Pictured: Jason Brock Photo submitted
by Susan Monaghan
Jason Brock’s new single, “One of a Kind,” was kind of an accident.
“I was in the process of rebuilding an old guitar . . . and as I was playing it for the first time, I came up with the riff,” Brock said. “I just kind of fell in love with it.”
With drums by Dave Uosikkinen, drummer for The Hooters, and bass work from Kenny Aaronson, Rolling Stone’s 1988 bass player of the year, “One of a Kind” is a vintage rock track made possible by modern music-making technology.
“We recorded it all basically from sharing tracks over the internet,” Brock said. “I feel like I’ve gotten back to my (blues-rock) roots a little bit more, and it still has a kind of contemporary edge.”
A LONG WAY FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE
Brock’s 30-year-long career in rock began when he dropped out of school and moved from his home in New Hampshire to Los Angeles. He started working at the now-defunct Cherokee Recording Studios in the late 1980s.
One of his favorite memories from the studio involved picking up food for Gene Simmons of Kiss, who he didn’t recognize without his trademark makeup until he saw Simmons’ name on the credit card he gave him to pay.
“We all have these moments where we meet our fate,” Brock said. “[When] there’s this weird sort of connection between what seemed so far away and what’s right in front of your face.”
For decades, Brock played in a rotation of Southern California-based bands, and he’s stayed involved in the scene as it’s changed over the years. While he’s made efforts to invest in the infrastructure for young artists in Ventura to perform and collaborate — even renting space in a warehouse across the street from Art City Studios for any in-need musician — he’s also seen music production become more democratized.
“We were recording . . . in rooms that were way outside the reach of any independent music-person to be able to step in,” Brock said. “Now anyone with a minimal amount of effort can throw a track up. You can make an argument music suffers because of that, but you can also make the argument that music is more vibrant and open because of that.”
“One of a Kind” was born from a kind of musical collaboration made possible by the Internet, and necessary by a pandemic. As an industry veteran working at a time when music is more accessible than ever, Brock said he gets “the best of both worlds.”
Uosikkinen, who lives in Philadelphia, has been running an online business creating drum parts for tracks for the last few years, and he’s gotten used to the decentralized aspect of modern music production.
“[Hooters founder] Eric Bazilian lives in Sweden, he’s just put out a record recently and I recorded a lot of the drums at my place . . . and the record was engineered and produced in Slovenia,” Uosikkinen said. “It wasn’t much of a stretch working with someone on the West Coast.”
Uosikkinen offered to ask his friend Aaronson if he would contribute the bass line. Aaronson said the Internet has allowed him to develop musical projects beyond his role as a bass player.
“I was always happy being a bass player,” Aaronson said, “but the way the technology developed . . . over the years allows me to sit in my basement on my computer and create a full orchestral [sound].”
While the track wouldn’t have been possible without being able to make the pieces separately, Brock said in-person musical collaboration will always be the gold standard.
“We’re still kind of always trying to get back to that moment when we’re all in the same room together and we just played a track, and we’re like ‘Holy s—, that was magic.’ It’s visceral,” Brock said.