Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seattle Bass Player John Jet Pagano Answers 20 Questions~You Just May Wish You Had a Sicilian Grandmother After You Read This!

In the early 19th century, Marcel Proust was given a questionnaire called "an album to record thoughts and feelings," also known as a "confession album." At the time, it was popular among English families to assure that the man or woman was marriage-worthy and bona fide. Written in 1890, it was discovered in 1924, and in 2003 auctioned for over 100,000 euros. 

The TV show The Actors Studio had their own version that the host would use, asking the actors the questions while live in the studio. 

For many years it has been a favorite of  Vanity Fair magazine readers, and they now have an online version that you can do and compare your answers to celebrities.

Their version is fairly basic, but a lot of fun to read, so when we were exploring creative ways to interview musicians, we realized with a little tweaking we could come up with an interview that was perfect. Where other publications fail, we will succeed by letting the monkey ask all the questions! 

John Jet Pagano hails from Los Angeles, and luckily for us in Seattle, he decided to stay when he moved here. We aren't always that lucky -- God knows why Flea stays in L.A.! A loyal Seahawk fan and proud Italian -- especially in the kitchen -- and dedicated family man... Jet plays in several bands: Disco Cowboys~yes, they play country versions of disco songs; Hartwood~compiled of some of the best musicians in Seattle; and my personal favorite -- Villains of Yesterday. He also joins some of the coolest jams, like this KISS acoustic show. We are proud to have him as a supporter of our website. He's a great friend and an inspiring and energetic musician who we hope to have around for a very long time! Long live the bass player, and long live Sicilian grandmothers -- who we apparently owe a special thanks to!


1. What music makes you the happiest? 

I'm happiest when playing music with other musicians. 

2. What musician do you identify with the most? 

I identify with all musicians. Some are more interesting than others. Growing up in L.A. and then playing and living in Seattle has given me the opportunity to meet many and play with some of the best. So, I guess you could say I identify with the good ones! 

3. What musical talent do you wish you had or were better at?

Definitely vocals! The problem is, sometimes I'm playing intricate or fast bass lines and can't be interrupted by pesky words! 

4. What is your most treasured musical possession or memorabilia, like an autograph... the napkin you used to wipe your tears when that girl dumped you for Weird Al... stuff like that.

Ha! I'll break Weird Al's legs! It would have to be my framed and signed photograph of me and Marcus Miller in San Francisco where we're holding his album. My most treasured instrument is my Gibson Thunderbird, though until recently, I haven't played it in any of my bands. 

5. What venue do you dream about playing at? 

Red Rocks Amphitheater in Golden, Colorado, and Wembly Stadium in London. 

6. If you could bring back any musician from the dead, who would it be? 

Keith Moon and John Entwistle. I know you only asked for one, but maybe you should have asked what rhythm section I'd like to see resurrected?! 

7. What trait do you most deplore in other

The same one all other hard-working and reliable musicians hate. The self-centered, always late guy. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of great bands that broke up over this exact thing: the guy whose time is more valuable than yours. 

8. What about in yourself? 

My poor choices when I make them which is sometimes too often, but I make up for it with my enthusiasm for life and my sparkly blue eyes. At least that's what my daughters say. 

9. Who is your muse? Someone or something that inspires you? 

People with great musical and artistic talent, anyone who cooks a wonderful meal for me, a drive with a friend on a sunny warm day... a roll in the sheets. Experiences are my muse. The world is full of life and beauty, and a special moment or kind gesture can be as inspiring as a specific person. 

10. Name one event in your life that made you want to be a musician? 

 I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a musician. I started out learning chords on my father's Goya guitar at five years old. The Who was my favorite band, and I wanted an electric guitar. I knew my mother despised the idea of my being a musician, so I knew asking my folks to buy me a guitar was out of the question. Thank God for Sicilian grandmothers! I asked grandma for an electric guitar for Christmas. Well, the day came! I saw grandpa walk into our house Christmas morning carrying a large long cardboard box, and I just knew it was my guitar. I even waited until everyone else was done unwrapping their gifts. I wanted to be last to open my gifts in quiet anticipation of finally getting what I wanted! The moment came, I opened it, and to my shock and horror, it was an electric bass. I was devastated. Seeing my disappointment, my grandma asked me "What's the difference between a bass and a guitar?" Now, normally, her ignorance at small things was "cute," but not at this moment! Then, much to my continuing surprise,  she folds her arms over her chest and says "John Pagano, you learn the first four strings and then you can learn the rest!" To this day, I can picture her face like it was yesterday, so like any good Italian boy who'd die before he disappointing his grandmother, I became a bass player. Little did she know she saved me lots of money on strings and spandex. 

11. If you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be? 

I would have more tattoos. Appearance does not make the musician, but some tasteful ink never hurt anyone! 

12. Who in your life has stood by you and supported your music career the longest? 

Unfortunately, not my family. And that still bothers me a lot. Just a generation thing, I suppose. There is, sadly, no one special that has 100% supported me, but the fact that I play and refuse to not play in a band no matter what other obligations I have to my family, which I try to put before my music, like my daughters' education... but at the end of the day, I'm a miserable person to be around if I have not picked up my bass that day, so I suppose my family has built a certain tolerance, and I suppose I should appreciate it! 

13. What is your current state of mind? 

Well, I'm feeling pretty California, but I hear it may snow, so it may change to Minnesota by the end of this interview. I must say, though, the Seahawk Super Bowl win has me feeling pretty darn spiffy! 

14. What would you say your best moment was as a musician, on or off stage? 

For any musician, you always remember your "first time" -- the first time you played to a full house. But generally speaking, I love the audience interaction when I'm playing small but packed clubs, so my best moments I am fortunate to be able to relive are on a regular basis. 

15. What phrase or word do you overuse the most? 

Awesome. And I'm working on stopping my overuse of the word "dude." I don't think my boss appreciates it. 

16. What band or musician can you absolutely not listen to? 

Some people don't like Chinese food, some don't like Cadillacs. As much of an open mind I try to have toward all musicians, I simply cannot listen to gangster rap. 

17. What band or musician can you listen to over and over? 

The Who and Steely Dan. With a heavy side dish of Jane's Addiction

18. If you were not a musician, what trade or career do you think you'd have? 

 Well, I do look dashing in a uniform, so aviation school was where I was headed, but I chose music. I did learn to fly at that time, but have not for many years, perhaps when my ship comes in I will buy a plane. 

19. If you could be a fly on the wall at any moment in music history what would it be? 

During the recording sessions for The Who's Who's Next and get the real story! 

20. What song will be played at your funeral? 

The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me." 

You can see John playing this Saturday at Slim's Last Chance in Seattle with Villains of Yesterday.
Link here for details~ 

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