Fireball Ministry’s James Rota: Dave Grohl Reminds Us ‘How Important Music Is’ [Interview]
Fireball Ministry's James Rota was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. Earlier this fall, the stoner rock outfit released Remember the Story, their first new album since issuing their self-titled disc in 2010. The guitarist / vocalist spoke about what led to the band's return, his working relationship with rock legend Dave Grohl, having a genre icon like bassist Scott Reeder in the group and what working in film and television has taught him. Check out the chat below.
How are you?
I'm good how are you?
Doing great. We're here to talk about Fireball Ministry's fifth album, Remember The Story. It's been a few years since the last one. [laughs] What was the actual creative and recording timeline for this new record?
We're just really lazy and old so it takes longer. [laughs] We got approached by a few labels to do a record because honestly we've been playing the Motorboat Cruises and doing some things here and there but we were just having a good time and enjoying each other's company. But then a few labels started calling and we were just — well we have our own studio. We have a great friend in Paul Feig who produced it and I'm like, "We could make a record." So that was it. We just started writing songs and recorded them. Luckily they're putting them out.
You've been making music, Jim, for a long time. What evolves or changes most about your creative process from album to album?
I think that people who listen to music these days are able to be exposed to so much and so many different things and on demand whenever they want, unlike when I was growing up or the rest of the band was growing up. You really had to hunt things down. I really think at this point for a band like us that's a 20-year-old band, we just have to stick to what we know and do so that we're not competing in a space that we don't belong in if that makes any sense. As long as we make the best Fireball Ministry record we can, that's really what our inspiration is. Be the best version of our band that we are.
Let's talk about your working relationship with Dave Grohl. It includes everything from producing a Sound City documentary to recording Fireball Ministry music at his studio. What makes working with Dave Grohl so worthwhile for you?
Dave is a person that when he has an idea it's usually a big idea. I've always admired his work ethic because for a guy who is as successful as he is, he never stops working and he never stops trying to do something else. He's also not afraid to really invest in his own creative endeavors. Especially if they mean something to him like the Sound City movie did and the Sonic Highways TV series. He's really a proponent of making people aware of how necessary music is to our lives. So anytime he calls for us to get involved in a project, I'm always gung-ho because music is so important to me too. I just think that's a really good thing for a guy of his caliber to be doing constantly because not everybody is out there reminding us how important music is.
This is the first Fireball Ministry album with Scott Reeder on bass. What's different about your new music specifically because of Scott?
Well now our band has the greatest living bass player playing bass, in my opinion. So, that speaks for itself. Scott's a legend. He's an amazing human being, just a great guy to be around and when we started writing songs for the record, there was no ego stuff or anything that got in the way. Not that there were with other bass players, but with Scott, it was really easy and we've all just seemed to be on the same page. It was almost like he's always been in the band to be perfectly honest. Really good things. We've always been lucky to play with amazing bass players but man, Scott sure is something else.
Fans know you for Fireball Ministry but you also have a career working in TV and film. How has what you do with Fireball Ministry benefitted you working in other media and vice versa?
I think all of this is just a creative process. As you know with what you do too, it's a group of a people getting together rowing a boat in the same direction and trying to get the finish line, which is basically whatever you're all creating together. I think in a band, that's three to five people usually. Just multiply that times 10 when it comes to a movie or a television show. It's kind of like being a part of a bigger ship and getting that ship in the direction it's supposed to go. I've learned everything about life from being in a band [which] pretty much can say a lot or it doesn't say much.
I know you've got some touring coming up, what are your plans for the rest of 2017?
We're just putting together our touring itinerary now for maybe a little bit in December, but definitely next year.
Thanks to James Rota for the interview. Grab your copy of Fireball Ministry's new album, 'Remember the Story' at iTunes or Amazon and follow the band on Facebook to stay up to date with everything they're doing. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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