He had one of the biggest hits of the 90s and all he got for it was his band thrown into the "hair metal" ghetto despite having more in common with Jane's Addiction than Warrant. Jason Bieler communicated from his Bieler Bros compound in south Florida to discuss Saigon Kick's reunion and his fantastic new studio project, Owl Stretching.
You have been mainly working behind the scenes producing and running your own label (Bieler Bros) and studio, but you recently stepped back behind the mic (and guitar) for your new project Owl Stretching…what made you decide to perform again?
I really just love making music and I have always been creating and tweaking stuff. I guess calling it OS made it feel a bit more real.
It’s obvious from both a songwriting and production standpoint that you put a lot of craft into your work. What is your songwriting process like? Do you start with a riff and build from there or do the lyrics come first? How do you know when a song is “done”?
It really is always different. I can start with a beat, a lyric, a riff – it is never the same. I never know when a song is done, they always evolve over time and take on new dimensions.
You reunited with the guys in Saigon Kick for some shows this past year, which seem to have been really well-received…can you talk about how that came about? How did it feel to revisit that part of your career?
We just wound up getting on the phone and saying if it is ever going to happen, now seems like a good time. Everything fell in line after that and it was actually a lot of fun. It was also nice to actually get along for once.
I honestly feel that “Water” is one of the most underappreciated albums of the ‘90s and I understand that the creation of it was fraught with tension. What lessons did you take from the experience?
Thanks, the “Water” record was actually a joy to do. We were in Stockholm, one of my favorite places on earth. Matt (Kramer, singer for SK) had left and we were living in this little bubble with no outside influence, so the gravity of Matt leaving was not really felt that much. We just went in, wrote and recorded as it happened…I really loved making that record.
I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you?
It is really hard, especially for a writer like me because I mess around in so many genres. If I answered it would be a lie – it is easier to point out the stuff I am NOT happy with! J
What are some of your musical touchstones, those things that you heard and loved and go back to? Who inspires you musically?
So many amazing things: the Beatles, Queen, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Jane’s Addiction, KISS, Ozzy, Pink Floyd, Bowie, Prince…and the list goes on and on…
You’ve been given one “musical wish” – to work with any musician/songwriter/producer – who would you choose and why?
I guess the list above would be a good starting point, but I don’t really wish to work with them as much as I appreciate what they do.
What’s on tap for you next? Are there plans to tour Owl Stretching or is it simply a studio project?
I have been writing non-stop, so tons more Owl Stretching music in the pipeline. We might do a few shows here and there but nothing set just yet. I am continuing to develop the label with my brother and we have a few new artists that I am simply over the moon about. I also think Saigon Kick will be doing 10-20 more shows over the next year, so pretty busy overall.