Jann Klose Interview: 'The Next Generation of Essential Music and Artistry'
By Ray Shasho
Pop/Rock singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jann Klose is not only the quintessence recording artist and live performer; he’s also a perfect paradigm for what the contemptible music mainstream ought to be promoting extensively over commercial radio airwaves worldwide. JANN KLOSE has lived an intriguing life. Born in Germany, Jann was raised in Kenya, South Africa, and Hamburg. He came to the U.S. by way of Cleveland, Ohio as an exchange student and eventually began performing in touring productions of Jekyll & Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Who’s Tommy. Jann’s awe-inspiring songwriting, charismatic voice, and musical styles have been associated with such legendary artists as Paul McCartney, Julian Lennon, Sting, Paul Simon, Dan Fogelberg and many others. But Klose has undeniably conceived his own musical trademark and characteristics. Jann has shared the stage with such esteemed music artists as Hot Tuna, Rusted Root, Gary Lucas, Suzanne Vega, Annie Haslam and Renaissance, The Yardbirds, John Hawken (Spooky Tooth, Renaissance, and Strawbs), Roger McGuinn, Rosanne Cash, Pete Seeger and Les Paul. 'MOSAIC' the latest album: Most recently, Jann Klose released an incredible studio album entitled ‘Mosaic.’‘Mosaic’ is enticing, exceptional, and musically essential! Guest artists include guitarist Florian Opahle (Ian Anderson, Greg Lake), guitarist/record producer David Bendeth, flautist Tia Roper, and oboist Megan Marolf (Phillip Glass, Roger Waters). ‘Mosaic’ is also set to be released in vinyl very soon. Some of my favorite tracks are …“Make it Better” spotlighting crucial and relevant lyrical content. The song is also promoted in an avant-garde music video … The beautiful, graceful, and inviting acoustic serenade of “Still”… “Long Goodbye” features a superlative guitar performance by Florian Opahle. I also encountered hints of Julian Lennon idiosyncrasy on the track … The hip & bluesy, lyrical despairing “Falling Tears” was undeniably my favorite track … and next the breathtaking Tim Buckley cover entitled “Song to the Siren.”‘MOSAIC’ is mesmerizing and magnificently all-embracing …I rated ‘Mosaic’ the latest CD by Jann Klose with (5) Stars. Previous releases by Jann Klose include … (Sacrifice (EP), Reverie, Healthy Food for Thought, Black Box (EP), The Strangest Thing, and Enough Said). Jann Klose tours extensively while performing 75-100 shows per year in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He currently has dates in the U.S. and Germany. Check out Jann’s touring schedule HERE. Klose has (4) four nominations in the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards (IMA). You can vote for Jann Klose at www.independentmusicawards.com Recently I had the wonderful privilege of chatting with Jann Klose about his latest music endeavor entitled ‘Mosaic,’ the current tour, music videos, collaborations, my infamous ‘Field of Dreams’ question and much-much more. Here’s my interview with singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and next generation of musical proficiency artists …JANN KLOSE. Ray Shasho: Hello Jann from beautiful sunny Florida. Jann Klose: “Hello Ray from rainy New York.” Ray Shasho: You’ve got kind of a mini tour going on and performed most recently in Ridgefield, Connecticut with Bret Michaels? Jann Klose: “Yes, it was great. He had a pretty full house and rocked it! Bret thanked me and the crowd was really nice. It was at the Ridgefield Playhouse; I played there a couple of times and opened for Ben Taylor, James Taylor’s kid about a year and a half ago. It’s a really great room; the sound is great and the people that works there are great. So it’s one of those places that you want to keep coming back to, it’s just a comfortable place to play and a beautiful theater.” Ray Shasho: You also performed ‘The Last Waltz Live’ at The Highline Ballroom in NYC … an All-Star re-creation of The Band’s classic concert film. You sang Van Morrison’s “Caravan” and there was also quite a lineup at that show? Jann Klose: “Yes, I did Van Morrison’s “Caravan.” I told Michael Falzarano of Hot Tuna/ New Riders of the Purple Sage a story about one of my first gigs in college back in 1998-99. I opened for Jorma Kaukonen and Hot Tuna which is how they were billed at the time. I was so green and didn’t know what I was doing. But I asked Michael …do you remember when I opened for you guy’s at Peabody’s Downunder? He said, “No I don’t remember, but I remember the gig and I remember that I was there.” I said, that was probably a good thing because I walked up to Jorma and said … Hey, you guys want to do something together? I’m sure he doesn’t remember, but it’s one of those things that I wouldn’t do now. I wouldn’t walk up to the headliner and say, Hey man what’s up; do you want to do a song together? (All laughing)” Ray Shasho: Nowadays you are collaborating with many of those legendary artists … Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds, and Annie Haslam of Renaissance. Does the list also include Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull? Jann Klose: “I actually did play with Ian’s son James who has a band, and we’ve done stuff together in England. Annie and I have been writing together. I opened for Renaissance for their fortieth anniversary tour. But yes, these days are much different.” Ray Shasho: One of the many interesting places you lived while growing up was in Nairobi, Kenya. Any amusing childhood memories? Jann Klose: “My dad retired a few years ago and still goes to Mombasa twice a year and stays there months on end. He relaxes, enjoys the weather, and the Indian Ocean.” “But I have a lot of memories about living in Kenya when I very young. We had a creek behind our house and it was fenced off and we were not supposed to be in there. Somehow my brother and I got out of my parents eyesight and walked into the creek. The creek wasn’t clean and they were concerned about infections, viruses, and what not. I just remember my dad seeing us playing in that little creek and freaking out. He ran up and grabbed us while screaming, “Oh my God, my children, you’re going to die!” So he was really freaked out, I remember that very vividly.” Ray Shasho: Who were some of the artists that got you interested in becoming a professional musician? Jann Klose: “It’s very across