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Silent Rage were a big name in melodic rock in the late 80's, signing to Gene Simmons' label (home of House of Lords as well). Jesse Damon has worked extensively with members of Kiss as well. His new solo album is just out - 'The Hand That Rocks' - on Z Records in Europe and his own website in the US and is a melodic rock delight!

1. What are you currently up to?

I'm currently recording, and Co-Producing my next solo album with The French Brothers in Burbank, California. I'm also writing songs for the next possible Silent Rage studio album. There is no definate starting date for the album, but we have planned, and talked about it some. It's still in the early stages, so we'll just have to see if it really happens!

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoints(s) of your career to date?

JD The highlight to my career has been the relationships I've forged with band mates, and two other particular gentleman named Gene Simmons, and Paul Sabu! I'd also have to include and say my songwriting in general, and the doors that it's opened for me!

My low point was probably the time in the nineties that Silent Rage was inactive, and away on an extended break from recording and touring!

3. How did you first get into the music business? Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

My story isn't unlike a lot of other bands in the beginning. We the original three members of Silent Rage started out playing parties, schools, weddings, and fairs, then moved onto Bars, clubs, concerts and Madi Gras. By the mid eighties, we were recording 24 track demo's with Paul Sabu as our Producer. After accumulating enough songs we searched for a record deal and landed one with Chameleon Music Group.

It was an Independant Company from Hawthorne, California and coincidentally our home town. The A&R rep at the company responsible for signing us was non other than the marketing and artist savy Steve Brownlee. That's how it began! My "main influences" that I've directly worked with would be Gene Simmons, and Paul Sabu.

My Guitar influences are classic blues based rock guitarists : Eric Clapton, Jonny Winter, Jimmy Page, Neil Shon, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallager, Rick Deringer, Jeff Beck, Robin Trower, Ronnie Montrose, Ace Frehley, Rod (The Bottle) Price, Donald (Buck Darma) Roeser, Michael Shenker, Eddie VanHalen.

Then in the 80's-90's : Warren Di Martini, George Lynch, John Sykes, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and acoustic players Jesse Cook & Mark Antoine.

My Vocal influences are : Lou Graham, Robert Plant, David Coverdale, Paul Rodgers, Steve Perry, John Wait, Robin Zander, Paul Stanley, Peter Ceterra, Michael Bolton, (Lonesome) Dave Prevett, Bryan Adams. I probably left out a few...

4. You've just put out 'The Hand That Rocks'. What are your personal favourites on the album and why?

That's a hard decision, but I'll say Love isn't Love because it was the first song to be recorded for that album, and I think it set a pretty high standard for the rest of the CD.

Gotta Let It Go, and Everybody Needs Somebody are two songs I like alot also, because their strong songs and translate very well when I play them live, I'd pick Dear Sanity, and If She'd Be Mine, and Heart Of Love because they Show vocal versatility. But To Tell you the truth they're all special to me. If a song makes it to an album, there's usually a good story behind it, and why it made it!

5. Silent Rage - what are the bands plans for the future and what has been the live highlight with the band?

As I stated before, I am writing new material with the assumption that there will be another studio album from us, and the new stuff is heavy! I think we'd also like to tour again. We love performing live, so all you promoters and headliners, here's your notice from us, call us!

6. You've worked with Kiss. How did this come about? Anyone else you would like to write and/or work with in the future?

The affiliation with KISS came about from Gene Simmons hearing our first release "Shattered Hearts" and contacting us to tell us his intensions. Silent Rage signed a contract with Simmons/RCA/BMG in 1988, and it was from that association, that Gene asked me to write songs with him, for KISS. I remember him saying to me "Jesse this is a great opportunity for you, but no one gets a free ride, you have to deliver the goods", and so, I did!

It started off by Gene asking me to come into the recording studio to sing back-ups on song demo's he was recording. From that, he eventually asked me to songwrite with him. We wrote a number of songs together, and also I developed and demo'd songs for him & KISS! I would love to write with a number of well known artists, songwriters, and Producers.

Here are some of them : Desmond Child, Bob Ezrin, Kevin Beamish, Mutt Lange, also some bands like Train, The Vines, Collective Soul, Chris Cornell, Sheryl Crow.

7. Do you think melodic rock will be big again like the 80's/early 90's or will it remain very much a niche market? Do you think there is more exposure for melodic rock now than say the late 90's?

I think it's on the rise again, but now the climate of the rock world is like a melting pot of melodic 80's, grunge 90's, and new millinium age of edge rock.

I think it's on the rise again, but now the climate of the rock Band's from the eighties era need to find a way, and find their way to fit in with today, but not lose they're identity along the way! Yes I think there is more exposure and awareness that has been shown to the youth of today, so they can appreciate were artist of today's influences came from.

I think it's on the rise again, but now the climate of the rock Today's youth of rock listeners had Mom's and Dad's that grew up with melodic rock, so some of them were exposed along the way!

8. Which song(s) that you wrote/co-wrote for other artists give you the most pleasure to listen to and why?

Obviously "Thou Shalt Not" from the KISS Revenge CD, from which I received a Gold Album!

Also other songs I've co-written with Gene Simmons, EJ Curse & Mark Hawkins (SiLent Rage), Paul Sabu & Terri Tims, Bob Ezrin, Michael & David French, Kyle Vincent, Brian Bradley, Rodney Pino, Matt Heyerly, Rob Klein. It's my heart and soul that goes into my writing!

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

My wife Lili and I love to travel, to Hawaii, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas, we like to camp in the mountains, on the lakes, by the ocean. I also am a member of I.A.T.S.E. Hollywood Lighting Union. I get to work on Hollywood sound stages for television sit-coms. It's seasonal work which allows me time for my musical career!

10. Message to your fans...

Believe me when I say with regards to music, I do what I do for the love of it!

Thanks Again. See ya on the road...Jesse Damon


Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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