By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Interview: Jason Crosson of the band CROSSON
Rock At Night’s Podcast Channel–Listen to the iTunes Audio Interview Here or Google Podcast
Rock At Night has been following Aussie glam rock band CROSSON since 2018 with the release of their album Invincible. Right in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, CROSSON released Rock ‘N’ Roll Love Affair—and actually the timing couldn’t be better. The 10-song album is chock full of energizing, upbeat 80s-style rock songs—just what the doctor ordered to take those pandemic isolation blues away. The album was released on April 24, 2020 and mixed by legendary U.S producer Duane Baron (Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Alice Cooper, Poison), mastered by U.S mastering legend Dave Donnelly (Aerosmith, KISS, Whitesnake), and engineered by Aussie veteran Russell Pilling (The Vines, Hoodoo Gurus). You can read Rock At Night’s review of the album HERE.
Rock At Night caught up with Jason CROSSON one early morning after his Pilates work-out, to discuss the new album and find out what he’s been doing to keep busy during the pandemic. You can listen to the audio interview below or through one of our podcasts links.
The Glam Rock Image
Rock At Night really loves the band’s theatrical glam rock look. Crosson explained its evolution, saying, “I’ve been doing this for a long time. It took many years to get it to look right, sound right, get the lineup right. In about 2012, I was looking around because the music didn’t fit the image and the image didn’t fit the music. I was looking at some Japanese bands and I liked the whole black and red thing. Since then, I’ve been on that path and we’ll continue down that path for awhile.
“I saw Mötley Crüe in the 90s and I liked the idea of girls. I thought we’d make it a focus. Who wants to see me but when you have girls next to you, yeah!”
Rock At Night asked, “Obviously your music sounds 80s. Is that intentional?”
Crosson responded, “I guess it’s what I grew up with. It’s what my passion was. I can’t write stuff like the 90s which was all demonic . Written in diminished minors. It was really downbeat. I didn’t enjoy it. I like my music to be harmonic, catchy, melodic and that’s what the 80s was. That’s what comes out! I write music that I enjoy.“
“Yes, the 80s are close to my heart too.”
“It was entertaining as well. The people on stage gave 100%. In the 90s, they looked at their toes, and that was cool.
“I liked Kiss. Kiss said they put together a band that kids would want to see. So I took those words and thought, ‘What would I want to see?’ Obviously, I want a catchy song but I want to be visually entertained as well.
“So, I developed a big glam image. Beautiful girls on stage always helps. Theatrics and the energy. So it took a number of years to get our image the way it is now. It’s just trial and error.
About the album Rock ‘n’ Roll Love Affair
If one listens to the album Rock n’ Roll Love Affair, he/she will definitely notice the well-balanced mixing and wall of sound created with strings, harmonies, and even siren effects. A song like “Everyone’s a Star” creates a positive and upbeat feeling and “You’re the Reason” is definitely a love song.
Crosson explained, “The sound is created in the studio. We used great musicians. I give credit to our mixing engineer Duane Barron. He’s been our engineer for the last three albums. Duane has worked with Motley Crue, Ozzy, and Alice Cooper. He knows exactly what we want. I have to give credit to everyone that makes my songs sound good.
Regarding the positive messages in the songs, Crosson said, “For many years I listened to motivational speakers like Wayne Dyer. I used to put it on in the car and the gym. It comes out in your writing. It’s good to give a positive message. I just have to practice what I preach.”
Rock At Night asked, “The song ‘Rest In Peace’ is very poignant. Are you paying homage to somebody?”
“Yes, it’s a tune to my mum. She actually passed away a couple of weeks ago but it was written beforehand. She was in her 80s. I wrote it for her before [she passed] so she could hear it. She’d say, ‘I’m not dead yet!’
He continued, “We have a music video coming out in a few weeks. It’s paying homage to everybody who has lost someone…we’ll see you on the other side.”
Rock At Night brought up the topic of the politically tinged song “We All Need an Enemy”, the only song on the album which appears to have a deeper message. Crosson replied, “The song came about 1 ½ years ago. I watch a lot of Michael Moore films. They [people] create wars for wealth. They don’t care who gets killed or something. That’s the history of the human race. You invade because you want something. So that always has striked a bit of a bone with me so I put it into a song. I care about the pipelines going in.
“The other angle is you need to bond with someone else. If you have a fight with someone close to you, to get closer it to find somebody else to invade. That’s a bit of a two-way sword, that one. There’s double meaning but we did get into a political angle.
“When I write a song I look at how it can be a great live song. So in ‘We Are the Enemy’, the girls come out in little army uniforms and do the whole choreography. That works as well. Sometimes when we are writing it, we figure how to incorporate it into a live show and make it part of the theatrics.”
Rock At Night asked, “You do most of your shows in Australia, right?”
“Yeah, but we’re happy to come over there, if they are willing to have us!”
“I’d love that!”
Rock At Night laughed and said, “When I listened to “Weak At the Knees (For a Hot Brunette), it made me think of Meat Loaf meets Cheap Trick. Any comments?”
“I do love Cheap Trick. I know they are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but they are definitely underrated. I love them!”
“And the song ‘Possessed’. You sound baritone in the beginning but then sound like Rick Springfield.”
“I wanted to do something a little deeper, a little darker.”
Rock At Night expressed that every song on the album is a winner. The last album was released in 2018 and Crosson explained the new album was written around the same time.
Crosson explained, “When we finished recording the album, it went to the states for mixing, which takes about five months. Then, we got all the art work done. There’s a website called AK-ART. That’s where all the people who do video games or artwork are. I found a guy named Adam Kuczek from Poland. I gave him the idea—guitars with a lightning bolt and girls flying and his first draft was exactly what I wanted. Yeah, he did a great job! It looks awesome! I was really happy with that.
Crosson’s Thoughts on Songwriting
“I know you are multi-instrumental. Do you compose the songs on the piano or the guitar?”
Crosson answered, “It depends. Sometimes I can be sitting at the piano and come up with something. Most of the time I’ll be walking along or driving and I’ll get this chorus in my head. I’ll record it and come back and work on it. Sometimes when I am working on the guitar, I come up with a riff.”
“Are you the type that has to immediately record the riff or you’ll forget it?”
“Yes, if I don’t record it I’ll forget it. You get that thing when you are about to doze off and a great tune comes into your head and you go ‘I’ll write it down in the morning’ and it’s gone!”
The Dreaded COVID-19 Pandemic
Rock At Night wondered how Crosson has been keeping busy during this pandemic isolation period. The band obviously cannot tour. Crosson remarked, “I’ve been doing a little press. I have another business. With this whole isolation thing I’m keeping it afloat, so we can work on our next album!
“All the restaurants and cafes are closed. So obviously, it is impacting the music industry and the arts. The restaurants are being smashed. Some are becoming a take-away chicken place.”
“What kind of changes do you think might happen in the industry after the pandemic?”
“I think for the first few months (as things re-open) everybody will be going out. People have been missing that theater rock ‘n’ roll. I know I am!”
“What about Meet & Greets?”
“Probably not for at least 12 months. When this is all lifted we’ll start booking the shows. In the meantime, I guess, everybody is writing.”
Is there anything you would want people to know about your music?
Just give our music a shot. If you like it, great, if you don’t, thanks for listening. It’s got a good vibe. It will put a smile on your face. At this time, it’s exactly what we need to do! Come and see a show if we are playing in your area. We definitely deliver and we definitely work hard up there.