Gnecco in November 2014.
|Birth name||James Francis Gnecco|
September 30, 1973 |
Teaneck, New Jersey
|Genres||Experimental rock, Acoustic|
|Associated acts||Ours, Lana Del Rey, Reeve Carney, Neverending White Lights, a-ha, Savoy, Weathervane|
|Guitar, Drums, Bass, Piano|
James Francis "Jimmy" Gnecco III (born September 30, 1973) is an American musician. He is the vocalist for the rock band Ours as well as a solo artist with his July 20, 2010 release of The Heart. On November 7, 2011, a version of the album with new mixes and a full band was released entitled The Heart X Edition. Gnecco is known for his multi-octave vocal range and singing style, often described as 'dramatic and emotional'.
Gnecco was born on September 30, 1973 in Teaneck, New Jersey at Holy Name Medical Center and grew up in nearby Ridgefield Park. Gnecco grew up well rounded in his musical influences, listening to old Motown artists like the Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson, and Marvin Gaye. Gnecco calls Gaye's What's Going On his favorite album. He has also cited artists and bands like Frank Sinatra, U2, Radiohead, Jellyfish, and k.d. lang as people that helped shape his musical pathway.
Being fairly small all his life, Gnecco's years as a teenager in high school were plagued with a fair share of teasing and bullying from his peers. High school was also the time period in which Gnecco would start his life as a musician. Before forming Ours, Gnecco gained experience by playing guitar and fronting hair metal bands called "Lost Child" and the "Harmony Bandits". Gnecco started singing at the urging of other bandmates, eventually finding enjoyment in it. Gnecco had very little formal vocal training saying he couldn't afford it.
Gnecco, who has never been married, has three older sisters and two younger brothers. The youngest of them, Pit, formerly played drums for numerous Ours tours. Gnecco also had two children, both born to different mothers. Gnecco remains a doting father to both. In 2002, shortly after the release of their second album, Gnecco's then girlfriend ended her own life. This caused Gnecco to reconsider his choice to be a constantly touring musician after being distraught about not being there for his loved ones. It took a long while for Gnecco to resume his career as a musician. Gnecco stated, "I was really hesitant to pick up a guitar again and start singing or writing. I didn't feel like singing. And writing...I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror, so how could I write? I just felt like, 'I don't like myself at all.' I felt horrible. I felt guilty."
Maintaining a very small frame, Gnecco is an avid runner. He used to live a strict vegan lifestyle for several years, but explained in a recent interview that he added meat back into his diet after feeling weak at times. He stated, "I was a vegan for about twelve years, but I'm not anymore. I still try to be as much of it as I can. But every once in a while I have to eat some salmon or some tuna, or turkey or something. I have to because I work out a lot and it's really tough if I'm working out that much. I feel a little bit better when I eat a little bit of meat. I don't overdo it but I'm not fully a vegan." Gnecco also cautiously protects his voice, often performing without air conditioning and also avoiding being in rooms where people are smoking.
Gnecco started a friendship with late musician Jeff Buckley shortly before his death. When his career with Ours finally got media attention, it was often falsely reported that Gnecco worked as Buckley's guitar technician. Along with those reports, vocal and physical comparisons to Buckley often plagued Gnecco. While Gnecco cites Buckley as an inspiration to him later in his career, in an attempt to silence the comparisons, he stresses that Buckley was not an influence on his singing style, explaining that he and Buckley shared a lot of the same influences growing up. Gnecco has often professed a great love and respect for Buckley and wrote the songs "Bleed," "As I Wander," "Living in a Video," & "Saint" about his lost friend. The song "I Heard You Singing" was dedicated to Michael Jackson, which he has mentioned on a concert in Germany.
Ours formed officially in 1992. Several years later, after a handful of setbacks and personal conflicts, Jimmy Gnecco was signed as a solo artist to DreamWorks Records in 1997 under the moniker of Ours. Ours have released four official albums to date: Ballet the Boxer 1 (Ballet the Boxer 1) (2013) Mercy (Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy) (2008), Precious (2002), and their label debut Distorted Lullabies (2001).
Gnecco's first recording titled Sour (1994) was a demo compilation which he feels is not a real Ours record, being that he was dissatisfied with much of it. In 2005 he said, "In 1994, I was only 20 years old, and labels with offering record deals to me, but I knew I was too young, that's not where I was going yet. So, I made one demo record with that Ours line-up and then left it; I didn't want to be known as the ex-singer from those Sour recordings. The band on Sour is not Ours- we were just a bunch of young kids, just messing around. I wasn't allowed to be insane, like I wanted, and I had no patience, and wondered why we felt we had to put it out." A song from this recording entitled "OURS" eventually evolved into the title track of their latest album Mercy.
Gnecco and Brian May of the band Queen recorded a duet, "Someone to Die For" for the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. The song is written by Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider of Eleven in collaboration with Chris Cornell. There is also a demo version of the same song featuring Chris Cornell on vocals.
Gnecco also contributed on the track Our Final Hymn from Neverending White Lights' debut album, Act 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies and also the track "Dove Coloured Sky" from their second album Act 2: The Blood and the Life Eternal.
Gnecco is a good friend of Savoy and former a-ha member Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, and sings a song, "The Breaker", on Savoy's eponymous 2004 album. It seems both of them could collaborate again, since a-ha disbanded in 2010, leaving Waaktaar-Savoy with more time for other projects. They presented Weathervane as a new project in June 2011. Their self-titled single (Weathervane) will be on the soundtrack for the movie Headhunters (based on the book "Hodejegerne" of Jo Nesbø).
Gnecco lent his voice to a Kohl's fall 2006 commercial singing a cover of Big Country's titular "Big Country."
2011 Collaborating with a-ha's Paul Waaktaar-Savoy with a new band called Weathervane. The song Weathervane is for the upcoming Norwegian film Hodejegerne (Headhunters) which is a book written by Norwegian Author, Jo Nesbø.
- The Heart X Edition on iTunes with Release Date
- The Heart X Edition release announcement on Jimmy Gnecco's Official Site
- Herrera, Dave. "Jimmy Gnecco's Sound is all Ours". WestWord.com. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- Buford, Jordan. "TME REVIEWS: Jimmy Gnecco’s OURS Truly Shines". ontourmonthly.com.
- "Jimmy Gnecco". saddlebrook.schoolofrock.com.
- Polonis, Desiree. "Ensemble Sound: Jimmy Gnecco Interview". EnsembleSound. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- Spelling, Ian. He has 5 siblings. "Ours lead singer Jimmy Gnecco will perform in Manhattan", The Record, May 20, 2010. Accessed August 15, 2012. "Gnecco – who was born in Teaneck, raised in Ridgefield Park and lives in Bogota – plays every instrument on the album, which includes such songs as 'Rest Your Soul,' 'Take a Chance,' 'Mystery' and the title track."
- "Great Albums: Jimmy Gnecco Interview". MP3.com. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- Brown, Stella. "Moments of Ours: An Interview with Jimmy Gnecco". Antimusic.com. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Vocal Tracks Lyrics". Platinum Games. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
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- Jimmy Gnecco's website
- OURS website
- Jimmy Gnecco's Facebook page
- OURS/Jimmy Gnecco Twitter
- Jimmy Gnecco's MySpace
- 3-Part Interview Series, 2001
- Interview, 2005