by Jane Roser
Modern day Renaissance men are few and far between these days. Most artists excel in one or two fields, three if you’re Justin Timberlake or James Franco. But Jason Charles Miller excels in so many areas that he truly deserves the title shared by all around bad asses.
As a voice over actor, Miller has appeared in video games and animated productions from Avatar: The Last Airbender to Wonder Woman. His live action roles include Day Of The Dead and SyFy’s Battle Planet; he owns Central Command Studios in L.A. and has been a dominant fixture in the music industry for two decades.
Hailing from Clifton, Virginia, Miller founded gothic industrial band Godhead in 1994. Their popularity soared both domestically and abroad, culminating with their signing to Marilyn Manson’s short-lived Post Human Records in 2000 (the only band to ever do so). Selling over a quarter million albums, their songs have been included on the soundtracks for such hit films as The Queen Of The Damned and The Punisher (resulting in winning two gold records for album sales). Godhead’s last album At The Edge Of The World was released five years ago and now Miller splits his time between L.A. and Nashville, making the unusual and gutsy transition from goth music to country.
“One of my best moments was when I opened for Alan Jackson last year. What really justified it for me was that I open for a large country music star and his fan base is into my music from the first note. It’s an affirmation to me that I’m doing the right thing,” says Miller. He adds that “it all comes from the heart and what I’m inspired to do. I can learn from past successes, but I can’t take past successes and parlay it into new successes.” Miller notes that music fans are also more educated today and “they’re more open to different styles and genres of music.”
Miller’s first solo album Last To Go Home was released in 2009, followed by 2011’s Uncountry. Last year, he released Natural Born Killer on Render Records to national acclaim and fabulous reviews from both music critics and fans. He’s been on tour promoting the album and the single “The Way You Still Want Me” (which was #1 on the Indie Country Charts). “It was a combination of me headlining clubs and also opening for other artists. I’m getting a chance to play for different crowds.” I ask him if Godhead fans come out to his solo shows and the answer is a resounding yes. “It’s new fans and old fans. Godhead fans like Godhead for the music and are very open-minded.”
Miller just returned to L.A. from his summer tour that he called “The Screaming Robot-Eagle-Bear Across America Tour”, which, I think, is up there with Aerosmtih’s 2003 Rocksimus Maximus Tour as the best moniker ever. During the tour, he had a night off in Jacksonville, but he wanted to play music, so he called up a friend of his and played a goth night picking “the darkest country songs and some Godhead” to perform.
“It was a slow transition when things slowed down with Godhead and I started getting back into roots and country music that I had listened to as a kid. It’s what inspired me to play music in the first place. I wanted to do something completely different with my solo material and keep it organic and just convey my emotions.” Miller has a powerful and distinct voice which comes from five years of opera training. That training helps him to keep his voice in shape while on the road.
Getting back to Miller’s album, Natural Born Killer, I have to ask the obvious question: Woody Harrelson or Dexter inspired? Neither. “The title track is a song from the perspective of a bourbon bottle. It’s a cautionary tale of the devil inside of alcohol.” The lyrics are dark and foreboding, foreshadowing a grave finality: “I’m a natural born killer. I don’t need no gun, I like to take my time, there ain’t no need to run, so don’t be scared if you see me there, just throw back another one. I’m a natural born killer, Kentucky’s oldest son.”
HBO’s hit True Blood featured Miller’s song “You Get What You Pay For” in the scene where Sookie and Alcide are in a pickup truck trying to rescue Bill in season 3. It’s a fun, witty and catchy tune and the music video is a riot. Starring Miller’s friends, internet darling Felicia Day and Greg Grunberg (Felicity, Alias, Heroes), it depicts Miller, guitar in hand, running from hoodlums after his truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
Next up for Miller is a Godhead remix album coming out later this year. “We got the rights back for our album The Shadow Line and every song will be remixed. We were able to get Ben Moody (Evanscence) and Joe Bishara (composer for Insidious and The Conjuring) to help out.” The album will include three previously unreleased tracks, one original song and two covers (a KISS and Depeche Mode song).
Miller continues to inspire and to be inspired. He is a true artist in ever sense of the word. I think Felicia Day said it best when she mused “Today, no matter what you’re doing-music, art, comics, gaming-you have an opportunity to create our next reality.” I’m ready to raise a little hell and to jump down that rabbit hole. Are you?