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ActionReaction - 02.05.06

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ActionReaction - 02.05.06Author's Note:
ActionReaction is a three-piece band fronted by Jason Gleason (ex-Further Seems Forever) with Bella and Salvatore (ex-Element 101) on keyboards, backup vocals, and bass. This brand new band has quickly become one of my favorites with a stunning 7-song EP that was self-released before the band was signed in early 2006. Their debut record will come out this summer on Equal Vision/Hope Division Records. I had the opportunity to sit down with all three permanent members on a grass knoll (sort of) outside the Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The following is the culmination of our discussion.

---

Tony: Can each of you give me a brief biographyówho you are, what you do?
Bella: My nameís Bella. I play keyboards and sing.
Sal: My name is Salvatore. I play bass guitar and I sing backups.
Jason: My nameís Jason. I sing and occasionally play guitar. And occasionally play the...flugelhorn?

Tony: How does it feel to be back in the studio?
Bella: It feels great!
Sal: Itís been a long year.
Jason: Itís been a long, long year. It was amazing to be in the studio. We were in the studio for like, over a year. It was over a yearónot actually in the studio, but in the span of making a whole record. It was a long time. A lot of fun.

Tony: Is the record done?
Jason: The record is done.
Tony: When did you finish?
Jason: We finished recording the record one week before we left for tour. I donít know what that date would be. What month is it?
Tony: February.
Jason: So we probably stopped recording in January.

Tony: Are you happy with how it turned out?
Jason: Well, actually at this moment, we still havenít heard the final final mixes yet, but yes, very much so.
Bella: We love the songs a lot.
Jason: Yeah, the songs are really, really great and they came out great. The recordings are really incredible. Iím really proud of them and definitely, definitely excited about how it turned out.

Tony: What should we expect different from the EP to the LP.
Jason: [drawn out] Well, I meanÖitís going to be longer. [all laugh]
Tony: I couldnít have seen that one coming.
Jason: I donít know, man, just expect aÖ
Sal: Itís a bit of a spectrum.
Jason: Yeah, it goes all over the place. Thereís a little more soul in there, a little more groove. I might even venture to say we got a little more pop on some songs. Not pop in the traditional Britney Spears pop
Sal: More like Christina Aguilera.
Jason: Yeah, more like Christina.
Sal: We like her better.
Tony: I canít say I blame you.
Sal: Itís a guilty pleasure, damn it!
Jason: Expect music, man. Expect to have a good time, listen to it and boogie down.

Tony: What would you consider the influences for ActionReaction?
Jason: I think our biggest influence is probably our conscience.
Sal: Yeah. Each other too. We hibernate in their house for extended periods of time, and we kind of grow off each other.
Jason: We get in musical fights. Like Sal will be playing his bass and Iíll be playing guitar. And heíll rip this thing, and Iíll be like, ďNo!Ē and Iíll rip it back. And then we do that, we exchange blows. And thatís really how we grow.

Tony: How did you all meet?
Bella: Oooh!
Sal: Who wants to take that one?
Jason: There was a wildÖ
Sal: We can keep it simple.
Jason: Was it Ohio? There was this wild circus in Ohio. Basically we were all in bands before and we were playing at this circus, kind of freakshow type of event. We met there, man. We got naked right away. Ran around with some plastic bags on our crotches.
Sal: Thatís actually true.
Jason: That is a true story. We played some basketball in these little diapers.
Sal: It was pretty awesome.
Tony: Who won?
Jason: [pointing to Sal] Well, we were on the same team.
Sal: Meanderings about being naked. We [he and Bella] were in a band called Element 101 and he [Jason] was in Further. To keep it on the real note, you know? We had toured together. I donít know if you guys want to add anything to that.
Jason: Well, I think we all lusted after each other, you know. [all laugh] That was the situation, it was just kinda meant to be.

Tony: Whoís producing the new album?
Jason: Two guys. When the record comes out, it will have four different producers on it, three different mixing engineers. This record has been all around, and weíve recorded with a bunch of different people and done lots of fun, cool things. Okay, letís give a list now. Some of the songs from the EP are going to make it to the record. Those are produced by ActionReaction, Chris Mizzone, and Jason Lader, who is Rick Rubinís protťgť guy out in California. He did Nightmare of You, Men Women and Children, and us. On the new stuff, we worked with Ray Martin and Junior Sanchez. Rayís done stuff with Jeff Buckley, Madonna, Iggy Pop, Government Mule. And Juniorís done some work with The Killers, Bloc Party, Gorillaz, all sorts of cool bands. Madonna too. So thereís like a double Madonna connection. Some of our new stuff sounds like Madonna. [all laugh] I chant on the Material Girl while I was singing a couple times. Yeah. So yeah, thatís a pretty big rundown.
Tony: So youíve got a lot of different styles in there.
Jason: Lot of different styles. Well, itís ActionReaction style. Itís a big melting pot of our imaginations.

