CMJ New Music Report

Vol. 25 No. 3, Issue #218, Jan 11, 1991


JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 (Extra Stimulus, P.O. Box 1054, Akron, OH 44309)- From the likable, easy-going, non-psycho school of home tapers, James Lehman found he had a lot of time on his hands and put those hands to use writing and recording songs. Hanging around the house in Akron, Ohio, James had come up with a lot of neat stuff that he recorded from about '84 to '87, which he had then shelved to pursue his work with a live three-piece band. When that band split last year, James returned into his own personal tape vaults to cull together the material for this wonderful little treasure of unassuming brilliance. Even when Lehman can't resist flying off the handle of the multi-track on vocal overdubs 'til he sounds like the band Kansas, you gotta love this guy for his sincerity, wit and sense of humor. From the good clean fun of "Rock Fixation" to the early XTC-ish "Once Around The Park," the near-perfect pop of "Look Around" or the quixotic "Sun Storm," Lehman is smart enough that he can tear off in any one of two dozen directions, and good enough at it that he can usually pull us right along with him, too. With 22 near-miniature pop symphonies to choose from --no two even remotely alike-- you can feel free to skip around with the random select button on your CD player. We guarantee you'll find something on here to grab your attention without having to look too hard, but we'll start you off with "Sad Happiness," "Too Much Noise," "Ever In The Daylight," "Hey Mom And Dad" or "Here is Now."

Alternative Press

Issue #36

JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 This solo effort seems to incorporate several musical attributes which have sprouted from the northeast Ohio area. Interesting bands, such as Devo and My Dad Is Dead, come to mind when describing this extensive collection of songs. It may be Lehman's use of grinding electric guitars, staggered rhythms, and vocals ranging from talking to full-bodied harmonies which help define this northeast Ohio connection. The songs that impressed the most were the first two, "Rock Fixation" and "Look Around." The first describes the aspirations of every big headed musician: rock stardom, The second uses billowy, yet almost dissonant, harmonies to achieve an almost psychedelic effect. The rest of the songs span the musical spectrum, from hard and raunchy rock to synthesizer dominated pieces. This variety, however, still can't disguise the long-windedness of the CD. It's interesting for a while, but the experimental nature leaves the release somewhat directionless and flat. Unfortunately, the overall feeling doesn't do justice to the sprinkling of songs which are quite enjoyable, and that is a shame. (Extra Stimulus, P.O. Box 1054, Akron OH 44309) --Steven Petrovic


No. 38, May / June 1991

JAMES LEHMAN: 11:16:64 This appears to be the at-home project of Lehman. He wrote, produced, and played all 22 songs. A fair range is covered, from repetitive punk rock to drumless acoustic meandering to an electronic sound-effects indulgence. A couple of the punk tunes are moderately entertaining --if I had heard "A Ton of Bricks" by itself on a single, I might have been mildly entertained. Unfortunately, in the context of this 22-track sprawl, I'll probably never hear it again. Too much of this stuff annoys for one reason or another, whether it is the massed backing vocals that evoke a low-rent Queen, or the cringingly bad lyrics about just wanting to be some unfortunate's "Special Friend" or the lame jokes that pass for humor. I prefer to applaud DIY, self-released stuff out of respect for the old college try, but this should never have made it out of the home studio. (Extra Stimulus, Box 1054, Akron, OH 44309) --Bill Meyer

Factsheet Five


JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 (Extra Stimulus Productions, PO Box 1054, Akron, OH 44309) A self-produced CD that combines Beatlesesque pop writing with some of the mad energy of early punk and a heavy dose of fuzz guitar. Lehman throws in everything from water glass and lawnmower (no kitchen sink though) to bells and sax with his guitars, creating thickets of sound that wrap around in a near claustrophobic fashion. (CD/MG)[MA#1212]


Feb. 15, 1991 Vol. 13 Issue 255

James Lehman 11:16:64 (Extra Stimulus)

Sturge: It's refreshing to hear this after Brian gave us such a huge pile of shit to review. No wonder he gave us his column: sad kids like James sendin' in their CDs. But James' record, in all its amorphousness, at least sounds like it was fun to make. He brags about his use of all non-synthetic sounds, and if he's being honest, he does get the kind of fuzzy, feedback-laden guitar punch that got you off when you went over to your friend Jarred's house to play his guitar and Atari. James went to Akron University, but he spells "braught" with an "a" on his mini-bio, which sure should be easier than "Adderley." He should demand his tuition back. James could probably get signed if he just grows up a little. Thumbs Down.

