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Another Session of Taft Tells It .........Darin Lee Jerden

Because we know you love to read Amber's reviews.......here's yet another session of Taft Tells It Like It Is...........

 

Darin Lee Jerden



-Photo by Mike Trobee

You may not have heard of him yet, but artist Darin Lee Jerden has been on the Memphis music scene for the last 16 years. Jerden is currently recording his band's first full length album, but was kind enough to give me a bit of his time to discuss his newest endeavor. Friendly and gracious, with a slight Southern drawl, he was easy to talk to and happy to tell me about his album as well as his background as a performer.

A musician, vocalist and writer, Jerden comes from a family of firefighters. Although he considered joining his family in the civil services , he instead chose to follow his own path. His interest in music began, he recalls, as a child. He developed a great appreciation to the 10 part harmonies of the Beach Boys, which he describes as being " like a massage to my brain". A few years later, Jerden was inspired by an older cousin to pick up the guitar. It was around the age of 11 that he found an old Checkmate in his parents attic and began to play. Chuckling, he says, "It was, like, the biggest, fattest, most old piece of crap. It had chunks out of the neck. To play it, you were asking for splinters." Claiming to be a bit of an "ear sore" for the first couple years, Jerden says the first two songs he learned were "Enter Sandman" (Metallica) and "Hard as a Rock" (AC/DC). For two years, Jerden played his Checkmate, until his grandfather came upon a couple of old electric guitars and gave them to the budding musician.

After building his repertoire and writing some of his own songs, he began playing in the area's coffee shops as well as venues like The Castle, which he proudly says is one of his favorites , then owned by the eccentric Prince Mongo, a local celebrity. In high school, he played with a few punk bands, one of which had a song featured on a local radio station. Their song, instantly popular, won out in requests over bands like Saliva. "It was really fun," he says. After high school, Jerden continued to play solo sets for several years. In 2005, he joined the original line up of the popular Alt/Rock band, Joan Red. Playing guitar and bass, as well as co-writing, he stayed with the project until 2008. He then joined Papercut Massacre on lead guitar and vocals until 2009, when the band became inactive.

While he enjoyed the work he did with both bands, and says "I feel like I had my stamp that's on it, but I do respect that it was someone else's," Jerden felt like he had waited a long time to have something of his own. From that need to create, the self-titled project Darin Lee Jerden came to be. A bit misleading, I asked him to explain the dynamics of the group. He said, "It's definitely not a solo effort, absolutely not. I'm not a solo guy." Along with front man and writer, Jerden, the band includes Ethan Autry (bass) and Jerry Meadows (drums). Jerden elaborates on the back story of his band, saying,

"After Papercut, the dynamic was… I kind of had these guys and I had those guys, and I couldn't really get anybody to really commit, and so after a year or two of trying to talk about band names with different people… I just said, you know what, **** this. I'm just gonna call it my name and then I'll get this project going. Then once it's up off the ground and running a little bit, it'll be easier.."

Jerden goes on to say that with the band being self-titled, there is a "certain amount of blatant, raw honesty, and so, it's less theatrics. If we do take on a name at some point, we could go down a more theatrical path and it would make more sense."

From 2009 on, Jerden not only worked on his music, he also got his Associates degree in Information Technology. Despite doing double duty as both student and musician, Jerden wrote and recorded several tracks, releasing an EP in 2013, simply titled "Collection 1" (available on iTunes). In January of this year, a video for "The Welcome Song", directed by Sean Babas, caught the eye of gold record producer (Saving Abel) Scott Hardin, already familiar with Jerden after working together while he was with Joan Red. Some recording has already been done at Enclave and American Studios, but the band has since been collaborating with Hardin at Ardent Studios. A full length album is in the works, which will include re-recordings of "Honey" and "I'll Fight" (Collection 1) as well as brand new material. Jerden expects it will be ready by Fall of this year. The album will then be shopped around the industry with hopes of finding interest before being publicly released. A single, "Two Lungs" will be released in August. Several shows have been scheduled, including May 15th at the Hard Rock Café in Memphis and May 30th at the Emporium in Jackson, Tennessee. Jerden says he is working to schedule more shows in the Tennessee area as well as Indiana.

With a unique look and sound, Jerden says he is "trying to bend rock down an alley we haven't heard a lot of." In an environment not

traditionally associated with hard rock, Darin Lee Jerden is bringing a fresh, invigorating sound out of Memphis. As a full time musician, he says "This is it for me…I went to college. I could go get a job, but, I'd turn right back around and get back into music…you don't do it for the paycheck." Committed and talented, with a style all his own, Jerden is steadfastly leaving his own stamp on the music world.


-Photo by Mike Trobee
 

 

Check out The Welcome Song: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RBYitv4gUZo

Check him out on Twitter or Instagram @darinleejerden

-Amber Taft

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