Interview with Josh James of Casey Jones

You guys just finished a slew of European dates with Sick Of It All, D.R.I., Blood For Blood, Unearth, Evergreen Terrace and Cruel Hand. How was it being on the road with them?

The tour was really good. All of the bands were super cool and put on rad live shows. The package had some major diversity, but everyone clicked. Everyone respected each other and I really feel like a lot of band members walked away as new fans of other bands. More tours should have lineups like this. It was one of the coolest tours Casey Jones has been a part of.

Did anything wild happen on tour?

We had a fill-in guitar player for the tour, Ace, he fell down a flight of stairs while carrying a pizza. That was pretty wild [laughs]. There were some normal tour pranks like lighting things on fire and throwing them into other bands’ dressing rooms and everyone stripping down and circle pitting on stage during Sick of it All’s set, but for the most part the tour was really chill. Everyone hung out and played Mafia most of the time.

Is maintaining a Straight Edge lifestyle difficult on tour?

Not at all, it’s a pretty natural feeling.

Can you give us a list of some of your top straight edge bands everyone should take at least one listen to?

Trial, 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, The Promise are at the top of my personal list, then there are bands like Good Riddance and H2O that I don’t think are “Straight Edge” bands but have songs geared towards it.

How and why did the decision to end Casey Jones come about?

Casey Jones has never been a full-time band, we have always been a hobby in each member’s life. Because of this it’s never been stressful, too serious or turned into some sort of business like most full time bands are forced to become. The truth is that the members in Casey Jones are all taking steps in their lives to further their own personal careers. We don’t want to continue being a band and just do a couple shows a year and it always ends up being something that feels like it’s on the backburner. We’ve had a blast in Casey Jones and have gotten more out of it than we ever expected. It’s just time for us to close this chapter in our lives. We want to go out with some sick tours and a rad record. It’s perfect for us and it’s what all members want.

Your final album is coming out this January. Can you give us a little background on how some of the songs came together?

Most of the songs were written in 2008 and were going to be on a Eulogy Recordings release. Things started not to work with Eulogy and the band was given the option to leave the label, so we did. At that point, we figured that it was the end of CJ and that we’d fade away. Early 2010 we were hanging out and we started talking about the songs and decided that even if it’s just for ourselves we have to figure out a way to get the songs out, so we got back in the practice room, tightened up and rearranged a few songs. I decided to release the album under my artist management company, The First Division. I’ve always wanted to release an album, so I get to mark this off my bucket list [laughs].

Where did the idea for the song “If James Hetfield Can Stay Straight Edge, Anyone Can” come from? What a fantastic title!

I don’t know if you know this but James Hetfield recently got a Straight Edge tattoo and stated in some interviews that he is now a “born again Straight Edger.” The lyrics to the song are about staying drug free, a lot of people find that hard, but if James Hetfield can do it, then I’m sure anyone can [laughs].

Looking back at your music career in Casey Jones, what are you most proud of?

Creating music and lyrics that have had positive effects on ourselves and others around us.

Your new album’s title is ‘I Hope We’re Not The Last,’ which comes from the song “Minor Threat” by Minor Threat. Can you tell us a little bit about how Minor Threat has influenced your lives and music?

Minor Threat will always be one of my favorite bands. Them being Straight Edge wasn’t what got me into them, it was the raw power of their music and the bluntness of their lyrics. When I was growing up I really related to the lyrics and I still do. The subjects are intense and passionate and I think that has influenced me as a person — to be straight forward and cut out the bullshit.

You guys have an East Coast tour this January. Will the band be doing a lot more touring in 2011 in support of the new record?

Yeah, we have some CD release shows with H2O and Comeback Kid in Florida and then we go out with Hundredth, The Mongoloids and Death Before Dishonor all in January. We will be planning a final North American tour as well as a final European tour in 2011. Hopefully we will be able to hit up other parts of the world too.

Awesome! Have fun on the road.

Pick up Casey Jones’ new album, I Hope We’re Not The Last.

For the band’s upcoming tour dates, check out myspace.com/caseyjonesxxx.