Tony: Whatís your favorite song so far that you guys have done as ActionReaction?
Jason: Thereís a new song. I donít know, what do you think? Whatís your favorite song, Sal?
Sal: We ask ourselves that question as we go through this process. And simply, I donít know, man. Thatís like saying what kid you like better than the other kid.
Bella: My favorite song at the moment is a song called ďWith My Voice,Ē that we play right now, on the tour. Itís one we just recently recorded. Itís fun to be able to play it out and be excited about it because we just finished it.
Jason: Itís a great song, too. I love it. Iím going to have to say itís probably my favorite right now, too. From the EP, ďContagiousĒ is probably my favorite song, or maybe ďCome See My Grave.Ē I donít know. Thatís a hard question, man!
Tony: I try.

Tony: How have people been reacting to the new material?
Jason: On the tour? Weíre a brand new band, so itís a lot of stares. Do you know that song from Pink Floyd, ďComfortably NumbĒ? Itís been kinda like that song, so far. Like, ďHello? Is there anybody out there?Ē But instead of in there, itís out there. Itís been very interesting because a lot of people have come up to us afterwards and really enjoyed our music. I just think this is a great opportunity. Weíre on a tour with a thousand people every night. Weíre a brand new band and nobodyís ever heard of us before. We just got to announce that we signed to EVR like a week ago or something. I think itís going really well, and this tourís going to benefit this a lot.
Sal: Thereís more shaking of the hips than there is the throwing of the fists. So thatís kind of how weíre received.
Jason: We booty-dance. We want people to have a good time. Iíd like to eventually set up a boogie section in the front where people can just boogie down without any shame. Thatís kind of our thing. We like to play music and we understand that weíre a bunch of nerds, like the people who come to the show. I mean, some people are cool that come to the show [laughing]. We just want to have a good time and share what we like doing and hope people can enjoy it as much as weíre enjoying playing it.

Tony: So you guys just signed to EVR?
Jason: Kind of. We just signed to Hope Division, which is their new sister company, which weíre really excited about. Dan Sandshaw is our A&R guy over there; heís great, really great. Weíve met everyone at the label so far. We were up in, what is it called again?
Bella: Albany?
Jason: Albany. We went out to lunch and it was just crazy. We couldnít be happier. Theyíre really behind our music, and thatís a good thing to have.

Tony: After this tour, what are your plans?
Jason: Wow. Thereís nothing set in stone at this second. Our plans are to just basically tour, forÖtour. Just tour. Here, there, over the little puddle. Tour and tour and tour on all sorts of different tours with all sorts of different music and different people, and yada yada.

Tony: How do you as a musician expand your influences and become better at what you do?
Sal: Man. Honestly, the less you judge yourself as someone who wants to express themselves with music, the more it comes out freely. It comes out personalized and beautiful. Have you ever sang in the shower before? You sound pretty good. Do you think you sing better in the shower or in front of people? You think you sing better in the shower because you have that little extra acoustic there for you, and youíre by yourself. And you donít have to judge yourself and no one around you is judging you. So, through the writing process, with music and stuff, the less you can judge yourself, the better. If keeps you away from confined musical stagnation, thatís what Iíd call it.
Jason: I couldnít agree more with you. Except I canít really sing in the shower as much anymore because my weiner judges me, and thatís been upsetting me. But I sing in my bedroom, with my pants on, and he canít say anything.
Bella: ďWith my pants onĒ?
Tony: So Sal sings in the shower, and you sing in the bedroom.
Sal: Bella, where do you sing?
Bella: I sing everywhere. Everywhere I go.
Sal: With my voice.
Bella: With my voice. And I would say to add to that, to not be afraid of trying things that are weird or new. Just go with it, because that usually ends up sounding the best.

Tony: Have any of you ever considered going solo?
Jason: [incredulous] Already?!
Tony: No, no, no. Iím just throwing that question out.
Jason: Well, I guess together weíre solo.
Sal: No, in all sincerity, yeah. We have different avenues and sprouts. Chrissy does something that none of us can even fathom to do. Sheís a harpist. And sheís got a plethora of awesome songs done on harp. I was into theatrical writing, but it just turned out to be really bad pop tunes, and I thought it was going to be a rock opera. But I write on keyboards, you know? And Jay, god, man. What about that barbershop thing?
Bella: And the jazz thing?
Sal: Not the barbershop thing, the jazz thing.
Jason: Yeah, I thought about doing a jazz record, maybe. But I like the band atmosphere; I like this band atmosphere a lot. Thereís a lot of interaction and a lot of participation. Iím into this for right now. This is ActionReaction. It was never born, and it will never die.

Tony: What were your favorite CDs of 2005?
Sal: Bring it on. Jay, fire Ďem out.
Jason: Elbow, Leaders of the Free World.
Sal: Bingo. Slamminí. The whole Beatles catalog.
Jason: These are records that came out in 2005? Okay, Elbow, Leaders of the Free World.
Bella: Did Gorillaz come out last year?
Jason: Yeah, Gorillaz record was incredible. When did Brian Wilsonís Smile come out? We were listening to that today. That came out in 2004.
Bella: How about Paul McCartney? Thatís really good.
Jason: Oh! The Paul McCartney recordís insane. I liked that record a lot.
Bella: Rogue Waveís pretty good.
Jason: Thereís this band from New York called Rogue Wave. It think it came out in 2005 and not early this year, but that bandís really, really great. Theyíre awesome, very cool. My Morning Jacket, Z. I think 2005 was a sucky year for music. There really wasnít that many great records that came out.
Tony: I think there were a lot of good ones, but not a lot of great ones.
Jason: Exactly. But Elbow, My Morning Jacket, Rogue Wave, theyíre all great records.
Sal: Thereís so many old things floating around in that catalog of ours. Thereís so many lost gems that you revisit. Like a recent resurgence of Electric Light Orchestra that we hit on in the last process of recording.
Jason: David Bowie. Weíre big classic fans. We like classic rock a lot. Weíre really just big music fans. Really, anything thatís good. We listen to all sorts of music in the band.

Tony: Whatís a new band that we all need to listen to?
Jason: Iím going to say that band, Rogue Wave. Thatís their first record, and itís really slamminí.
Bella: Letís say them.
Jason: Yeah, letís be nice to them because I want them to take us on tour.

Tony: What is your favorite vegetable?
Bella: Carrots! Hands down.
Jason: Sal doesnít eat vegetables.
Bella: Salís starting to like broccoli. Itís like love/hate.
Sal: Six months ago, I went for the big dip. A lot of ranch, a lot of bleu cheese, and a fresh piece of broccoli. And it went down.
Jason: Iím going to say broccoli, and I really like cucumbers a lot.
Bella: Eggplant. I really like any vegetable.
Sal: Iím a meatatarian.
Bella: Iíll eat this grass right now.
Sal: Do it! Do it! [Bella eats some grass] Youíre sick!
Jason: So gross. You know how much pesticide is on that? Weíre in Florida, dude. Thereís probably crack on that grass.
Bella: They donít care about this crabgrass.
Jason: Itís not crabgrass, itís crackgrass. Weíre on Oakland, baby!

Tony: How has the homecoming been so far?
Jason: See Christie over there with the red hair? Thatís my only friend down here [laughing]. Itís been great. Dude, we went to the beach. It love it down here. I mean, I hate it down here, but I love it. The weatherís great; you couldnít ask for anything better than this. Last night was greatóOrlando. Great crowd, so awesome. She lived here too.
Tony: Where did you live?
Bella: With PompanoóWith Jason in Pompano Beach.

Tony: Whatís your favorite song to cover?
Jason: I donít know. Weíve talked about doing, what? Ten covers? Weíve had serious devotion to ten songs we wanted to cover, but weíve never learned or didnít do anything with them. So we havenít covered a song yet. What song are we seriously thinking about?
Bella: A Day in the Life?
Jason: Nah, cover songs. Not yet. Soon.

