Matt Hardy gets Extreme with Jet Black Stare
In this pre-SummerSlam Superstar to Superstar, Matt Hardy -- the No. 1 contender for the ECW Championship -- talks to Rod Black, singer/songwriter of Jet Black Stare. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based band's single, "Ready to Roll," is the official theme song for SummerSlam, which airs on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 8/7 CT, live and only on pay-per-view. "Ready to Roll" is available on Jet Black Stare's debut Island Records album, In This Life, which is in stores now.
Matt Hardy: Hello! What's going on, Rod?
Rod Black: Hey, man! How are you doing, bro?
Hardy: Very good, man. How are you?
Black: I'm doing well. Where are you right now?
Hardy: We're in Atlanta, actually. We're getting ready for a huge night of ECW and SmackDown. How about you guys? Where are you?
Black: I'm in Vancouver. We have a couple of days off from our tour, so we're up in British Columbia.
Hardy: Cool, man. Good deal. Vancouver's a pretty city. It's a good spot. Well, congratulations -- you had a new album come out on July 15, In This Life.
Black: Yeah, you got it, man. Congrats to you, too, man! You have a big match coming up!
Hardy: Yes, at SummerSlam. You guys wrote the theme song, "Ready to Roll," and when it comes to Mark Henry and the ECW Title, I'm going to be "Ready to Roll."
Black: You've got to beat him!
Hardy: Oh, most definitely! What's your story? How long have you guys been together? How did you get together?
Black: Well actually Sept. 7, 2007 -- lucky seven for both of us, right? I don't know if you knew that or not.
Black: I've got it tattooed right on me!
Hardy: Very cool.
Black: Anyway, we signed a record deal in 2007 on Sept. 7 for Island Records. Pretty much, I had a band together, but in this industry flaky people kind of go to the sidelines. And these guys knew there was going to be some heavy touring, so, basically the drummer and the bass player stuck around, and the two guitarists took off. I just got two other guys and we recorded the album. Now we're out on the road -- it was pretty fast.
Hardy: Yeah, that was quick. Well, congratulations! I'm a fan.
Black: That's cool -- right back at you!
Hardy: What influences your music, your songs and your lyrics?
Black: Well, I'm a big Johnny Cash fan. That's where I came up with the band name, Jet Black Stare.
Hardy: Yeah, Johnny Cash is the man.
Black: Yeah, and of course I love M"tley Crüe and stuff like that. I listen to everything, really. But what inspires me is pretty much life. I am breathing. I don't know if you're familiar with what happened, but I died at 19. I flat lined. I did something really stupid -- drank 190-proof moonshine, trying to impress some girls, and the rest is history. But I learned from it, obviously. I wrote a song like that on the album, and there are other songs that are very relatable, kind of like stories -- people being away from loved ones and stuff like that. Whether you're off fighting a war or you're a salesman on the road, you're away from your loved ones and that's hard.
Hardy: That's obviously what makes the best songs and the best lyrics. I know on my end, when you hear things like that, you can feel it through the radio. You can relate to it. Everyone's had those experiences and whatnot.
Black: Everybody's got a story to tell, right?
Hardy: Yeah. So are you guys jacked -- are you excited about having the SummerSlam theme song?
Black: Dude, that kind of caught us off-guard, to be honest with you. We got a call from our record label and we just about fell off our chairs. I mean, that's a huge, huge opportunity, right?
Hardy: It really is an opportunity. SummerSlam is the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year. It's cool, man. Good for you guys. I dig it. I'm excited about SummerSlam. I'm excited you guys did the theme song. So the album is out, and everything is going really well for the band -- what's next on the agenda for you guys?
Black: We're going to go back to Texas. We're looking forward to going back there. We'll do some touring around there. We'll do some stuff with Staind and we're going to get on the tour with Shinedown. They're good friends of ours. They're a really good band. We're in good hands with those guys. We're going to tour up the California coastline, and then we'll see where we go from there.
Hardy: That sounds cool. If you guys are ever in the North Carolina area -- that's where Jeff and I live -- we'll have to swing in and see you.
Black: I do believe Dave, our other guitarist, is from North Carolina. He lives in Chicago, but he's from North Carolina. He's only been with us for about four or five months, so we're still kind of getting to know him. But we have some shows scheduled in that area, and we're looking forward to it.
Hardy: Cool, man. I'll look you guys up.
Black: Now if you don't mind me asking, man -- this match you have coming up, is there some history there?
Hardy: It's been about six or seven weeks now since everyone had the big WWE Draft. My brother, Jeff, actually came to SmackDown, which is cool because then we were on the same show. But midway through the show, I was actually drafted to ECW, where there's the ECW Championship. That's what I'm striving for. I won a Fatal Four Way Match against The Miz, John Morrison and Finlay with the winner taking on Mark Henry at SummerSlam for the ECW Championship. Right now, that's where I'm at. Defeating Mark Henry for is definitely going to be an uphill battle, but it's going to get done.
Black: It's cool. We actually have a lot in common. I actually just finished talking with our manager right before you called, and I was telling him from what I know about you, we do have some things in common. It's the challenge. I love the challenge, man! I've been making music for such a long time and then all of a sudden we get this opportunity. We're not going to blow it. You know, you have to do everything you possibly can to go to the next level.
Hardy: For sure. You have to.
Black: When you sit back and say, "Is this as good as I can get?" Well man, you're selling yourself short.
Hardy: Absolutely. I have a big motto: If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. You don't stay the same. You have to stay hungry. You have to stay driven.
Black: Oh yeah, you have to. … It was an honor talking to you, dude.
Hardy: Definitely. Thank you, man.