James Durbin was one of seaon ten’s most memorable contestants. His metal predilections were in full display. He loved being on stage. He had a good voice, and a wail that some folks hated but regardless, he did get better as the show went along. He proved mild Tourette Syndrome weren’t an obstacle. And he showed refreshing honesty on stage and in interviews.
In the end, Durbin took full advantage of his time on “Idol,” educating the world about Judas Priest and quickly nabbing a record deal.
His first record “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster” came out last week and will sell an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 copies, according to HitsDailyDouble.com.
I spoke with him before the album came out. Some work was done before the tour began but he squeezed any free moment he could to refine it. “We were able to reach out to people to get songs written,” he said. “Even if it wasn’t written by me, I was looking for something I could connect iwth on a different level.” Topics at hand: “Life. Loss. Love. Being picked on and bullied every year in school from elementary to high school.”
It’s the hard-rock album with cuts like ‘Higher Than Heaven” and “Deeper.” At the same time, he did throw in a wider variety of songs since he was coming off “Idol.”
“You’re singing to a very very wide variety of people who listen to a wide variety of styles,” he said. “That’s the greatest part of the show: to connect with people you never get a chance to hear metal. And the show was able to showcase hip hop, gospel, country and R&B. They are now aware of what metal is. Or at least some idea, little footnotes of what it is.”
The speed of putting it together precluded getting any big guest acts except guitarist Mick Mars of Motley Crue, who joined in on “Outcast.” “I know everything that Mick Mars ever plays on,” Durbin raved. “It’s the Mick lick!”
He tried hard not to copy others. “At first, I wanted to do something like Black Sabbath, a ‘Neon Knights’ feel. Then I realized you can’t recreate that. It can’t be done again. I want to create my own destiny.”
Knowing that CD sales won’t ultimately pay the bills so he is aware that concert touring and “merch” will make up the difference. He even designs his own T-shirts. And his album is not only on sale through today on Amazon for download at a mere $6.99 but merch is 30 percent off on durbinrock.com.
One thing very hard rock he has never done in concert: stage dive. But he would have to gauge the crowd. If it’s mostly teen girls and older ladies, that wouldn’t be a good idea, he said.
As for touring, he is shooting for late January, early February. He isn’t sure who he will open for but should know relatively soon.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk