Interview with Jim Gillete
of US Glam Band Nitro & even Tuff)
Husband/Manager of Rock Singer, Lita Ford via e-mail on 27th July by
influenced you as a singer and how especially since you have a 4 octave
My range has been as high as 6 octaves... I was a freak with 1 goal
“ got to be the highest”… All I did was practice –
I drove everyone around me nuts!
My influences were my inner demons! I wanted to sing higher than anyone,
hold notes longer than anyone, etc... I looked at it like vocal gymnastics.
At one time I could sing 2 part harmonies - 3rd, 5th, or an octave -
at the same time!
Looking back I was a bit confused!
OK – I was a LOT confussed…
Did you have
any formal training and if so when and where and for how long?
I studied opera just long enough to be dangerous to myself and others!
I was the most annoying Mo Fo ever! Screaming night and day!
What a pain in the ass I was!!!! Some people say I still am!
this about you shattering glasses and such like - what inspired you
to do stuff like that?
I was tracking vocals on ‘Proud to be Loud’ and a wine glass
shattered in the control room! It happened by accident so I had to do
it again and again and again... I'm weird like that!
How did you
firstly become the original vocalist in Tuff before Stevie Rachelle
My friend Michael was the drummer and he got me in the band. When I
started Jim Gillette’s Metal power I wanted to showcase my voice
more than I was able to in Tuff. When I quit I was still rehearsing
at the same place they were. They brought Stevie in and I liked him.
Stevie and I have always been on good terms. He's a great guy and fit
in with them real good. I know it’s not as fun to hear that we
got along but it’s the truth! I actually spoke with Stevie about
a week ago.
your fave gigs in the Tuff period and why do they stand out?
A show at the country Club when we first arrived in LA. We had about
10 people there and afterwards a guy called Todd a fag. Todd told me
so I politely asked this guy to apologize to Todd and he refused. He
then tried to sucker punch me and it didn't work out very well for him!
There were a few hundred people that saw the fight - about 290 more
than saw the show!
Our next show was at the Troubadour = it was packed! And who said ass
kicking doesn’t pay?
to forming the band Nitro and what were the highlights with regard to
gigs, recording and releasing the album etc etc?
It was a vehicle to turn music into the Olympics! All I cared about
was being the highest.
I was 19 years old and out of my mind. I look back at Nitro now and
am very proud of what we did - but it still makes me cringe a bit!!!
We were an acquired taste to say the least!!!
Who did you
base the band on? Any particular artists or was it what you were all
into at the time or other reasons?
Nitro was my band. I got Mike and that was it. It was my vision –
not sure why I’m admitting that!!!!
Let’s blame it on youth and temporary insanity!
your favorite songs you used to perform in the Nitro Days and why?
‘Freight Train’ was my favorite because it did very well
on MTV's Headbangers Ball. Everybody knew that song and it was kind
of our trademark.
Why did the
I got sick of it.
Who wouldn’t have?!?!?!?!
your thoughts when the 'Proud To be Loud' album was reissued?
No thoughts. My friend Stevie Rachelle called me and asked if he could
put it out. I said sure. I like what he's done for 80's music. He’s
great guy man – Mucho props to him….
to you meeting Lita Ford and as the rest we say is history come to be?
We met by chance and got married 2 weeks later! We've been married for
over 15 years now! We're soul mates. She's my life and I'm hers. I wouldn’t
know what to do without her!
How is for
you having your wife up on stafe now when you used to be the frontman
in a band? Is that why you can't resist getting on stage at times with
I love seeing her on stage! I'm her biggest fan. I actually sing backgrounds
on all the songs now and sing a few duets. I love being on stage with
her. I'd never do it without her though - so much more fun with her!
so far have stood out to you?
We've had a bunch of awesome shows. They just keep getting better. We
were living on a deserted Caribbean island for years. Neither one of
us was really doing much musically so it's been a work out getting back
up to top form. Lita's there now and the band is killing!
How was the
Ricochet one in Forty Myers as I thought the whole band were awesome?
If you think it was awesome I won't argue! It was good but not one of
our better shows. I'm anxious for you to see another one! We’re
kicking ass now!
How is it
shaping up with Dennis, PJ and Buckethead - what's stood out so far?
