It’s not easy being the frontman of a band, especially a band full of serial-killing, mongoloid mama’s boys. Jason V is the lead singer/guitar player for The Jasons, a horror-punk band from Crystal Lake, New Jersey (by way of West Virginia), who play Ramones-core punk rock songs dealing with the Friday the 13th film franchise and everyone’s favorite hockey-masked slasher icon, Jason Voorhees. Jason V, who takes his blue-chevroned mask from the fifth installment of the film series, along with guitarist Jason Hollywood (wearing the hockey mask from 2009’s remake of the first film), bassist Jason 3D (from Part 3, in 3D: the third dimension of terror… and bassists), and drummer Jason Hell (as in Jason Goes To Hell), have been releasing their own brand of Crystal Lake Punk Rock since their 2014 self-titled album. On Friday, April 13th, 2018, The Jasons are releasing their fourth album, GET SUED, an unholy mashup of the music of The Ramones and the lyrics of seminal horror-punk band The Misfits.
I was unlucky enough to chat with Jason V on the telephone, calling the frontman at his shack deep in the woods nearby Camp Crystal Lake, where we discuss the new album, as well as selling out, horror-punk diss tracks, and that pinnacle of musical entrepreneurship, Six Feet Under’s Graveyard Classics. Jason V was also generous enough to entrust Indy Metal Vault with the first track premiere from Get Sued: “Last Sematary,” a Hellish mix of The Misfits “Last Caress” and The Ramones “Pet Sematary.”
Nathan Erdel: First question – Get Sued. Seriously, what the hell? Tell me about the inception of this album, who had the idea (and how it occurred in the first place), and then tell me what made you guys want to actually record the album?
Jason V: So, uh, Get Sued was developed out of laziness, like most Jasons records. It goes back to three years ago; we agreed to do a Misfits tribute show, because we usually just agree, if there’s a show, if we can make it, sure, we’ll do it, whatever. We didn’t really think about how we were gonna have to practice – we just kept putting it off. We don’t practice – like, Jasons practice never, ever happens. That is a 100% true fact; it only happens when we play shows. So, cut to the day of the show, and we were like, “let’s get together and let’s learn…,” I think it was supposed to be eight Misfits songs that we were supposed to cover in our 15-20 minute set. Nobody rehearsed, nobody knew ‘em. I think they only one who knew ‘em was (Jason) Hollywood — he legitimately practices by himself, but the rest of us really don’t.
The show rolled around, and we had an idea like “we’re gonna practice for an hour.” It just didn’t happen. So, we were like, “we can cancel, or we can figure something else out.” So, instead of canceling, we were like… “well, Misfits songs would be better if they were Ramones songs,” anyway, so we just decided let’s just put Misfits lyrics. So, the day of that show, we just sat down and started trying to figure out what would fit; it was like, “what can we shoehorn in here?” We just started with, “Ok, what Ramones songs do we know?” As big of Ramones fans as The Jasons are, we didn’t really know that many Ramones songs, either, so, we were like, “what can we play?” Well, we can all play a shitty-ass “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and that’s really the only [Ramones] song that we’re never gonna play, ‘cause everybody plays that song. That’s the only Ramones song people know, so we were like “fuck that song.” But, of course, everybody knows it, and we all know it, so we were like, “Ok, what can we shoehorn there?” So… “Return of the Fly,” “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” sounds like “Helen Delambre.”
So, if you watch the video – it’s one of our most watched videos, “Jasons Ruin A Misfits Tribute Show” – if you watch that video, you can see that, between every song, I’m pulling out little sheets of paper, ‘cause I don’t really know The Misfits lyrics that well, at least well enough to figure out where they go. It was a mind-fuck anyway, trying to figure out where they went. So, that’s how we first started, and, because so many people watched it and thought it was hilarious and couldn’t believe we pulled it off – we were like, “yeah, we couldn’t believe we pulled it off, either,” because it wasn’t anybody’s brain-child. We were just like “we don’t know what we’re doing, but let’s do it.” People kept mentioning “you guys should record that,” so, when it came time to do another record, we kind of have our next record kind of written, really, but we wanted to put a little space between Get Fucked and the next record. Get Fucked is our Master of Puppets, you know, it’s like the good one, so we didn’t wanna do the good one and then go with the next record, and maybe it doesn’t live up to the… maybe we’ve run out of all our good songs. I dunno. It’s kinda like – you wanna put a little filler there, a little palate cleanser.
So, this record, at least, in our minds, was like “this is gonna be easy,” you know? It’s gonna be a fucking easy album to record: we just learn some learn some Misfits songs, mix ‘em with Ramones songs… but it’s kinda hard, because your brain is going, “man, you’re singing the wrong thing.” It ended up being more of a challenge to record than it was to pull off live, on the spur of the moment. So, it was born out of laziness in the beginning, and then the idea that recording this record would be easy – but it was not as easy as it seemed. It took a lot of strategizing to create a nine song record.
NE: So, when you guys were planning out the actual album, was it hard to figure out which Ramones instrumentals would go with which Misfits lyrics?
JV: Some of it came really easy, like “20 Eyes” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” was super easy. My original idea was “I’m gonna only do songs from the first Ramones record.” I kinda went from there, but I really wanted to do “Pet Sematary” – I knew that one would work, it was sorta already in my head. Some of them were [picked on]… the day of [recording]… “Hatebreeders” and “Halloween,” those two songs, we were just getting there and we were like, seven songs ready, but we’re like, no, we gotta have more. So, it was really just the spur of the moment, while they were recording guitar, or somebody was recording drums, I was trying to go through in my head what would match up. Some of that stuff, like “Hatebreeders” mixed with “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World,” was probably the one that surprised me the most – it really made a good song. Most of it was just really, really on the fly. Some of it was pre-planned, but, really, once we got in there, we just started working on them – finding out what works and what doesn’t. That’s really what most Jasons records are like. The first one, we did in 24 hours, like “whatever we get in 24 hours, that’s our record.” Stalk And Slash Summer, that was the same way, and Get Fucked was three days. We booked as much time as we could – this time was four days, and whatever we could do in four days is what we got, and that’s why it’s not longer. We always do that.
NE: Are you guys expecting to get any reaction from either The Ramones or The Misfits?
JV: Yes. Yeah, I think we’re gonna get a large subset of people that say we ruined both. I think we’re going to have Ramones kids saying “we ruined The Ramones’ songs,” we’re gonna have Misfits kids saying “we ruined The Misfits’ songs.” That’s good, because if people hate it, it’s gonna promote it better for us. I think some people will think it’s clever, some people will dig it, and some people will be too dumb to realize what it is… like, we’re gonna get “off the bat” criticism like “these covers suck!” They’re not going to realize that they’re listening to two songs, mashed up. We’ve already had some people – like some dude on our [Facebook] page, saying “Why are you using The Misfits’ logo?” I think some people are going to hate on it, but I think the people who hate on it won’t understand it. Some people will hate it because they don’t wanna see those songs fucked with, which is good. That’s perfect for The Jasons; I feel like, if we can irritate some people, that’s good, and if we can get sued, that’s good, too. It’s good for our publicity; we’ll get famous for being sued.
NE: Specifically, do you guys think you’ll hear from Glenn Danzig or Jerry Only?
JV: I think, if anyone comes after us, it’s gonna be on The Misfits’ side. There are a billion Ramones-core band that use The Ramones logo – everyone uses The Ramones’ logo; if we get sued, it’ll be over The Misfits’ Fiend Skull, probably. We tried to put as much litigation-worth stuff in it as possible. I was like, “We need to put dollar signs in the Fiend Skull’s eyes.” Well, if we do that, it just falls under parody, so we just used the Fiend Skull so we could get sued that way. There were a lot of things, like, on the inside of the record, the actual discs, we did the Fiend Skull with hockey-mask chevrons, which were all done by [Jason] 3D, like, way back, but then Fright-Rags came out with one, and it looks like we just totally ripped off the Fright-Rags design, but we didn’t. So, maybe Fright-Rags will sue us? I don’t know. We feel like, if we can get the most possible lawsuits out of one product, that’s the goal. We’ll frame the cease-and-desist [order]. If we get sued, I guess we’ll just make it a free record. Give it away. It’ll go down in history as “that record you can’t get.” We always talked about this. When Six Feet Under lost that whole creative spark, they started recording Graveyard Classics, which are the shittiest, death-metal versions of AC/DC songs and stuff. There are a whole subset of people who just want to hear that. Maybe this will be our chance to finally sell out, and just be a lazy band that only plays mash-up covers for the rest of our career.
NE: That sounds like a good plan.
JV: Yeah! You know, rest easy and put out Get Sued, Again and Get Sued (A Third Time). Let’s face it, in this day’s world, if you’re gonna get famous, it’s for doing something people have already heard. The only thing that is working against us is it may be a little too creative, the mash-up thing. If we did just straight covers, maybe that would be… We always talk about this. One of the things that annoy us a lot is that we see all of these bands who are clever, gimmicky cover-bands – I’m not singling them out, ‘cause I think it’s cool – but Mac Sabbath… Mac Sabbath are really cool, but they really just sort of play Black Sabbath covers with re-written lyrics, and they play huge [shows], they’re super famous. There’s a fuckin’ clown Iron Maiden band. The Ramonas, although I guess they’re doing some original stuff, but we’re always like, “Man, if we were just a Jasons-themed Ramones cover-band, we’d be way more famous that if we just write our own songs,” ‘cause people want that. You combine something, like that Star Wars Galactic Empire, that band, they play Star Wars theme songs, dressed as Star Wars characters, that kind of shit. I think the way to fame is really just being a gimmicky cover-band, and we don’t exactly want to do that, but we kinda want to do that.
NE: Nobody wants originals.
JV: Yeah. I want to be in a Ramones cover-band as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to be in a cover-band that just plays covers, so I’ll write songs that sound exactly like Ramones, but are different songs. I think if we made the full switch over, we could be like “The Jasons playing Ramones songs, and Mac Sabbath playing Black Sabbath covers, and Clownvis Presley…” And I like gimmick bands, so I think that stuff’s cool, but I wish those bands would also do their own stuff.
NE: Are you guys going to be playing any songs from Get Sued on tour?
JV: Yes. Well, yeah. We’ve already tried it once. It was really interesting. We played it in Indiana, that’s the only time we’ve ever played it, and, I think people were just fucking confused. We see people, and they get excited, “Yeah, it’s fucking Blitzkrieg… what the fuck is that?” So, we’ve done it a few times, and we’ve seen the confusion hit, and the energy just gets sucked out of the crowd. That was weird, but we hadn’t released the record yet. At our CD release show, we’re definitely going to play some of them, and, again, that sorta comes down to to which ones we can play, ‘cause our release show is coming up, and we don’t have any practice before that. We will play some, and it’ll probably be shitty, but, I think we’ll move into that groove. We always play a Ramones cover, but I think our idea is to stop playing the Ramones cover and just play a song from Get Sued, which is still kinda a Ramones cover. But, yeah, we’re gonna play some of them, but I don’t know how many we’ll do on tour. Maybe one or two. Unless we start getting that Six Feet Under money and people want only that; we’re more than ready to completely sell out.
NE: I completely hear you. I’m always ready to sell out, it’s just that nobody’s buying.
JV: Right? If you could work on a Michael Bay movie, you’re gonna do it.
NE: Totally. Michael Bay’s Headless, you know?
JV: Yeah. It’s too bad [Jason] Hollywood quit hanging out with the Hollywood set, ‘cause he could have gotten you in touch; he has Michael Bay’s number.
NE: You touched on this a little bit, but when are we going to get a new, full, original Jasons album?
JV: A lot sooner than people think; it’s really almost done. We were looking at the song list, and we’ve got more than enough songs for a record, and we’re pretty happy with them. The recording of this was done, and we were like “awesome,” and we immediately wanted to record another record, because the record [Get Sued] is finished; it’s kind of a strategic break in the middle. We just sorta didn’t want to put out another [original] record yet, but the cover is already finished, for the record, we’ve got a title for the record, everything’s finished. The songs are done, we’re ready to go out and record it. We’ve already play some of those songs live, like, we played “Mark’s Legs Don’t Work,” and we have a couple more we’re going to work into the set. We got a song called “It’s Still Crystal Lake, No Matter What You Call It (Part 6)”; we can probably start playing that now. So, yeah, we’ve got songs ready, it just comes down to… usually recording is real spur-of-the-moment, like, the way this [Get Sued] was recorded, we were like, “We sold a bunch of records, we have a thousand dollars in the bank, so let’s go record an album this weekend.” That’s how we do it; when we’ve got the money in the bank. I think probably 2019, like, early 2019, but, we could probably do it earlier.
NE: Can you talk a little bit about your ongoing beef with fellow horror-punks Savage Remains?
JV: Yeah, I think we won, man! There’s been radio silence for a long time. I think, personally, we killed them off, ‘cause we ain’t heard from nothin’ from ‘em, but, just in case the beef is still going on… they put out “J.A.S.O.N.E.S.,” and I thought that was a nice gesture, even though we have this rivalry. Motörhead did a song about the Ramones, so Savage Remains made a song about us. We kinda put a hidden track on [Get Sued], called “Steroid Remains,” which we originally recorded for a split with Savage Remains. What happened was, we went in and recorded it for, like, five hours, and we didn’t really like it. We wanted to do something with better quality. We recorded it with better quality, and we don’t know if they’re coming back, we don’t know what’s going on, so we’d better put some punctuation on it, put the period on Get Sued, just in case. I hope they come back, because, you know, He-Man is nothing without Skeletor; I like to think we’re Skeletor in this situation. They’re He-Man, ‘cause they got the muscles.
NE: One more question, and this question is specifically for you, Jason V. Has anyone ever called you a poser for wearing blue chevrons on your mask, and, furthermore, what is more lucrative: being a horror-punk, or being a paramedic?
JV: Oh, that’s a good question. So, I sometimes get called “poser” by people acknowledging that I acknowledged it in a song. The best part, though, is when people don’t know The Jasons. I’ll always get “Professor Horror Convention” coming up to me and being like, “Well, actually, you know, the mask that you’re wearing is not actually Jason – it’s Roy,” and I’m just staring at the dude, like, “I’ve made a career out of being a fuckin’ Jason; you think I don’t know?” That’s what I get the most: people trying to school me on the chevrons on my mask. So, occasionally, I get called a “poser,” but it’s people who don’t realize that I already fully know.
When it comes to “which is more lucrative, being a paramedic or being a horror-punk?” Being a horror-punk is not lucrative at all, so I would probably say being a paramedic. The only difference, really, is that when you’re a paramedic, you can kill people in secret, and when you’re a horror-punk, you gotta hide the bodies. It’s much easier to be like, “He expired. We couldn’t save him, sorry.” I’d say I’m not going to quit my day job. Unless our ship comes in, and Get Sued becomes our most popular album to date.
NE: Then you’ll get that Six Feet Under money?
JV: Yeah. I’ll get that Chris Barnes money!
NE: Yes! Anything else you want to say about the album?
JV: I’d say it’s a testament to our American ingenuity, and… it’s either a testament to the American ingenuity of the The Jasons, or it’s a testament to the devotion of people who like The Jasons, that we were able to sell the amount of records, pre-order, that we did, with a completely blind pre-order. Like, “here’s two shirts that you can’t see ‘em, and here’s the record, but you don’t know what’s on it.” I don’t know which it is, if we’ve reached that “KISS marketing level” that we’ve always dreamed of, or if the “Machete-head” people out there who listen to The Jasons are that cool – I dunno. I don’t want to give people other than The Jasons credit, so I’m gonna say it’s our own American ingenuity.