Dave: Sturge, just because James went to Akron and didn't learn to spell "brought" (which I pointed out to you) doesn't mean his feedback-laden guitar jerk is without prosthesis. Full of down-right sincerity and self-indulgent belief in the quality of his own work, James' personal collection of four-year-old cobwebs flows because of his cranked-out feel for his own wet dreams. Songs like "Rock Fixation", the cover photo inspired "All I Want To Do Is Sleep", "Procrastination" and "Hey Mom And Dad" are so Wonder white-bread they deserve a spot next to white trash like the Gymslips and the Fugs. Growing up isn't always the answer, Sturge, as we have found with the Replacements, Steven Spielberg and Jerzy Kozinski; no reason for James to rush out and earn that Akron MBA. Thumbs Up.

Serviced in the Radio Pool. (P.O. Box 1054, Akron, OH 44309)

Collegiate Insider


James Lehman 11:16:64 Extra Stimulus Productions Here's the sound of a one-man band from Akron rampaging through one heck of a record collection. Lehman picks up influences as he goes and turns them into his own creations. "Can't Stop" echoes the Beatles, "Too Much Noise" resurrects the righteous fun of early Clash, and "Ticket To The Past" hellishly bonds Steve Perry's voice with the Ramones' instincts. This guy's a real home-grown find with talent to burn.