Tony: What is your stance on ending sentences with prepositions? This was actually suggested.
Bella: Really?
Sal: Iíve got a good one for this personally. Jasonís like a fireball when it comes toówhatís the word emasculating mean?
Bella: To emasculate?
Sal: Yeah, is that the right word? Jay has his brain, heís always got a lot to say. So when he types things up on the web, he gets a lot of things across in a very short paragraph. I personally am a fan of the run-on sentence. Jay I think does a lot of start-stops, because his head is moving fast. Before this goes down to paper, maybe he can accentuate better.
Jason: UmÖ
Sal: Whatís a preposition?
Bella: And, but?
Tony: Nah, thatís a conjunction.
Jason: Whatís my stance on that? Iím freaking against it, man! I think itís BS! No, Iím not down with prepositions at all. And if anyone asks me again, seriously, Iím going to lose it. Canít be asked about that, sorry. [all laughing]

Tony: If you could be a flavor of ice cream other than vanilla, what would you be and why?
Sal: Can you use a trademark name?
Tony: Yeah, why not?
Sal: Iím straight up, man. Iíd be doing CinnaMoo from Maggie Mooís.
Jason: Do they have Maggie Mooís down here?
Tony: I donít think so.
Jason: You should get one. Cake batter ice cream. Iím going to have to say Better Batter. Iím a Maggie Mooís guy.
Bella: I really like mint chocolate chip.
Sal: Thatís always a classic answer.

Tony: Are you surprised about the Further Seems Forever breakup?
Jason: They broke up?
Tony: Yeah.
Jason: Really?
Sal: Seriously?
Bella: Yeah, officially.
Sal: No shit?
Jason: Congratulations? I donít know. Actually, I am surprised. Didnít Jon say he was going to do another record or something? Sorry, man. I donít think about it much anymore. I write music and stuff now. Iím too busy having a good thing with creating and love and live and happiness. Sometimes you gotta just move on and be done with things.

Tony: Since you were all in bands before, how did you take what you learned out of those bands and channel it into ActionReaction?
Jason: Well, itís funny. What do you guys think? Can I answer that?
Bella: Yeah, sure.
Jason: I guess weíve all spent a lot of time doing music. I think weíve been touring for like eight years.
Sal: More like six, probably.
Jason: Seven. Seven years. Thatís what we figured out. It doesnít matter; itís a significant amount of time, for my own standards. Iíve done a bunch of bands, and I think you just get to the point that you finally understand what you donít want and in that understanding, this thing was just sort of happened. And itís exactly what we all want.
Sal: Itís ActionReaction.

Tony: Do you think your music mellows at all as you get older?
Jason: Mellows?
Bella: Yeah, it changes with you.
Jason: I guess it just goes on taste. Do I listen to heavy bands or bands with blaring distortion? No, not really. There are some people that listen to metal forever. I may have another metal phase, you know? I have no idea. I think my music is what it is, and I think you guys would say the same.
Bella & Sal: Yeah.
Jason: Itís funny because weíre mellowóitís not mellow though, we rock out. Weíre into cock-rock and Van Halen shit. Itís just channeled in some different places. Itís not just a big distortion fart or anything on stage. We channel. Channel three on my amp works the best.
Sal: Yeah. All tempos arenít off limits. Rhythm-melody, thereís so much of it out there. The combinations are seemingly endless. Kinda want to reach out and grab some of that. It could be boogie, it could be shuffle, it could be a ďnod your head to this.Ē

Tony: So this is the first tour with ActionReaction?
Jason: This is the first tour with ActionReaction. Thirteenth show, I think.
Tony: Itís been going well?
Jason: Yeah, I love being out on the road. I love touring.

Tony: What do you think of the other bands youíre touring with?
Jason: Theyíre awesome.
Bella: Theyíre good people.
Jason: Weíve broíd down really hard with the bands weíre on tour with right now. Really, really good people.

Tony: Do you have anything else to say to your fans on Absolutepunk and across the world?
Jason: Really?! Aw, shoot. Iíve talked the whole time. I want one of these guys to have this.
Bella: End it?
Sal: I donít have any fans. Iím trying to get some, so Iím trying to think of the most popular thing I might be able to say.
Bella: Try us, youíll like us.
Sal: Try us, youíll like us, man.
Bella: I think youíll like us. Take a chance. Donít be afraid to listen to something different and have fun and smile and clap along, for sure.
Jason: Yeah. Last words, this is going to be great.
Sal: [hums angelically]
Jason: I want to encourage everyone to celebrate. To celebrate. I want everybody to celebrate. [all applaud]

Special thanks to Jason, Bella, and Sal for this awesome interview. Good luck on the rest of the tour and in the future.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 21
02:33 PM on 02/12/06
#2
reductiondesign
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Great interview.
02:47 PM on 02/12/06
#3
LeftWideOpen
not another brick in the wall.
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gleason kinda strikes me as an ass in that interview, but man he can sing.
02:58 PM on 02/12/06
#4
Tony Pascarella
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Originally Posted by LeftWideOpen
gleason kinda strikes me as an ass in that interview, but man he can sing.

