Get to Know Jesse Waylon

Latest Victim Of The Back 9

Jesse’s family moved to Seattle, when he was just 5 years old, from Columbus Ohio where he was born. Seems they were escaping a cult that had led them from LA for Columbus.

By 16, he was gigging around Seattle with his first band, Mnemonics. Playing some iconic venues like the Ballard firehouse, Showbox, and a stack more.

Jesse was gracious enough to lend me some of his busy day to answer my Back 9, the same-ish 9 questions I ask every artist.

Jesse Waylon

Photo credit – Edward Dose

Wardy – What was the first instrument you learned to play and was it the one you wanted to learn?

Jesse – The first instrument I was really interested in was the bass. That did not last too long before I finally picked up an acoustic guitar that my mom had bought for me from a garage sale. The acoustic sat around forever until she threatened to sell it. I must have been Twelve or Thirteen at the time. From that point on I never put it down and started teaching myself. 

W – When we are little, we all want to be someone, who was your someone?

J – Is it really true that all of us want to be someone else? I wanted to be a professional bass fisherman or fireman when I was little. I thought my older brother was cool and wanted to be like him. He was kind of a gang banger type guy in high school, so I was always wearing baggy clothes and listening to a lot of rap music. The funny thing is not much later he was also the one who introduced me to some really cool bands like Alice in Chains, White Zombie, Slayer, Nirvana. At that Point I started wearing ripped up jeans and growing out my hair. In 4th grade I was walking to school listening to Jar of Flies on cassette that I bought at the Drug Store across the street from my school. 

W – Which musician or producer have you worked with that you learned the most from?

J – I haven’t worked with a lot of professional producers, but the one who comes to mind is my friend John Luzzi who is now in Nashville. Even though we love different worlds of music, I learned things like how it is always worth it to explore an idea that you have to get the right tone or sound to fit the music and not rush anything just to have it complete. My favourite musician I have worked with was probably Phillip Peterson who is a brilliant cellist and has done arrangements for a lot of big names including Taylor Swift. He records cello on this song of mine called Walking Papers. Watching him do what he does while recording is simply amazing to watch. He lives by the motto “first idea, best idea.” There is a lot of truth in that.

Photo credit – @againsthegrainphotography

W- What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

J – That is a tough one. Try to remember that everything takes time. Remember why you are there doing what you are and that your ideas may not match your current capabilities. Everyone starts somewhere and most people will be supportive and understand that you are developing. Always do your best and you will be respected for that. If you are nervous playing in front of people, you likely have more courage than mostly everyone in that crowd.

W – Where do you find inspiration for songs and music.

J – Inspiration for music and songs just comes to me. I am never really striving to be inspired by anything. When I try to force something, stuff ends up coming out feeling unnatural. It is something I have always done and is basically a lifestyle. Usually, I will be playing guitar and then see pictures in my mind of what this song is supposed to be about if I am inspired enough to turn that riff into a song.

Photo credit – Edward Dose

W – What is the most useless talent you have?

J – I can flare my nostrils. It happens when I sing, and I hate it. I am sure you will see plenty of that in photos. Haha

W – Do you collect old music memorabilia? If so, do you have a particular band or type of things you collect?

J – Believe it or not I do not have a huge music collection. I am pretty much a minimalist. If I want to hear something I will stream it. I still do not have my own house but when that changes, I would like to start a big record collection. I have a box of cd’s from my teenage years.

W – How do you balance your music with other obligations – family, children, job?

J – Music does not take up a lot of time in my life at the moment. It has always been a staple of what I do. Some people have other hobbies or focus on sports or watch tv. I just play music. I am not traveling or touring yet. At this point I can write songs in my head without needing an instrument. Often I will be working on something when I am at work in my shop. I will have the demo sometimes recorded and listen to it thinking about what I am going to say and the octaves I am going to sing in. I run my own business and have a lot more freedom than most people I know.. to take days off or whatever when I need to. It is nice being able to go record whenever I want to. 

W – Why does music matter? What does it mean to you?

J – Music is emotion. Most of the world is afraid to express their emotions. Listeners find relation in songs and use them for escapes, or therapy, or whatever. Musicians are often using their ideas that stem from heart ache, depression, happiness, anger, etc. as an outlet. For me, I felt like I was always different. I never had fit in with too many groups or people since I was young. A lot of what I write about stems from being misunderstood or from the perspective of the outcast or overlooked or misunderstood individual. 

Bonus question,

W – What is next for Jesse Waylon? Shows? New music?

Next up is a few shows with the band including The Central Saloon Saturday April 29th, Real Art Tacoma June 17th, The Manette July 15th, and Summer jam music festival July 22nd at Cruisers in Idaho. 

I am back in the studio with Jonathan Plum at London Bridge at the end of June to record a few new singles with the band. There is so much material that I am trying to figure out what to do first and what types of projects I want to put the songs on. I would love to release an album, but I think I will wait a little bit on that and release singles for now.  The single “False

Positives” is one of the next ones to be released, alongside another one called “Oklahoma.” In my own opinion that song might be one of my all-time best writes and I want to do an amazing video for it. 

Awesome stuff Jesse, thanks for your time mate and see you in July.

Rock on!


Photo credit – Edward Dose

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