Writer's Ramblings

Jasmine Cain Band Tours with the Easyriders Bike Show

Written by  May 31, 2007

There are many things that lure me to the Sturgis Rally every year. The ride, the scenic Black Hills, the bikes, the races, the vendors, the old friends, the thousands of potential new friends, and, of course, the music. Live music is featured everywhere during the rally, from world famous bands at performing at large venues to local bands in small taverns and at out-of-the-way campgrounds. One group that I make it a point never to miss at Sturgis is the Jasmine Cain Band. Jasmine, lead vocalist and bass guitarist, is talented, sexy, and incredibly energetic. The energy she displays on stage is contagious and is guaranteed to captivate an audience. During musical interludes, whenever she can step away from the microphone, Jasmine is constantly in motion, from one end of the stage to the other, tossing her long hair and feeling the music so strongly that the audience is blown away. Her versatile band covers a wide gamut of musical genres—hard and soft rock, alternative rock, country rock, blues, and a little C&W. At their performances, audiences are treated to the songs of KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pat Benatar, Janis Joplin, and many others, as well as some terrific original music. Between songs, Jasmine loves to verbally mess with band members, stage personnel, and members of the audience. Her wit and her contagious laugh add even more enjoyment to the show.

When I learned that Jasmine Cain was booked to perform at the Easyriders V-Twin Bike Show in Kansas City, I was excited. I was really looking forward to the show anyway, and this would make it even better. When the day of the event came, I wasn’t disappointed in any aspect of it. The field of show bikes was superb and the music was excellent! After her third and final performance of the day, Jasmine was spent. She had used every ounce of energy on the stage, but she was still gracious in granting me an interview. As we talked, she was slumped in a folding chair with her legs propped up on Jeff, her lead guitarist. She was munching on hours-old pizza, observing that the crust was soggy, but it was otherwise tasty. She rattled off a list of things that are exceptionally bad for singers, noting that cheese is high on the list.

Here’s the interview:

CC: I should start by letting you know that I know a lot more about motorcycles than I do about music, but I always enjoy your performances.
Jasmine: I don’t know anything about music either. Honestly, I’m totally untrained. If I start to lose my hearing like Jeff (lead guitar) I’m totally screwed. The only way I get by is playing by ear. So if the hearing ever goes, I’ll have to learn to play for real. What a bummer!

CC: You started out in South Dakota.
Jasmine: Yeah, that’s home. I was born in Sturgis and grew up in Faith on a cattle ranch, breaking horses and rodeoing. I was a tomboy with three brothers and no sisters. So I grew up just getting my ass kicked and then learning to kick ass back. That’s why I act like I do. I’m not very ladylike. You can see my posture now, and it’s a good thing I’m not wearing a skirt today.

CC: Then you got into music. How many years have you performed during the Sturgis Rally?
Jasmine: Ever since I’ve been legal. You have to be 21 to play in any of those bars, and my 21st birthday was when the Full Throttle Saloon opened up. I was the house band there for seven years.

CC: You’ve played at other places during the rally.
Jasmine: I always play at Deadwood in Saloon Number 10 the week before the rally. I’ve played at a couple of other places including the Ten Star Entertainment tent one year, which was kind of interesting. That was put on by one of those networks that shows dirty movies on cable. (Porn star) Ron Jeremy brought us on, and he was such a PERV! One time I was parking my car, and he kind of stalked me into the parking lot. He wanted to get me in the back seat of my car, so I told him to get in first. He opened the door and discovered my dog was back there. My dog doesn’t relate well to people outside the van, and I thought he was going to take Ron Jeremy’s arm off. That was the end of that.

CC: You live in Nashville now. What’s going on there?
Jasmine: Well it’s not exactly my kind of music. They hate me in Nashville, but I occasionally sit in with friends on Broadway and pretend we’re country music superstars. People say they can’t believe I don’t have a country deal right now, and I say, “What are you talking about!!!” You know there’s not a whole lot for a rock scene around there. There’s a little bit, but I just call Nashville my really expensive storage unit, because I’m never there. I’m always on tour. But it’s a really good place to record for less money, and you meet a lot of people. Hell, every major record label is in Nashville, L.A., and New York, and so you still have hook-ups. You can pitch to their label there in Nashville, and they can direct you to their L.A. or New York people. But that’s okay because you still have an “in.”

