A Ripple Conversation With Crow Jayne

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphanies since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.


What have been your musical epiphany moments?


First came a couple of Jazz tapes a friend of my Dad gave him, around the time I was about 8 or 9 years old; my Dad never really listened to them but I played them constantly, on rotation over and over again to the point where I could actually hum every single note! Also, my parents always had the radio on, and every time, albeit rarely, a Blues or Gospel tune would come up it would resonate with me more than anything else. Already I was a fan of The Beatles nevertheless when I was about 18 yrs old, one day this much older guy who in the neighbourhood had the reputation of being a real music connoisseur played me an album by The Jeff Beck Group, the sounds and overall vibes of which seduced me to no end, it became my world and my Damascus moment/introduction to Rock as we know it. To finish things off, and in style, around the same time this woman one day said to me "Guy, you've got to listen to this"; it was Led Zeppelin, and that was it, my DNA was now complete and my path very, very clear!


Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?


Sometimes it starts with me just picking up the guitar, generally, the very first thing I instinctively play is actually what leads me to expand on turn it into a piece of music, while other times is some kind of concept, like writing a song with a specific amount of chords or in a certain style, and I find that putting myself out of my comfort zone like that can lead to some exciting and creative places.


Who has influenced you the most?


Musically, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, however I have to say that I have there have been and are so many fantastic artists that when you hear something great escaping their influence is simply unavoidable.


Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?


Anything can be an inspiration, a piece of music, a movie, or you get in the car and drive somewhere then something happens or you just see something somewhere, if you're open to those options anything can suddenly inspire you.


We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?


London. I'm a big lover of most things from the mid-60s up to the very early 70s, which artistically I find to be one of the most creative, and stylish, periods in human history, and at that time London was right in the centre of it all; nothing stays the same, and rightly so, and I keep hearing people saying that this city is not what it used to be, nevertheless from walking its streets to keeping up with what's going on now, I can both feel and connect with the past while being at the cutting edge, and that reflects in the music.


Where'd the band name come from?


The name Crow Jayne comes from an old Skip James number that suddenly came up on a playlist; the original is spelt Crow Jane, but we decided to spell it with a Y so as to make it more our own.


You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?


The Big Lebowski


You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?


"She's Leaving Home" by The Beatles; it's a song yet the images it evokes are more real and stronger than anything you can watch, in any movie.


Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?


I can only give you one, which is so embarrassingly hilarious I think it makes for two!

One day we show up for a gig, the venue was in a very old, extremely ornate and baroque building, and as the entrance to the stage was at the back of the building it was very dark with no street lights; we can hear music and the sound of the crowd coming from inside the building so we know we're in the right place. I try to open the door but it won't open, I try again and again and again but with the same result, and as one can imagine since before a gig people get a little nervous it gets very tense so I decide to call the promoter to ask "what the heck is going on and get someone to come and open the door right now!", then, as I grab my phone, someone right next to us nonchalantly walks out of the building and we realize that we were trying to open what only looked like a door, but was a solid wall! Spinal Tap galore to say the least!


Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?


Playing live is exactly that, live, so the performance should be alive and breathing. Crow Jayne is always well rehearsed yet we're constantly interacting with each other, whether in a rehearsal room or live, hence the same song can be played several times but it's never the same, there's always something different like someone throws an accent or a slightly different rhythm and the other 3 straight away react to it. Basically we improvise within the song, which is something we do without thinking as we're all in tune with each other. I like to refer to this as "controlled abandon", an element of danger which makes the performance alive and exciting for both the band and the audience.


What makes a great song?


An interesting chord progression, interesting lyrics, great rhythm, great melody, and emotional content. As far as chord progression goes, admittedly there have been songs written with just one chord, or three, yet the remaining elements were so right and powerful that more than made up for that, and made the picture perfect. 


What one single album do you wish that you'd written or performed on, and why?


"There are too many wonderful albums, from many wonderful artists both old and new, however if I have to come up with one it would be "Physical Graffiti" by Led Zeppelin.

One thing that separates many of those 60s and 70s artist from the rest was that they progressed from album to album, The Beatles or Bowie are prime examples of that, and in the case of Bowie he actually matured and made his biggest impact with was in reality his 5th album, and in the case of Led Zeppelin I feel that "Physical Graffiti", an album that I didn't actually really like the first time I heard it then it became my favourite of their, is one album that I wish I could have written or performed on.


What piece of your music are particularly proud of?


Every single one of them.


Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?


I always liked D'Angelo, we share the same surname but we couldn't be any more different; to start with he's black and I'm white, moreover he operates strictly in the Soul/R&B, but the first time I heard a tune of his on the radio I went "who's that???"; all the elements mentioned above were there, and his delivery was both astounding and outstanding. 


Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?


I like them all, but I'm fine with CD's.


Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice


Whiskey, no question about it. Why, I don't know but it just fits in with my personality.


We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?


London and the record store I can highly recommend is FOPP, near Cambridge Circus.


What's next for the band?


Live action, including some gigs in Germany next year which didn't happen this year because of lockdown, plus we shall be shooting a new video in the near future.


Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?


We take our music very seriously, but in an extremely fun and sexy way, life's too short to do otherwise!