Interview by Jessica Plumb
Interview with Jason Crosson (lead vocals, songwriter and producer)
Hey Jason and thank you for your time!
Hey Jessica. Thanks for having me!!
You have been going since 2006! How did ‘Crosson’ first begin and has the industry changed much since then?
I started this crazy adventure many years ago and there have been various incarnations of CROSSON over the years. I wanted to put together a band that delivered not only good songs but an entertaining live show and over the top image with myself and 2 girls as the focus of the group. We released two albums and a few EPs independently but it wasn’t until 2014 when we got the image and look the way we wanted it and got Duane Baron involved as our mixing engineer and recorded Spreading The Rock N Roll Disease that people started to take notice. We secured a licensing deal with a German label which put us on the map with all the European press we received. Our next album ‘Invincible’ hit the German Rock and Metal Charts and spent 10 weeks in the top 30. We are now back with our best and most successful release Rock N Roll Love Affair!
I think the advent of streaming has changed thing a lot as physical music is on its way out. That being said if it weren’t for streaming platform, I would never have discovered all these great new bands. I also think that the way we absorb music has changed. In the old days we buy maybe 15-20 albums a year we really played it over and over again until you knew every lyric. Nowadays, if someone gives an album a dozen plays then it’s done well as there is so much content constantly being released its hard to keep up.
What is the meaning behind the band name ‘Crosson’?
It’s actually my surname and comes from the translation from the Greek name ‘Stavropoulos’ which means ‘Son Of The Cross’.
When did you first start singing and learning guitar and know you wanted to be a ‘rock star’?
My first instrument was the piano accordion at the tender age of six. My father was devastated after I told him I was quitting the accordion to focus on the electric guitar!
Ever since I discovered KISS and then saw Iron Maiden’s World Slavery tour at a very young age with all the smoke, flames and 15 ft monsters walking around, I was just so captivated and went to myself, “I wanna do that!!”
What are the pro’s/cons of being in a band?
We can’t do live shows without a full band so the performance side of things and playing the shows is the highlight and what we all look forward to, getting up on that stage and giving it our all. We have a good camaraderie at the moment with the current live line up so it’s fun to play and travel together. The down side is when some members can’t make a show or decide to leave and we need to find someone new and get them up and running. That’s the same with all businesses, people will come and go.
You’re releasing your album ‘Rock ‘N Roll Love Affair’. What is the concept behind the album and how is it different from your previous releases?
There was no release concept behind it, just to write and deliver the 10 best songs possible. I think the songs on Rock ‘N Roll Love Affairs are more anthemic and have a lot of more counter melodies happening. Once the songs were completed, I then decided to name it Rock N Roll Love Affair and build the theme of the artwork and visuals around that.
As far as it being different from the other releases, I think the song writing and production has matured and improved and overall, it’s a huge leap forward including the artwork and videos.
The album also includes performances by some of Australia’s leading rock/metal musicians, including Stu Marshall (Death Dealer) and Dario Bortolin (Baby Animals). Did you know these guys personally and how did the collaboration come about?
My philosophy is, if you want the best performance on the album, you’ve got to use the best. Dario played on our last album and he is amazing so it was a no-brainer to use him again. Stu, I’ve known for a few years now so when I was looking for someone to really ‘blow the speakers’, I asked Stu and he was happy to do it. We spent about 3 days in his studio over the Christmas break and boy, did he deliver!!!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
CROSSON’s sound can be described at fun, anthemic, feel-good, theatrical glam rock with huge catchy choruses and big harmonies.
Following the success of your acclaimed 2018 album ‘Invincible’; which spent an incredible ten consecutive weeks in the ‘Top 30 Official German Rock and Metal Charts’ and was voted ‘Sleaze’s Nation’s # 2 album’ of 2018. How did this make you feel? And did it add any extra pressure to your future releases?
It’s always a nice feeling when your hard work is appreciated. As a kid you dream of releasing an album and it making the charts, so it was quite a rewarding experience. It definitely put the pressure on for the next album to be bigger and better so we needed to put our best foot forward with respect to this album and I got more brutal and trashed a few tracks that weren’t as good as they could have been and start the writing process again until we had 10 great songs with no fillers.
The album was once again mixed by legendary U.S producer Duane Baron (Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Poison), mastered by U.S mastering legend Dave Donnelly (Aerosmith, KISS, Whitesnake) , and engineered by Aussie veteran Russell Pilling (The Vines, Hoodoo Gurus.) How did this come about?
Russ has been our engineer since 2010 and I love working with us as he pushes me to my limits as a vocalist and also comes up with some great ideas. Not to mention he is hilarious and fun to be around!!
