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Jason Richardson

Sep 20, 2019

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Jason Richardson is known for his near-supersonic, highly technical playing style. Richardson established his reputation with his tenure in bands All Shall Perish, Born of Osiris, and Chelsea Grin. He released his first album “I” in 2016 and is currently touring with All That Remains. After collaborating with Ernie Ball Music Man on a 7-string guitar, his dedicated online following can now play to his exact technical specifications. In this episode, Richardson discusses the first time he picked up the guitar, musical inspirations, life as a solo-artist, and much more.

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Transcript

Speaker 1:
Welcome to an Ernie Ball Podcast. It starts now.

Evan Ball:
Hello. This is Evan Ball. Welcome to Striking A Chord, an Ernie Ball podcast.

Evan Ball:
Sometimes, music changes in unpredictable ways. For example, early 90s, we get a pretty monumental shift. Flashy, more technically demanding guitar solos, along with makeup and hairspray in some cases, pretty abruptly exit popular rock music. The guitar definitely didn't die, but music just changes.

Evan Ball:
So, for a long time it kind of felt, at least to me, that technical guitar ability, for the most part, had peaked with that earlier generation of players, but then, a few years back, I came across Jason Richardson. Admittedly, I was a little late to the party, but I looked Jason up on YouTube, a little skeptical of the hype I'd heard. But I looked him up, first thing I clicked on was a song called Aviator by a band called Polyphia and Jason makes a guest appearance on the second half of the song. And all I can say is I was honestly blown away. I didn't know kids these days could do that. This young dude in his early twenties was ripping one of the craziest, most cleanly-played solos I've probably ever heard. So, shred is not dead. I know most listeners will be Jason Richardson fans, but just in case you haven't heard him yet, please look him up. Maybe check out the Aviator video.

Evan Ball:
In this interview, I try to figure out what it looks like when someone like Jason Richardson first learns how to play guitar. Is it just easy from the get-go? Is it instant and effortless shredding? He says, no. So, maybe it's not instant, but from what I could gather, compared to a normal human being, it was a remarkably fast process. He references a couple early videos of his playing. After the interview I looked them up on his Instagram. One is from his first year of playing, the other is from about two years later, and the transformation is amazing. But even in the first video, from his first year of playing, you can tell this kid's going to have some fast fingers.

Evan Ball:
Anyway, in the podcast, I endeavor to figure out why Jason is so good. We definitely get some insight on that, but it's still a bit mysterious. Perhaps he's an alien. We also talk about when he uses what pickup configurations on his Music Man signature model. We talk about the music and solos he's most proud of, what he's listening to these days, what he does for fun, and more.

Evan Ball:
Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Jason Richardson.

Evan Ball:
Jason Richardson, welcome to the podcast.

Jason R.:
Thank you. What's up?

Evan Ball:
All right. So one of my goals on this interview is to try to get to the bottom of how you got so good. I know you've done other Ernie Ball interviews so I know your dad played bass, you were around music early on. And you actually played drums first before pursuing guitar?

Jason R.:
Guitar was number four.

Evan Ball:
A number four? Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah, on the list, the progression of musical instruments that I tried.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
It went, piano first, when I was like a little kid, because actually I had a nun as a teacher. I think she was part of some group called The Singing Nuns, or something like that. Her name was Miss Daily. So that was like my first bout of trying to learn stuff.

Evan Ball:
If she could only hear the bands you've played in now.

Jason R.:
I haven't talked to her in a couple decades. I have no idea if she's even still around. She was pretty old at that point. And then, I think it might have been violin next. Or, it was either violin or drums. Those were both very close together. Violin didn't last. That was just fifth and sixth grade, and then drums.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Then guitar.

Evan Ball:
So I kind of want to get a timeline here. So, how old were you when you started playing guitar?

Jason R.:
I started taking guitar seriously when I was 12.

Evan Ball:
Twelve. Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah, Christmas, I got my first real electric guitar at Christmas when I was 12.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
So I was like 12 and a half technically. Around there.

Evan Ball:
So I always wonder what it looks like when someone like you starts playing guitar.

Jason R.:
I have a video of it.

Evan Ball:
Yeah? I'd love to see it.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It's pretty terrible.

Evan Ball:
I mean, how quickly did you break away from the pack? Is there like a rapid growth period right in the beginning?

Jason R.:
Well, I ... what made me want to start taking guitar seriously was Dream Theater, just to be straight up. It was the Dream Theater album, Train of Thought. I was playing drums at the time. That was my main focus, drums was my primary instrument. I dabbled on guitar, but I hadn't taken it seriously whatsoever.

Evan Ball:
You're like 11 or 12 here?

Jason R.:
Yeah. Probably 10 or 11, somewhere around there.

Evan Ball:
Wow, okay.

Jason R.:
And my dad and I were at Guitar Center and there was a video of Portnoy on in the drum section, and my dad asked, he was like, holy crap! What band does that dude play in? They told him, and this was 2003, I think was when that album came out. So that was the most recent album out at the time and he bought that and we started listening to it and I got obsessed with it and was like, I really need to be... I want to be able to do that, is literally what I told myself.

Jason R.:
So, I started practicing guitar a lot, and taking it a lot more seriously, and then eventually it got to the point where I think I was maybe 10, 11 months deep into taking it seriously, horrible technique, was forearm-picking, just couldn't get things anywhere near as clean as I wanted to, and my dad ... there was this guitar shop called Classic Acts in the area that I lived in, and my dad was friends with the owner, he befriended the owner over time and he always heard this crazy Yngwie shredding coming from the back room, like just sounded almost exactly like that, and then found out that they give lessons there and that guitar player we always heard, his name was Matt Mills, was a teacher there, so I started taking lessons with him barely even a year into playing.