Scene Entertainment Weekly

May 2 - 8 1991 Vol. 22 No. 18

Meeting James Lehman was a surprise. Who would guess that a man with enough innocence to believe you could actually make an album in your house with little more than an ancient Sony reel to reel and a l0-year-old guitar would also have the moxie to aggressively market his product to the labels and trades? No kidding. He's even got them calling him for more copies of his debut CD, JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64. Despite all this, Lehman seemed to be a pretty unassuming guy. At our meeting I commented on the gorgeous quartz necklace he wore. He designs and sells the crystals, it turns out, to augment his income as an Akron landlord. All this he admitted shyly, shrugging his shoulders to dismiss the importance of the time and talent required to create such a beautiful piece. In much the same manner, Lehman said that he really didn't mean to make the album that caused so much commotion. "I guess what I was after was something to listen to for myself," he said of his debut. Material for the sampler-type product -- 22 songs in all, each cut remarkably different from the others was written between '84 and '87 while Lehman was an Akron University student. Although his band Subtle Disasters played the artsy circuit back then, Lehman always had a solo project in his mind. "I used to come to the Hilltop in the student center every day with my Walkman. If I had something new, everyone had to hear it. People got to the point where they'd see me coming and they'd say, 'Oh God, here he comes again,'" he added laughing. The influences that developed during Lehman's time in college are clearly represented on the album. British Invasion harmonies are backed by the manic urgency of punk rhythms bringing to mind some strange musical bedfellows. "I don't suppose that was unintentional. I always liked the Beatles. Lennon was probably my favorite, but I liked Harrison, too. As a matter of fact, some of my favorite Beatles songs were by George Harrison. On some cuts, I suppose, I wanted to get as much of their sound as possible. I wanted "Ever In The Daylight" to have a sort of Lennon flavor to it. There are other influences, too. I like early Queen a lot; they were absolutely beyond anything being done at the time. Then there's Led Zeppelin, of course. I think of Zeppelin, Queen and the Beatles in sort of their own genres, in the sense that the Beatles were beyond pop, Zeppelin were beyond metal and Queen, who knows what people labeled Queen. I look at Queen as being very progressive for their time. Later punk sort of grew on me," he continued. "At first I didn't like it at all, but I kept thinking this is what all these people are listening to so there must be something to it. After I'd listened to it long enough I found myself tuning in familiar songs. I was into Devo a lot; I thought they were really cool because of their use of mixed meter, and because they were from Akron, I wanted to hear what they had to say. I thought their first two albums were brilliant." An interesting aspect of Lehman's production is that he kept the sound deliberately hard. Distorted guitars, sometimes annoyingly so, rage from equipment no more exotic than Lehman's Fender Twin amp. The self-taught guitarist plays, sings and is solely responsible for every note of the project's 72 minutes of music (the maximum allowed by the compact disc manufacturer). The effect is something close to a period piece with punk shadings. The sound of an eight track reel to reel, tube distortion and echo intentionally recall a '60s sound -- a technical point, Lehman admitted, that was lost on some music reviewers. The only synthetic sounds on the album were made by a keyboard and a personal computer. "It's not that I don't like synth music," he said. "I really enjoy some of the early Moog projects and early Kraftwerk. It's just that I saw a trend of synths replacing all of the parts in pop music. What used to be an enjoyable rarity has taken over to the point where it is now: push the 'go' button and dance behind an embarrassingly huge rack of techno-junk." Lehman is a bit bemused by the attention he's getting from magazines like the CMJ New Music Report, which chose the album for it's "Futures" column (a regular feature which highlights promising new music). At this point the album is on the playlists of 15 alternative radio stations across the U.S. Other Copies have been sent to Rockpool Promotions, at their request, for distribution to BBC Radio One London and other commercial and college outlets. "I think a big factor for getting noticed was putting the project on CD. They look at it and see that it's on a compact disc and know that at least somebody believed in it enough to have it done. A lot of people told me that was the only reason they listened to it. Because it was on CD, they could just take it home, pop it in and listen to the first three seconds of every song. That was fully what I had in mind when I did it, to make it as easily accessible as possible. Right now I'm dealing with the record companies, seeing what kind of response I get. It's weird, they are all very individual. You can't just say 'this is how all companies are'. Several have told me that they've reviewed it and established that it is good music. Now they're going to look at it from an A&R point of view to see if it's marketable music." A possible snag in all this is that Lehman seems determined to release the project as is, and produce future efforts as well. "Some writers have everything in their head before a note is heard. I don't write that way. I'm really into spontaneity -- the very first time you lay an idea down on tape it's Probably the best it's ever going to be. So I would really have to keep my home studio, do everything there and then submit it to be reproduced." Lehman is currently auditioning band members so he can test his music in front of a live audience. "I tend to set myself up in such a way that I like to be on the edge and take some risks in what I do. (In past bands) there was always a chance we would crash and burn, so consequently we did once in a while. If you allow yourself that latitude occasionally you'll play something absolutely amazing." -- Kymberli Hagelberg.

The New Music News

Feb. 28, 1991 Vol II No. 2

JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 (Extra Stimulus) Since the other reviews this month were short I'm going to take some time to propose a theory. In the sixties, many English groups were asked "Why don't you sound English when you sing? You sound American.'' Perhaps listening to Elvis, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly had an even deeper effect than we suspected. Not only was their music influenced, but the way they sang, phrasing, meter, tempo etc. were learned from American bands. In the eighties, the reverse has happened. Now, American bands sometimes sound English. Which brings us to a young man that probably owns a lot of John Lennon and XTC records, Akron, Ohio's James Lehman. My little theory has little to do with the actual review of this disc, and I've had this theory for a long time. O.K. so he sounds a little English when he sings- what's the disc like? Like crosstown rivals indian rope burn, Lehman loads his disc full, perhaps in the hope that something will stick. Most of it does. It's over 70 minutes long. The first thing to do was listen to the single, "All I Want To Do Is Sleep." I'm forever swimming upstream on single selection. and my streak remains intact. The lyrics are great but the melody gets monotonous. But with 22 sacks at my disposal I was able to find several gems. "Look Around" has brilliant backing vocals that remind one of Queen, ELO or the very great Beatles "Sad Happiness" also has terrific vocal effects and would also make a great single. "Once Around" recalls Love & Rockets and is rocky without being grating. It's a shame that ''Sun Storm" offers the only synthesized sounds. but then its fun listening to Lehman twist and stretch his guitars into a variety of shapes, like so many musical balloon animals. The only similarities between most of the songs are the fact that they all contain very listenable lyrics, nice hooks and strong melodies. It would be hard to find someone that would like all 22 tracks with the same fervor, but there's an album here for everybody! -- PFW