Back in 2014 when we had recorded all of the ‘Spreading the Rock N Roll Disease’ album, I was looking an engineer to mix the album. I flicked through the albums that I grew up with and loved ( e.g. Girls Girls Girls, Theatre Of Pain, Open Up and Say Ah, etc) and the names that kept on popping up were Duane Baron and Dave Donnelly for mastering. I contacted both of them and they were happy to come on board and the rest is history. We have used this team for the past 3 albums and really give us our huge sound.
Do you have a favourite track from the new album?
‘Everyone’s A Star’ is one of my favourite CROSSON songs and we open up our show with it. My son, who was 11 at the time, came up with the counter melody in the beginning which fitted in perfectly so it also has that sentimental value. The video really shows CROSSON in its element, delivering our bombastic, energetic stage show!! Then there’s ‘Weak At The Knees (For A Hot Brunette!!)’ which is a fun way to play and the video is hilarious and ‘Rest In Peace’ which shows our sentimental side. ‘We All Need An Enemy’, ‘Givin Up Livin Giving Up’ ‘Rock N Roll Love Affair’ and ‘You’re The Reason’ are other songs which I really like… I think we just covered most of the album 😊 !!
Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics?
I think 80s rock is embedded in my psyche so writing music like that comes a lot more naturally. There will be times when I am writing and go “Now, what would Desmond Child or Jim Steinman do here?”.
The lyrics really differ. If I want to get topical then I will research that topic. Usually, it’s built around a chorus that has popped into my head and try and make sure it all rhymes and makes sense. Thank God for Rhyme Zone!!
What is the glam ‘rock and roll’ music scene like where you are based in Sydney, Australia?
Its definitely not as big as the USA or Europe, as in terms of populations we are relatively small. We have some great bands and there are crazy fans who love the genre. Most nights of the week Frankie’s (one of Sydney’s vibrant rock venues) is packed with screaming metal heads and we are all doing our part to keep ‘Spreading The Rock N’ Roll Disease!!
Do you think image is important when being in a band?
I think it’s very important as can be seen by the lengths we go to with our image and costumes. Everyone has eyes and ears so I believe that not only do you need to deliver great music but also be visually enticing. Sometimes just looking at a band that catches your attention and stands out from the rest of the crowd wants you to take a listen. When I was a kid, I walked into a record store and saw this black album with a pentagram on it. I opened up the gatefold sleeve and saw these four guys in hell clad in later. I immediately bought it without listening to it. The album was Shout At The Devil and it remains one of my favourite all time albums. The power of image!!!!
How has COVID-19 affected you musically and professionally? Are you looking to tour once lockdowns are lifted?
Just before Covid hit, we had finished tours with Ron Keel, Enuff ‘Z Nuff, Janet Gardner (Vixen) and Reckless Love and literally days after our last show, everything shut down. We have had to cancel a number of shows. At this present time, we are waiting for venues to reopen. However, I have been busy doing press with the release of the album and also started demoing and writing for the next album.
We cannnn’tttt wait to get back out there again and start playing for people again.
Is there anyone or anywhere you would like to tour and haven’t yet?
I’d love to open for KISS and even be part of the stadium tour with Motley Crue, Def Leppard. That would be very cool. We are happy to tour with anyone. Its all about playing to audiences and winning them over.
What genres of music do you like to listen to personally? Any new bands that have caught your attention recently?
I’m strictly a melodic / heavy / glam rock guy. For me, the music needs to have a great hook and be catchy. I love some of the great new melodic rock bands out there such as H.E.A.T, Crazy Lixx, W.E.T, Eclipse , Shakra, Grand Design to name a few who are really keeping the genre alive and delivering some great music.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a band?
- Write and write and write until you have found your niche and you have great songs.
- Find a good image that suits your music.
- Associate and surround yourself with talented people.
- Treat it like a business and be polite.
- Always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get on the phone or email someone for advice. That’s how we got our break.
- Put your best foot forward before releasing anything.
- Most importantly are the 2 Golden Rules: 1) Never Give Up 2) Don’t forget rule # 1.
What do you like to do outside of music? Any hobbies?
I have my own compliance testing company which I started many years ago called Microwave Safety Systems. We have technicians around Australia servicing hospitals, schools, aged care facilities, etc. It also finances the whole CROSSON project so I’m fortunate enough to have great staff so I can focus on CROSSON and enable it to grow.
At the moment I do reformer Pilates about 5 times a week. I live at Bondi beach so I am either swimming in the ocean pool or surfing nearly every day. When we are on tour I try to get to a Pilates or Bikrim Yoga class if I can.
If you had to choose your top 3 favourite bands or albums, what would they be?
Albums – Shout At The Devil (Motley Crue), To Hell With The Devil (Stryper), Under Lock and Key (Dokken), Unmasked ( KISS) + about a dozen others.
Bands – KISS, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Stryper, Scorpions, Dokken, Bon Jovi, Vandenberg, Def Leppard… the list just goes on!!!
Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?