Interview John Myung (The Jelly Jam)

"Every song that we wrote was a perfect piece of the puzzle."

(June 2016, text by Iris Hidding, pictures by Shutter Rose Photography)

Everybody knows that John Myung is the bassist of the well-known progressive metal band Dream Theater, but John is also involved in another project, named The Jelly Jam. This super group has Rod Morgenstein of Winger and The Dixie Dregs on drums, and Ty Tabor of King's X on lead vocals and guitar. I spoke with John about their latest studio album named Prophet/Profit (see review), which was released in May 2016. I had the honour to interview John Myung in May via Skype

John Myung
You're just about to release your fourth studio album with The Jelly Jam, named Prophet/Profit. How and where was it recorded?
It was compiled in two different writing sessions, around ten days each during the course of the year, whenever there were breaks with Dream Theater. I like to stay creative so I'll check in with Ty Tabor and Rod Morgenstein and see if they are available, and when they are we get together, put our heads together and do our best to come up with enough music for a new album. It was very much like every other Jelly Jam session, there's not a whole lot of time we spend together, but the time that we do spend is fairly productive. We just had a start from scratch with little things. Sometimes it's just like a little phrase or a little idea, and sometimes it's a song that Ty brings in. If we all like it we just colour it in our own way, and that's how the record was made.

What's the story behind the album title? It's the name Prophet with a strikethrough, and the word Profit handwritten next to it.
It was Ty's concept with the crossing out of the word prophet. Phonetically “prophet” sounds like “profit”. What Ty really wanted to say was that the theme is about the powers of creating the shallow truth. That's a powerful theme that resonates throughout the album lyrically. I really have grown to like to the approach of the album title crossed out, it makes it more edgy and provoking.

Can you describe the music to someone who hasn't heard your music yet?
I can describe it in terms of how I think about it. A bunch of songs that cohesively have become a big body of work. The flow of the album sounds really natural, it doesn't sound forced, it doesn't sound like a bunch of songs that were thrown together. Every song that we wrote was a perfect piece of the puzzle. Looking at the whole album, each song leads into the next one just the right way. I see this like a real cohesive bodywork, I can turn it on and listen to the whole album and there's not one moment that seems out of place.

You guys are planning a tour. Will there only be an American tour, or are you also planning an European one?
It would be nice to get over there at some point. Right now, North-America is as far as we will get where we can play. In the following year (2017), when everyone's schedule is realigned again and windows open up, then we have a chance to play on another part of the word as well... but for now we just starting in North-America.

The Jelly Jam. From L to R: Ty Tabor, Rod Morgenstein and John Myung

How did you start the band The Jelly Jam?
It was a long time ago. This is our fourth album together. We were actually called Platypus and made two albums, before we turned into The Jelly Jam. I've been working with Ty and Rod since the late nineties, probably like eighteen years. A lot of people don't really know about The Jelly Jam because it's never really been in a high profile situation where we got heavily promoted. It was more a great way for me, Ty and Rod to be creative. We just enjoyed the process of getting together and writing songs, it was just a great thing to do. With this record it's time to let people know we exist. I hope a lot of people will check this record out, it's a real cool album. I'm hoping that people find time to check it out and let us know what they think.

I have to admit that I haven't heard of the band until now, and I really love the music. I hope you guys will get a lot more new fans in the near future!
Thank you very much, I hope so too!

More info about The Jelly Jam on the Internet:
       review album 'Prophet/Profit'

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