20 QUESTIONS WITH…
The Voice Connection’s JAIME VENDERA!
We love doing 20 questions with big stars like Geezer Butler, Henry Rollins, and Lita Ford. We also love doing 20 Questions with lesser-known stars like Barry Sparks, Acey Slade, and Sammy Serious. We are even willing to confess that from time to time (when we are really desperate) we dig up people like Ethan Collins, Tricky Lane, and Frankie from Kingofthehill. But once in awhile, we get someone that even we have never heard of! Just like today. Here’s the scoop:
Last fall, a producer from the Discovery Channel’s show "MythBusters" came to us for help. Now, if you’re not familiar "MythBusters," it’s a TV series in which these two guys set out to prove or disprove myths, legends, and old wives’ tales. Shit like whether a banana stuck in a tailpipe will really stall a car, if a sunken ship can be raised from the ocean floor by stuffing it with ping-pong balls, and if Lemmy’s moles can really deflect laser beams.
Anyhow, MythBusters wanted to see if a human voice really could shatter glass, so logically they came to us to see if we could hook them up with Jim Gillette from Nitro! In a roundabout sort of way, Jim helped the MythBusters got in touch with Jaime. Now the world’s about to be introduced to him! No, no? not on the Discovery Channel, but right here at Metal Sludge, because Jaime Vendera is this week’s 20 Questions victim! Let’s go.
1. What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to plug your shit.
I am a rock singer/vocal coach and I own a website called The Voice Connection, http://www.thevoiceconnection.com. It?s a website for rock singers and vocal instruction. I do a lot of interviews with pro singers from the 80?s and singers out now. I?ve written and released two vocal instruction books- Raise Your Voice and The Ultimate Breathing Workout. My biggest vocal influence was Jim Gillette from Nitro. I interviewed Jim last year and sent him a copy of my first book. He loved it. I think he believes I?m going be the greatest vocal coach in the world. I have also just started a new band called Burn The Sun, with bassist/vocalist Howard Turner and drummer Tim Odle. We?re just three seasoned musicians, (by seasoned, I mean old) who want to have some fun. We were going to call it 3-OMG for 3 old married guys, but that would just embarrass our wives. We want to create a modern day Alice in Chains harmony mix, with a Zeppelin feel. We are currently auditioning guitar players if anyone?s interested. And that?s all I got to say? I don?t say much.
2. Do you think anyone reading this has any idea who you are?
Oh definitely!!!!!!! I?m sure Jim and Lita will read this? As for the rest of the world? maybe my best friend Keith Gilbert — no relation to Paul.
Hide the good crystal! It’s Jaime and Jim Gillette
3. Alright, you?ll be appearing on ?Mythbusters? on the Discovery Channel. What will you be doing, how was the experience, and how did you get hooked up with that show in the first place? Rumor has it that Metal Sludge was indirectly responsible for your appearance on the program! Spill the beans.
Jim Gillette called me up and said, ?Do you want to shatter glass on National television???? The MythBusters wanted to find a singer who could perform this feat, so they contacted Jim to do the show, but Jim was too busy to do the show. (And yes, it was because of Metal Sludge, that Linda Wolkovitch, associate producer of MythBusters, was able to contact Jim Gillette. So, I owe a lot of gratitude to Metal Sludge as well as Jim.) He told them that he knew a vocal coach that could do it no problem. So, at this point, I?m pretty freaked out. I feel like I?m 16 again? How would you feel if your music idol as a kid called you up and wanted to teach you his secrets. He taught me how to shatter glass with my voice using an amplifier? over the phone!!!! When I exploded the first glass I figured I better try it again to make sure it wasn?t a fluke. By the time I got a hold of Jim, I had shattered 6. That was on 11/03/04. I shattered 19 that night, took Thursday off to rest my voice, shattered I think 24 on Friday, flew to New York on Saturday, and shattered 15 glasses rehearsing with and auditioning for a challenger with the New York Opera on Sunday. I was on Good Morning America the next day on November 8th with the MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. I was challenged by a classically trained opera singer to see who could shatter the glass. To be fair, I taught her the technique during the previous day’s rehearsal. But, when it came time for live television, she tried twice and failed, and I nailed it first try. METAL RULES!!! I was recently filmed for the MythBusters show breaking a glass without any amplification, making me the first documented singer on the planet to ever accomplish this feat.