Evan Ball:
So I think this is noteworthy. So, 12 years... you pretty much hit the ground running. So, instantly you set your sights on a John Petrucci solo when you're 12 years old.

Jason R.:
The end of This Dying Soul in particular. That's all. It's like a minute straight of just like sixteenth notes at 2-10.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. I mean, six months in, twelve months in, are you ... what's the big deal about this sweet picking, you know you just go, blululululululululu? I mean, was it that easy for you?

Jason R.:
No. It took a couple years for sure. Because I mean, a year fortunately... what I found out over time with me giving lessons on my own to other people was I lucked out when it comes to muscle memory, because, some people have come to me for lessons, they've been playing guitar for like five, sometimes twenty something years without any sort of “Proper instruction", or guidance, or whatever. So, their technique is drastically different from what mine would be. But they've been playing that way for so long, so that's just how their body knows how to play guitar.

Jason R.:
For me, all those bad habits are like hurdles that I would need to get over in order to perfect my technique, in order to be able to play those things better. I was only not even a year deep, I was only ten months into taking the instrument seriously before I learned those bad habits that I had. So it was a lot easier for me to break them.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
It wasn't like I'd been playing guitar for 10 years and picking a really dumb way that was causing a ceiling.

Evan Ball:
So you saved a lot of time actually getting a good teacher early on.

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm. Which was just right.

Evan Ball:
Ironing out your form.

Jason R.:
Yeah, right place, right time.

Evan Ball:
But you're working on Yngwie type stuff or john Petrucci type of stuff from the get go?

Jason R.:
Yeah, before I went and took lessons for him. I was already learning like Dream Theater in Children Bodom songs and all that kind of stuff.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
I was trying to at least, and doing a prop most likely a mediocre job. The video I was referencing earlier was me playing One. The solo from One by Metallica.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
And it is horrendous. So it is trash. I laughed so hard while watching.

Evan Ball:
Is it online anywhere?

Jason R.:
I put it on my Instagram.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It's up there.[crosstalk 00:07:57]As we...

Evan Ball:
We can link to it in the show notes.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
So how old were you there?

Jason R.:
I had it been like 12 or 13 years.

Evan Ball:
This is like first year of you even playing?

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah, that was like the first stuff I started learning. It was Metallica and all that.

Evan Ball:
Okay. So I'm sure you're putting a ton of time into this. I'm sure your practice time was pretty crazy. I would assume-

Jason R.:
a lot.

Evan Ball:
I would also assume that it's not you just playing a ton of guitar because it's fun. Are you the kind of person who has a goal and then just fixates on it?

Jason R.:
Uh, yeah, I could. Yeah, I think that'd be fair to say.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Yeah, that'd be pretty fair to say.

Evan Ball:
So was that first goal? Maybe that that getting energy solo?

Jason R.:
Yeah, getting the metal stuff down.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Yeah. Pretty much anything that could be considered like, shred.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Really really fast, like alternate picking runs all arpeggios. And being able to do all of that as clean as possible. That was like, I feel like that was my first goal.

Evan Ball:
So your dad being a musician? Does he recognize Oh, man, my son's got something?

Jason R.:
I think so.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
I hope so. Yeah, I feel like he does.

Evan Ball:
I've seen that video; that's an Ernie Ball video of you with a Rubik's Cube. And I think there's a... There you go, its a tatoo. Maybe there's a parallel there. Maybe it's a personality type. I feel like if I've probably played with a Rubik's Cube maybe for 15 minutes and I-

Jason R.:
Well, my patterns.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. But I quickly say this is impossible, this is just a blob of colors is not going to happen. Kind of the same way I look at a Petrucci solo and say I'm never gonna play that. I could start-

Jason R.:
Not with that attitude.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, so maybe it is attitude?

Jason R.:
Yeah. Well, I mean, there definitely is a similarity between the two in away because they're all pattern based, especially with the really fast battle stuff, you'd learn a certain amount of arpeggios and all their inversions. And the more you work with it, the more you wrap your head around it, and are able to come up with weird stuff on the spot based off of those, and Rubik's cube in the same way is it's all it's all visual, just like recognizing repeating themes.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
In a way. Because there's only certain, even though there's thousands and millions of ways to solve the cube because it's all different every single time, to an extent there's a finite number of ways that they can be solved but it's like an arrangement of the colors and where they are, and you know what to do next, based off that. And the more you do it, the more you recognize repeating patterns and the easier and faster you get at it.

Evan Ball:
But the fact that you had the tenacity to actually hunt that down and figure it out probably says something about you.

Jason R.:
Yeah, I feel like it. Now I have ones that go from two by two like smaller than normal one all the way up to seven by seven, which is 49 squares on each side. It takes me a half hour from around there. 20 30 minutes.

Evan Ball:
How do you split up your time? That seems pretty time consuming. Obviously, you're playing guitar a lot.

Jason R.:
I don't really mess with the Cubes that much anymore.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
I just did one the other day just because my girlfriend had some of her friends over, or while I was gone and one of her friends mess the whole thing up. So I was like, ah, sick.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah, now I'll do it again. It gives me excuse to do it again. I tell her that whenever she has her friends over while I am gone and just if they want to mess with cubes, fuck them all up, I don't care. All that gives me an excuse to do them. When I get home.

Evan Ball:
You grew up in an era where the guitar solo was almost non existent in popular music. And if there were solos they were pretty simple as far as popular music goes.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
So I would think-

Jason R.:
I think so.

Evan Ball:
that most people your age who are learning guitar aren't necessarily striving for high proficiency shredding. I know I've heard you say your dad taught you a Blink-182 ref early on.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
But you know, then you be you became Jason Richardson. So clearly-

Jason R.:
I'm still him then too, its been my name my whole life.

Evan Ball:
But you didn't go the blank route.

Jason R.:
Now I could still play that song.

Evan Ball:
I'm sure you can.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
If they ever need a guitar player? I would say yes.

