10 Questions with Jimi Haha

Here is our second “10 Questions” Interview, with songwriters from our region.  This time we have, Jimi Haha (Jimi Davies).  This guys needs no introduction but we’ll give him one anyway… Jimi has played, sang and written for Jimmy’s Chicken Shack for over 20 years!  Jimi is also a talented artist/painter, an avid promoter of the Maryland music scene and an all around radical dude. 
We sat down and asked Jimi 10 Questions about his music, influences and the industry in general.  Check out what he had to say:


1.  Tell us about your musical background, how you got into songwriting, and any current projects you have now.
My first acapella performance was in first grade at a talent show.  I started playing guitar and writing songs at 12. I got expelled from school when i was 15 and that day I started singing while playing guitar. I started a band called Ten Times Big in 1987. We played with bands like The Psychedelic Furs, The Smithereens, Violent Femmes and Flock of Seagulls. In 1993 I started Jimmie’s Chicken Shack. In 2003 I started Jarflys. In 2009 I put out a record with Burn the Fields. I am about to record a solo acoustic record. Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and Jarflys still play shows.

2.  What do you think about the current state of the music industry?
I don’t think much of it one way or the other. I think there is good music and not so good music. I think there’s a plus and minus to all of the things that have happened in the industry in the past 15 years.  Being an artist of any kind involves being adaptable if you want to survive. Some areas are more difficult and some have become easier. All in all the music industry is an industry. You can exist outside of that and just create music. You can exist within it and create music but you also have to treat it like a business. I like music. I don’t like the music industry. I think there is a different dynamic to building a career now than there was 20 years ago. Back then the internet was hardly viable. You made records, hit the street, played as many gigs as you could, hand stamped post cards that you hand addressed every month to tell people about your upcoming shows. Today, well we know how different things have become. It’s much easier to reach out to your audience immediately. There is also a lot more people reaching out. Back then you had to be able to play music and play it well. You recorded to tape. If you sucked, you did it over. Today it’s all digital and auto tune. You also can build a fan base without ever playing one show. My opinion is that’s kind of cool and that kind of sucks at the same time. 

3.  If you could talk to your 18 year old self, is there anything you would tell yourself about what it takes to make it in music?
I would tell myself to have fun. Oh wait, I have had fun. Nevermind, I wouldn’t tell myself anything. I would just let me be.

4.  Was there a specific moment in your career when you realized you had “arrived” or knew that your career was taking off?
No. I just always knew I was where I was supposed to be and that I would end up where I was supposed to end up. There is no defining moment. It has always been a collection of defining moments that hopefully have not fully defined themselves yet.

5.  Who are some of your favorite songwriters right now?
There are so many. Bob Schneider. Patty Griffin. Lake Street Dive. Pinback. Kermit de Frog.

6.  Have you ever worked with another songwriter or a team of songwriters? If so, how did it go?
Jimmie’s Chicken Shack’s “Re.present” had collaborations with Butch Walker, Art Alexakis, John Wozniak, Aaron Lewis and Mark Tremonti. It is fun to write with different people. I had a blast.

7.  Do you think it would be beneficial to have an unbiased team of songwriters in the studio with you while you record music?
I think it is beneficial to create in any way possible.

8.  What’s the most unique location you’ve ever written a song?
I guess on the toilet. Thankfully it wasn’t a shitty song

9.  If you could make a dream team band around you, who would it be? Living or dead.
Bob Marley, John Lennon, Elvis, Jesus, and Mark Twain. I think I would name us The Nobodies.

10.  What’s one of the craziest things you have seen or have happened to you on the road?
“On the advice of my counsel I respectfully exercise my fifth amendment right and decline to answer that question,”

Jimi for the interview.  We wish you much success with your music and career in this crazy business we all know and love. 
Listen - ReverbNation - http://www.reverbnation.com/jimmieschickenshack, http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jarflys
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jimihaha
Twitter - https://twitter.com/jimihaha 

Stephen Antonelli

SongBuilder Studios, 709 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD, 21228, United States