Jaime with those MythBusters guys
4. Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being someone who sounds like they just had a tracheotomy, and 10 being the ultimate vocal master:
Paul Stanley = 7-Good tonality, but doesn?t show much range. When is the farewell tour ever gonna end???)
Vince Neil = 8- The MTV makeover did him some good.
Marq Torien = 9- One of my favorite 80?s singers. Loved the first CD. Something vocally changed on the rest of the Bulletboys CD?s What the hell was Acid Monkey???. Haven?t heard anything from him lately.
Mark Slaughter = 9- One of my inspirations. I used to sing a lot of Vinnie Vincent Invasion.
Tony Harnell = 10- Excellent singer and one of my friends. He is starting an online voice workshop and wants me to teach with him.
Michael Matijevic = 8- It would have been a 10 if he hadn?t postponed our interview.
Jani Lane = 3-He wasn?t down with the Downboys
Sebastian Bach = 9-Amazing vocalist. Would have been a 10 but I didn?t get what he was trying to do on The Last Hard Men CD. Hope to interview him someday.
Bret Michaels = 2- Since he went country.
Jim Gillette = 11- He?s the vocal god!!!!!!!!!!!
5. What exactly is ?The Voice Connection? all about, and when did you start that project?
The Voice Connection is an online site for vocal instruction that I started a little over a year ago. I offer free lessons, voice related book and product reviews, links to other sites (metal sludgeJ), and interviews with professional rock singers. When I first wrote Raise Your Voice, I just wanted a basic website to sell the book. But, as I researched sites to help base mine on, I couldn?t find anything even close. I realized there needed to be a site to help rock singers. I decided to start interviewing the professionals to give aspiring vocalists tips and tricks. I also have a link to spotlight unsigned bands and vocalists. I recently did a spotlight on one of Tony Harnell?s students, although I didn?t know it was his student at the time.
6. You?re also a vocal coach. What does that entail, and have you coached anyone famous that we should know about?
I I have developed methods to help singers strengthen their voices, increase their ranges and eliminate vocal strain. I like working with touring musicians to help them maintain their voices on the road. I have given tips to several rock stars, like Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust and Josey Scott from Saliva. Josey is such a big fan that I autographed one of the glasses I shattered and he has it on display in his house. Phil Tayler, from new band Future Leaders of the World, is flying here in a few weeks to study with me, to prepare for his next record. I worked with him one night before his concert, and he was amazed at how well his voice felt. There is a way to scream and not hurt your throat. I am working on a book called the Hard Rock Singer?s Guide, to teach singers how to sing stuff like AC/DC or more currently, Shinedown, and not lose your voice.
7. At one point, you moved out to Hollywood to attend the Musician?s Institute. What did you learn there, and did you have any classmates who also ended up in the spotlight at some point?
At the time, the vocal department was so new, that it was tough to learn. I?m sure it?s a lot better now. Don?t get me wrong, I did learn a lot about vocal technique?stuff I?d never heard of before. Most singers were there to learn how to sing hard rock and the focal point leaned more towards contemporary. I had great teachers, including Bryan Kelly, brother of the late Tim Kelly, lead guitarist of Slaughter, and Tim Bogert, bass player for Vanilla Fudge. I haven?t seen anyone in the spotlight but my favorite singer and fellow student was a guy named Jeff Chace. He sounded a lot like Jeff Keith, and he was so natural at singing. I never had that. Singing was tough for me.
8. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:
Bean dip or salsa = Salsa?but it?s bad for singers who have acid reflux.
Saxophones or clarinets = The flute from Amercian Pie, although I do play Sax.
Robert Fleishman or Steve Perry = Perry?But can you tell me why Steve Augeri sounds like Perry in Journey and Fleishman in his first group, Tall Stories???
Adam Savage or Jamie Hyneman = You?re a real p***k for making me choose. I?d have to say Adam, because he was the better vocal student. You?ll see what I mean when you watch the show.