the board; I listened to a lot of classic rock growing up, but the person that really made me want to be a musician was actually Prince, believe it or not. When I first saw Prince and discovered him everything changed. I knew I wanted to be like that, although I’m totally different. He wanted me to be a performer.” Ray Shasho: I thought ‘Mosaic’ your latest release… was enticing, exceptional, and musically essential. Would you say it’s your best album to date? Jann Klose: “I’m proud enough to press a vinyl of it. We’ll have the vinyl release in a couple of months. I’m really happy with it and love the record.” Ray Shasho: The first glimpse I had of Jann Klose was on the “Doing Time” video in 2010. I knew immediately that you were destined to become a very important artist. Critics are notorious for comparing great new artists to legendary performers, and your style has been correlated with the likes of Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and Sting to name a few. But I hear Julian Lennon traits on many of your tracks. Jann Klose: “Of course, I grew up listening to Julian Lennon a little bit. He’s a lovely guy. I was in a compilation with him in 2011 called ‘Healthy Food for Thought,’ and we got a Grammy nomination from it. From what I can tell, Julian is centered and very much himself, like Sean his kid brother, who is pretty together these days, and does his own thing.” Ray Shasho: Both “Doing Time” and “Make It Better” are phenomenal music videos. They would have been played relentlessly during the heyday of MTV. Jann Klose: “We did get a considerable amount of airplay with it. We charted with ‘Mosaic’ and made the first round for the Grammy’s. I got four nominations for The Independent Music Awards. So we got a really good reaction for it being an Independent release. As you know, the industry is not what it was, but we’re happy with the results.” Ray Shasho: Another incredible track on ‘Mosaic’ is “Long Goodbye.” You’ve got Ian Anderson’s proficient guitarist playing awesome electric on several tracks on the new album? Jann Klose: “Yes, Florian Opahle from Ian’s band played on “Make It Better” and “Long Goodbye.” Ray Shasho: My very favorite track is “Falling Tears”… just a really cool tune. And of course “Song to the Siren” your Tim Buckley cover. You’ve developed a unique bond with the Buckley family? Jann Klose: “It started when I discovered Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” in college, which became my favorite record. I started doing tributes in Chicago every year and that’s where I met Jeff’s mom Mary. Later I did a tribute in New York and that’s how I met Gary Lucas. And since then I’ve been working with Gary. That’s how I got the gig in the movie because he recommended me to the director. So it was just one of those things that happened and I didn’t expect. Artistically it was very-very satisfying, a career boost, and one of those lucky moments.” Ray Shasho: Jann, your music ingenuity allows you to perform any given genre. I do worry about certain genres disappearing. Many of the musicians I interview say those genres hopefully will circle back again soon someday. Jann Klose: “The one thing that I do hope is that people continue to support the arts as much as they can. I think that’s something we always have to remind people to do. It’s one of those things where people assume that all of that stuff is paid for. Even that Bret Michaels show the other night … that was an expensive tour. It costs a lot to go on the road and bring all those people with you. A lot of what you make goes right back into it. The one thing that you can’t download for free is a live show. It’s very much a reflection of society at large. We have a big gap between rich and poor and also a big gap between the few major label artists that are still left and this huge pool of Indie musicians.” Ray Shasho: You have four nominations for the upcoming Independent Music Awards (IMA)? Jann Klose: “Yes, there’s a panel of judges including …Raul Midon, Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson, Suzanne Vega, Sharon Jones, G. Love, and the Smithereens' Dennis Diken. So they’ll vote and the results come out in May. Then there’s an audience vote that will be publicized in July. It’s significant and great to be honored in that way. We submitted to them for years and never got anything, and then all of a sudden this year I got four nominations.” Ray Shasho: Jann, what do you hope to accomplish with your music over the next five years? Jann Klose: “We’re doing the vinyl release of ‘Mosaic’ and I’m hoping to release a live album later this year. I’m also working on a record with Gary Lucas and I’m touring more in Europe. I’m doing all the things that I want to do, so just keep growing, writing, and changing.” Ray Shasho: It has to be remarkable about all the support you’ve received from so many classic rock legends. Jann Klose: “Yea totally … Jim McCarty, Annie, Ian, Gary, and just lots of folks. I have a great agent in Germany that I work with that is wonderful. It’s tough out there so you need that kind of support. It’s great to see some of the classic rock legends helping out the young up and coming artists. Hopefully I can do that in twenty or thirty years from now.” Ray Shasho: Jann, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview. If you had a ‘Field of Dreams’ wish like the movie, to play, sing or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be? Jann Klose: “In modern times … I would say Joni Mitchell or Led Zeppelin. Someone from the past … it would be somebody that’s old school from the 1920’s-30’s in the Berlin Theater world. I would transport myself back to those early times because I have a feeling it would be a blast!” Ray Shasho: Jann, thank you for being on the call today but more importantly for all the incredible music you’ve given us and continue to bring. Jann Klose: “Thank you buddy… you take care in Florida.” Purchase ‘Mosaic’ the latest CD from Jann Klose at amazon.com Very special thanks to the incredible Anne Leighton of Leighton Media: * Music Services*Motivation Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at firstname.lastname@example.org Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS atamazon.com or barnesandnoble.com - Please support Ray by purchasing his book so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.
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