March / April 1991 #71

JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 LP (Extra Stimulus POB 1054, Akron, OH 44309 USA) This self produced disk is kinda funny, varied. Sounds like a fuzzy Beatles "White" album by a man with nothing but time and money on his hands. -- Krk

The Alternative Index

Issue #1

JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 This is the, "let's take all tunes in the vault and release them, and hope some of them stick" project. James Lehman is a multi-instrumentalist, similar to Jandek, and something should be said about do-it-yourself musicians. There is that pretentious factor where it "must" be good if I play all the instruments, and the objectivity of outside sources is absent, so you can really see the spectrum of the artist's soul. And, what a spectrum James Lehman has. There are 22 songs present in this collection from the Akron, Ohio native that range from screeching, fuzz drenched, guitar punk to psychic, space junk and blissful pop. Yes, Lehman could have used a producer. Lehman starts things off fresh and interesting, but goes astray with the various musical styles he attempts to present. You pair this baby down to about 10 or 15 tracks and you have yourself one interesting record. Lehman wrote the material while attending college between '85 and '87. He was trying to put together a bard, but those plans fell through, so he decided to test the waters with his own thing. Due to the abundance of material, there is an interesting combination of sounds and styles present, although, with a lack of focus (does he play street punk or pop?). He returns to the howling, lightning-fast streaking guitar, which sounds like amplified fingernails on the chalkboard, throughout the disc. This tends to get old very quick. He proclaims in the liner notes that he makes all the sounds himself, and only one song, "Sun Storm", contains synthetic sounds (didn't Boston say the same thing?) JL overlays vocals 'til it sounds as if he has a cattle prod stuck up his butt (something to be proud of), and guitar overdubs to the point where your eardrums begin to bleed. All this activity shows ingenuity at points, but sometimes it comes off as trying way to hard to make a creative statement. Lehman shifts gears abruptly by following a street-punk tune ("Once Around The Park") with an acoustic-pop ballad type thing sung in a Beatle-esque voice with Queen-style harmonies ("Look Around" and "Sad Happiness"). The diversity of the disc lies in the fact that you don't know what to expect next, which makes it an interesting find. Lyrically, Lehman gets way out there by talking about being a rock star ("Rock Fixation"), God loves us all ("Look Around"), to wanting friendship ("Special Friend"), and '60s style hippiness on "Sad Happiness", and an irritating song about "Procrastination". The sounds and arrangements established on the first half of the disc became so repetitive that you lose interest by the 15th or 16th track. JL is someone to listen for in the future. Pair him up with a band and a producer, and hopefully his focus will become clear and produce some interesting music. (Extra Stimulus Records, PO Box 1054, Akron, OH 44309)

