American Hi-Fi has graced their return to the music industry with their fifth studio album, Blood and Lemonade. The gentlemen bring back good ol’ power-pop with plenty of guitar riffs to make you reminisce back to the early 2000’s, where this type of music had once dominated MTV and the radio. Cliché spoke with frontman Stacy Jones on staying active in the music industry, the changes and struggles that come with it, and Blood and Lemonade.
Cliché: “Flavor of the Weak” became a staple in American Pop Rock and was your first hit off of the self-titled that was released in 2001. Looking back on that 13 year old album, how do you personally feel about that record today?
Stacy Jones: I still love that song! It is still very satisfying to play and sing! It came from a real place…It’s about a friend of mine, so it still feels very authentic.
Blood and Lemonade is the band’s fifth studio album. Does this name suggest that you need to bleed in order to make something sweet and rewarding?
HA! Possibly! This album was a labor of love for us. We didn’t have a label, or management, or anyone else involved when we recorded. We did it for us, and hopefully people that dig guitar rock music will like it as well.
You wrote the first album in the spirit of it being a couple of guys writing music without the intention of reaching “rock stardom.” Does the new record reciprocate this organic and honest style of writing?
Absolutely! It is the most honest record we’ve made I believe.
You have been a band for about 16 years now. Looking at the way rock/pop rock has evolved throughout the years with the content becoming more lyrical, had American Hi-Fi struggled against this change with Blood and Lemonade, or did your original sound flow as natural as it did when you first started?
Things came together very easily for this record. It was a goal of mine to elevate the lyrics this time around… have them be more honest and hopefully connect to people in a meaningful way.
The band had parted ways with Island Records along with Maverick Records years back. Most labels today would rather direct how a band should sound rather than help guide their natural growing sound. Do you believe this is why most music today has taken the turn the way it has with its repetitive and saturated lyrics and assembly line manufactured sounds?
YES! Major labels are about commerce, not substance. It is evident in the way that there is very little artist development these days. I think labels are looking for a quick hit and are not interested in the long haul. Producers and songwriters are to blame as well. If Katy Perry has a hit, labels, writers, producers, try to duplicate it… and the cycle perpetuates.
You are the Music Director and touring drummer for Miley Cyrus, as well as the touring drummer for Matchbox Twenty. While American Hi-Fi was struggling or taking hiatuses, you decided to continue working diligently in the music industry, rather than ceasing your writing/performing. How important is it to you to keep writing and playing?
I’m a musician. It’s what I do. I can’t do anything else, and I don’t want to. I’m happy to be involved in the industry in any way that I can. I have worked at labels, been a writer for other artists, a drummer for hire, a musical director… each job presents different challenges and equally different rewards.
You stated that you had a few days off on a tour with Miley, so you had decided to perform a show in London with the rest of American Hi-Fi, which sold out. This sparked in getting the band together for writing your newest work. Aside from standing on the stage with the rest of American Hi-Fi for the first time in years, how did it feel to stand amongst a sold out crowd with them?
It was incredible! Looking out and seeing all of those faces singing along and smiling… It is a feeling that is hard to describe. I feel very lucky and honored to be able to do that.
Can we keep our fingers crossed in hope to see American Hi-Fi go on a tour in support of Blood and Lemonade?
YES! We are working on putting together some shows now! It can be difficult to coordinate as we all have lives outside of Hi-Fi…but we are committed to playing where people want to see us!
American Hi-Fi Interview by Heather Glock, photo courtesy of Cameron Rad