Over the past two years, #1 Bad Boy aka Jordan Carr put some serious work into composing his first solo album. The process was interrupted only by a break-up, a few fights, and some jail time. Now, Carr is free and Reinventing the Dumbass is complete. In our interview, Carr talked about his nickname, his jail sentence, Razor Ramon and his body’s unholy tolerance for hot wings.
AK: What’s the story with this album?
JC: The whole thing started out in a bar. A buddy of mine was in need of some more experience in the field of recording and engineering. I told him I had a few new tunes I’d like to demo. Two weeks later, I tracked the song “Ronnie.” Later, we decided to a full length, thinking that we could bang it out in a month or two. That month or two turned into one year and nine months.
AK: Why so long?
JC: Prior to the conversation in thebar, I had been charged with a 2nd degree felony assault for hitting a man in the head with a bottle at a house party after a show I had played in a small town I never wanted to play in the first place. I was facing a minimum of 2 years in prison and there wasn’t a whole lot that was going to save me from doing that time due to my anything-but-clean past criminal record. So, I spent the majority of 2012 in and out of court rooms, bars and living rooms that acted as recording studios. 2012 was a very strange time in my life.
AK: How much did that influence the record as it progressed?
JC: The spring and summer were easily the best and worst few months of my entire life. Knowing that I was going to be incarcerated, I started partying a bit harder. There were lots of drugs, excessive drinking, infidelities and a whole lot of forgotten nights. And the more those things took place, the more the record started to mirror what was taking place in my life. Reinventing the Dumbass is the perfect soundtrack to that year of my life. The record starts out in a pit of self-loathing and despair and just sort of teeters there until the last minute of the last track where a shed of hope shines through and makes me, at least, feel like everything might end up all right. I can’t imagine ever being part of something like that again, or ever recreating the feelings that are evoked in that record.
AK: I’ve said before that this is a great heartbroken drinking soundtrack. What role did women play in this?
JC: Half of the album revolves around a particular girl, but the album wasnt necessarily the direct result of the end of our tumultuous relationship. I basically started writing the songs that would eventually make up this album around the same time that we started dating over five years ago. So there are a lot of different emotional stages of that relationship scattered throughout the album.
AK: How long did it take to write and record the record?
JC: I recorded everything between Nov. 2011 and Sept. 2012. Then, I was incarcerated until May 2013.I basically finished the record the day before I was sentenced, so it just sat on the shelf for eight months while I paced my cell, thinking about it and the things that could have been done better. Then, I got out and fixed those things.
AK: What was your goal with the record?
JC: I wanted to have something that meant something to me because, honestly, there wasn’t a whole lot to look forward to back then aside from these songs. I have always wanted to do a solo record, and I’m so happy that I waited until that point in my life to do so. I am extremely pleased with how it turned out and there is nothing about it that I would change.
AK: What did you learn behind bars?
JC: You learn a lot of things while incarcerated. You say how you’re going to do so many things differently when you get out, but that rarely turns out to be the case … at least it never really has been for me. I would say I try more to savor the little things. As cliche as that sounds, it’s the little things you dream about and long for while locked up.
AK: How do you feel now that you’re a free man and the record is done?
JC: I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me. I’m very pleased with how the whole thing turned out. I couldn’t have asked for a more “rock and roll” experience. It sounds terrible, but there were days that I would come in to record and I still hadn’t slept due to being up all night snorting cocaine, or I would completely miss a scheduled session because I’d wake up in my running car in a different city. At the time, those things were terrible but, for some reason, I look back on things like that and can’t help but feel that those sort of situations helped drive the feeling and emotions on the album. As much as I wanted it done and out, and as f—ed up as a lot of that time was, I’m glad that it all took place the way it did. It is an awesome thing to pop it in and drive around the places that the songs are about and get such a happy feeling rush over me from such sad songs.
AK: What’s next for #1 Bad Boy?
JC: The next move is to get out and play a bit more. Before I was locked up, I did all the shows solo, but now I have a full band. So, the live show is a lot more like a party than the record would lead you to believe. It’s hard to get off stage without being covered in some form of liquor. That’s radical.
AK: Where did the #1 Bad Boy title come from?
JC: When my band, Forever Dumb, was sort of fizzling out, I started doing solo shows. I was also spending a lot of time alone drinking whiskey and listening to Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In. I just thought the song title “#1 Bad Boy” ruled and was really funny. I called myself #1 Bad Boy once or twice and now, three years later, people yell it out their car windows at me while I’m pumping gas.
AK: I have seen you eat hot wings that would make lesser men explode. What’s your infatuation with spicy food?
JC: It’s not a huge secret to a lot of people that I’m an uppers kind of guy. I love the thrill and jamming anus-destroying wings down my throat happens to be a huge thrill to me. I also love seeing my name on the walls of bars.
AK: What’s the hottest thing you’ve ever eaten?
JC: A few years back, I was out guzzelling some Rumpleminze with a buddy. We ordered pizza and poured a whole bottle of ghost pepper sauce and Buffalo Wild Wings sauce all over it. We painfully ate the whole thing. For about three days after, I was certain I had to go to the hospital. I never did and now my body just doesn’t seem to care too much about what goes into it.
AK: Another example of why the #1 Bad Boy title applies?
JC: I think a lot of people think I chose the name to be cocky or to create a persona, especially since right after I started playing shows under the name right after all my legal trouble started up. But really, I’ve been in trouble my whole life. I didn’t need that name to give me a persona. I can be bad enough just as Jordan Carr. But to answer the question: Yes, it still applies. I still think that song rules.
AK: What’s next for the #1 Bad Boy?
JC: I am scheduled to start demoing the songs from jail. I spent eight months jotting down notes on how I want them to sound. I’m sure that none of them will sound anything like I made up in my head, but I’m super stoked to start laying them down and collaborating with better musicians than me … again.
AK: Can you talk a little bit about your obsession with (former WWE professional wrestler/poor Scarface imitator) Razor Ramon? Why him?
JC: When I was young, I didn’t have many friends other than Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. I was and am such a huge fan of that era of wrestling, especially the way that those two in particular raised the bar on the storytelling.
AK: Do you think (Razor Ramon’s real-life identity) Scott Hall’s life changes are mirroring your own? (Scott Hall has been through well-publicized battles with drugs and alcohol.) Do you feel a connection with him?
JC: (laughs) I wish Scott and I had a connection. The closest thing to a connection we have was when he retweeted a picture of a coffee mug I own with his face on it.
You can check out #1 Bad Boy Jordan Carr’s album at 1badboyjordancarr.bandcamp.com. You can also watch the video below, which features Carr, a shot of absinthe, a habanero, and a worn novelization of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.