Photo courtesy of Bill McClintic/90 East Photography
I’m pretty happy to say this CRS interview wasn’t our first Think Country rodeo when it comes to the greatness that is Jason Charles Miller. We’ve reviewed his music and talked with him before and I can easily say he’s one of the most talented and most gracious artists I have ever personally dealt with. If his name doesn’t jump right out at you, that’s okay. Some people with very impressive resumes tend to hide in plain sight. If you really want to get a grasp on all of Jason’s work, look him up on the links listed at the bottom, or perhaps check out this Think Country piece from March of 2019 Jason Charles Miller In the Wasteland Review March 2019. In the meantime, take a load off and see what’s new with him via our CRS 2021 Zoom interview right now.
Jason Charles Miller: Hey.
Patti McClintic: Hey, how are you doing?
Jason Charles Miller: I’m good, how are you?
Patti McClintic: I’m doing fine, it’s good to see you.
Jason Charles Miller: Me too. I’ve been looking forward to talking to you.
Patti McClintic: Yeah, me too. This is one of the ones I’ve really been looking forward to, and you have such a cool background there. Mine is pretty boring, but my cat was just back there.
Jason Charles Miller: This is where I do all my music shows on Twitch and stuff.
Patti McClintic: I have to start watching some of those.
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, definitely, and they’re really interactive.
Patti McClintic: Oh, I like to interact. I’d be an interactive person. So, what’s new? Don’t even tell me how beautiful the weather is out there in L.A.
Jason Charles Miller: I’m not gonna say that! I usually don’t lead my conversations off with that anyway.
Patti McClintic: Only because ours is so… eww.
Jason Charles Miller: I know.
Patti McClintic: It’s not normal, it just isn’t. So, what’s going on? What’s new and exciting in your world? I know you have a fairly recent single which I have, of course.
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, “Better Late Than Never,” it was out in November, which it’s part of the album which comes out March 26th. So, I’m putting out two albums this year, sort of splitting it into two halves, like, two large halves. We’ve got seven songs coming in March and seven more coming in October. Then I have another album, that I’ve already started recording for 2022.
Patti McClintic: Wow. You are so ahead of the game.
Jason Charles Miller: That’s right, I’m trying to be, you know?
Patti McClintic: Are things still kind of locked down over there?
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, we just reopened the restaurants recently and that was like, last week. Before last week you couldn’t even sit outside at a restaurant.
Patti McClintic: Oh, really?
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, there were no events, no bars, hardly anything to do. So, I’ve been really fortunate, for most of last year I was working on the music for a big video game. Then I have two more video games that I’m working on the music for right now. Then there’s music I did before it came out, for the game Cyberpunk 2077. I have three songs in that game, which don’t sound like me as a solo artist. The game is supposed to take place in 2077, so we kind of guessed at what music in the future might sound like, and they liked ’em.
Patti McClintic: Describe what future music in 2077 sounds like to you.
Jason Charles Miller: A lot of electronics and a lot of screaming and really heavy. So, I formed a duo with my friend, Jamison Boaz, and we call it Rezodrone, and he’s really good at doing, like, the “metal scream.”
Patti McClintic: I would think you’d be really good at doing the metal scream, having been in a metal band before.
Jason Charles Miller: I can do the metal “clean” scream. He can do the metal (makes a heavy growl-type sound) scream.
Patti McClintic: The one when my husband listens to really heavy metal and I say it sounds like they’re vomiting? That one?
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah! He can do that! It’s a combo of me singing all sweet over the top of this really heavy music, and then it’ll just be like, “Resist!” (In that heavy growl)
Patti McClintic: (Laughs) Okay. Sounds fun.
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, you have to check it out. I’ll send it to you.
Patti McClintic: Oh, definitely send it to me. I know a guy that lives in my house who will absolutely adore that because he enjoys that stuff a lot.
Jason Charles Miller: Great.
Patti McClintic: So, tell me about these new albums you have coming out. You are a busy guy.
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, so a couple things. I launched my own label, mainly just for my own releases, but I had written so many songs for In the Wasteland that didn’t make it. You know, it’s an 11 song album and I’d written like, 45 songs. There were a ton of songs that I really, passionately believed in, but because I was on a label I had to sort of go through a committee of what would be on the album. So, there were a lot of songs that didn’t make it and some are from that. Some are brand new songs and some are ones I wrote with Austin Hanks and Noah Ang. We had a three-piece that we were doing for a little while and we never released any of those songs, so those are gonna be on part two. Then there are covers that I really enjoy doing, and then by the summer of 2022, you’ll have another 10 or 12 songs from me. So, I’m not gonna stop putting ’em out.
Patti McClintic: That is so cool. Can’t wait. How’s your studio (Central Command Studios) doing?