Evan Ball:
Alright. So basically, if I don't know if you're listening to radio stuff, but you must have also been listening to I don't know, maybe did you go back to 80s and 90s when there's more technically demanding solos or was there current music that you found that where ripping guitar was still. alive?

Jason R.:
Ah, well, I was um, well, obviously, you know that that Dream Theater album was the one that really made me start paying attention[crosstalk 00:12:14]-

Evan Ball:
Right.

Jason R.:
To more of that stuff and that had just come out. I guess stuff that you would put on the radio. I never really listened to the radio ever. I would try and find the more obscure metal kind of stuff like Children of Bodom and then eventually I found out about Yngwie, Paul Gilbert, Nevermore, Jeff Loomis.

Evan Ball:
So this is after you start playing that you start seeking out this kind of guitar playing in music?

Jason R.:
Yes. Yeah. Because there was that Dream Theater album that made me realize I needed to start, I want to be able to write my own songs. And then the songs I did start learning though, like were more simple at first, things like Metallica; that was pretty much what I did first was Metallica. I got three or four their tab books and started trying to learn like all of it. It was pretty much anything from like Ride the Lightning and Black Album. It was like all this stuff that I started learning from them. But it felt like that was a pretty good starting point for anyone who's trying to learn that kind of stuff because it's hard, but it's not by any means the most complicated stuff out there, like Dream Theater, for example, like Metallica; is definitely a way better starting point for someone that's trying to learn that style of playing. And it helps build chops and stuff like all that to get like master puppets, has to down picked the whole time. So that building your endurance and stamina to be able to play anything like that.

Evan Ball:
How about, let's say 14 year old Jason Richardson, had you met that goal at that point to play that, wait, what was the song in the Dream Theater album?

Jason R.:
This Dying Soul.

Evan Ball:
Okay. And that lasts two or three minutes and it's a solo, right?

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Are you picking out a certain part of that?

Jason R.:
I had found semi accurate tabs. And I actually, I couldn't even start to learn that whole song until I was almost 15 because it's a seven string song.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
And that was when I got my first Music Man was right before I turned 15. I decided I wanted one when I was 13. And then for a birthday, I asked all my friends just give me money. I didn't ask for anything else. I was like, just give me money. So I can get a good chunk started. So I'd give it to my parents and just be like, all right, this is the start. I got three or $400 total for my birthday, or something like that, somewhere around that. And then that was like a motivating start for a 13 year old. I would be like, all right, I gotta save up 1700 bucks over the course of this next year to get this guitar.

Evan Ball:
And you needed that seven string to complete your vision.

Jason R.:
Yeah, to play that song and two more frets.

Evan Ball:
And two more frets all right?

Jason R.:
Yeah, so I needed seven strings and 24 frets and play that song, especially that in solo in particular, because it used the entire range of the whole guitar.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
So by-

Evan Ball:
So could I play it?

Jason R.:
So by that point, by almost 15, my chops were at the point where Yes, I could adequately I could learn that song, and sit played decently well.

Evan Ball:
All right.

Jason R.:
There's a video online, we playing it to around that same time.[crosstalk 00:15:00] Like, oh, a little bit.

Evan Ball:
So we will find that, we will link back to that too.

Jason R.:
Yeah, a little bit after I got the guitar. I think that's another one that I put up on my Instagram A while ago as well.

Evan Ball:
That is fascinating to me. Okay, so about three years in, you could play it.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
You could probably play it better today, but you could get there.

Jason R.:
I don't know.

Evan Ball:
Really? All right.

Jason R.:
That was way more into practicing then.

Evan Ball:
So that's your big growth spurt is those first three years.

Jason R.:
Yeah. But that's all due to the muscle memory thing that I was talking about where I lucked out, I had only had 10 to 11 months of playing guitar improperly with bad technique like forearm picking. Weird left hand stuff like practicing on my right leg as opposed to like classical position, things like that. All that got thwarted right away and my teacher showed me all those techniques that I'm still using today. Still using all those same techniques that he showed me like barely a year into my playing.

Evan Ball:
Okay. So you definitely be a proponent of finding an instructor pretty early on. Someone who knows what they ate doing.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It definitely helps. That's for sure. The other thing that I found to this teachers is you got to make sure that you're learning. They're showing you what you want to learn. Not just like someone who's just like, all right, cool, We're going to learn some Green Day songs and pentatonic scales. And then that's not what they actually want to do at all.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Because probably the way to get good is to be motivated, and you're not going to be motivated playing stuff you don't want to learn.

Jason R.:
Yeah. Exactly. Like if some kid comes in, and he's like me for example, and I want to learn like Children Bodom and Dream Theater, but if there's just some guy there that doesn't potentially even have that skill to be able to teach that kind of stuff, but his parents, the kid's parents are making go, and he just is doing scales and songs he doesn't want to learn, that's not motivating at all.

Evan Ball:
So you kind of lucked out finding the guy that you did?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm. Does another just like right place right time kind of thing.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
But you definitely have to make sure your teacher is capable of teaching you what you want to learn in the long run. And you're not just going to whoever.

Evan Ball:
Okay, so you saved up enough money to get a John Petrucci model?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm.

Evan Ball:
And that was your favorite guitar for a long time. What's your favorite guitar now?

Jason R.:
Mine? The Jason Richardson Ernie Ball Cutlass.

Evan Ball:
Nice.

Jason R.:
I'm not biased one bit.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Great guitar. Very cool guitar.

Jason R.:
I'd say Majesty is Second.

Evan Ball:
Okay. Majesty would be number two.

Jason R.:
Now.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
It was number one.

Evan Ball:
At this point. Of course it was number one. Yeah. So on your guitar, or maybe any guitar, where we would use which pickups? On your guitar, you have two humbuckers. What kind of riffs or what kind of parts would you use, say on the neck pick up in what would warrant using the bridge pickup for example?