The band is phenomenal! We rehearsed 2 days with the new band and the
first show was better than any of the shows with the previous guys.
Not sure how we worked that but I'm not complaining! Bumblefoot is amazing!
He brought in his drummer – who is obviously a beast = you aren’t
Bumble’s drummer if you aren’t a beast, and we found PJ
through a mutual friend. We're very happy with the line up now.
been the bad things and good things about recent gigs?
The only bad thing is the traveling! AGH - airport security is fun isn't
it?!?!?! The good has outweighed the bad though big time! We don't have
to do this... If it weren’t fun - we'd be on our island!
It's very cool to be in a position that you're making music and playing
concerts because you want to - not because you have to!
The kids have learned a lot – been like a big field trip!
Very cool all the way around.
How was the
show in Chicago that found its way onto Youtube (well Kiss Me Deadly
Chicago was great! Warrant opened up for us and so did Adler's Appetite.
Everyone was very cool.
Only bad part of the show was the rain….
How was it
putting Lita's comeback album together and what was it like for you
doing backup vocals as opposed to front vocals?
It was great! I sing all over the album – if it isn’t Lita
singing it’s me... We have a few duets on it and my backgrounds
aren't really back!
I love the way we go back and forth and go in and out with each other....
When you hear it you'll know what I mean. My part of this album was
writing, producing, engineering the vox and lead guitars, and of course
vocals. I'm more proud of this album than any album I've ever been involved
Lita’s singing and playing is amazing! It's extremely heavy and
even more sexual….
Most of the songs are about our love life.
What Mom and Dad do after the kids go to sleep…
and interests do you have outside music and what do you enjoy about
I do Jiu Jitsu and boxing. I would have been either a pro boxer or a
mixed martial artist if I hadn't done music. I actually almost started
fighting again a few years ago. I decided to put the time into our kids
though. They'll be much better than I ever could have been. They’ve
been training for 6 years already!
Rocco is our youngest and we've got video of him doing triangle chokes
and arm bars at 2 years old! James is 12 and he's a beast! He's beat
a few men in grappling matches. They both teach Jiu Jitsu. They’re
trained in boxing by Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. Gee - Dad
isn't proud is he!?!?!?!
AH HAHAHA I love my family!!!
What do you
like or dislike about being management?
Never really thought of it that way. I'm just half of a team with my
I do part and she does part. We compliment each other....
She was behind me for years - hell about 13 years! I was developing
an island and she was taking care of the kids, the house, me, and everything
else! All I did was make money - she held it all together for us. She's
the most amazing woman I've ever known. I never even dreamed of a woman
half as good as her!
getting Nitro back together again as so many bands have been reforming
in the last few years? How were the meet ups?
Nah. Only band I'll ever be involved with is my wife's.
We do everything together - the whole family.
All for 1 and 1 for all.
If I go somewhere so do Lita and the boys. If Lita goes somewhere we
all go too.
If you get 1 Gillette you get us all!
What is your
part of New York like for the Rock/Metal Scene?
We don't live in New York.... Just says that on the Myspace page cause
I couldn't figure out how to skip that part! ooops!
you most proud of as an artist or being part of the business in other
I'm most proud of being a part of a killer family that I helped create.
I'll do whatever needs to be done in the business. Need management -
I'm there, background vocals - no problem, Security - woooo hooooo I'm
Whatever it takes to keep it all going. Lita's the same way - she can
do anything! I watch her transform into a doctor when the kids are sick,
she's an incredible cook, an amazing house keeper, she's a great book
keeper - ok maybe not great but a hell of a lot better than me! We both
do what needs to be done even if it isn't pretty or fun or glamorous.
We aren't afraid to get our hands dirty.
Living on an island that resembles Gilligan’s Island does that
you like to say to any Nitro fans out there who might be reading?
You guys are great! It still amazes me that after 20 years since the
release of OFR I'm still signing autographs! Nitro fans are incredible
- thanks for the support and encouragement all these years. There will
never be another Nitro but I'm still here!
You haven't heard the last of me - sorry!!!
Seriously though, love your family, friends, etc like there’s
Treat every single day like it’s the last time you’ll ever
It could be!