Earthquakes or tsunamis = I do love the beach.
American Chopper or Monster Garage = Monster American Chopper Garage-So I have a place to park the hog. Go ahead, make a joke.
Michael Angelo or Doug Marks = Well, I?m getting ready to start a DVD series called the Ultimate Vocal Workout for Metal Method, and Angelo never emailed me like Jim told him to, so I?d have to say Marks.
Coyotes or roadrunners = roadrunners?I like smart asses, not dumb asses.
Taime Downe or Jaime St. James = Taime sounds like Elmer Fudd and I heard the St. James didn?t fare to well in Warrant, so it?s a tie.
Kansas or Boston = I want to say Kansas, but I saw them a few years back?what has happened to Steve?s voice???? I think they found someone who looks like Walsh and replaced him. Oh?I still pick Kansas
9. You used to be in a band called AMRA. What the fuck kind of name is that for a band, and did you guys ever record anything, tour, or do anything that a real band does?
Please, don?t embarrass me. It?s a name my guitar player at the time came up with when he was dreaming about Demons and Wizards or something. I never understood it. I thought is stood for Another Mad Red-necked American, because we?re from a hick town and our drummer up and quit us a week before we were playing the Alrossa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. That?s the same stage where Dimebag was killed. May he rest in peace. Anyways, Tim, my drummer now, replaced that drummer for the gig. We recorded a couple of piss poor sounding songs that I would be ashamed to let anyone hear. In fact, I don?t even know what I did with them?Thank God? If anyone heard them, I would be discredited as a vocal coach. I was trying to be Mark Slaughter while singing in falsetto. The musicians were good, but at the time, I sucked. We did do a lot of posing like real 80?s bands. Does that count??? And? if I did do anything like a real band, don?t you think I?d be doing the Bring Back the 80?s Tour this summer instead of teaching??? Never toured with AMRA, but played with other bands in bars (OOOOOhhh how impressive) since I was 16. Now I?m old 35.
Jaime in his one of his old bands. At no point in history was this look ever cool.
10. What ?rock star? deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Ron Keel – What the hell is, ?I?m going country because I?m really a hick by heart, but now I?m coming back to metal cause country didn?t work, supposed to mean????
11. Rate the following chicks on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a bucket of used condoms, and 10 being a bonafide hottie.
Beyonce = 3 – I don?t like big asses.
Pamela Anderson = 1- Like Tommy really gave her hepatitis. But her body is an 11!
Heather Locklear = 10 – I bet she?s bitchy in bed. I like that.
Kylie Minogue = 9 – She looks like she needs spanked.
Christina Aguilera = 6 – When she doesn?t look like she belongs on the Adam?s Family.
Anna Kornukova = 9 – I think she needs a rocker to satisfy her.
Jennifer Aniston = 10 – If I weren?t married, I?d help her get over Brad, at least until Angelina stopped by.
Lindsay Lohan = I?d give Lindsay a 9-1/2- I give her a high score too. You got me, I?m a perverted old man.
Paris Hilton = 2 – Can?t stand her. The video sucked. Don?t like veiny boobs or anyone who stares at their self in the mirror.
Shakira = 6 – She shouldn?t be comparing her boobs to mountains.
12. Have you ever broken anything besides glass with your voice? Like maybe some poor chick’s hymen or maybe an eardrum?
When you can scream at around 120 decibels, you are bound to bust a few eardrums. I do have this technique to induce a screaming orgasm?
13. Yes or no, has Jaime Vendera ever:
Dropped acid = Yes. Then I picked it up and I placed it on my tongue.
Hit the ?brown note? = No
Set a dumpster on fire = ????
Met a member of Def Leppard = No – But I might interview them this summer.
Worn a pair of women?s undergarments = No, but I?ve sniffed plenty of panties.
Thrown eggs at a moving vehicle = I?m from Ohio, really close to Kentucky. What do you think???
Attended the Special Olympics = My brother is autistic, so I?ve been to some events.
Jacked off while watching a Lita Ford video = I can?t answer this. Jim would kill me. But in my defense, what teenaged boy in the 80?s didn?t?
