etc. I don’t really see the need for them. The amount of time, energy, blood, sweat and tears it takes to be inspired enough to create these songs used to be respected, hence music was seen as valuable and worth the money. That’s not the world we live in anymore.. So I guess we’ll just have to see what happens with it.
– How important are music videos in the industry today? How do they compare to videos from 10 years ago?
As I hinted to above, the driving force behind really marking your brand is consistent, quality content and that content can be made on your phone and uploaded to youtube from your phone! Hit videos are still made with tons of money being spent but you can still make an impact with nothing
– What would we be surprised to find in your music collection at home?
Well, we’ve got 2 kids so we have some different tunes going on lol. Gotta love The Wiggles lol My phone is full of many different aritsts haha. We’ve got Justin Timberlake and Judas Priest, AFI and Alan Jackson, The Beatles and Blake Shelton, Coldplay and Chris Stapleton, etc. My wife got me big into Country: Traditional, Storyteller, Modern, Bro, etc. hahaha. Of course there’s too much Rock to count. I’ve been enjoying the Quiet Riot catalog lately J
– Will there be concerts for Maps To The Hollywood Scars coming soon?
I could definitely see that happening at some point. We’ve gotta do it at least once. Alex and I have been brainstorming about who we’d want to use and have a dream list of players. We definitely have to wait until Dizzy (Reed) is available. He’s our (un)official 3rd member haha