After being on the road for two years, playing hundreds of shows and doing about just as many interviews, the last thing Finger Eleven guitarist James Black probably wants is to listen to the same old questions. So, ChartAttack sat down with Black to talk a little about comics, the band’s new single and surviving on the road with your friends…
You guys have a new single coming out called “Thousand Mile Wish.” Is it a heavier song or more of a ballad like “One Thing”?
James Black: It’s a softer song. In my opinion it’s actually in-between because the drums have a heavy beat to them, but the music is more intricate and more acoustic. I think it’s a mixture. It reminds me of a Led Zeppelin III era of rock ‘n’ roll.
Are you doing a video for it?
We just finished shooting the video in a warehouse here in Toronto. The concept of the video is just this big surreal backdrop that further explores the idea of a vast computer generated world that’s inspired loosely by artists like Salvador Dali and some illustrations of my own. It was an opportunity (for me) to draw a bunch of pictures and see if we could make them come to life.
This song is going to be on the Elektra soundtrack. You guys also contributed a song to the Punisher soundtrack earlier this year. Do you guys like comics?
I do, I love them. It just so happens that our label has a connection with Marvel Comics. It’s interesting to be a part of (soundtracks) because when we travel around the world, there are people coming out to our shows that only know us through songs that appear on soundtracks because they reach a bigger audience than our albums. So it’s a good chance for our music to reach countries where our album doesn’t. Plus, anything to do with comic books and superheroes, I get pretty excited.
Who are your favourites?
I’d have to say X-Factor and X-Men. Wolverine obviously is one of the cooler characters. Also Frank Miller Batman, the really dark and psychological stuff.
Have you seen any clips from the Elektra movie?
Yeah, it looks pretty cool. I’ve never really been too familiar with the character of Elektra to begin with. But the visuals we saw were pretty amazing. I read the script and there’s this bad guy that seems pretty cool. He has tattoos and they come off his body and come alive. The guy who’s making it is the same guy who made the X-Files movie and I love that movie.
You guys have been on the road for roughly two years now. Give us some tips on surviving on the road.
The recent thing that helped everyone were iPods, because now you could bring your entire CD collection with you on the road. One of the biggest things you miss while you’re on the road is all the comfort you have at home and now you can sort of bring that with you. Another thing is just being aware of the friends in your band, knowing that every compromise you make for them, they make for you. I can’t give more advice other than making sure you’re out there with people you love.
I love my friends too, but we can’t spend a weekend in a cottage together without wanting to kill each other. How do you do it?
Well, you sort of accept that at some point you’re going to want to kill everybody. I think we’ve known each other so long that we know when to take things personally and when to say fuck it. A lot of it is deciding that you’re going to put up with the bullshit because the benefits are far better than being put out by your friends for a couple of hours.
I saw you guys open for Ozzy in the spring of 2003. What’s he like?
I got the impression that he was totally unaware of anything around him. What you see on TV is what you get. Seriously though, it was exciting to be close to that kind of world. I had Zakk Wylde’s guitar over my shoulder and I was playing with his guitar tech. A lot of metalheads would die for that opportunity. It’s pretty neat to be a part of something so larger than life.