Spent the night in jail = No, but I tried to crawl in to the backseat of a cop car when I was drunk. Luckily, the girl I was with knew him and he was off duty. No, he didn?t frisk her. That was my job when I sobered up.
Touched another man?s penis = No – but I?ve looked in the mirror while I was touching mine.
14. In your opinion, who?s the most overrated band today?
Any punk band. It?s not that challenging to play 3 chords and whine while you sing.
15. You have written 2 books, Raise your Voice and The Ultimate Breathing Workout. Why should anyone buy your books and what can they expect to get from it?
They should buy them because I am destined to be the greatest rock vocal coach in the world! I?m only planning on dominating America for right now. I?m starting small. The books present a new and unique method for developing the voice you?ve always wanted. If you want to increase your range, develop breath support, and enhance the over-all quality of your voice, then BUY MY BOOKS!!!!
16. On your Web site, you talk about tightening your stomach downward when trying to hit a high note. Have you ever shit your pants from the pressure?
Ha-ha. I make sure I go to the bathroom before practicing. Trust me, this technique may cause anal leakage. I?ve worked the shit out of several of my students.
17. Name one good thing about:
Girls = They are finger lickin good.
Drugs = There?s nothing good about drugs.
Hand jobs = They?re always there when you need a friend.
The LAPD = This must be a trick question. They promote rioting??? Never helped me when I was in L.A.
Lounge singers = They promote alcoholism by making you wanna get drunk to deaden the noise.
Penile implants = The help little pricks stand tall.
Mud wrestling = Dirty little women.
Limp Bizkit = Ass shoving cookie hiders.
Quicksand = Nothing. The MythBusters proved that you can?t sink in quicksand, so I couldn?t hide any remains.
Tacos = They remind me of girls
18. Here?s your chance to answer your own question! Make up any question you want and then answer it. Have at it!
If you could have sex with any woman in the world, who would it be?
I?d have to say my wife Diane, because she?s an awesome lover and she has the body of a Goddess. Don?t worry, I?m all ready having sex with her.
19. The Last of Jaime Vendera:
Last book you read = The Bible- I read it every night.
Last new CD you purchased = Judas Priest?s new CD. Halford?s back.
Last novelty gift you received = Vibrator for my wife.
Last concert you bought tickets to see = Journey, years ago. Don?t have to buy tickets anymore now that I interview the singers.
Last person you gave private lessons to = I just finished up lessons an hour ago. My last student was a kid named Justin who likes to sing stuff by The Mars Volta.
Last thing you shattered with your voice = A pickle jar. The damn thing wouldn?t open.
Last time you appeared on television = Good Morning America last year, but watch for me on Leno, cause it might be soon. Or, if it were Thursday, I?d say last night.
Last time you talked to Jim Gillette = He called me last week.
Last time you shit yourself = About two years ago. I asked my buddy if farts had lumps in them. When he said no, I knew I was in trouble.
Last time you barfed = About four years ago at Myrtle Beach. I was hammered on whiskey and I puked in the ocean. I think my wife got some on her feet. At least I fed the fishes.
20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association! We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.
Axl Rose = Great singer, wish he?s pull his head out of his ass and release some new material.
Gene Simmons = My least favorite bass player next to Michael Anthony
Nikki Sixx = Great songwriter. Hope he doesn?t challenge Ozzy to anymore stunts.
Joan Jett = Man or woman?
Terry Ilous = My first Voice Connection interview
Sharon Osbourne = Most bad-ass woman on the planet!
Chewbacca = Reminds me of some girl I used to date.
Rob Halford = I don?t care if he is gay, he?s still an amazing vocalist. When I think of Halford, I think of the scene in Rock Star when Bobby Beers gets kicked out of the band.
Alice Cooper = Satan?s little playmate. Never a huge fan of the occult.
Ted Nugent = He used to shit himself on stage.
Want to be a better singer? Sure you do, especically if your name is Taime, Jani or Bret. So for more information about how to unleash the pipes you never knew you had, check out Jaime Vendera’s Web site at www.thevoiceconnection.com.
And if you get the Discovery Channel, be sure to check out Jaime breaking shit with his voice Wednesday, May 18th on "Mythbusters." Check local listings for details.