This week I take a look at the sunny side. No east coast this time but a look at the underground of California. Chris Jay is the lead singer for the band Army of Freshmen. If this name means nothing to you perhaps the names of some of the bands they have played with will, Sum 41, They Might be giants, Reel Big Fish and Fountains of Wayne to name a few. Chris is also actively searching for a venue to play here locally sometime in December. They go anywhere for their fans and pick up many on the way. But enough of me talking about Chris let’s let Chris introduce himself.
Who are you?
My name is Chris Jay and I am in a band called The Army of Freshmen out of Ventura, CA. I moved here from New Jersey after I graduated school. Lived alone for a year, wrote 500 songs, lost my mind, started a band. Couple years later here we are. Sort, kinda known in remote corners of the rock n roll world.
What are you striving for?
To pay the rent and assorted bills by making records and touring and it is a struggle!
What was your personal greatest moment with Army of Freshmen?
There’s so many little things that make it all worthwhile but the few dates we’ve gotten on the
Warped Tour have been really overwhelming. Playing in front of 1,000 people in a state you’ve never been to before and having them go nuts, meeting bands you admire, making friends with new people- well that’s pretty much what I live for.
Who’s been your favorite band to perform with?
It’s usually the best when you play with your friends. So in that case, Split Habit in Chicago, Pyscho Cafe in Ventura. Most of the bigger acts don’t really kick it with the openers. There’s exceptions though. We try and be cool with whoever we play with.
Who would you like to perform with?
Personally, I’d give an arm to play on the same stage as Tom Waits but for the sake of the band and making fans- one of the big all ages bands like Blink or Good Charlotte. Not that I’d rush out to buy either of their albums but the fan base is similar.
Speaking for the band, The Hippos, Weezer, They Might Be Giants all influence our sound a lot but we’re still I think one of the more original bands out there. We’ve got 2 keyboards so that really sets us apart.
What’s your creative fuel?
Beef Jerkey. Planet of The Apes.
What are you working on now?
As we speak I am trying to put together a low budget tour of the Mid West, a process that is much harder than it sounds. I guess the big news is a record company in Japan is going to put out our record there next year! Which means we get to tour over there and that’s always been one of our biggest goals.
What song would you love to cover but your bandmates would never let you?
The 70s classic, “Brandi, You’re A Fine Girl”. Amazing song. Go ahead and laugh but it kicks ass, hopeful and sad all at the same time.
Which of your songs mean the most to you?
“Paradise” cause it’s about a friend who got into some really bad trouble. For some reason it seems to always go over live too, I guess it trikes a chord and that is a real honor. I just wish there was a different reason why it was written.
Favorite thing to do when not performing?
Anything to do with the band. I am addicted to it. I’m pretty sure it will be the death of me.