NASS Festival: Jason Perry from ‘A’

Looking forward to the band's headline set at this weekend's National Adventure Sports Show in Wiltshire, 'A' singer Jason Perry talks extreme sports and even more extreme festivals.

‘A’ head up a lineup that includes the Sugar Hill Gang, Dirty Sanchez, and Suicidal Tendencies at Europe’s biggest urban sports, music and lifestyle festival, which takes place at the Royal Bath & West Showground from 8-10 July. Joining them will be some of world’s best extreme sport athletes, including BMX riders and skaters. Visitors will be invited to get stuck into a range of white-knuckle activities, such as reverse bungee jumping, 140 foot ‘skad drop’ and a throng of fear-inducing fairground rides. One of them will be Jason himself!

Virtual Festivals: So what attracted you to the event?
Jason Perry: Just because it sounds a bit different to the normal gigs we do. We do festivals all summer long, lots of them overseas, so we always get really excited about this time of year. NASS is one we’re really looking forward to doing.

VF: It’s an extreme sports festival. Are you into that kind of thing as a band?
JP: Yeah, we’re all really into snowboarding and try and tie it in with our travels when we can. We had a big hit in Europe called ‘I Love Lake Taho’, which is all about snowboarding in California, so we’re kind of known for this kind of thing. We’ve done loads of sporty festivals, like Snowbombing, which is great because you’re free to be on the piste all day and then do a gig at night. It’s perfect. We used to do a lot of skateboarding as well but that’s kind of fallen by the wayside now. We went on tour with The Bloodhand Gang once and they’re really into it, so it was fun watching them do crazy stuff!

VF: Didn’t you interview Tony Hawke once?
JP: Yeah, it was set up by Kerrang! and was absolutely amazing. I just sat on a ramp, at the top of a half pipe, and watched him skating for a bit, and then had a chat with him about stuff. It’s was cool telling people ‘Guess what? Tony Hawke was round my house the other day!’ I don’t usually get star struck by people in the music industry, but I definitely did with him, just because he’s awesome, a talent you can’t help but admire. I think the only people in music I’d still get really excited about meeting would be the guys from The Police.

VF: Do you consider yourself a ‘skate band’?
JP: No we never have done. We get asked to do certain things, like skate awards or festivals, but I can’t think of anyone that considers themselves a skate band. I don’t really know what that it.

VF: So you like getting away from it then, doing non-conventional stuff?
JP: We like to do gigs that become a bit of a band holiday, as well as just a tour. There are places like Dubai that are a bit different to the norm and we’re lucky to have those opportunities to travel. We went to Seville in Spain once, and they had this absolutely massive artificial skiing slope, I think it was the world’s biggest. So we got stuck into that and it was really weird, skiing in the middle of a city when it was really hot!

VF: Ever had any nasty accidents?
JP: Nothing too bad. But I’ve seen one. It was really weird, we basically saw Cher’s ex husband Sonny, as in Sonny and Cher, die on the mountain after a really bad skiing accident. We were boarding at Lake Taho on the Nevada side of the Heavenly Mountains, where it gets really cold. We didn’t actually see him fall but got there moments afterwards. It was pretty weird, one of those strange days, made even more odd by the fact that Sonny was mayor of Palm Springs, where we’d just come from. It was massive news in America.

VF: What about the rest of the band?
JP: Adam our drummer is always getting injured, usually on the first run! I swear he’s spent more time in hospital than he has on the piste! It’s not that he’s that bad, or crazy, but just unlucky. I think, all in all, he’s been injured on five separate occasions when we’ve been boarding. One time he got some dodgy rash, another time he did his knee in getting off a ski lift on the very first morning. He’s just born under a bad sign! Once he hurt his arm just before a tour and was unable to play. Our record company went absolutely mental on us, so we just don’t tell them when we’re going boarding now!

VF: What’s the most extreme festival you’ve played so far?
JP: I don’t know about played, but the first festival I ever went to was the most extreme. It was at Monsters Of Rock in the ’80s, that year when Guns ‘N’ Roses played and two people died because of a huge crowd surge. It was so wet and absolutely packed with people. It was really scary and dangerous. We were down the front and it was really wet. All the mud was being churned up and soon everyone was up to their knees in it. People were stumbling around, falling over, breaking their ankles. And then the crowd started surging forward like a massive tidal wave and everyone started getting crushed. Children were being carried over the barrier unconscious. I’m surprised more people didn’t die. I ended up crying under an ice cream van, just wanting to be taken home. It was utter chaos.

VF: Do you ever worry a similar thing could happen at a festival you’re playing at?
JP: No, I think it’s definitely improved. The atmosphere is never as good now, it’s a bit more sterile and more corporate, but at least it’s safer. It’s a good thing I suppose because I’d never want to be in a situation like Pearl Jam at Roskilde, when they were watching their fans getting crushed to death from the stage. 


VF: What are you guys up to at the moment?
JP: We’ve got lots of touring on the go, in Japan, the US, and Europe, and in between that we’re recording and have a new record out soon. I’m also in the studio producing for a new band called River Club, which I’m really enjoying.

VF: Does working closely with a band you’ve been in for a while now, including two of your brothers, lead to any extreme behaviour?
JP: Yeah, we argue a lot, like all brothers do, but the five of us know each other so well that it’s like we’re all brothers – bit of a rock clique but it’s true. Everyone’s really close and we totally live in each others’ pockets. We like it though. We’ve got it fairly easy!

‘A’ play at the National Adenture Sports Show this weekend. Click on the links below for more.