Nah, not at all (on the ass part). We were all cracking up most of the interview. And as far as singing, he might be the best live lead vocalist I've seen.
02:59 PM on 02/12/06
#5
myjokesmakeucry
i always bet it all
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yeah, i know he knew about the break up, what a tool
we get it you dont like those guys anymore dont be a dick about it
03:57 PM on 02/12/06
#6
TommyGunn
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Originally Posted by LeftWideOpen
gleason kinda strikes me as an ass in that interview, but man he can sing.

that's because he is an ass.
03:58 PM on 02/12/06
#7
TommyGunn
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Originally Posted by Tony Pascarella
Nah, not at all (on the ass part). We were all cracking up most of the interview. And as far as singing, he might be the best live lead vocalist I've seen.

Time to remove your tongue from his ass.
03:58 PM on 02/12/06
#8
Caleb Cattivera
Cupid of Absolutepunk
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Originally Posted by myjokesmakeucry
yeah, i know he knew about the break up, what a tool
we get it you dont like those guys anymore dont be a dick about it

agreed.

that was a classless statement.
03:59 PM on 02/12/06
#9
atownplaya
keepin' it gangsta
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Does it seem really really odd to anybody else that he had no idea that FSF broke up? He may have moved on musically, but still, it seems a bit strange...
04:08 PM on 02/12/06
totallysweet
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Wow. Jason is an even bigger idiot than I thought. Not only does he write the most incoherent bullshit lyrics I've ever heard, but he says incoherent bullshit in inteviews. I'm SHOCKED that he is as popular as he is.

"Jason: I couldn’t agree more with you. Except I can’t really sing in the shower as much anymore because my weiner judges me, and that’s been upsetting me. But I sing in my bedroom, with my pants on, and he can’t say anything."

"Jason: It’s funny because we’re mellow—it’s not mellow though, we rock out. We’re into cock-rock and Van Halen shit. It’s just channeled in some different places. It’s not just a big distortion fart or anything on stage. We channel. Channel three on my amp works the best."

what the hell? Seriously. Maybe he was dropped on his head as a child.
04:17 PM on 02/12/06
KidLightning
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Originally Posted by totallysweet
"Jason: I couldn’t agree more with you. Except I can’t really sing in the shower as much anymore because my weiner judges me, and that’s been upsetting me. But I sing in my bedroom, with my pants on, and he can’t say anything."

what the hell?
it's called having fun and joking around...maybe you should remove the stick from your ass sometime and try it, you might not hate life as much anymore

douchebag.
05:23 PM on 02/12/06
TommyGunn
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"HI...my name is Jason and I'm going to pretend to be in to 'cock rock and van halen' because that is the cool thing to do now. you know, wear your GNR shirt and shit"

Come on dude. So pathetic.
05:26 PM on 02/12/06
gob15
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"Jason: Congratulations? I don’t know. Actually, I am surprised. Didn’t Jon say he was going to do another record or something? Sorry, man. I don’t think about it much anymore. I write music and stuff now. I’m too busy having a good thing with creating and love and live and happiness. Sometimes you gotta just move on and be done with things."

What a self-righteous asshole. If this guy didn't sing so good I'd wish bad things on him. The guy uses FSF for self gain and doesn't even have a positive thing to say about them. Amazing!
05:49 PM on 02/12/06
Nick Lopez
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This was a nice interview, I enjoyed it.

I didn't feel that whole "Jason is an ass" vibe, either. Sounds like he was just messing around the entire time..
06:34 PM on 02/12/06
prozac mnms
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Originally Posted by Nick Lopez
This was a nice interview, I enjoyed it.

I didn't feel that whole "Jason is an ass" vibe, either. Sounds like he was just messing around the entire time..

I agree. I think what he said about FSF was the safest thing he could say without seeming like an ass or anything. He and the band have parted ways, why should he focus on the past any longer?

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