The No Fly Zone Magazine had a funjoy time taking a sit with reggae wizard Gingermon for some real talk, a few Red Stripes, a mess of cookies, and who knows, maybe even a bitty smoke out too. Here’s what went down:
NFZ: As they say in Jamaica, “A who you, mon?”
Gingermon: For twenty years I was the part owner and sales rep for a Human Resources Consulting company that we eventually sold. I had starting playing music from 10 years old playing the sax (thanks Pops for buying me my first sax in 4th grade), jazz bass, and guitar. Now reggae music is my primary focus in my musical endeavors.
NFZ: How does a red-headed, white guy of Irish heritage who lives in the Midwest get into the reggae music business?
Gingermon: I was working on recording an eclectic mix of bluegrass songs, metal, rock and reggae with two producers Christian James Hand, a billboard chart topping producer, and Tim “PDub” Boyce. I was working them just because I wanted to record some proper music.
When I was 21 I was offered a tour to open up for a NYC based girl rock band and I was approaching AR reps with the music I was playing out back then under the rock band Dozer. I vividly remember the advice of one AR rep who asked me, “Who is your producer you’re working with on this?” When I said none he said you need to find a producer.
Fast forward to three years ago where I went on the look out for producers and met Christian through Sirius/XM radio (https://thesessiononair.com). I also had met Timothy Boyce (https://www.iriemag.com/2018/05/reggae-p-dub/) during a family vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where Tim and Predator Dub Assassins were playing at the Port of Call. This album was written and produced by all three of us and I’m glad I followed that AR rep’s advice.
When these two producer cats heard the reggae track they both asked me why I was not putting my attention on the reggae side. That was four years ago and here I am today.
NFZ: Who are some of the other artists you’ve worked with on this, and on past releases?
Gingermon: I have worked with Predator Dub Assassins aka Tim Boyce, Grayson Lattimore Jr., MTV Caribbean’s Jah Bami for a little reggae halloween song call Do You Wanna Carve Pumpkins, Michael Vincze from The Mowglis, solo artist Lisa Donnelly, Nick Paolise from Dub Proof, Ashtafari out in Kauai, and Magic Island Traveler out in Puerto Rico.
That has been the key to any sort of “success” I have had in that I surround myself with musicians that are better than me and wiser than me and I head their advice.
NFZ: Rumor has it that you a “ting” for pumpkins. If it’s not too kinky can you tell us a bit about that?
Gingermon: Ha. Yeah, my daughter and I were carving pumpkins for Halloween the first holiday I had with her aft3re my divorce She just started to sing this song that turned into the hook for Do You Wanna Carve Pumpkins. It received national airplay and I had the opportunity to play it live during the Halloween season. I thought perhaps I could be the reggae Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, but for Halloween and with a reggae style. I read an article about that reindeer guy was getting $250K a year every Christmas because of that one song. Either way, it was a fun ditty and I was able to record it in my studio, Predator Dub Assassins studio in NJ, as well as Jah Bami’s, originally from Trinidad, in his Florida studio. Then Philipe Blain out in Montreal made a sweet South Park-esque video to go along with it.
NFZ: You did a bit of touring last year. What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited and why?
Gingermon: Puerto Rico has a special place in my mind, but I’ve been to North Carolina, played here in Ohio, Asbury Park, NJ, and some spots in Florida. Florida is where I would ideally like to live, but having custody of my daughters requires me to stick around in Ohio.
NFZ: Every performing artist has a crazy story about being on the road. What’s most bizarre thing that’s happened to you while touring?
Gingermon: Rincon, Puerto Rico at La Estacion. This place was affectionately referred to XXXtascion by the surfers I got a chance to lineup with at Sandy Beach, as I boogie boarded like the kook I am in waves I had no business trying to surf on.
A bunch of us gringos load into this bait shop/martial arts weapons store/bar in the center of Rincon, Puerto Rico. We get ready to start playing our show and the Puerto Rican rum drinks were flowing…as is tradition.
Before we go up on the makeshift stage, we head outside to catch a little breeze, as this crazy ass bar was hotter than the transgendered favorite to win Miss Universe this year. Out of the blue, a car pulls up full of Sangeros and gets out of the car to approach one of the patrons I was chatting with over a smoke. Talk of stabbings and guns filled the void of silence while we waited to see what was going to happen. Words were exchanged heatedly while Burns Bradshaw, Heather Phyfer, and I decided that the stucco decorated concrete on the other side of the argument was the best place to observe this disagreement we had nothing to do with.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and we went on our way to go play a show mere hours after traveling from Cleveland then to NYC for a day and then on to Rincon where this all took place.
At the end of the show, the patrons of this eclectic “bar” decided to shoot off their guns like Dick Cheney at at a pheasant hunting expedition in appreciation of the show and I vividly remember the puckering of my asshole while wondering if those Sangeros were coming back to settle the score. Thankfully all involved were just having a good time and we laughed and laughed while loading up the car looking over our backs.
As a side note I did get an opportunity to swing a few machetes with one of the hombres holding down the fort at La Estacion.
We made it to our home base and planned for the next three shows, all the while smiling as we knew we experienced something very few could understand, let alone laugh about.
What a trip this was.
Gingermon: Baked to Perfection was recorded all over this great country. I recorded some in my studio here in Ohio, some in New Jersey, some in Hollywood, a bit in Nashville, and some in Florida. I just went everywhere I could and ideas for songs would spring up from the experiences I had traveling. It was quite the experience
NFZ: What motivated you in the writing and recording process of this record?
Gingermon: A lot of the album was about love. Love of my children, love of my girlfriend, love of Sativa. I just wanted to write from the happy lovely place I was in all this year.
NFZ: Have you planned a follow up release yet?
Gingermon: I currently have about 12 songs in the can that need refined and finished, so I hope to have that ready for 2020.
NFZ: Is there something about yourself that that your fans don’t know and would probably surprise them
Gingermon: Well, I am a father that has custody of his children. You don’t see that too often these days.
NFZ: Any thoughts regarding the current state of the music business and what would you like see changed?
Gingermon: I really don’t have a true land of the music business quite yet, so I don’t know what I would change other than perhaps streaming services paying a bit more than .004 cents a stream would be kinda nice. I do know that lining myself up with the right people that are better than me has taught me a lot about the recording process and marketing aspects of the business. Social media really is a great channel for getting the music out to the masses, but also a good publicist.
NFZ: Are you involved with any political issues, activist causes or charities you feel passionate about or participate in?
Gingermon: I am a devoted libertarian and Austrian economics fanatic. I love reading up on geopolitical issues and financial issues, but feel tremendously powerless to stop the monetary nightmare that is coming to the US. I used to be a strong political activist locally, but saw how little power we as individuals have in the system. Nowadays I just keep myself in my own bubble and focus my attention and setting a good example instead of wasting energy against the political mechanisms working against us all.
NFZ: To wrap up, how can people follow and stay in touch with you?
Gingermon: If they go to www.gingermon.com they can find my iTunes links, Facebook page, and all that jazz.