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Crooked X with Boomer Simpson & Jesse Cooper

The name of the band Crooked X, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
(Jesse) Well, we were just 10 & 11 when we started this band. The name doesn’t really mean anything. It is just something we came up with that we thought sounded cool. It just kind of stuck.

Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in Crooked X?
(Boomer) When we were in grade school and we had a really bad 5th grade football season. We decided we wanted to do something that we could enjoy with less pressure. I played the drums, Forrest played the guitar and Jesse played the guitar. We found Josh at the Guitar Center. He was playing the bass in the bass room.

Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the writing of your s/t?
(Jesse) We normally start with a guitar riff and we jamb on it for a while until the music comes together.
Once the song starts to take shape we talk about what ever is going on in our lives and start to put words together that match our new song.

You just released your s/t, how has the reactions been thus far? What can fans expect when they pick up a copy?
(Boomer) I hope they see all of our influences and our own style of music. We are a hard rock band with a southern twist. If you like southern metal, I think you will enjoy our CD. We just like having fun and playing songs that make us feel good.

When it came to releasing your s/t how did that whole package come together? What was the recording process like, how long did you have, was there any pressure on you?
(Jesse) We’ve been a band for over four years and this is our first CD so it has been in the making for over four years. We were lucky enough to have our cover designed by the great Hugh Syme. He was awesome to work with and we told him all of our ideas and we are pleased with what he came up with. We recorded with Michael Wagener and Spencer Proffer. Both of these guys are award winning producers. They drove us to be the best we can be. There was a little pressure but most of the pressure came from within. We wanted to make a great CD.

How has EMI Music been thus far for you guys? Who approached who?

(Boomer) They have been great. The people we work with most is Ray Gmeiner and Jules Exum. Ray works radio and Jules works interviews and stuff like that. So far everyone at EMI has treated us really super.

How do you think you will affect the metal scene you are part of? What are your thoughts on the growing popularity in it as well?
(Jesse) We hope we can have an impact. We have a lot of hero’s out here that we respect. It is very rewarding when we have people like the members of Disturbed standing side stage watching us. While it makes us a little nervous, we would rather have them there. One of our favorite things to do is to stand side stage and watch all the other bands play.

You guys are from Oklahoma what is the local music scene like there? Any bands you’d recommend?
(Boomer) The local music scene here in Oklahoma has got to be one of the best. It is also very historic. Everyone from Bob Wills, Roy Clark, David Gates and Bread and Leon Russell to The Flaming Lips, Hanson, Hinder, David Cook. We have some of the best venues like The Cain’s Ballroom and The Brady Theater to the BOK Center. If you want to hear some good local music, come to Tulsa. You can hear great local bands almost every night.

Who did the artwork and title for the album, when you look on the final project, is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
(Boomer) Hugh Syme did the artwork and the answer is NO. How can you improve on Hugh Syme. He is the best.

Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?
(Jesse) We are a live band. One thing you can’t get on the CD is the visual aspect of our performance. When we get off stage all of us are covered with sweat and of course we dump several bottles of water everywhere. One of the most rewarding parts of playing live is when you see our fans singing our songs word for word. Fans have to really like your music to be able to do that.

What are the upcoming plans for Crooked X?
(Boomer) We want to play. That is all we want to do. We have many one off performances planed and we are working with several tours. Hopefully we can announce another tour real soon.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
(Jesse) It is totally collective.  We have written many songs that no one will ever hear because they just weren’t that good or they just didn’t feel right. The songs that made our CD just seemed to fit.

Going back to the music business, what do you think of everyone downloading music, possibly even your music? Do you think it helps or hurts bands in the long run?
(Boomer) I think in the beginning it may help. I know it’s convenient but there is something cool about buying and owning a CD with all the artwork.

How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
(Jesse) Myspace has been a great help in getting out and letting us communicate with our fans. It also makes it easier for fans to share our music with their friends.

What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
(Boomer) Drink plenty of water and make sure you take plenty of water with you when you go on stage. We really sweat a lot so we have to have our water.

What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far?
(Boomer) We would like to tour with Alice in Chains. This is one band we all love and agree on. We have enjoyed playing with Black Stone Cherry because they are a bunch of great guys and Ted Nugent was great because he is uncle Ted.

Describe Crooked X in three words
(Boomer) Hard, fun and Excitement
What is currently playing on your iPod or CD Player?
(Jesse) Clutch, Black Label and Alice in Chains

If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?
(Boomer) I’d go back and be a caveman because I love to eat ribs and those dinosaurs had some really big ribs.

How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?
(Jesse) Sure, I think it definitely affects us. I think people are hanging on to their money more and not going out as much.

What’s your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as “Your music changed my life?” Has this ever happened to you?
(Boomer) I don’t know about our music changing anyone’s life, but I hope maybe It will brighten up someone’s day or maybe ad just a little happiness.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
(Jesse) Metallica is at the top of the list with Black Label Society, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and on and on. The list would really be long because we all like so many different bands.

All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
(Boomer) Stretching out, working out, just jamming to some real loud music just before we go on, but we feed off of the energy of the crowd. If they are crazy and having a good time, the more crazy we get.

Do you think your age affects how you are treated from fans, bands and press/labels?
(Jesse) Its not that we try to keep our age a secret, but we didn’t put pictures of us on the CD cover because we wanted our fans and future fans to like our music first and then find out how old we are. The other bands might be a little stand offish at first but then when they see that we are serious musicians the warm up to us.

Anything else you’d like to add?
(Boomer) Buy our CD and come to our shows.

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