Aidan James at The Whisky A Go Go: Kids Making History!

It was a challenge to think how to spend just two paragraphs explaining how fantastic Aidan James is (because I could easily write 5 paragraphs). First off, is the musical vibe he has with his drummer Ian Wacksman (who plays drums like he’s “Bonzo” from Led Zeppelin). The two have artistic timing, like they’ve spent hours mastering Art Blakey and Miles Davis records. However, since Aidan is 12-years old, I have the distinct assumption they don’t blast old Jazz or Classic Rock in their iPods, or should I say I know the songs that kids don’t listen to.

The setting was perfect, nothing beats The Whisky-a-Go-Go in Hollywood. Many bands started there including The Doors. To see a 12- year old boy jamming where the Lizard King once stood, has an “awesome” feeling of its own. Ultimately I want to sum up seeing Aidan James in a few words then jump into the interview. Fantastic, superb, fun, inspiring, great, amazing, near perfect and most of all historical. I got to see a 12-year old kid play with the same conviction and depth of “real” musicians. He was not there to tout an ego or see what was in it for him. He thanked his audience and outside the venue thanked me for the fact I’d be writing about him. With all due respect, many adults forget those two simple words. So my summary of Aidan James, Class Act.

Interview with Aidan James

Paul Booth: How long have you been playing music? What made you want to play the Ukulele?

Aidan James: I’ve been playing ukulele for 8 years (since I was 4) and have been singing for 4 years. Well, my mom suggested for me to learn something besides staying home all day, So, I chose the Ukulele. At first I didn’t really care for the ukulele but the more I went to lessons, the more I enjoyed it.

PB: What are your favorite musicians as a kid? Favorite musicians as a musician?

AJ: I had a lot of favorites as a kid. But the ones I like to listen to are Bruno Mars, Mumford and Sons, Karmin, The Script, Skrillex, Coldplay, and Foster the People. My favorite musicians are, Ed Sheeran, Train, Phillip Phillips, and Fun – I love their songs/music which I perform a lot of.

PB: What inspires you?

AJ: The things that inspire me are probably people/artists. Artists like Ed Sheeran, Train, Bruno Mars, and Jake Shimabukuro. Hearing Bruno Mars’ story is awesome – how he started at an early age and worked hard to get where he’s at. So cool to see a “local boy” make it big time. He’s such a great songwriter as is Ed Sheeran who’s really young too! Seeing a ukulele being used in Train’s music video, “Hey Soul Sister” was truly inspiring to me – it changed the way I looked at how I want to play the ukulele. Ironically, that was my first video on youtube and now has over 18 million views!

PB: What was it like to play the Pro-Bowl?

AJ: It was a pretty awesome experience. I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite performance/best performance because the mic kept falling, there was no time for soundcheck and it was really quick. Good thing though – I had the NFL cheerleaders right behind me. (Laughs)

PB: How long have you known Ian, your drummer? What do you guys talk about before a show or how do you guys find such synchronicity?

AJ: I met Ian in school, through his brother back in 2010. I was friends with his brother’s friend and the friend introduced me to Ian’s brother Dylan. Through Dylan, I started talking to Ian in school and looking at his YouTube videos. I thought that he was pretty sick. I had a Hard Rock performance coming up that week, I wanted something to be different that everyone would like. So, I gave Ian a call, and he said Yes. We started practicing and our timing was just natural. Then, we started gigging a lot together.

PB: Do you have a favorite moment as a musician?

AJ: One of my favorite moments was probably when I performed for the first time out of Hawaii, in Redondo Beach, CA. But, my newest favorite moment was when I played at the legendary Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, CA with my drummer Ian Wacksman! That trip wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my sponsors 88 Tees and Hawaiian Airlines!

PB: What are your musical goals? Also, your message for the readers and fans.

AJ: My goal is to grow up to be a huge musician, to travel the world doing what I love, performing and playing music for the people. My message to everyone? Do whatever you love doing, It doesn’t matter what it is (sports, music, etc.), just keep at it, keep practicing, and you’ll go far.

Interview by Paul Booth