Interview with Jim Quinn of The Damnation of Adam Blessing
(Jim Quinn is third from the left - Photo by John Quinn)
[MuzikMan] Recently The Damnation Of Blessing has been getting some attention due to the release of all of your albums on CD and vinyl through Akarma Records. Do you feel that the group is finally getting its due?
Jim Quinn We, as a group are extremely flattered and appreciative that Akarma/Italy put forth such a wonderful job in re-packaging the product. It has and continues to create quite a renewed interest in the band and its music. For myself, what I find most rewarding is the fact that this music is 30 years old and it still holds up both musically and lyrically. It seems quite timeless to me.
As far as Damnation of Adam Blessing "finally getting its due" goes, I think all the band members' would each respond differently to that question. Having all our albums re-issued coupled with our re-union performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; I'd say that's "getting your due."
[MuzikMan] I read a great article that the magazine "Ugly Things" that ran in 1999 on The Damnation of Adam Blessing that you sent me Jim (thank you!). I found it very interesting. It seems the group had a rough life on the road. Were your life(s) reflected in your music?
Jim Quinn We definitely had our share of troubles on the road and I'm sure some of the anger in the music itself reflected some of those experiences. But for the most part the lyrics conveyed more personal and human experiences. If one listens to the first album you'll hear a lot of references to our drug experiences, the second album brought out our social and political disgust with the system.
[MuzikMan] Do you feel things would have been drastically different if you and the group signed on with Stax Records instead of United Artists?
Jim Quinn In retrospect, I truly don't know. The reason for that is, Stax wanted us to record at the Muscle Shoals Studios and wanted to hook us up with their producers (i.e. Booker T's producer), who was pretty much R&B and more soulful than our music was. I really don't know what the musical outcome would have been. Of course back then the answer was the "would of, could of, should of" scenario.
[MuzikMan] What are some of things you have done since you left the group? Who are some of the people that have crossed your path during that time? Have you always been directly or indirectly involved with music all of your life?
Jim Quinn Aside from performing and writing, I always enjoyed the business side of the music industry. Following Damnation I spent much of my time producing records, managing and booking a host of Cleveland area artist. (Here's a little history)
Jim Quinn – Professional Biography
Jim Quinn's accomplishments are based on a unique combination of recording and entertainment industry experience coupled with a background in sales management, software development and information technology.
Launching his career in 1969 in a flourishing Cleveland music scene, Quinn was the founder, guitarist and co-songwriter of the Damnation of Adam Blessing, a rock band that recorded four charting albums for United Artist Records. In just three years, the band gained national attention touring with ground-breaking artists such as Janis Joplin, Iggy Pop, MC5, Eric Clapton, Alice Cooper, Traffic, Grand Funk Railroad, Uriah Heap and Bob Seger. Following a 28-year absence, Damnation of Adam Blessing was reunited at the request of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland to headline a performance at the Rock Hall's 5th Anniversary Celebration, which drew an estimated 2700 fans on September 27, 2000.
In 1972, Quinn established QA Music, Cleveland's first rock management and booking agency. In addition to booking, he produced, managed and guided the careers of several of the scene's budding artists. In 1973, QA Music teamed up with Action Talent to book local and national acts for the legendary Agora Night Club chain in five states.
Quinn continued building his promotional career when he organized a partnership between Energy Talent Agency and co-founded Solar Management in the mid-seventies. Solar Management provided full service management and consulting services for bands, musicians, songwriters and touring artist. The partnership led to a successful business promoting concerts at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Some of the artists represented were magician David Copperfield, singer/songwriter Donnie Iris, country music legend Boxcar Willie and the Michael Stanley Band. Quinn also produced 17 albums and secured recording contracts for a number of acts, including The Exotic Birds (Saturn Records) -- which later featured a 17-year-old Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), The I Don't Care Band (Buddah/Kama-Sutra) and Love Affair (Atlantic Records). In the early eighties, he provided production and project consulting for the multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter Melanie.
In 1989, Quinn began weaving information technology into his career and joined Saturn Records as director of operations, handling production coordination, artist royalties, publishing, talent acquisitions, and budgeting and daily operations. In addition to those responsibilities, he also worked to develop the music industry software and database that is now StarTracker®.
