MP: What led you down this path to working as a musician?
GCJ: Two of my older brothers were musicians. They weren't great, but they were good and they loved it, so I always grew up with instruments and recording equipment in the house. But in third grade, I saw Phantom of the Opera and that music grabbed me. I grew up listening to everything from Buddy Holly to Cindy Lauper to Eric Carmen to Richard Marks to The Beach Boys -- a fairly wide array of music. For whatever reason, Phantom of the Opera was the first thing that drove me to want to play it and recreate it myself. We had an old organ that I taught myself by ear how to play some of the songs.
MP: That's an interesting entry point, but not surprising given the dramatic nature of the music. When did that passion turn to Rock music?
GCJ: When I was 12 years old and testosterone was kicking in, I wanted to learn guitar. I wanted to be Green Day. Dookie was the first CD I ever owned and "Basket Case" was the first song I ever learned on guitar. That is what made me want to be a, a guitarist. Green Day is what really put that bug in me, but I always loved
performing. I'm an award winning magician. I do other different types of performance art, so I have always loved being on stage and comfortable having eyes on me. Music is what I love the most out and what's most authentic and genuine to me.
MP: We'll come back to the music in a second... award winning magician?
GCJ: I grew up playing cards with the family. When I moved out to Nevada, I figured being good with cards would be a good way to make friends, so I learned some card tricks. I don't know if you remember seventh grade, but people are brutal. Instead of being the cool magic kid, I became the magic nerd and got really, really good at what I do. So my seventh and eighth grade was pretty much spent doing magic tricks and playing guitar. In high school, we had what was called a circus company of people who juggled, did magic and all this other stuff as an extracurricular. So I learned to juggle, do balloon animals, and a whole bunch of other things as I really honed my craft as a magician. MP: Is there anything you took away from the magician training that relates to your music? GCJ: It taught me how to practice, how to rehearse, and that you don't want to go on stage knowing that you can do a trick only 50 percent of the time. You want to take the stage knowing that you can do that 99.9 percent of the time. And the times that you fail, you want to make sure the audience is on your side so that it becomes a communal experience and they help pick you back up for the next trick. That really crosses over to music too. If the energy is there and the charisma's there, then the audience will still root for you.