CC: Speaking of an “in,” how did this Easyriders gig come about?
Jasmine: The Full Throttle Saloon is a vendor at the Easyriders Shows. For several years, I was selling T-shirts at the shows and passing out huge catalogs for Dennis Kirk. That’s how I met the people from Easyriders. They found out that I was a singer and could play, so one time they asked me to get up on stage and play a song, so I borrowed a guy’s guitar and did Bobby McGee. They were blown away, because they didn’t expect that kind of performance from a T-shirt vendor. After that, they started having me do Bobby McGee at the end of the shows. They were really nice and friendly, one thing led to another, and they started booking me for single shows here and there. This year I contacted John Green and told him I wanted to do the whole tour, because there were bands doing the tour that I considered the same caliber as my band. I knew we would do just fine. I pitched it to him and he decided to give it a shot. We had gotten great responses from the crowds wherever we played, but I don’t think he really saw how much of an impact we had on his crowd until we did our first couple of shows this year in Charlotte and Memphis. He was amazed at how we were able to capture the crowd and hold them. He was totally impressed, and that’s when we started talking about future dates. We had six cities on this tour. I talked to John Green last night, and we locked in all of the rodeos this summer and all the bike shows next year.

CC: That’s great! I’ll send people out to see you.
Jasmine: Right on! They won’t be disappointed. It’s never boring. There’s never a boring moment with us. If there is, I’ll just pull (drummer) Scott’s pants down. We’re looking forward to it. We’re also recording our second album in October. So the tour will not only provide an outlet to pitch the album, but also the money to pay for recording the album. We’re pumped about that! I’ve built a fan base over the last several years and have sold probably 3,500 copies of our first album just from the stage. Everyone who has the first one has been waiting four long years for the next one. I don’t have a rich daddy or a sugar daddy, so I just have to come up with the money myself. The 25 grand to make a CD is actually about my yearly income, so it’s not an easy thing to just do an album whenever I get the songs. It’s kind of a good thing in a way, because it gives us a lot of time to write a bunch of stuff. Instead of having 20 or 30 songs to pick 12 from, now we have 60 or 70. It makes the CD that much better. Every song kicks ass! I have a no-suck policy. No song on the album can suck. It just can’t. I don’t believe in fillers. That’s B.S.!

CC: Tell me about these two guys you have with you.
Jasmine: Scott’s and accountant. He’s the one I give the tip jar to at the end of the night to divide it by three. Scott’s been playing with me since the start of this tour. Jeff and I have quite a story. Jeff is from Memphis and used to play in a band called Every Mother’s Nightmare. They had a lot of success in the early '90s. He’s a rare find, because rarely do you find a guitar player that you can stand to be around and they are really good. They’re either really good and completely in left field, and you don’t get them at all or they’re really nice and they suck. Jeff was playing with a band called Deep Shag in Memphis last year at the time of the Sturgis Rally. Michael had put me in charge of booking bands, but I didn’t think he was going to have me play. Two weeks before the rally, he said he needed me to play. Since I didn’t have a band, the only thing I could do was hire a complete band to back me up. I talked to Deep Shag, and their song list was similar, about 80 percent the same, so I hired the whole band, including Jeff, to back me up at Sturgis. We weren’t prepared, and it was just thrown together, but we still did great. Then we got fired, but it wasn’t because we sucked. Anyway, this year is a different deal. Easyriders bought the Broken Spoke downtown saloon, and it looks like that’s going to be our new home. We’ll still do pre-rally at Saloon Number 10, and Boneyard Saloon picked us up for a couple of openers. I don’t know the exact dates yet. We have a good, tight band and nobody’s an asshole, except for me. It’s my band, so these guys have to deal with it. Jeff played with Deep Shag for a while before he quit and came to work for me. I’m usually not big on stealing musicians from other bands, because I believe in karma, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen to me. But I don’t care. If I get to use him for a while it’s worth it, because he rocks, and he looks like Zakk Wylde. Anyone who looks like Zakk Wylde is cool in my book.

CC: Sounds like I can look forward to seeing all of you at Sturgis. Thanks for the interview!