What is the inspiration behind creating The Romaines?
An old bandmate of mine (John Jax/ aka John Romaine) came over to have some drinks and listen to some records. We spilled Mai Tai all over our Don Ho and Ramones records and they were magically fused together. When we started smoking and jamming late night, Romaines is what came out!
What made you discover your passion for creating an eclectic blend of your own sound? What places in your mind do you channel to craft your songs?
The latest passion of music was developed by moving to other instruments. Before I just played in 6- string guitar rock bands and ended up repeated myself. As I moved to other instruments—ukuleles, opened-tuned lap-steel, trumpet, and piano—I began to listen and play better, including hearing the songs the instruments had to give me. Rather than crafting lately, I’ve been working more on channeling the collective energy of the
universe—stored in sound and physical objects around me—and it’s working out fabulous!
When channeling The Ramones, what did you want to keep the same; what did you strive to make different in the songs?
Channeling Ramone’s philosophy, we wanted to keep it fun and accepting. The campy narrative exchange we created between John and Johnny Romaine we hope accomplishes this—we actually recorded our vocals at the same time to translate the feel. The major difference between Ramones and Romaines is how we slow down the songs, take out all the noise (distortion guitar, cymbals and such) and showcase how well written these songs really are. It doesn’t matter if we completely change the sound, to our pseudo Hawaiian thing, people instantly recognize and respond to the power of Ramones’ songs.
What are your favorite venues to perform at? and if you had to choose, do you feel more comfortable in the studio or onstage, and why?
Tiki Bars definetly! Before this project we never realized how popular the Ramones actually were, nor how big the tiki scene is—we can’t wait for them to open back up and conduct a Tiki Tour. As for your other question, we tend to be more comfortable at shows, since we are drinking more.
Generally, how do you create your songs? What is the process like? Does it take you days, weeks, even longer? How does the perfect piece come together?
With originally music, the conception happens in a matter of moments or minutes. Then the production/ delivery is a whole other process. From a production standpoint I’ve found I can release songs with a nice studio approach, as with Never Sleeping or go low fidelity approach: live to 2-track on my You Tube Show Café Juan, where I demo all my latest songs. As for Romaines, it’s a treat to just follow the songs Ramones already wrote. We are standing on the shoulders of giants! Everyone wanted to help, including Angel Roche Jr. &; Erik Klerk (rhythm section of John Juan) who insisted on giving our little 2-piece acoustic band beats for Romaines.
How did you create a sound throughout time that is so uniquely your own? What defines your sound to you?
The trick is I don’t create it– John Juan is what I call the entity who deliveries me the music. The songs are not mine, but timeless and forever. As in Romaines, where I am their curator. Read about this song writing concept in my book “Never Sleeping Prose”, which is free when you download John Juan, Never Sleeping album off Bandcamp.com
What do you hope you accomplish musically as we head further into 2020?
Release more John Juan original songs on Café Juan (music/cooking/gardening YouTube channel), have more guest artist on Café Juan, and spread some Gabba Gabba around this year with Romaines.