The University Of Akron Buchtelite

Tuesday, February 5, 1991 Studybreak Page 4


James Lehman roamed The university of Akron campus for four years, unable to find his niche. But, Lehman had a penchant for making music -- really different music and decided to follow his call. A do-it-yourselfer, Lehman, 26, labored in his field, marrying words and music, laying down tracks, producing and arranging. The end product is 11:16:64, a collection of 22 songs, each depicting a different side of Lehman. Looking for a CD offering where no two songs sound alike? Here it is. While many artists can't accept full credit for a recording, Lehman can because he did it all -- guitars, drums, saxophone, vocals -- all his own sound. In addition, Lehman, with help from his parents, financed the project under his own label, Extra Stimulus. He even designed the artwork. Each song, for the most part, is crafted exceptionally well. As a whole, the CD reflects the sheer diversity of Lehman's musical upbringing. "I wanted to make it so as you listened to the CD, you're always going up and down, up and down -- so you'd be jumping from one emotional aspect to another," he said in an interview last week. Several cuts stand out on first play. One such cut is "Look Around," a song equipped with rich harmonies reminiscent of early Queen. Lehman preaches his simple religious credo of God as creator: "The world is a troubled place wherever you look. But all of the answers are found in one book; Widely misquoted and misunderstood, Disguising the evil as those who are good." "I kind of look at religion and the existence of God as being absolutely, fundamentally obvious," he said matter-of-factly. Lehman first gained recognition for his work when WAPS (89.1-FM) gave airplay to "All I Want To Do Is Sleep," a testament of man's innate laziness. The song debuted on the station's Top 100 Countdown at No. 6 Many of the songs are laced with tinges of Lehman's biggest influence, the Beatles. On "Ever In The Daylight," Lehman extracts a Lennonesque flavor from his voice. He often sees himself as an innovator, despite a predominant '60s and '70s feel to his music. "It was kind of like an experiment to come up with something that sounded entirely different than what was out there," he said, lighting up another Newport cigarette. The cut "Sun Storm" best showcases Lehman's avant garde approach. We hear space-like sounds ala Floyd and some noises very much down to earth, like a lawn mower? He laughs. "I stuck my mike out the window and caught my brother mowin' the lawn, just the perfect time when he decided to throttle up the lawn mower." Although the CD is 100 percent a solo effort, Lehman remembers the band circuit well. It wasn't more than three years ago when Lehman, brother Joe and fellow student Sean Hogan played gigs at Thursday's Lounge, JB's in Kent, and the now-defunct Bauhaus nightclub in downtown Akron. "We smoked; we were really good," Lehman recalled. "People went crazy. It was a lot of fun." While growing up in Medina, he honed his musical skills on the saxophone and joined the Highland High jazz band. His interests soon shifted to piano and guitar. His first guitar, a Gibson L6 he bought at age 16, still serves him well. he modified the instrument and used it extensively on 11:16:64. Speaking of 11:16:64, the title does have a deep intrinsic meaning. "It's my birthday, and it also has to do with the fact that I'm still alive, basically. There's no date after 11:16:64 -- I'm still here." In the meantime, Lehman finds himself on the phone every day, promoting his work from coast to coast. His CD is sold locally at Quonset Hut, Digital Daze and CD Connection outlets. Lehman's work is an ambitious effort for a debut CD. In an age of homogeneous pop devouring the airwaves, 11:16:64 proves to be a refreshing alternative. -- Dick Billeter, Buchtelite Associate Editor

The Petrol

May 16 - 31 Issue 38

James Lehman Extra Stimulus PPP1/2 This is a very ambitious undertaking by Akronite James Lehman. A first initial release on CD, where the 22 songs (I kid you not) were written, performed and produced solely by Lehman. Lehman is one of those artists who seems that anytime he has something on his mind, he feels the need to express it openly and to music. And quite honestly, too. Lehman is like a cross between Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, in that they are artists that have a true pulse on self and surroundings. Seemingly sounding like "basement tapes," there is still drive and conviction to make one overlook that flaw, and actually listen to what's being expressed. Lehman could be a producer's dream come true. --Jimm Motyka

Mutant Renagade Zine

Issue #2

JAMES LEHMAN "11:16:64" CD First off, any CD with over 70 minutes of music on it is cool with me. This "project" is the result of James putting together a collection of songs that he has written over the past few years. He plays all the instruments, sings, and produces. Quite a few of the songs have a cool John Lennon influence to them, Most of the songs are really good and are really creative. No two songs sound alike, which is cool for 22 tracks. I think everyone should write him and try to obtain a copy or at least request it at their local radio station, Extra Stimulus Productions, P.O. Box 1054, Akron, OH 44309