Jason R.:
Um, I pretty much only use switch to the neck pickup when I'm doing like the really, fast ready stuff. Really fast alternate picking.

Evan Ball:
Which happens a lot.

Jason R.:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
Yes.

Jason R.:
Yes it can. It's been known to happen. But other than that, I've always found like, if you're, if you're trying to do something more riffy on the neck pickup, it doesn't translate anywhere near as well. It's almost like more flabby and like less defined because the pickup is more towards the middle of the strings, so it has less brightness and attack to it for riffing and things like that. So that's why I always switch to the bridge pickup when I'm doing the really heavy down picking or any riffs or things like that that's closer to the bridge. So it's got a more tenny kind of like high end attack sound to it.

Evan Ball:
Is as simple as saying you do your rhythm stuff on the bridge and your leads on the neck?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm. For the most part, I would say 80% or 70 to 80% of my leads are on the neck pickup.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Everything like that is subjective because sometimes if you want to hit a bend, like a certain way, and get harmonic overtone to it, that almost has to be on the bridge on the bridge pickup.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
In order to achieve that.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
You can do that sometimes on the neck pickup, but that would depend on your tone. And that finger tone is obviously a really big part of that as well the way your actual hands sound. But typically, I always tend to go to the neck pickup for the really fast shreddy lead stuff.

Evan Ball:
And you can split the coils on your guitar, too.

Jason R.:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
You do that often?

Jason R.:
For clean parts. Yes.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah, that's what I essentially just wanted a streamlined a way to get to that coil tapped sound that single coil bright, shimmery sound for cleans. And for in my songs, there's a couple parts where I really wanted to be on that configuration, but with how fast everything is going by and the song, I just didn't have enough time in a live element to put the top switch in the middle, so that way is using both magnetic and PO and then switch the bottom onto the middle so that way it knows to go to coil tap and then hit the tone knob up to activate the coil tap. Being able to have that much configuration is awesome. But in a live element for my song The way that I needed to play it,q I just didn't have enough time to switch all those things. So on mine we just made it go right to a coil tap as soon as you put the switch in the middle.

Evan Ball:
So middle position is-

Jason R.:
coil tap.

Evan Ball:
Is it the outside or the inside?

Jason R.:
Yeah. I'm pretty positive is the out too.

Evan Ball:
So that's your clean tone and right in the middle.

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
And then with mine, the bridge pick or the toner when you push it up, then it's full single coil. So if it would be all if the switch was down it would be only the bottom coil and then when the switch is up, it'd be only the top coil. So it kind of switches back and forth between a really thick humbucker guitar, and then like what you'd expect to get out of like a strap or something like that. It can switch back and forth.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Nice. All right, we got a lot more to talk about. But first this:

Speaker 1:
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Evan Ball:
All right I want to go back to that timeline real quick. So you actually left high school to play guitar with all shall perish was not finishing school hard on your parents or did they understand that you were fulfilling your destiny as a guitar deity?

Jason R.:
I feel like it was harder for my mom than my dad because my dad's a musician. So he definitely he got it. He flew out with me to California for the first All Shall Perish practices and also I was only 17 at the time, it wasn't even a technically illegal adult yet. I couldn't even drink in Canada on first time I went up there. But I definitely think I was supposed to finish because the bass player in the band actually was a math tutor off tour.

Evan Ball:
Oh. Okay.

Jason R.:
So like as much as an alcoholic as he was he actually had some gears turning up their and things like that. So he was supposed to school me or whatever while we were on the road. We tried it a couple times and just in a van and stuff like that. We literally tried once and I was just like, I don't care.

Evan Ball:
If you had that pretexts going into it probably made your family for the better.

Jason R.:
Yeah, I made it. It made them ex-

Evan Ball:
There's a math tutor in the band.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It made them let me do it. But we were supposed to be doing stuff the whole time. And then like I was gone for such a long period time. When I finally did come back before the school year is over. They weren't gonna let me back into my high school for whatever reason. But I mean now... Or another thing to actually bring up is I did summer programs at Berklee College of Music.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Before I left high school, I did sophomore year in summer of my junior year, and then I dropped out February of my senior year.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
So I had done everything I'd taken all the tests and everything I needed to. I just didn't sit in a classroom for like four or five more months that's pretty much it.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Or else I got my GED. Still don't have it. Now it's kind of just like a bragging point for me now.

Evan Ball:
To not have it?

Jason R.:
Yeah. To not have it. Hey, Dave Grohl doesn't have one either, so I can't say I'll never get one because I think Alexi like Whoa, if I remember don't, this could be incorrect, but I remember hearing that he dropped out of high school to join the Children Bodom guitar player, and then got his GED like in his 30s, and I'm only 28.

Evan Ball:
So plenty of time.

Jason R.:
Yeah. So I can't say never, but it's not a likely thing. I'd rather play video games or write music.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Or practice.

Evan Ball:
Speaking of that. Did you have much time for homework in high school when you're...? Yeah.

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm. I mean, I did. I was an all right student. I'd say I'd get like B's and C's. Yeah.

Evan Ball:
How much were you pretty much plugging into the guitar when at home though?

Jason R.:
Yeah. I would come home and just learn Dream Theater songs.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Not even kidding. I knew at one point, I knew how to play all the Changes Seasons front to back, which is like a 22 minutes song or something like that, separated into five sections, so I told myself I was like, all right, over the course of this week I'd come home from school and learn the first part next day, I'm going to practice the first part learn the second part and then so on and so forth throughout the whole week till eventually I had the whole song in there and then that next week, I'd just come home from school and play the whole song.

Evan Ball:
And so getting into All Shall Perish, that was a... you submitted a video, right?

Jason R.:
Yep.

Evan Ball:
Did they solicit entries basically on learning something?

