Beefcake the Mighty is the demigod that brings the thunderous low frequency for the intergalactic troubadours of GWAR. When he’s not in character, his name is Jamison Land and he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and played in various bands over the years before relocating to Richmond, Virginia and taking over the bass duties for GWAR in 2011. He recently had a chance to take some time to answer a few questions:
(unedited for your pleasure)
Doug Walker: What was the spark that lit the fire of music in you?
Jamison Land: Well, I remember having a plastic children’s portable record player when I was very young, in the early ’80’s. I played records all day. Lots of Disney records, but my favorite record was “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys. I would play it over and over all day at varying speeds. So that’s my first musical memory. I really got into the Beatles, when I started going to school. I learned a lot about harmony from them, and what good songwriting can be. My first rock band that I really got into was Van Halen. I remember buying Van Halen’s F.U.C.K. Album from Better Days Records in Louisville the same day I bought Nirvana’s Nevermind. So that was kind of a weird combo. But really it all happened when I heard Master of Puppets. My brain almost exploded from how awesome it was. That’s pretty much when I started learning to play guitar. I think I was 15.
DW: How do you feel the landscape of the music business has changed in the past 10 years? Is it better or worse and why?
JL: I will answer your question backwards, and I will also pretty much pontificate, because I wasn’t in the music business 10 years ago, at least not professionally.
In my opinion it is in a much worse situation now, and if something isn’t done drastically soon, it could be the beginning of the slow demise of Rock Music. The genre we play in, rock, metal, punk, etc will be, and in some ways is now, reduced to a kind of cult classic status. And this comes from a guy in a band that really knows about being in a cult classic band, lol. The reality is that people making rock music today, are simply not getting paid properly. Now, it’s strange because I think there is just as many people, if not more, listening to rock today as in the past. I also understand that the way albums were sold in the past is not going to be a model for the future, so I’m not complaining that people should buy albums or songs like they used to. I know the way I listen to music today is streaming services like Rhapsody and Spotify, which is pretty common, I think. I rarely buy or even handle physical music product. I don’t listen to music any less now compared to before. The problem is artists get virtually no money from these streaming services. There really should be an artist Union or something, that also runs their own service that pays the proper royalties to artists. This isn’t exclusive for rock music, but I think the more popular genres of music still have big labels to help promote them and they have the tools to help the artists get paid in this new music frontier. Rock is not very corporate anymore, which could be looked at as either good or bad. But the bottom line is that the paycheck has gone waaaay down for rock and rollers
Now, the old guard bands, from before CD sales took a dive, they can still make a decent living off touring. But they are getting old, and when the last of these bands or artists stop touring, who is going to replace them? Not anybody from the last ten years. I couldn’t think of anybody today selling out an arena. There isn’t anybody.
DW: Do you prefer playing live or recording and why?
JL: Playing live! Duh. Who would prefer sitting in a room playing the same thing a hundred times over. Lol. I actually enjoy recording, and with any luck I only have to play what I’m recording a few times. We don’t have an unlimited recording budget, so when it comes to recording, we usually take care of business in a timely manner. There isn’t a whole lot of experimentation in the studio. We usually do most of the creative stuff when we are writing and practicing. But playing live is always the best. That’s why most people I know wanted to be a musician…to get up onstage and look cool and rock out!
DW: What’s one of your favorite moments of being in a band?
JL: Wow! So many. My first Gwar show…I was so nervous, but it was very surreal. I actually felt like I left my body at one point and was looking down from above. Probably because it was such an intense moment in my life. The first time I played Riot Fest, in front of 30-40,000 people. Playing and traveling to Australia and Japan. Any time I play a festival and get to hang out with/watch from the stage the bands I love or grew up listening to. NOFX, Megadeth, Danzig, Alkaline Trio, Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies, Jello Biafra, Decendants, Exploited, and many more. My teenage self would have passed out if he knew.
DW: What’s one of the worst moments you’ve dealt with being in a band?
JL: I’ve been in Gwar for about four years now, and I’ve had two band members die while I have been in the band. Cory Smoot aka Flattish Maximus died while I was on my first tour. Three weeks into a six week tour. He was my friend and it was really awful. It was also a really hard first tour. I was already nervous being new. We had made the decision to continue the tour, simply because we would have probably been bankrupt if we didn’t and we also felt that the fans needed to deal with it as well, and we wanted to be there for them so we could lean on each other. The lowest moment was, of course, when my good friend/roommate/bandmate and leader/creator of GWAR, Dave Brockie died. I was his roommate. I was the first one to know. It broke me. It still does. He was one of the most unique and amazing people I’ve ever met. He was immensely creative, incredibly talented, he was compassionate and so encouraging. He could be wild and crazy, but he was also so sweet…with a good dash of mischievousness, hell, a heaping helping of that! Lol. But it was hard for so many of us. He had more friends than anyone I’ve ever known. It was hard for the band, and still is. Incredibly hard. But I believe we owe it to him to not let his dream die. He didn’t put in 30 years for this band to just fade away. He wanted to be IN YOUR FACE! So we are pretty much obligated to continue to do that!
DW: What’s your guilty pleasure/what do you listen to when no one else is around?
JL: You dirty S.O.B.!!!! LOL
I like very poppy punk music, and girl pop. I don’t know if I can go into much more detail or I may get voted off Metal Island.
Oh, and anything by Parry Gripp. But I’m not ashamed of that. I am physically incapable of not showing Parry Gripp videos to as many people as possible. I love happy music.
DW: What’s your favorite type of venue to play?
JL: I like playing outdoors. I always have. That said, I would prefer that it was not TOO HOT or too cold. Those costumes can be brutal in the sun or the cold. But I love a breeze when playing. We don’t get that many gigs outdoors, but I love when they roll around. Indoors, I prefer very intimate gigs… when the audience are close enough to touch. It’s always more fun that way, rather than when you are separated by a huge barricade.
DW: If the world ended tomorrow and you could only have one record to listen to while traveling in a post apocalyptic land scape, what would it be?
JL: It would probably be Rust In Peace by Megadeth, although a late ’90’s NOFX album or anything Alkaline Trio has done in the last ten years could work. I would be happy with some Beatles, as well.
DW: Ozzy or Dio?
JL: I would say I’m an Ozzy man. Dio is amazing, but I grew up with Ozzy and Black Sabbath albums.
DW: What do you have in store for us in the upcoming year?
JL: Death and destruction, like always! GWAR will be releasing a 30 year anniversary Box Set this year. We have an amazing history of GWAR coffee table book coming out called “Let There Be GWAR.” We have the 6th annual GWAR-BQ August 15th at Haddad’s Water Park, here in Richmond, VA with loads of killer bands. We have a brand new GWAR Bar, also here in Richmond, VA. We will be Playing some awesome festivals in late summer. New GWAR beer. New flavors of GWAR Vape Fluids by Mount Baker Vapor. New CiGWAR blends. New GWAR sauces! Convention appearances. And we will, of course, be coming to a venue near you, to harvest your corpses.
Interview by Doug Walker.