Revue Magazine

Aug. 1991 Vol. 2 No. 7

James Lehman 11:16:64 What? You mean it's not reasonable to go alone into your basement and write, perform, produce and record an album for commercial release. Ridiculous you say? Don't tell Akronite James Lehman. The man actually had the audacity to do exactly that. He was able to get the product released on CD too. If this weren't enough, there are twenty-two tracks. What a nut! And to top it off It's actually very good. If one were to sum it up James Lehman's debut album, 11:16:64 in one word, it would have to be sincere. The sound is raw for sure, but the Playing exudes emotion and the lyrics are heartfelt. The offerings include everything from acoustic ballads to screaming punk. Most notable is "Look Around" in which Lehman explains that "God loves everyone" even those who somehow have managed to miss every single sermon ever given by any televangelist that ever evangelized an the telly. "Sad Happiness" is a Beatlesque tune which laments the dichotomy of relationships. In "Rock Fixation," Lehman announces to the world, "Hey I want to be a rock and roll star and if you don't like it, that's just too bad, cause I can do it all myself." You tell 'em James. -- Nick Stavarz.

Taste The Floor

No. 9

JAMES LEHMAN "11:16:64" Extra Stimulus Records. This guy is a pretty good songwriter as this 22 song CD has some choice selections ranging from hardcore, folk, pure pop and rock. Unfortunately, its so much to listen to and the sound quality could be so much better.  A couple of ideas would be to take your 10 best songs and move up to 16 tracks and record them with better quality. Maybe try to find outside musician's for variety and never... never record your guitar tracks directly into the board. Always mike your amp! Interesting song structure and very Lennonesque vocals and Queen like harmonies on some. "Sun Storm" is a spacey instrumental and "Look Around" is a wonderful song of faith (I'm assuming). There are problems here but the overall project is not bad. ES, POB 1054, Akron, OH. 44309. -- Tony


Summer 1991 Issue #18

JAMES LEHMAN 11:16:64 Here's a rarity! James Lehman backs himself with a 22 cut CD that gives you a little of everything. So, you can't go wrong! All songs are written, performed and produced by Lehman, and go from a Beatles sound, to a hard-core punk sound and cover most areas in between! The amazing thing is, that one would never believe that such a diverse mix of songs comes from the same person. In fact, the more you listen, the more you hear: Is it Queen? Is it ELO? Is it XTC? Whatever, it's got great flavor!! So take a taste and fill your stomachs today! The CD is available locally at Digital Daze, CD Connection, and the Quonset Hut, or write to EXTRA STIMULUS, JAMES LEHMAN P.O. BOX 1054, AKRON OH 44309