Jason R.:
This was back when MySpace was still the thing,

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Before everything else took over. And I think they posted like a bolton or something on their on their MySpace or something like an ad for new lead guitar player.

Evan Ball:
And it was a band you listened to?

Jason R.:
Yeah. It was a band that... the band that I was in at the time was called Gals Hill. Actually, then the bass player of that band went on to play. He plays bass for a Veil of Maya now, and they're another international touring act that is out all the time, and he's been with them for like, eight years now. We were all in a band together. And then one day of practice, the other guitar player of the band was like, hey, or I saw it All Shall Perish was looking for a new lead guitar player, you sent him a video, fuck it. And then they hit me back in 12 hours.

Evan Ball:
Right.

Jason R.:
I had, I had an email back already from like, we had sent it that night, and then I already had an email in my inbox, like on my way to school the next morning,

Evan Ball:
You're in they wanted you.

Jason R.:
Yeah. Pretty much.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
It literally was not even a day; film the videos; my dad helped me film, we send them to them, and then they called me that next night.

Evan Ball:
Is that is that video online?

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Did I already ask about that one?

Jason R.:
That one is too, I didn't put that one up.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
It was on a private link that only they could view, because my dad knows computers and all that kind of stuff. So he made like a private link for them to watch the videos because I didn't want them to be on the internet because it was just for them to see.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Then I could play the songs. But eventually someone found them and just put them on YouTube.

Evan Ball:
Okay, so that's five years into your guitar playing?

Jason R.:
At taking it seriously at least.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Yeah. 12 was when I really started focusing on it. I had maybe just messed around before, some GCD, maybe that Blink-182 song. But that's pretty much it. I didn't start really focusing on the instrument until that Christmas when I got one.

Evan Ball:
How did you start getting notice? Or how did you start getting on the map as a guitar player? Was it from a certain band? Or was it from personal videos you're putting out online?

Jason R.:
I definitely think it started with All Shall Perish, for sure that definitely got people noticing, because they were like, Who's this kid playing all these crazy songs?

Evan Ball:
How much older were they?

Jason R.:
They were probably I think in their early 30s, somewhere around there that time.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Definitely all like 30s maybe one or two of them might have been late 20s I think at that time.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Because this was 11... 10 holy shit! 11 years ago now. Yeah, that was 11 years ago now. So if I'm remembering not to insult any of the other guys, I think it was everyone was either in their 30s or late 20s at least 10 years older than me.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Yeah. At least. I'm kind of back in that same scenario now.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
With All The Remains. But that's fine.

Evan Ball:
All right. So you're getting noticed in that band? Are you doing social media stuff putting out videos?

Jason R.:
Well, I had a YouTube that I ended up losing the account for, or I mean the password for, so that one's floating around there somewhere my old YouTube channel with couple of videos on there.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
But after I was only with them for like 10 months, I think, I wasn't even with them a year. I didn't write anything with them. We just did a bunch of tours and then I ended up joining Born of Osiris. I feel like that's where period things with like Facebook and stuff like that, where I'd go and check my friend requests and all of a sudden there'd be 200 something friend requests or something like that.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Now from doing things with them, and that's when things started really pop off once I started doing more stuff important with Born of Osiris because they were a younger band with more, I'd say hype at that time.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Then we wrote an album together, music videos, that's where other social media started to really get more popular, like with Twitter and Instagram and all of that stuff, and then it just kind of just kept growing from there. They kicked me out and then I joined Chelsea Grin.

Evan Ball:
Why did they kick you out? Can we talk about that?

Jason R.:
Because I would bitch about the amount of drugs that they would do.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Jason R.:
And the amount of drinking, trying to smoke cigarettes inside the van and shit like that.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Well, let's keep going with the band timeline. So then, where do you go from there? Chelsea Grin.

Jason R.:
Yeah. So when All Shall Perish, Born of Osiris for a couple of years, we did one album and then Chelsea Grin after that, and I was with them for almost four years. And we did one EP and one album together and then once I quit, then we quit and we split amicably. It was just like, that wasn't the outlet, or the appropriate outlet for what I wanted to write if that makes sense. Because they're way more of a... they'd already had like two or three albums out before I joined the band. So they had a fan base that knew them for a specific sound, you know what I mean? And so it's not a smart business decision for me to come in and just write like, I don't want to say Born with Cyrus type stuff but like just more techie kind of like complicated more intricate things because Chelsea Grin's fan base is super heavy, breakdowny sludgy almost kind of stuff.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
And it just got to the point where I just didn't want to write, I just couldn't write stuff like that anymore. I need the outlet that would let me do literally whatever I want. And that's when I ended up realizing I needed to quit them and just pursue my own thing.

Evan Ball:
Work on your solo material?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm. And that's when stuff and really started like exponentially blowing up for me.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. So you came out with a few solos. I mean, sorry, singles. And then you have your solo album, which is not I but one Roman numeral one?

Jason R.:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
Right. Okay.

Jason R.:
It could go either way.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah. But I call it one.

Evan Ball:
Okay. All right. And then from there... no, So recently, then you joined-

Jason R.:
All the remains.

Evan Ball:
All the remains all the remains?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah. That was the beginning of the year technically.

Evan Ball:
Okay.So it's bookended with All Shall Perish, all the remains?

Jason R.:
Yeah. Kind of. Yes. Three word band names, and Starting with all. I'd played shows with them, like 10 11 years ago when I was in All Shall Perish.

Evan Ball:
Oh. Wow! How cool!

Jason R.:
We'd played a couple shows together. Yeah.

Evan Ball:
So clearly, you've you've played with various heavy bands for audience that hasn't stayed current with the metal scene? Can you help us untangle the metal sub genres like def core Medicare?

Jason R.:
No. I hate-

Evan Ball:
No guidance there?

