One Fan at a Time
Houston rock band Jadewood is on a mission -- to earn an audience, even if it has to do it one fan at a time. Jadewood's three members -- Elias Sanchez (vocals/guitar), Librado "Lee" Cerda (drums) and Saul Sanchez (bass) -- dropped by the Houston Press offices to tell us about their plan for success.
Houston Press: You guys started in 2004. How did you get together?
Elias Sanchez: It started off it was just me and Lee, both on guitar. Just a two-piece, acoustic. Then I started recording some songs, and I gave a copy to Saul. So then he wanted to join the band, too. He said, "Can I play guitar?" and I told him, "No, not guitar. We have enough guitars, but you can play the bass."
Saul Sanchez: But I didn't know how to play bass, I just learned jamming out with them.
Elias: At first we were just jamming, not even thinking about performing. We were just letting the sound develop. But then eventually we were thinking about playing live, so that meant that we were going to need a drummer and we made Lee play drums.
HP: Tell us about your name, Jadewood? Does it mean anything? How did you come up with it?
Elias: That was the hardest thing, was to come up with a good name, because we would think of a good name and then we would look online and it would already be taken.
Saul: Usually by ten different bands, in a bunch of different states.
Elias: Actually the band was formed at my house and the street that I live on is Jadewood, so since that was where we started, we thought Jadewood would be good. Luckily we looked online and nobody had it.
HP: You guys have a new EP out, called One Way Road.
Elias: Right. We had put one out before, one that we aren't proud of. Later we decided to go back into the studio and record something better, so we went to Sugarhill Studios, and over a period of three days we did this EP. We think it came out really good; it's something that we're proud to hand out to people.
Lee: Not like the last one; we were kind of like, "Sorry!" every time we handed it to someone.
HP: The name One Way Road, is that because Jadewood Street is one-way?
Lee: No, Jadewood's not a one-way street. We named it that because we think that there's only one way for the band to go. We can only go up, get bigger and better.
HP: Who influenced your sound?
Lee: Before I picked up the guitar I used to play the accordion, so I was more into Tejano music and old Spanish stuff. Then in high school I started listening to Korn and stuff like that. It wasn't until I met Elias that I started listing to Guns N' Roses and Eric Clapton. Actually, "Tears in Heaven" was the first song that I learned to play on the guitar. I saw Elias play it and I said, "I need to learn that song!"
HP: So when was the last time you picked up an accordion?
Lee: The first time I picked up a guitar (laughs). I went and pawned my accordion and bought me a guitar.
HP: And who influenced the rest of you?
Elias: I grew up during the grunge era, and I learned the guitar just by learning how to play whatever songs were popular at the time. Now my biggest influence is probably Livehouse. Guns N' Roses, oldies, Led Zeppelin.
My dad listened to classic rock a lot and he got me into that, like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Beatles. Now we've found our own voice, our own style, even though we were influenced by lots of folks.
Saul: My parents were real strict about the music we could listen to, and the only thing that we could agree on was oldies. It wasn't until I got to college that I started listening to rock music. And [Elias] kept giving me Guns N' Roses albums to listen to. My first concert was actually Metallica with Godsmack, and that was awesome.
HP: So what's it like now for you to be on stage and be playing to really small crowds? Do you have it in the back of your head that you're going to fill arenas like Metallica or Godsmack do?
Saul: It's tough to get up there and there are just nine or ten people out in the audience. We put a lot into our songs and we want to do a good show, so when nobody shows up it's hard. It seems like at each of our shows so far, when we're getting ready to go on, one of us has to pump the other two up because it is discouraging that the audience is so small.
Lee: When we did our show at Wired, there weren't really very many people but there were two people right up front, and they were just dancing and having a good time. That gave us energy, because even though it wasn't full, it was still important to put on a show for them.
Elias: Just as long as people get to hear the music, it's worth it.
Lee: If we pick up at least one fan every show, that's good. We just want people to hear the music. We'd like to get more than one at a time, of course (laughs), but if that's how we have to do it, that's fine with us.
Plus we're not doing it for the money right now. If we make enough just to make some more CDs to hand out for free, that's fine. Right now, we're not saying, "Hey, we have to make a lot of money tonight because I have to pay my rent tomorrow." Each of us has day jobs.
HP: So what are your day jobs?
Lee: I'm going to University of Houston, on the ten-year plan (laughs), to get a degree in MIS. Right now I work in IT.
Elias: I have an accounting degree from U of H, and I work in sales for a cell phone company
Saul: I have a bachelor's from Rice University in Bioengineering.
HP: So what biology are you engineering at work?
Saul: No, it's not what my day job is. I was at Rice for quite a while, and by the time I got out of school, I was burned out and so I wanted to do something else. I work [with computers, too].
HP: So you don't make your money from performing, and you give out your CDs for free. Do you think maybe there's something wrong with that plan?
Lee: No. Maybe one day, we'll get signed to a record label or whatever and do bigger shows, but right now we just want to get our music out there, get people to hear us.
Elias: This is just something that we love.
To find out more about Jadewood, visit www.myspace.com/jadewoodmusic online.
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