Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year! Goodbye 2017...We Are All In This Together!

I am a firm believer that those that don't know history are doomed to repeat it.  However, the past is a place of reference not residence.  I am capping off a very tumultuous year for myself and this country at my parent's house in the quiet but beautiful and picturesque country near the North Carolina/Virginia border.  I just finished watching the new Dave Chappelle comedy special on Netflix where true to form; he literally offended pretty much every socio-economic/political/racial/religious/ethnic/gender group in existence in a hilarious manner.  The big question that came to mind after laughing for a solid hour was why do all those polarizing groups exist in the first place?

I have gone through several cycles of thought on division in my life on this planet.  I have traveled to various countries extensively and made friends all around the world.  What strikes me is no matter where I go, there are more similarities than differences between people everywhere.

I was always a strong proponent of the Black origins of modern Western Music especially Rock music.   My grandfather played Rock n' Roll long before Elvis got the idea and I was always perplexed at how people literally (still happens to this day) find it strange that I play Rock music and am primarily a guitarist. People have literally said to me, "isn't the guitar a white boy instrument!?" or "isn't that white people music?!" or my personal favorites are, "oh I thought you rapped" and "I thought you played the bass!"  I was particularly annoyed by the fact that so many Black American musicians received no credit, fame, money or success from creating and pioneering popular forms of music and watching White musicians become millionaires and claim that they created it first.

After a while the backward thinking patterns eventually caught up to me as well.  I began to find it strange and even offensive when I would see young white women imitate the soul and gospel singing styles of older black women or white males imitating black MCs, hip-hop culture and blues men.  But you know what?  Music has no color.  If someone feels or resonates with a particular sound or style so be it; let them do their thing!

Music is the Universal Language period.  Unlike mathematics, you don't have to be taught to enjoy or feel music.  The healing power of music is for everyone no matter where you are from, how old you are, how much or little money you have, what you look like or what you believe in; we can all get down together!

Even during the most segregated times in the ironically named "United" States, Jazz and Blues musicians and fans congregated together even when it was illegal to.  A particular story that comes to mind is a documentary I saw while visiting Nashville on the father of modern Country Music Hank Williams.  His son Hank Williams Jr. has a reputation of being an extreme racist toward Black Americans based on alleged derogatory and inflammatory racial slurs spoken during his concerts.  Even HE admitted that his father's unique style of playing and singing was a direct product of him attempting to imitate his mentor legendary Black Blues musician and singer Rufus "Tee Tot" Payne.

I am literally flabbergasted how we can cohabit the same land for tens of thousands if not millions of years and still not be able to get along.  It is truly as insane as it is incredulous.

What is my point?  Hate is not innate, it is a learned behavior.  The elite that rule over and control the masses literally come up with new ways but the same techniques to keep us divided and conquered.

Wake up...we are all brothers and sisters.  There is a little bit of shared DNA in us all.  Think about it; you have 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents, 32 great-great-great grandparents then 64, 128, 256, 1024 just a few generations back.  Isn't it probable that you and I share common ancestors?  Of course it is no matter what you believe in there was only one Eve!

I am frequently amused at how Liberal Democrats love to point the finger at the supposed closed minded Conservative Republicans never noticing that in the process they have become as narrow minded and bigoted against those that don't share their belief systems.  The same goes for Atheists and Agnostics ragging on Christians and Religion in general not realizing that in the process they too have become religious and ritualistic in their thinking.  I don't have to agree with your sexual orientation, your religion, political affiliation or your NFL team...because I probably won't!  Does it really matter?  The one thing all of us have in common is that we are all from and on this planet; TOGETHER and for the time being, we are not going anywhere any time soon!  At least not until the aliens arrive.

2018 is upon us, we can make it the best year ever!  No of course you can't change the world but you can change yourself and be and be a positive example to the people around you.  Trust me ideas spread like wildfire.

So stop tripping and play your guitar!  Don't look back to the past or worry about the future.  Embrace and enjoy each other in the present that is the present.  Get over yourself.

Happy New Year Brothers and Sisters...I  love all of you!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Rand Experiment

After all this time I am finally getting to put out an album that has been a long time in the making.  I have played everything from Reggae and Gospel to Jazz and Soul to Hip-Hop.  However, my true love has always been Rock n' Roll!  I played in plenty of rock, metal and punk bands but no official recordings exist.

I remember the first time I heard Joe Satriani using the guitar as a lead instead of vocals, it was like I discovered the key to life!  Of course by the time I started playing shows as a teenager it was "taboo" to play anything technical, remotely fast or beyond pentatonic scales and power chords.  Seriously!? The dumbing down began.  So I did not stay true to myself and stopped playing the music I loved dearly.

But like my dad always said; you only fail when you quit.  So I am finally making my first true rock record.  It is featuring some of my good friends Forrest Robinson and Greg Washington on drums and my buddy Mike Briggs on bass.  I'll be producing and Mr. Ty Tabor of King's X fame confirmed his availability to polish everything. Of course I am also playing a good bit of drums, bass and keyboards in addition to guitar and vocals.  But this one is definitely not for the faint of heart 'cause the 100 watt Marshall is going full tilt nice and heavy!  I am really pushing myself and the guys creatively, sonically and technically.  Stay tuned it is going to be happening and out this fall God willing.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New Album Out Now: "Between Yesterday and Tomorrow" by Jermaine Rand

"Between Yesterday and Tomorrow" by Jermaine Rand is a passionate and eclectic acoustic guitar based album.  Rand takes his guitar on a journey through Soul, Rock, Flamenco, World and  Classical Music influences that should satisfy music lovers from all walks of life.

Recorded and mixed at The ParkElevator Music,  Atlanta , GA
Additional recording by Michael Briggs, Raleigh, NC

Written, arranged, produced, engineered, recorded and mixed by Jermaine Rand

"Build the Temple" mixed by Don McCollister at Nickel and Dime Studios, Atlanta, GA
 Mastered by Ty Tabor at Alien Beans Studio, Houston TX

Jermaine Rand- Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Lead and Backing Vocals
Michael Briggs- Bass
Daniella Willett-Rabin- Percussion
Chanel Rand- Vocals
Adam Smith- Vocals

Art and Graphic Design by Daniella Willett-Rabin

More information available here:

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Ivory Coast and Thankfulness

Looking back on my life and the present moment I am often in awe of the blessings I have received; I am humbled and thankful.  It is weird how I vividly recall learning the songs in the book that was included with my first guitar when I was around 5 or constantly playing the songs out of the keyboard book that came with my sister's electronic organ around the same time.  I remember using Pringles cans as drums, playing them with the backs of pencils.  Music was all I wanted to do even surpassing my interest in art.  That was until I discovered computers and how they could be used in conjunction.
I never thought growing up in Raleigh, NC that I would ever make it further than learning Metallica songs in my bedroom, shredding it up and taking over the local music store after school.

So I just got back from Africa where I played the Abidjan Jazz Festival and met so many wonderful people including the legendary Paco Séry with my soul sister Divinity Roxx.

I was recently writing a friend in London who was concerned about all the hatred, violence, riots and racial tension going on the US. The more I travel and meet people, the more I see the similarities in people all around the world.  One of the key differences however is in the United States, there is almost always an underlying constant feeling of racial tension.  It is everywhere; TV, movies, the internet, the grocery store, shopping malls, restaurants, just driving a car or walking the street you feel it.  That feeling is completely absent when I visit Africa, The Bahamas, Jamaica even Mexico.  

So I just want to thank Paco Séry and the wonderful folks in the Ivory Coast for treating me like their brother and most of all like a fellow human.  I felt at home, at peace.