Saturday, November 10, 2007

J Bonner Talks About Jandisc Records

J Bonner's Jandisc Records is coming on strong, putting out some killer tunes and holding no punches. They just released the new single "Bun A One" featuring Jah Faith, and we had to find out more. Being the nice guy that J is, he was able to fill us in.

Q: How did Jan-Disc Records get started and what's your inspiration?

J: Well Jandisc Records is pretty new. But themusic side of this project has been going since before I joined The Aggrolites. I had produced a few demos for my band at the time, The Vessels, and also produced a single for Jason Lawless' Lawless Street Records with 'The Evidence' by Asherman on side A and 'Hot Gun' by The Vessels on the B side. That was the first time my productions had been released on vinyl.

That was exciting because I had been collecting reggae 45's for years and now I had a disc out there. I mean I've released a CD or two before that, but it's just not the same. There's something about vinyl singles that I'm obsessed with. I guess it's just the fact that the 45 rpm single was the number 1 format in Jamaica and the U.K. and were more popular than LP's.I dont know. Maybe it's because they look so cool. I love all the old lablels, the names of them, the art work, the history, everything.

So after The Vessels broke up, our drummer Jason Castillo, my cousin (our
percussion player) Salina Cano, Roger Rivas (piano) and I kept making
music. The Vessels used to get together twice a week to rehearse regardless
if we had shows coming up or not. So we were already in that schedule of getting
together on a regular basis. Not to mention, super tight. We just kept
recording and recording. I was playing organ for The Vessels at that
time and at first I had to jump in there and play some of the other instruments like guitar, and bass. Thats kind of where I got to get better at the bass before I
joined The Aggrolites. I released another single on my buddy Paul Morton's Rhygin Records label (named after the infamous Jamaican gangster)under the name of The Rhygin Rockers. 'Father Spider' on the A side and 'Spooky' on side B. I met Paul during the early days of The Aggrolites. We would always link up with him everytime we would go play San Francisco. He shares the the passion in reggae that I do so we thought it was natural to do a single together.

Ultimately I wanted to issue my music on my own label at some point but could never really raise the money to do it. My girlfriend Nicki has always been very supportive of me and my music and offered to help me finance a record. Thats why it's called Jandisc. J & Nicki-disc. She's a collector of reggae music also so this is really fun for us to be issuing reggae singles on our own label for once. My inspiration comes from the old guys. The old Jamaican producers. The old labels. Collecting singles. The genuine love for classic reggae. Im also inspired by my friends. You know, Jason
Lawless put one out there. Paul put a few singles out there. And on a larger scale,
friends like Tim Armstrong and Chris LaSalle over at Hellcat give me
allot of advice about the record business and how to make things happen. My
longtime friend Chris Wilson over at Heartbeat Records has helped me
out allot over the years and has been supportive of me becoming a better producer.

Q: Who's all involved?

J: A lot of people have been involved with this project over time, but the core players are myself usually on bass and producing, Jason Castillo is always on drums. I believe Jason is one of the most overlooked reggae drummers out there. Lino Trujillo (Hepcat) plays guitar. I love the way Lino plays. He's a great arranger also. And Salina Cano is always on
percussion. You don't realize how important she is 'til she's not
there. Those are the core players.

Alot of other people record with us too though. Roger Rivas(Aggrolites) Plays organ and piano on alot of the stuff. Matt Parker(Donkey Show/Adjusters) plays organ on some tracks. The late great Dave Fuentes supplied some bass tracks for me in some early sessions. Boogie Jones is a master horn player. One time,that guy came over with a whole pile of horns. I mean a couple sax's, a trumpet, a trombone. He played them all. He's a one-man horn section. Tom Cook has given me some killer trombone tracks. Tom knows it. I don't have to say much to him. He's got the style down. Sarah Lundeen has done a few solid rhythm guitar tracks. Jesse Wagner's done some great lead guitar stuff for me as well.
We just recently did a session with one of the best line-ups I think we've had with Dan Boer and Zack Pike (Sandollar Sound) on organ and rhythm guitar, Deston Berry(Hepcat) on piano, Jason Castillo on drums, Lino on lead guitar, Salina on percussion, and me on bass. Some heavy stuff came out of that session. I've had a lot of great musicians involved with this whole thing.

I don't think the world really knows how much quality reggae Los Angeles can bring yet. We have a few top bands representing, but there
is a whole community of heavy ass musicians around here that don't get to much light. I'm hoping to change that.

Q: Can you tell us about this latest tune 'Bun A One' with Jah Faith?

J: Yeah, I met Jah Faith through my Grandma believe it or not. She lives right by the 12 Tribes of Israel Rastafarian Organization's Headquarters for California. Everyday she has about a million and one dreads walking by her yard, helping her bring the trash cans in from the
street and stuff. She would always give them Vessels demos and other music of mine and eventually I became friends with the people up there. Thats how I met Asherman
also. Very nice people.

The song is actually about another 12 tribes member, Asher John.
Another great drummer. Sangie Davis from Upsetters fame comes in from
Jamaica every now and again. He use to record for Lee Perry in the 70's Black Ark
days with his group The Gathers. Their hit with Scratch was 'Words Of My Mouth'. He
did a track for me called 'Sha She Mane' on the same rhythm track as 'Bun A One'. They were both voiced the same night. You can hear
some of Sangies's vocals come up through the mix on 'Bun A One'. He's the one at the
top of the track saying "Yeah! Straight from Jamaica passed Miami...".

We'll be issuing 'Sha She Mane' in the near future. At first, I used to
bring Jah Faith out to appearances I would do with my sound system, The
Super Steed Hi-Fi and he would toast over records. Recording was naturally the next
step. Whenever we had free time, Faithy would come over and lay some
vocals for me. We've been collecting these cuts for years now. He's gotten busy
deejaying at Dub Club in L.A. every week and I got very busy touring with The Aggrolites.You'll be hearing more tunes from Jah Faith. We've got tons of 'em.

Q: What's up next for Jan-Disc?

J: Singles, 12" Discomix 45's, and most likely a full length. We've got tons of material that needs to be released. Right now I'm
finalizing a deal with Heartbeat Records to issue a full length of Jandisc material
featuring top ranking Jamaican vocalists such as Lone Ranger, King
Stitt, Dillinger, Trinity, The Viceroys and plenty more.
We are planning to voice the tracks at Studio One (Jamaica) which will be very exciting. We just launched the website where you can
buy our 45's. We also have a section where you can buy original oil paintings that I have painted.

Come check it out.

Thanks for the interview

For more info on J Bonner, check his bio

'Bun A One' feat. Jah Faith

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