Jason R.:
I barely ever pay attention to that guy. People always bring it up. And I'm just like, That's silly. It's not it's really not necessary. It's just like, I know that death core means it's like breakdowns and that meaning you've put your finger on the first fret and you play a tritone and you make a really mad face, and you just like sometimes it's like 15 quarter notes before you hit the next chug and say, john! John! John! I don't know.

Evan Ball:
Okay, so that's the deathcore?

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Elemental metal core would be more riffy.

Evan Ball:
Okay

Jason R.:
I guess in a way it kind of all remains like the band that I'm in now, which they help create that sound in my opinion, in the mid 2000s.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
There's like them Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, like all of those bands were getting really, really popular all right around the same time, like back in the early or mid to late 2000s. So I definitely think all that remains help make that sound really popular-

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
And more of like a accessible-

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Kind of genre because they had to clean like, there's all the singing choruses. It's not just screaming the whole time. All those bands, they're all-

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Singing choruses that makes it a lot less off-putting for someone that doesn't use "Oh, I can't even understand what you're saying. Who's yelling all the time?" You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
That's what a lot of people think. But even I'm honestly kind of getting to that point. Almost like I don't even listen to metal anymore.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Jason R.:
I don't. I wasn't like filming scores and pop music.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Jason R.:
Yeah. On my way over here. I was listening to Taylor Swift's new album.

Evan Ball:
That's all been playing in my minivan actually.

Jason R.:
Yeah. Hey, which strings do you use?

Evan Ball:
D'Addario.

Jason R.:
Damn! I think we've brought the wrong guy in here.

Speaker 4:
Again?

Jason R.:
No. I use them Dunlop actually.

Evan Ball:
Okay. I was going to say[crosstalk 00:32:02].

Jason R.:
No, I'm kidding. I use Ernie Ball; Primarily the Cobalts?

Evan Ball:
Cobalts. Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah, gauge wise, for a drop A, which is just standard tuning with the low string, drop the whole step? Use 10 to 56 for that, and then step down from that drop G which would be GEDGECFAD. I Use one gauge higher. 11 to 58.

Evan Ball:
Okay. And then Cobalts?

Jason R.:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Yeah. I pretty much tend to use Cobalts. I'll use paradigms every now and then, it just depends on what I have. Because I don't like that well order, or any balls so sick that like you order a ton of strings and you just like, you don't use all of them. So sometimes I don't even have to place an order for like the next tour or something like that. If I still have a ton of string.

Evan Ball:
Anything that pushes you towards the Cobalts?

Jason R.:
They sound really, really, really good. I don't know if I can necessarily put my finger on exactly on what that is. But there's a chart on the back of the packs that have like a spectrum of frequency range analysis[crosstalk 00:33:01], more of that. And you can definitely see it for sure. Compared to other ones. The paradigms are sick as well, because they're more natural just like normal slinky feelings, but you you can tell that they're like good, [crosstalk 00:33:11]bend the crap out of them. And they're, they're all worried. Yeah, they're always in tune and they just go right back.

Evan Ball:
What's your touring schedule right now and what's next for writing and recording?

Jason R.:
Touring schedule has been chaotic this year. I haven't had longer than like a week to two weeks off in between everything. And it's definitely gets busy as good but break time and like sanity and all that stuff is also very cool.

Evan Ball:
So all that remains, right now is What you're doing?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It's been primarily all that remains pretty much the whole year. But then I had John, Dream Theater hit me up to for me and Luke, my solo stuff to come on tour with them in Europe.

Evan Ball:
Luke is your drummer?

Jason R.:
Yeah. Luke Holland.

Evan Ball:
Pretty much you two guys, Right?

Jason R.:
Yeah. That's it, just us two and then... So essentially, I'll write, the majority of the stuff, and then he'll take all the drum parts and make them way cooler and turn them into his own thing. But there have also been a couple songs too, and we're going to try and do this-

Evan Ball:
Oh you programmed drums when you're writing it?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm.

Evan Ball:
And then you turned that over to him and then he'll do what he wants with it?

Jason R.:
Yeah. and then he makes it like a lot cooler essentially. So I'll put like the meat and bones there and then he'll shape it into his own thing. But there have been a couple songs where it started from a drumbeat that he gave me so it's like he would give me like a groove of pattern or beat or something like that. And then that essentially sparks the idea for that song. We're gonna try and do that a lot more on this next one too. Since I'm gone all the time, I haven't been able to really like be anywhere near as efficient as I want to with writing for this one especially within the past year, with having such minimal downtime like you want that like you get home you like alright cool I'm just going to chill, I am just going to decompress for like a few days have been going nonstop for like a month if not longer sometimes. It's like I just want to do nothing for like a few days.

Jason R.:
And then with my schedule it's the way it's been by the time that that few day period is over with, it's already time for me to start getting ready to leave and go out again. So I'd barely had any time to write at all. Like right now for example, I'm finally back into like, home like chill time is like almost over with, and then I leave again in two days.

Evan Ball:
Will this new album be called two?[crosstalk 00:35:13]

Jason R.:
Possibly. Probably most likely.

Evan Ball:
I don't want to spoil anything.

Jason R.:
Or it might be an EP, it all depends on how much material I can get written within like... Because we want to get something out sooner rather than later. So it's already been like three years since the last one came out. We put one song out since the album Tendonitis, that came out last year. But I want to get more stuff out sooner than later. So if I can get like five or six more songs completely finished that are all really really sick songs. We might just do that, like a shorter, like a decent length EP, as opposed to like a full blown hour long album or something like that.

Evan Ball:
Okay, what's the best and worst part of your job besides interviews for podcasts?

Jason R.:
Best and the worst part? Um, well, the best part is definitely playing the shows. I feel like getting to see people's reaction and share that with them, because they're that stoked, and you get to go up there and play your instrument, which is awesome. And getting to see all these crazy places that I never would have ever thought I'd ever seen before.

