Jim James Change Begins Within interview, 2009
In a 2005 interview with The Georgia Straight Jim James talks about his first musical experience.
"People ask me what my first musical experience was, and it's what I heard on The Muppet Show. I like the way that show appealed to both older people and younger kids. That's kind of where I wanna shoot with My Morning Jacket-to create something that people of all ages can really enjoy."- Jim James
(The Georgia Straight interview, November 2005)
In a 2008 interview with The New York Times, James also lists Kermit the Frog as a vocal influence
“I remember hearing Kermit sing and then finding out that that was actually a real person singing,” he said, “That kind of blew my mind. I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s actually a real dude.’ ”- Jim James
(The New York Times interview, June 2008)
Everybody Loves a Winner - William Bell (Spin interview)
Lam Sarawan - Ubon Pattana (Spin interview)
Like a Ship (Without a Sail) - Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir (Spin interview)
Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) - Mike + The Mechanics (Spin interview)
Together Forever -Syl Johnson (Spin interview)
Erykah Bady, Jimmy Rodgers and Outkast
In a 2001 questionnaire with Exclaim! James cited Bag Lady by Erykah Badu, Jimmy Rodgers the Singing Cowboy and Outkast as his current fixations.
In a 2004 interview with JamBase it is revealed that James is a fan of Outkast, according to the interview he even compares their new album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below to the greatest Prince records.
"The last month or so I've been hitting Outkast really heavily. It's insane! In our modern world everything has gotten so stale. Everything's so cut and dried. There's no mystery, there's no wonder, there's no experimenting with sound anymore. There's no sense of people trying to do stuff that's (expressly) fucked up. I really admire those guys because that market (rap and R&B) has gotten to be all about money and all about your image and there's no substance. I feel like Andre and Big Boi have torn off the roof and thrown it away. They bring in the old school influences while still keeping their futuristic thing, too."- Jim James
(JamBase interview, January 2004)
Tribe, NWA, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Young MC, Wilco and The Genitorturers
In a 2002 interview with Pitchfork James lists a few more artists he enjoys.
"I really really enjoy some old school rap and hip-hop, the likes of Tribe, NWA, Chronic-1-era Dre, The Predator by Cube, and Young MC, to name a few. With rap I'm mainly a singles man. I'm never really a fan of just a group, but rather a bunch of songs from an era. (...) Yankee is a great album, indeed, though when I'm in the mood for Wilco I always return to Being There. That is a classic fucking album. Timeless. Foxtrot is a little too modern for me, but it is great. The Genitorturers can do no wrong in my book."- Jim James
(Pitchfork interview, August 2002)
In the 2004 January-February issue of CMJ Jim James was asked when and where he was most knocked on his ass by a live rock band, and answered that it was a show with James Brown at the Louisville Waterfront in 1996.
"This was the most amazing concert I have ever witnessed with thine eyes. It hit me on so many levels. The music was great, we were all shaking our asses to "Sex Machine" and crying our eyes out to "Try Me" and "It's A Man's World". I had called in sick to work to go to the concert and I got filmed breakdancing on the news, my boss saw it and I was fired. The most amazing thing though, was the people: young, white people dancing with old African-American folks, Asians and Puerto Ricans. No age, race or creed was excluded from the funk. For that one moment in time, everything and everybody got along just fine."- Jim James
(CMJ January-February 2004)
Kurt Cobain and Nirvana
In a 2004 interview with The Independent James mentions Kurt Cobain and Nirvana as a influence, in the interview it's stated that if it weren't for Kurt Cobain James might never have picked up a guitar at all.
"Nirvana proved you could just be some guy in a T-shirt and your music could mean something to everybody. They didn't care who laughed at them or thought they were cool or uncool. They weren't doing anything because they wanted to be popular - what they were doing was honest, brutally honest."- Jim James
(The Independent interview, February 2004)
Richard Manuel, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan and Neil Young
In a 2008 interview with The New York Times James lists the following persons as influences; Richard Manuel from the Band, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Mr. Dylan and Mr. Young.
"When you hear Neil Young, or Roy Orbison, or Etta James, you can hear how they've been trampled on and ruined. You can't help but feel what they've been through. That's different from today. Most people making music today are actors. And you can always tell when somebody's acting."- Jim James
(Inquirer interview, September 2003)
Stevie Wonder, Beatles, Bill Withers and R&B
In an 2008 interview James explains how he was awed by the R&B records his parents would play when he was growing up.
"You listen to Stevie Wonder’s records and there’s Beatles production techniques and acoustic guitars, and you listen to Bill Withers, and it’s a folk record mixed with a soul record. Back then, rock and R&B were more mixed than they are now, and we’re really inspired by that."Jim James
(Dallas News, August 2008)