Jason Hartless Interview drummer for Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder and Joe Lynn Turner.

– How is the summer coming along with Jason Hartless?

Summer is always my favorite time of year because that means peak touring season. This is my 3rd summer touring with Ted Nugent and I can’t be happier to be able to spend it with a great crew and an amazing band.

– Do you find that being on tour and working a lot makes time go buy too fast. Then not enough time to get everything you wanted to accomplish happen?

Being on the road actually slows time down for me, being in a different city every day, seeing new sights and playing different venues always keeps it fresh and new. Sometimes it can be difficult to do business work or college work from the road, but I have been able to power through and accomplish everything I am required to get done.

– How was it recording with Ted Nugent The Music Made Me Do It?
After being on the road with Ted for the past 3 years, this was my first time working with Ted in a studio situation. We spent a total of 2 weeks in Waco, Texas rehearsing and recording the new tunes and I am super happy with the result of the final product. Coming into this session, Ted and our bass player, Greg Smith didn’t really know how I would work in the studio because they have only played with me live on stage. When I play live, I play the role of a bashing, heavy rock drummer, but how I treat my playing in the studio is very different. I spend my time off the road working as a studio musician in Detroit, so I am able to approach my instrument very differently than I would on stage. I think that surprised Ted and Greg a little bit (hahaha). The funny thing about this record was even though we were in Waco for 2 weeks, we recorded the drums, bass and basic rhythm guitar tracks live, and finished the whole record in about 5 hours. We spent the rest of the session adding percussion, gang vocals and the rest of Ted’s parts. We were now not under pressure, so we were able to sit back and absorb the tracks much more and add or change things that we might not have thought of during a high-pressure session. I am really excited to hear the reaction of the record from Nugent fans and classic rock fans in general, because this record was recorded very old school and I think we really captured some great vintage Detroit-style rock music.

– Being a music business management student from Berklee must make you see different perspectives of the music scene? The musician and the manager side of things?

Absolutely, I have been lucky to have worn many hats in this industry in a very short period of time. From being a “Hired Gun” musician to being a label executive, to engineering & producing records at a legendary studio has really allowed me to have a totally different perspective of how I treat my career. As an industry executive, I am able to really look at my job from an artists’ point of view when working out deals and make sure that the artist gets as fair of a deal that we can give out.

– Already having a pretty big catalogue of releases under your belt you must be pretty happy with your work and more important the future of your work?

I have been very lucky to have played on and been a part of some amazing projects over the years. I love being the “hired gun” session & touring musician. Being a guy like Jeff Porcaro that can go from doing a jazz session, to touring with a rock band, to doing a Latin session is so much fun and keeps the job fresh. For example, I was on tour with Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Lead Singer of Rainbow & Deep Purple) in January of this year. After doing a gig in St. Louis with Joe, I flew home to Detroit to jump immediately into a big band jazz session with some of Bob Segar’s horn section for a Christmas album. That’s what makes this job so fun, being able to go from Classic Rock/Metal to Big Band Christmas music in less than 24 hours.

– In a year how many shows do you normally do?

Usually with Ted Nugent, I do about 35-50 dates a year during the summer, then a sprinkle of other dates with various artists. This year I did a few dates with Joe Lynn Turner and Mitch Ryder. Then I do about 30-40 recording session dates a year for various artists, film and tv licensing material and ad jingles.

– What could we find interesting in your music collection at home?

I am an avid vinyl collector and love discovering new/old music. My vinyl collection consists of a large array of records by everyone from The Who to Glenn Miller to Toto to Dave Brubeck to Disneyland soundtracks. The two larger sections in my collection are by The Who and the old Disneyland Records albums. Anytime I see something different or anything rare by The Who, I have to pick it up. I think I might have about 5-6 different versions of “Who Are You” and “Who’s Next”. I love collecting the large array of albums that Disney put out on their Disneyland Records label for films and Disney Parks. Aside from vinyl, my iPhone and MacBook are filled with about 30,000 songs that digs deeper into various genres. I look at listening to music as market research in discovering different grooves and learning how to implement them into my playing.
All The Best,

Jason Hartless
Touring/Session Drummer