Yesterday’s press conference generated more than a slight buzz in the rock community. When a band that has been delivering solid hard-rock hits for over three decades but has been plagued by misfortune for the last few years announces they’re going back into the studio with all the surviving original members and they plan to make the most involved album of their career the world takes notice.
Aside from the news that a new album, video game, comic book and animated film are in the works, the band was proud to announce that founding member James St. Bodenschatz aka Bodie Schatz was returning to the fold. The band went on to announce that two new members, drummer Hai Pheng “Asian Cymba” Zahng and bassist, The JaGe will be joining the line up.
After the press conference we had a chance to sit down with Asian Cymba and The JaGe , today we will be profiling The JaGe.
Starting his professional career at 17 in 1982 with the band Sylkk Sheetz, JaGe and his band saw a lot of regional success in Pa, Md, Va, Wv and parts of Ohio but try as they might they just couldn’t grow a fan base in the rest of the country. By 1985 The JaGe had left Sylkk and joined Stryper as a temporary replacement for Tim Gaines on the Yellow and Black attack tour.
While JaGe and Stryper meshed musically their Christian morals and JaGe’s complete lack there of drove them apart. JaGe left Stryper in 1986 and took a job as a concierge at the off the strip casino Clammy Hands Inn in Vegas.
By 1988 at the age of 23 the JaGe was broke, hopeless and wondering if he’d ever play music professionally again. Opportunity came knocking one night when Billy Hyde of Sasssy Classsy came into the Clammy Hands drunk and depressed. He sat at JaGe’s Keno table and complained that his band was falling apart and he wanted to go in a new direction musically. JaGe and Hyde ended up jamming that entire weekend and made a couple of demos, a few months later the band Hyde N’ Seek was formed.
Hyde N’ Seek released the album Ladies Please which had the hit single Pullin Trim and kicked off a US tour. 1991 saw the follow-up album Hyding Out which had strong sales and a huge tour to support it. Billy began acting erratic on stage, walking off early and not even showing up to a few gigs. When he did show up a lot of the fans were disappointed with the change from the guitar driven sound of the first album as this featured a lot of piano ballads.
By 1994 HNS was trying to recapture the success of the first album, and though their third record, Nowhere 2 Hyde, was a valiant effort, the nation’s taste in music changed and the group quietly disbanded. JaGe stated in an interview in Bass Beater Magazine “I’ll never play in another band whose title has the “I” replaced with a “Y”.
The JaGe stayed busy through the rest of the 90s as a session bassist recording with such acts as Cher, Bel Biv Devoe, Alan O’Dowd, George Michael, Gary Cherone and Vertex with Stephen Pearcy. While playing in Vertex the idea was floated that The JaGe join the new version of Ratt but he decided to go with Al Pitrelli into the band Savatage.
The JaGe helped to write 90% of the songs on the Savatage album, The Wake of Magellan but the band’s insistence on sticking to their “Broadway-Metal” aspirations pushed him to leave the band before recording on the album began. JaGe returned to being a session bassist and designed a bass guitar for Tobias Bass Co. called the JaGer-Bomb.
About this time Turbo of SNYDER was working on his solo project Turbo Charged when he asked his friend Michael Anthony to play on the album. Anthony, who was already having difficulty with Van Halen, didn’t want to place further strain on the situation so he suggested his friend The JaGe fill in on Turbo Charged.
Turbo and The JaGe formed a fast friendship and a good working relationship and continued to. Work together on Turbo’s solo projects for the last few years. After the end of the Still Hard tour and the departure of Groz from the SNYDER line up the band had brought in some temporary replacements but when it was time to hire a new full-time bassist the job was offered to The JaGe