Quinn co-founded Dormont Technologies, Ltd. in 1994, where he worked to launch the StarTracker® system. As vice president of product development and vice president of Sales, Quinn made StarTracker® presentations across the country while supervising all software development, training and installations, as well as technical support. StarTracker® has since become the music industry's standard micro-marketing tool. In 2000 Quinn returned to his industry roots and formed Sunburst Artist Management where he is directing the careers of Susan Piper/Sliced Bread Records, Tracey Thomas/Relevart Records and Melinda Steele/SMP Records and a new touring show entitled Four Women Only.
(Photo by George Shuba)
[MuzikMan] Has the Internet helped to market The Damnation Of Adam Blessing? The web seems to have given new life to many artists that were forgotten or never appreciated for what they have done, does this apply in your life with the previous work you have done with the group?
Jim Quinn Absolutely, the Internet has definitely given new life to certain artist that would have virtually disappeared into the vinyl wastelands. In particular MP3, MusicDish, UBL plus all the online E-tailers and presswire services. Even the controversial Napster has played a significant role. I also believe it has become quite overwhelming at times to keep up on what's new and interesting. I used the google.com search engine recently on Damnation of Adam Blessing, I was astounded at the amount of information there was on the band. There was so much rusted trivia that I didn't even remember.
[MuzikMan] What are your thoughts and opinions on the digital revolution and all its pros and cons for the creative individual?
Jim Quinn Again, the technology is endless and at times mind-boggling. The digital revolution has become an art form in its own. Musicians can now create arguably, near master quality recordings in their own homes depending upon how much one is willing to spend on the technology. I believe the learning curve for most creative musicians does take its toll on an individual's time and effort. I still believe in leaving the final recordings to the pros. You need a good producer and engineer team for the final product. I say this only because there is something new to learn each and every hour which cuts into ones creative time for writing songs and honing your playing skills. One final note; I also find it interesting that the new, young musicians are searching their parents' record collections for the old sounds that may sound new today. That's what we did at the age of 16.
[MuzikMan] Were did everyone from the group end up after you broke up?
Jim Quinn I was the only one who stayed in Cleveland. Adam and his brother Kenny ended up in Houston, Billy Schwark moved to Los Angeles, Bobby Kalamasz is in Washington State and Ray Benich now resides in Delaware. They All still play music.
[MuzikMan] What groups today do you see as the innovators and leaders that will go down in history as major influences upon the next generation of recording artists?
Jim Quinn Nick Cave, Creed, Dave Matthews, Staind, and Leonard Cohen. Also, as he grows and if he gets a shot, there's a new 19-year-old guitarist/singer/songwriter out of Louisiana by the name of Joe Stark.
[MuzikMan] When you relax what kind of music do you listen to? Do you ever listen to the albums that you played on at all?
Jim Quinn Actually I had to listen to the first 3 albums a lot. I had to figure out what I played in order to do our re-union gig at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last September. I haven't listened to them since. My leisure time music is really mixed depending on what kind of mood I'm in. I like listening "in era's & genre's" if that makes any sense. It may be sixties psychedelic like early Iron Butterfly or Blues Magoo's (my favorite band). I listen to jazz, blues, and rock and of course I have to have my fill of Deep Purple, The Doors and Uriah Heap. Then I'll move into Smashmouth or A3. Most people can't be around me when I'm relaxing listening to music; the mix of music drives them crazy.
[MuzikMan] Because of the all the renewed interest The Damnation of Adam Blessing catalogue do you think that there is hope that the remaining members will get together to record a new album?
Jim Quinn We all talked about it very seriously and we would love nothing more than to have that opportunity. We have enough new material between us to write 3 albums. Who knows, maybe that's next.
[MuzikMan] In closing, is there a particular message that you would like to give all of your supporters and the new audience that has discovered your music?
Jim Quinn Words cannot describe our appreciation to all of our loyal supporters, but we thank each and everyone who has helped and continues to help keep our music alive. To the new audience and especially the new musicians - PLEASE DO A REMAKE of one of our songs? PEACE!!!!!!!!