Evan Ball:
Do you get time to do a little sightseeing?

Jason R.:
Sometimes. Yeah. It depends. But whenever I do have the opportunity, especially if it's a place I haven't been before, like on that Dream Theater tour that we just did, for example, we went to Athens and Malta. Have you ever even heard of Malta?

Evan Ball:
Yeah, but I haven't been there.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It's just its own like thing in the Mediterranean, it's just an island. So we played there, we went to Bulgaria. It's definitely cool to be able to go all these corners of the earth, and then-

Evan Ball:
So much history in these places if you can get out there and see it.

Jason R.:
Yeah, that's why like, at Athens, we went to the Acropolis.

Evan Ball:
And Athens was the best.

Jason R.:
Yeah, that was insane. Just being able to go there look around and be like holy shit, stuff went down here. Like a lot of stuff. And actually funny story about that show in particular. That day, the airline, Vueling , however you say it, I don't care. They suck. They lost all of our bags on the flight to that show. Seven check bags.

Evan Ball:
Any instruments?

Jason R.:
Yes, all of them. I had one guitar case, one of the triple tall cases yhat holds three guitars, they lost that they lost all the pelicans. They really lost everything that we checked. I hit john up. I was like, "Yo, airline lost all of my stuff. Can I borrow guitar?" He's like, "Yeah, man, no problem." And then he's like, "I have an assfix if you need that, too." And then Animals as Leaders, which is another one of our friends bands, they were playing that show as well. So we had enough gear and homies and everyone to pull the show off, if nothing ended up coming.

Jason R.:
So I was like fuming, like so mad. Like, there's the situation that and I was like, I'm going to go to the Acropolis by myself just like decompress, see some cool stuff, and then, John was texting me like "Hey, you heard anything yet?" I was like, "Nope, still nothing." And then I get to the foot of the Acropolis right before I got to go in and the airline calls me and told me that they have everything, and it'll be there in like, a couple hours.

Evan Ball:
So that you can enjoy your scenery now?

Jason R.:
Yeah. And john was like Greek god, intervention. And then everything showed up 15 minutes before doors opened headed for the show of that night.

Evan Ball:
Would you have played a majesty if the stuff didn't come through?

Jason R.:
Yes. I think I did it one night, or for one song every night anyway. Because of tuning changes.

Evan Ball:
Do you have goals now for your guitar playing? Or is it more about writing?

Jason R.:
I would like to be a lot better at improv.

Evan Ball:
Improv? Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah. That's nothing I'd ever really like focused on, I was always more focused on learning songs and pieces, and practicing them and getting down like Pat. Not so much just like... because I never really been a big blues fan, or anything like that, and that's very much heavily improvisation based, like almost the whole thing. That just never really piqued my interest, like the sound of it, or some stuff.

Jason R.:
I respect it, obviously. But it's nothing that I ever just sit down and just listen to. So I kind of never really focused on the whole getting really good at improvisation. Anytime I do it. People tell me I do a good job, and it's fine, but I know in my head I'm comparing it to like my pre written stuff that I know like, step by step and it's like, that's what people I feel like, are expecting from me when I go to do improvisation. Are these really intricate? like crazy solo?

Evan Ball:
Right those solos on the spot?

Jason R.:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So but that would be nice to be able to get to that point. So I guess that's a goal for myself right now is to be able to-

Evan Ball:
How do you practice that?

Jason R.:
I don't.

Evan Ball:
Okay. It's coming out.

Jason R.:
Yeah, I need to work on it a lot more.

Evan Ball:
Right. Let's get off the guitar path for a moment. Sometimes fans like to learn some random factoids, okay. any hobbies, books, TV shows that you're into?

Jason R.:
Feel like hobbies would definitely be... I like video games a lot.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Do you have the same drive to master video game as you do with the guitar?

Jason R.:
No, definitely not. I like hoarding tons of them. But I'm not a completionist when it comes to like hundred percent in a game. I've too many of them to do that. I like playing it more for like the campaign. And like the actual like storyline of a game, I can't just like go online and just play the same multiplayer rounds, like over and over again, the games like Fortnite, or Call of Duty or something that. There's so many people that that's the only game that they play, like literally the only thing so you just spawn and then you die. And it takes two three weeks of that in order to even just like have fun during one match, because you have to build up to being able to even keep up with these players where that's the only games that they play.

Jason R.:
So I pretty much just like I'll go... right now I'm playing Gears of War Five, that just came out. And that's, primarily what I've been doing since I got back home a few days ago. And there was another game that also just came out called Man of Medan, which is essentially just as... you're essentially playing a movie. That's what it is. It's very decision based and that affects the outcome. So there's multiple different outcomes that could all happen so I could go back and play it again and I would get a completely different scenario throughout the whole game. But like the way everything is played too it's literally like all really cinematic like angles, you're not just like running around completely randomly but you have full control over the character you can walk around pick stuff up, look at it read notes, and clues and stuff like that. But all the angles of it make it look like a movie.

Evan Ball:
I think Dotkom was the last video game I played. So this is good stuff.

Jason R.:
Yeah. It has evolved a little bit since then.

Evan Ball:
Any TV shows?

Jason R.:
Yeah, I just started watching that righteous gemstones one. It's so good.

Evan Ball:
I love that.

Jason R.:
It's so good. Adam divine and Danny McBride is like a ridiculously solid combo.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Their hobbies are-

Jason R.:
We talked about the Rubik's cubes, Those are fun.

Evan Ball:
Do you have a dog?

Jason R.:
I do have a dog. I have a pug. He's awesome. Dude is his name, D-0-0-D. Most people that actually follow me online they definitely know about him for sure. I've shirts with him on it is essentially the video game Doom, do you remember that game?

Evan Ball:
I don't.

