Jason Mather seems to be on a quest to bring back the scorching guitar riffs that dominated FM radio in the seventies. He's releasing his second solo record, The Hottness, on January 17th and will be hitting the rock clubs throughout the tri-state area in support of it. The official CD release party is schedule for the 18th at Grape Street in Philadelphia.
"Hottness is more like a fire - the fire within the whole soul that drives you to work forty hours a week and still come home and practice and try to do this," explained Jason Mather. "It's just a fire within when everyone is saying maybe you should just give up. It's like fire and passion."
That passion definitely comes through from the impressive guitar licks spread throughout the record. Mather, who grew up in Yardville, New Jersey, graduated from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, California where he studied lead guitar. He returned to the East Coast and banged around in New York City bands for a few years before turning solo.
The Hottness was recorded at Skywalker Sound while they were wrapping up the work on "Revenge of The Sith". Mather recalls it as a crazy time with security very tight and chance meetings with Star Wars crew members could happen at any time.
"I remember one time I was in the comminsary eating lunch and Ben Burtt was in front of me," said Mather. "I recognized him from Star Wars commentaries. He invented the light sabre and laser beam sounds. I'm thinking to myself I'm recording, but I don't care - this is the guy who invented light sabres. That's the coolest thing!
"I was definitely savoring it and while I was out there I wound up being inspired to write all of these other songs, so I ended up having to redo a couple of tracks. The basic tracks were thereand then I came back to Jersey and started mixing. It's guitar-oriented. Just a homegrown album. I hope that people dig it."
Part of Mather's passion is to bring back the idea of a "complete" album. In this day of downloads, he still remembers growing up with albums by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and having to get up to flip the side over. In those days, bands wanted the entire record to be heard instead of a single or two. Mather wants his records to be like that too.
"We came from the whole album thing and that's what I grew up on. Now all of a sudden it's like you've got to give your best 3 1/2 minutes or you're just out the door. It's like did I hit the chorus quick enough?'"
Jason's love for music started when he was just four years old and picked up the guitar because of Kiss. "I remember 1978 and sitting there watching Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park and looking at the album cover," he said. "These guys could breathe fire and play guitars too! Kiss was a big inspiration for me."
Ironically, Mather was able to get the same guy who created those classic Kiss album covers to create the cover for The Hottness. He met the artist Ken Kelley and intrigued him with his ideas for the CD.
"I'm like, I see everybody's album cover and they're just using a digital picture. I said I'm looking for some kind of art like you did for Love Gun or Destroyer - something with a Les Paul. I wanted to take this really old school and say the album does still exist. I want a real album cover and twelve songs like back in the day. It's kind of retro, but at the same time I'm trying to mix in the technology of today.
"His album covers transformed KISS from a Rock n' Roll band into larger than life superheroes for me. In this day and age, I feel the beauty of an album cover no longer exists. With The Hottness, I wanted to bring the magic of the album experience back to the people, and Mr. Kelly's artistic genius is making it happen."
You can get more information on Jason at his website
The Hottness is available from CD Baby at:
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.