Jason Charles Miller: It’s doing good. You know, we had to close for five months and that was really tough. I could go there as an individual, but we couldn’t have any clients or customers or really work with anybody. Then we were one of the first studios in North Hollywood to get approved by SAG (The Screen Actors Guild) after, I think we were the first. So, then I had to do a bunch of improvements to the ventilation system. This is gonna get really nerdy, but we put in a UVC air scrubber in the air conditioning vents, like they have in hospitals, just to do that extra step to really make sure that if anything’s flying around in the air that that zaps it. We have to wait an hour in between each performer. If we record someone in the booth, after they’re done, if we’re bringing in someone else we have to wait an hour and we have to disinfect that whole room. We have another portable UVC light that we shine in there for a half an hour that zaps everything. It’s a process, but we’re open and we’re allowed to work, which is the important thing. It definitely adds more to what we’ve gotta do, but we’re grateful to be able to work again.
Patti McClintic: Yeah, and I’m sure eventually you’ll recoup that money that you had to put in to do all that. It sounds like it was expensive, was it?
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, it was tough at the time in the wallet to do that, but I was watching what some of the other really big studios were doing. I live in Los Angeles and I was watching what Disney or Nickelodeon or CBS were doing. Even though I’m a smaller, sort of boutique, little studio, I thought if I could get a jump on that, that will put us at an advantage. I guess it worked out so far.
Patti McClintic: Good! I’m glad you did all that nerdy stuff. It’s good to be a nerd sometimes. I’m a self-professed nerd, so I can totally go with that. Obviously, you’ve been doing the Twitch shows and they’ve been working out because you keep on doing them.
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, I thought rather than do this special concert every now and then, with Twitch it’s all about regularity, right? So, every Monday I have Miller’s Music Mondays and I have a different guest every week. I run it like a Nashville songwriter round, where I’ll play a song and then I’ll talk a little bit with my guest, then they’ll play a song. Then we go back and forth for an hour. On Wednesday nights I do something called, Whatever You Want Wednesdays, and that’s an all-request show. I have a list of 154 songs right now and I add to it every week, a song that I can play acoustically. Whether they’re originals or covers, there might be some you don’t expect me to play at all, and people sometimes donate for me to do those. Like, “Let’s hear you sing an Adele song!”
Video courtesy of Jason Charles Miller and YouTube
Patti McClintic: Like a Britney Spears song? Or not that crazy?
Jason Charles Miller: Well, I do a really slow version of “You Belong With Me,” (Taylor Swift) (laughs) so you should check that out.
Patti McClintic: So, this is all on Twitch, both days, Mondays and Wednesdays?
Jason Charles Miller: All on Twitch Live on my own channel (link below). Then on Tuesday afternoons I host a songwriting show which is really fun. That’s on a different channel. That’s for CNEGames, and they’re obviously a game company. They have a game called Idle Champions, and they reached out to me and said, “Hey, obviously there’s no conventions going on or places we would promote our games, so we would like to do a show with you.” So, I thought of this crazy idea and it’s been working great, we’ve done, like, 23 episodes already. My co-host Dylan and I, and Dylan knows a lot more about the game than I do, we write a song about a different character from the game every week, and we write it with the audience. So, we’ll pick a genre. We’ve done a couple country ones, a couple southern rock ones, but we’ll be like, “Let’s do a pop/punk one, let’s do an 80s metal-sounding one, let’s do a 90s metal-sounding one.” Then we pick the character and we pick the genre and then we just start writing. Then the audience will give us lyrical ideas, melody ideas and it’s like this weird, group-written song, that in two hours we’ve got a new song every week.
Patti McClintic: That is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. Anybody can join in on this thing? You don’t have to be a real songwriter to jump in?
Jason Charles Miller: Absolutely, anyone can join in and I think a lot of people like it because they learn about songwriting that way too. They see the process of it.
Patti McClintic: I wanna go in there! I wanna see that.
Jason Charles Miller: That would be at 3:00 your time (Central Time) on Tuesdays. I’ll usually host it on my own channel, so if you can remember my name, you can push through to that channel and watch.
Patti McClintic: I can remember your name. I tell people about you all the time, you’re one of those people. I kind of drop your name on a regular basis.
Jason Charles Miller: I love that, you’re one of my huge supporters and I can never thank you enough for that. As you probably know, being a fan of my music, I don’t exactly fit that “cookie cutter.”
Patti McClintic: No, you don’t, which is why we love you.
Jason Charles Miller: Okay, well, thank you. It’s harder to get people to figure me out sometimes, I guess. So, I’m glad that you have and are spreading the word.
Photo courtesy of Bill McClintic/90 East Photography
Patti McClintic: That’s just it. You’re going to get the flock of people that are going to be looking for the “cookie cutter,” but there will always be the people that are not looking for the cookie cutter, and they’re out there and we have those people. Actually, one of the people that’s one of your biggest fans, and you’re gonna die, is Annette Gibbons‘ mother. Her mother is one of your biggest fans in England.
Jason Charles Miller: Awesome! You know, I should be there next year. What’s crazy is, I was supposed to get on a plane to meet Bob Wayne in England. I was leaving on March 25th (2020), and I was watching everything close down day after day after day. I’m like, “Am I getting on that plane?” Obviously, the tour got canceled, but it looks like we’re gonna reschedule it for March of 2022. That’s how crazy this pandemic has been, that a tour’s being rescheduled two years later.
Patti McClintic: Same kind of thing happened with my daughter. She had a family Disney trip all planned and was probably supposed to leave that same day, March 25th, and right up until the last minute she was wondering what was going to happen. Obviously, the trip got canceled with everything else, but it’s tough breaking it to your kid, “Sorry, we’re not going to see Mickey.” It’s been a crazy year. Aside from all the weirdness, what else is happening? What have you been doing for fun? Is there any fun these days?
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah, there’s fun. I like to play Rocket League, that video game where you play soccer, but you’re driving a car. Check it out, it’s great.
Patti McClintic: I need to get the husband on that. He’s always playing the Call of Duty games, but maybe he needs to switch it up a little bit.
Jason Charles Miller: Yeah. He can join my team if he wants, we’ve got a whole team goin’. Rocket League, the best way I can describe it is you’re playing soccer, but you’re driving in a car, with a ball that’s gigantic.
Patti McClintic: That sounds like so much fun! So, I have a Chat Pack, because you’re going to chat. I’m going to pull a card out of this box and it’ll have a random question on it. Be ready to think quick on your feet, because I know you can do that.
Jason Charles Miller: I’m ready.
Patti McClintic: Okay, so the card says, “What is the best $100.00 you have ever spent in your life?”
Jason Charles Miller: I will tell you this, guilt-free, I once found a one-hundred dollar bill on the ground. It was when I was in college at George Mason University, and I found it somewhere around campus. What I did with it, and I’m not saying this to try and gain brownie points or anything, but I actually did this. I felt so guilty and didn’t know who it belonged to, and I looked around to see if it had just fallen out of someone’s pocket and they were looking for it, but there wasn’t anyone, so I donated it to a charity. So, to me, that was the best $100.00 I ever spent because I slept like a baby that night.
Patti McClintic: Your karma was probably fabulous after that.
(I then told him a story of how my husband and I found $50.00 many years ago on the ground by a police station. Being stone broke at the time, we could have really used that money, but my husband, being the guy he is, insisted we walk into the police station and turn it in. The police officer working there told us to keep it, so we did, but there is no doubt, that Jason Charles Miller and my husband are cut from the same cloth.)
Patti McClintic: It’s weird when you find a big currency bill on the street isn’t it?
Jason Charles Miller: Super weird.
Patti McClintic: I don’t think that happens anymore. We’re not even allowed to have coins anymore. Currency shortages and the pandemic and all that.
Jason Charles Miller: No, nobody’s really using cash these days, at least not here in L.A.
Patti McClintic: Not here either. If you do, people, especially young people, kind of look at you like, “What is that?” It’s been such a pleasure talking to you Jason and I do hope we can catch up in person soon.
Jason Charles Miller: Absolutely, yes.
Patti McClintic: When that album comes out I’ll be very excited. That’s March 26th, correct?
Jason Charles Miller: Yes, and I have a lot of fun guests on there. I’ve got Cowboy Eddie Long from Jamey Johnson‘s band, I’ve got Duane Betts from The Allman Betts Band. Listen for a cover I do of “Day After Day” by Badfinger.
Patti McClintic: Get out!
Jason Charles Miller: You’ve gotta listen. I put theremin in it. So, there’s a guy out here named Eban Schletter, who is arguably one of the best theremin players in the world, and I had him do the solo. Then we combined it with some acoustic guitar and I really want you to hear it because it totally gives you the feeling that you’re in outer space.
Patti McClintic: That is so cool! Someone else I reviewed recently used theremin on their album and it gave it such a wild sound. I love it. I love that you covered “Day After Day” because that’s always been one of my favorite songs. I can’t wait to hear it. I’ll listen for that. It’s been so good talking with you, and you have a good one out there in sunny L.A. Bye!
Jason Charles Miller: Thanks so much. I will. Bye.
If ever there’s a guy that I want you to give a bit of your time to, it’s this one. Jason Charles Miller may be a little heavier than others, but if you’re someone like me who likes your country with a healthy dose of rock stirred in, you might find he’s exactly what you’ve been missing. Check him out on Twitch and all his social media sites. Flip him a comment and tell him Think Country sent you! He’ll appreciate it, I promise.
For more news, interviews, reviews and features that always bring country closer, please visit http://thinkcountrymusic.com
Photo courtesy of Jason Charles Miller
JASON CHARLES MILLER CAN BE FOUND:
INSTAGRAM: Jason Charles Miller on Instagram
FACEBOOK: Jason Charles Miller on Facebook
TWITTER: Jason Charles Miller on Twitter
YouTube: Jason Charles Miller on YouTube
TWITCH: Jason Charles Miller on Twitch
*Featured photo courtesy of Bill McClintic/90 East Photography