Summer 1991 Issue #20

Approximately one year ago a CD was introduced to the market entitled James Lehman 11:16:64. Recently I caught up with James in his Akron home and recorded the following interview:  Q. Your first project is entirely a solo effort from the writing, to the performing, to the producing and mixing, as well as the artwork that comes with it. Why did you decide to do that as opposed to the usual group effort?  A. Because I could, I guess. Before I got started on this, I couldn't find anyone serious about starting a band. I got a recording studio in the fall of '85. Guitar is my main instrument. So I'd lay down a rhythm track and build on it with bass, then drums, then add vocals and a solo, if needed. It's all written as it happens. The song doesn't exist in any form before it's a finished piece on tape. I also like the idea of being solely responsible for the whole thing, even the job of promoting it since it's been pressed.  Q. How did you get started promoting your CD and how is it going? A. A friend of mine, Bill Gruber, the program director of WAPS, gave me the addresses to some local college radio stations and various trade publications. The first reply that I got was from Rockpool. They selected my disc for their radio distribution service. They service many stations in the US, some in Canada and The BBC in London. Shortly after that I found out I made the cover of The CMJ New Music Report, and received an excellent review. Once I had a front page, I found it much easier to get attention from other publications, and I got some college and commercial radio interviews. Also, by this time, I was making the charts of some of the stations that had received it. Each time I'd send out promo copies, I'd have more info to go with them. As far as anything working for, or against me, the length, over 70 minutes and the variety of styles have done both. Some reviewers complemented me for it and others complained. I can't understand why anyone would complain about too much music or too many styles but some do. Ultimately, getting lots of reviews in many important alternative music publications got me noticed by the European crowd; namely, Semaphore Productions Distributors of The Netherlands. Just recently, they sent me a contract for promotion and distribution to the entire European market. Q. Where do you hope all of this will lead you? A. I'd like to release other projects in the future, help get other people started, actually start a record label with a good catalog of stuff. I also like visual arts. I'd like to have something put in a museum some day. And, I'd like to have enough to eat. Q. When do you expect to release your next project and how will it compare to the first? A. I've got some stuff on tape now. I want to get new equipment to do the whole thing, and I don't know when I can afford it. What I have done, I feel is an excellent progression from the first one. It's more relaxed, more acoustic oriented, but there's still a lot of room for variation and some heavy electric stuff. I guess I'll call it finished when I feel I have enough to fill up another disc. I believe it will do better than the first. It seems to be accessible to a wider range of people. As far as the subject matter goes, the messages are about the same as on the first. Q. Which are? A. I write a lot of social commentary on a personal level. I can't stand unfounded hatred or prejudice, or pointless violence. Mostly, I don't like the fact that these ideas are passed around as being normal and your 'not cool' if you don't display them. Think for yourself and understand what you believe. I like to write about the way individuals relate to one and other, and the barrier of understanding that exists between all of us. Q. Do you have plans for a group in the future, for either live performing or recording? A. I thoroughly enjoy jamming with other musicians and I like an audience. I certainly recognize the need to have a live show for the public and to stay on top of my playing ability. I was in a three piece band for a while in the late 80's and I learned that if you can't depend on someone they aren't worth much. My brother Joe will always be my first choice for a drummer. I need a good bassist / singer and guitarist / singer and if they were multi-instrumental, that would be great. I think I'd really like to get things rolling on my second CD first and then work on the band to tour with it, hopefully in Europe as well as the US. Even with no band, I've gotten a lot of good gigs offered to me. Q. If you could have anything in the world you wanted, what would it be? A. Besides peace, an end to social ignorance, a cure for aids, and the total elimination of crack cocaine, I'd like to find someone to share the rest of my life with. -- Shawn Mickle

James Lehman: My Own Personal Perspective


It's been almost 6 years ago that I released my project to the listening public. Even though I might have had great aspirations of being a super famous music celebrity, the entire project was pursued for my own personal listening enjoyment. The lyrical content was very important to me. I've never been able to write words for the sake of filling up otherwise empty space. I find some of the comments in the reviews of my disk rather amusing, and quite a bit off track. Such is the nature of someone else's interpretation of my art, I guess. I can imagine that some of the singing might be a bit difficult to understand, and there are no printed lyrics in the liner notes. The overall 'raw' sound of the recording is partly intentional, and partly due to the equipment used to make it. The whole project was very much a learning experience for me. Also, even though I had the capability of rerecording any part of any song at any time, I considered a song to be finished at some point shortly after its conception, and decided that the truest artistic approach would be to seal it in time forever - with no regrets as to its lack of professional polish, and move on to the next.

It saddens me to think that just 20 to 30 years ago rock music was entirely the realm of the experimental, counter cultural youth movement; inspiring, exciting, and electrifying those who were taken by it; and separating society into 'those who got it' and 'those who didn't'. Unfortunately, its popularity is what ultimately destroyed it. Now, professionally produced rock music is a multi billion dollar, world wide industry, totally controlled by some of the largest corporations. Everything from what you hear on commercial radio, to the soundtracks in movies, to what you see on the shelves of your favorite CD shops is the result of corporate board meetings, and market research - all aimed at the biggest slice of the music buying public: 14-year-old kids. Homogeny, the relative sameness of one musical offering to the next, is the key. The big executives who make or break new sources of music seem to think that we, the listening public, can't handle a wide variety of styles and ideas. Add to this the brain washing technique of commercial radio stations; playing the same list of top forty crap day after day. We buy what we hear, and they control it all.

I can't say enough good things about non-profit college radio and alternative music review puplications. They are truly the last saving grace of real original recorded music as an art form.

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