Published on July 3rd, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


Hawker M. James (Ex-Longwave)

How did you discover your musical talent?

My father plays guitar and surrounded me with rock music very early on. In fact, I don’t have any recollection of learning how to play drums, I’ve just always been able to. My first performance was at six years old, on the drums, in a nightclub, and I played the ZZ Top song, “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” with an older cousin’s cover band. People couldn’t get over it! And, I held it down. I always showed up unsteady drummers with better timing as a kid. And I didn’t realize it back then, being so young, but my old man did it to scorch his “buddy” drummers; that a 10 year old could have a better pocket than them. So, due to this attention early, I’ve always hammed it up. It’s too bad I’ve always taken the drums for granted, I probably could have been really good.

Who have been your greatest inspirations musically and why?

My father, as mentioned, surrounded me with so much music, and the lifestyle, that it became an instinct to me, and rock music came very natural.
David Chirico, my uncle and author — more like a brother — he showed me all the New Romantic and Glam stuff at a very young age, early ’80’s. I remember my mother taking him to buy (David) Bowie’s Let Dance when it came out…The Doors, The Cure, The Clash, Sex Pistols, etcetera.

High school band-mates in 1993/94, who reintroduced my love of music and that natural talent. I was off playing baseball and chasing girls. And those guys had heard I played drums. Without that happening, who knows what I would have become. For better or worse, I guess; but I know I’d have more money, that’s for fucking sure!
David Bowie is probably my overall greatest influence. I have “Bowie Syndrome,” the deep inherent need to reinvent myself on every release. At first, it was due to the fact that I hated being in bands any longer. It’s almost given me the mentality that my music is treated as a movie, or a novel. Certainly conceptual and individual unto themselves. Until now.

What do you feel you offer the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?

A wily, prolific indie veteran/also-ran who has a different sound, has never tried to fit in, and creates out of necessity of being, not a careerist. Hawker is the final solo name though, and I’d like to have a big catalog one day like those great songwriters. There’s not any artists coming out like that anymore. Nilsson, etcetera…

Have you encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career? 

Countless, it has always been a struggle — I could write a book!

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

I’ve yet to accomplish anything I think as greatest, honestly. Probably being on that first (The) Strokes tour of the U.S. with Longwave in 2002. And, I’ve had a lot of network placements the past few years. Perhaps it was me dumping a pail of garbage over a well regarded rockstar’s head, in defense of being sprayed by a fire extinguisher! I dunno…

If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Bob Dylan. He’s the master, the enigma, and still has all the power. He just eschews it, I think…

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why? 

(The) Hollywood Bowl. I’m not sure why, but that place always comes to my mind when I fascinate about that question.

One track of yours that you think defines you and why?

“!Hello Dreamer!” from the Mikey Jukebox record in 2010. It covers all my bases and personality well.

Interviewed By: Hype Staff

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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