Recently covered Jaedyn James & the Hunger,killing it that night to a pack house at NE Minneapolis’s Mayslacks. In her own words she details how her hunger for music went from high school desire to dark times to finding an independent voice and forming todays’ group.
Jaedyn James, the ring leader of Minneapolis’ new funk.love.soul band, ‘Jaedyn James & The Hunger’, didn’t always love her double chin and loud maniacal laugh. “This isn’t for everyone.” She openly joked on stage at her debut on November 21st at Mayslacks.
Jaedyn James grew up in N.E Minneapolis, totally immersed in her own imagination. The only things that existed to her were music, comedy, mischief, food, and boys (all key elements in her on stage performance). Reality hit hard in high school. “It all got really really real.” Just barely managing to weasel her way into state college Jaedyn dropped out after two years and started two bands that eventually broke up, “They cracked up because of my ego or drugs or boys.” James felt discouraged after her second band broke up “I knew I had talent and big legs, but I was under the impression I needed a big job and a real paycheck to be happy, plus drugs and bad boys, they’ll ruin any band.” James took a year and half off from music. “It was the worst time of my life, not only because I wasn’t singing or writing, but because I had been evicted, dumped, and was back living with my parents and sleeping on a blow up bed.” James thought her dreams of being in the lime light were dead. “I was 22 years old. Fat. My hair was falling out. I was drinking like a fish. I was broke. I applied to work at a gas station and didn’t get the job. It was a dark and ruthless time.” It took James less than a year to move out of her parents place. She found solace in Midtown, Minneapolis. “It all began there, right off of Lake Street. I was sitting on my stoop around midnight. An older woman of the night in red heels walked by, and coughed so deeply that it hurt my lungs. When I got my breath back I knew that was it. I was hungry for more than hurt and suffering. I wanted to be better. Bigger. Bolder. More truthful. Fuller. And more than anything I needed to get up and sing. I walked into the house and broke up with the man in my bed. I took some pictures and I put up flyers the next day. I called everyone I knew who had ever played a kazoo.”
Jaedyn’s search for musicians was successful. “ Jason (Bassist in JJ&H) had been in my last band, Creatures on a Rock. We loved to write and play music together, but when everything went under we needed a break, I never thought I’d get him back. He could probably hear my desperation on the phone. Jason Oliver Olson is one of the most incredible people that exists. He told me he knew a drummer. I think I screamed and then we both agreed. We’d give it another shot.
I met Nathan Dean (Drummer in JJ&H) a couple days later. We hit it off immediately. He’s actually the one who gave me the last name James, he rubbed my ego so it worked out.” James, Jason, and Nathan auditioned a couple guitarists over the next month, “We knew we wanted a funk band. We knew it would take someone special. We didn’t find him.”
Then one day in a basement on the north side of town Nathan Dean mentioned he knew some guys that lived together that played horns. Matt Parker (Alto Sax for JJ&H) and Kyle Welna (Tenor Sax) were invited to rehearsal the next day. “I was nervous because I knew I needed horns to make it all work, and I just couldn’t find any willing to try out.” James recalls. “Matt and Kyle are awesome, they picked up the parts of the grooves, brought beer, and didn’t blush when I made advances on them. I asked them to be in the band after an hour of jamming.” Jaedyn knew the horn section wasn’t full yet. “I had played a couple of shows with Oliver Quincy and they had this little blonde trumpet player come in and solo from time to time, I didn’t like her boyfriend, but I wanted her. (Jamie LeBlanc Trumpet player of JJ&H) I called her, she ditched the guy, and became a member of The Hunger. Jamie LaBlanc is a badass.”
Around that same time Jaedyn James & The Hunger moved into L9 Studios with five other bands (Oliver Quincy, Cool Dog, Manic Planet, and Tree Blood.) “I knew the band wasn’t finished. I needed backup vocals. Keys. Guitar. Someone to play tambourine. Someone to take my cape on and off, (laughs) I ended up auditioning my best friends little sister, nervously, (Savannah, backup vocals for JJ&H) she nailed it. It’s been nothing, but harmony since.” The last addition was Lily (Tambourine/ glitter girl), “Me and Savannah just couldn’t deal with the tambourine. We had a bad attitude about it. Then one night Lil came over and helped me bedazzle my shoes and clapped along to my Sam and Dave record and wa-la we had our tambourine player!”
That made eight total members in Jaedyn James & The Hunger. James was thrilled. Rehearsals were going so well and the chemistry was so good that she set the date for the debut at Mayslacks. The owner of Mayslacks almost didn’t give Jaedyn the date because, “Funk music won’t go over in my bar.” “I just wasn’t going to take no for an answer.” James said. “I told him I knew everybody in town. That everyone I knew loved to drink. That this was my home town bar and that someday I would die in this bar with everyone that would be at the show. He gave me the whole night.” James thought she had bitten off more than she could chew- three hours to fill in just three months of being a band. “I had no idea what I was going to do, I had all sorts of hair brained ideas. Then I came across my friend’s band, ‘The Uncle Bob Show’ and I knew I had a killer opener. The debut was the best night of my life. It wasn’t perfect. We’re not done yet, but I got to do exactly what I’m meant to do.”