Jason R.:
That was like one of their original first person shooters back in the early 90s, like DOS operating system. I remember playing that game when I was like five or six on my dad's computer. My mom would get mad at my dad for letting me do it and he's like, "He's like five. He doesn't know what he's doing. He doesn't know they're demons from hell chill out." Pretty much. So I made a shirt with my dog on it.

Jason R.:
Essentially I had the idea. And then my friend is really good at Photoshop is actually guitar player from Polyphia, Tim, and he was able to Photoshop d00d into the Doom video game artwork, and then just make it say d00d with the crazy like Doom font instead of Doom.

Evan Ball:
So nice.

Jason R.:
That's his shirt.

Evan Ball:
Can you recommend three albums that were either influential for you? Or just three albums you think people should know know about?

Jason R.:
Three albums influential for me. All right. I'm trying to I'll do ones that may be like really want to start playing guitar back when I was 12.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, I think we heard about one of them.

Jason R.:
Yeah, so Dream Theater Train of Though, obviously. I think the other one that really made me want to start doing this stuff was Children of Bodom Follow the Reaper, The Blue One, and then I'll have to say Reflies it'd be Lamb of God, Ash to the Lake. So those three albums when it comes to guitar playing really did a ton for me. I pretty much learned every song on all three of those albums.

Evan Ball:
Nice. Cool, good to know. Do you have a song or solo you're most proud of?

Jason R.:
Those questions are always so hard.

Evan Ball:
what about the aviator solo? does that stand out to you?

Jason R.:
Yeah, that's definitely a sick one. I don't know why it doesn't just stand out immediately to me as one of my favorites, but it's definitely awesome. Like, I love that solo. Damn, I wrote that one of five years ago now too. I think that song came out in like 2014, that's when we did the music video for that one with the Polyphia guys. If I would have... Can I do like three?

Evan Ball:
Of course.

Jason R.:
Yeah, I'll do like three. That'll be easier to just pick, like this one's my favorite.

Evan Ball:
It might stand out.

Jason R.:
Yeah. If Aviator is definitely one of them, probably if I had to pick a second one, maybe even the newest one that I did with them Off Nasty, I did another song with them on their most recent album that's out, New Levels New Devils, And that's the first song on there. I did another solo, I like that one a lot.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
And third, possibly, I mean, I love everything that's on my album, but now that I'm actually kind of thinking hard about it, it might have to be Behold, off of the Born of Osiris album that I did. It was the last song on that The Discovery album that I did.

Evan Ball:
So the album is discovery?

Jason R.:
It's the last song on that album. Those last two tracks are the only ones that I wrote 100% of Mike's vocals. And I wrote the initial version of that song when I was still in high school. So that is essentially just me taking a song I wrote in high school and expanding upon it more, when it came time to put it on that CD. Same with the Follow The Signs Solo, as well, which is another really popular solo from that album. I wrote that the very first version of that solo I think, when I was 15.

Evan Ball:
Anything in particular, you want the audience to check out or know about? Do you have a lesson program?

Jason R.:
Life stuff on my site, just jasonrichardsonmusic.com. There's no videos or anything, but it's all a bunch of stuff written out a bunch of exercises like string skipping ones, scale ones; I have a scale one that essentially I think it's eight different types of scales, which obviously, there's way more different types of scales, but those are the main ones I can think of off top of my head, that would probably be beneficial to someone that has never really gone out of their way to really try and learn a bunch. And then each one of those has like accompanying exercises to that scale. There's like three different exercises for each one along with the fingering of the scale.

Evan Ball:
Cool.[crosstalk 00:45:48] So it kind of your site?

Jason R.:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
How much does it cost?

Jason R.:
It's like 1250 for that one in particular. They're all 1250 individually, I think there are four of them out there. There's the secret of the sweep, which is an arpeggio one, that scale one, I have a string skipping one, and then I have a second sweeping one. But there's a bundle online, where you can get all of them for cheaper than buying them separately.

Evan Ball:
So what would 12 year old Jason Richardson say if he could look forward in time and see where you are today?

Jason R.:
He'd probably die from a heart attack. Yeah. Or just be like, no, punch the person in the face because there's so mean, you know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
And teasing you with that that dream?

Jason R.:
Yeah, exactly. That's pretty much it. I can't really think of any other... because I think about that every now and then. It's like, it's weird to kind of like... You have to always check yourself and put everything in perspective, because it's just like, this is what you've been working for technically, your whole life now, and it's like happening. So it's like-

Evan Ball:
You were saving up for John Petrucci signature model?

Jason R.:
Mm-hmm. Now I have like-

Evan Ball:
You are your own music man signature model?

Jason R.:
Yeah. And I have like, 12, if not more of John's. Something like that.

Evan Ball:
That's awesome.

Jason R.:
Yeah, life's weird, that's all I say about that life is a strange ride.

Evan Ball:
Jason Richardson. Thank for being on the podcast.

Jason R.:
Evan ball. Thanks for being on the podcast.

Evan Ball:
You are welcome.

Speaker 1:
Thanks for tuning in to Striking a Chord, a podcast presented by Ernie Ball. If you enjoyed it, we'd love a kind review on iTunes or your favorite podcast app. If you'd like to suggest featured guest email strikingachord@ernieball.com.

Jason R.:
You are really close to just talking like this.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Jason R.:
Like this, maybe a little extra spit in your mouth.

Evan Ball:
It's like...

Jason R.:
and that too.

Evan Ball:
A-S-M-R, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

Speaker 4:
I will say we are not on Chalkman's so sounds on the table [inaudible 00:48:01]. Is your phone off?

Evan Ball:
It is on silent. I'll put it in my pocket, so it doesn't vibrate into the mic.

Speaker 4:
Okay, you quote[crosstalk 00:48:10] we're speeding.

Evan Ball:
Ready? Okay. