Steven St. James (Rough Cutt, Sarge, Kagny and the Dirty Rats) Interview

Video Interview: Steven St. James

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Podcast Audio Interview: Steven St. James

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Steven St. James has a soulful singing voice that has taken him from Motown’s Hard Rock band Kagny and the Dirty Rats with a pre-BulletBoys Marq Torien, to the band Sarge where he cowrote some of what would become Rough Cutt’s hits with guitarist Chris Hager, to, finally, just in the last couple of years, reuniting with Hager and fronting Rough Cutt itself with a revitalized lineup. His voice brings back to Hard Rock a soulfulness, a vulnerability, but also a street corner toughness, that’s lacking from many bands these days.

Steven’s singing ability is big and beautiful and outdone only by his humility and kindness. I first met Steven at the first performance of the current Rough Cutt lineup in 2019. We’ve been friends ever since. It turns out, Steven is the only member of Rough Cutt I haven’t previously interviewed, so we decided to rectify that in what became part-interview, part-hangout. We talked about his time with Motown, the new Rough Cutt song “Black Rose,” which he co-wrote, his singing and songwriting career, how he gets along with original Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino, and more.

Topics

  1. Bourbon
  2. Singing in 118-degrees
  3. Urgent L.A.
  4. Why Steven trained for, but didn’t become, and EMT
  5. Controlling his anger
  6. Steven’s long history with Rough Cutt before joining Rough Cutt
  7. Forming the band Sarge with Chris Hager, who was fresh out of Ratt
  8. Recruiting Matt Thorne and other Ratt members
  9. Motown seeks out Steven
  10. Motown demands exclusivity
  11. Hanging with Ronnie James Dio
  12. Recruiting Marq Torien for Kagny and the Dirty Rats
  13. Reconnecting with Chris Hager of Rough Riot
  14. A singer who helps with load-in!
  15. Impressing Rockin’ Dave Alford
  16. Joining Rough Cutt (before he knew he joined Rough Cutt)
  17. 2019: “I know Chris [Hager] and Dave [Alford] reached out to Paul [Shortino]” and the other former members of Rough Cutt
  18. The other Rough Cutt’s songs and crediting songwriters
  19. The classic Rough Cutt lineup then Rough Riot
  20. How could “those other guys” not know about the 2019 Rough Cutt new lineup
  21. The perplexing press release by Shortino, Thorne, and Derakh
  22. An impromptu review of Rough Cutt III
  23. Rough Cutt vs. Rough Cutt
  24. Steven reaches out to Paul Shortino
  25. Who is everybody really mad at?
  26. Turning off the controversy
  27. Who’s going to change their name?
  28. Joking about new band names
  29. Rough Cutt CD
  30. RC/DC
  31. Who couldn’t have known about the new Rough Cutt over the last 2 years?!
  32. Mutual respect
  33. Who actually wrote “Black Rose”/”Bed of Black Roses” and who claimed credit?
  34. Steven co-wrote Rough Cutt’s most famous song… without credit
  35. Working past things
  36. Sarge songs reworked to Rough Cutt songs
  37. Matt Thorne went “full on scorched earth on ASCAP”
  38. Pariah looks up the actual legal songwriting and royalty credits
  39. The fight quiets down
  40. There is no comparison… unless you want to create a conflict
  41. Steven St. James and Paul Shortino are two different singers
  42. Fans win–two cool versions of the same song!
  43. “No [this person], no band” Okay, but we’re both out there
  44. Butting heads, but making a way to work together
  45. “Eventually the water’s just going to be red.”
  46. Paul Shortino apparently won’t talk to Pariah
  47. Steve Riley’s L.A. Guns at M3 is an example
  48. Rougher Cutt
  49. Rougher Than You
  50. Who is Ezra?
  51. Keeping his voice in shape during the lockdown
  52. Plug for LA Fitness
  53. Shoutout to the Baby Viper Drivers of the USAF
  54. Friday night karaoke performances reach people everywhere
  55. Advise for other singers
  56. What performer would you most like to share the stage with–living or dead?
  57. Singing with Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Walker, and Mary Clayton
  58. Playing with C.C. DeVille
  59. “What should [Pariah] ask Marq Torien?”
  60. Seeing Enuff Z’Nuff
  61. Rough Cutt live gigs
  62. Urgent L.A. gigs
  63. Steven was the first customer of the Loyal Order
  64. Supporting the bands
  65. Steven’s bands’ websites

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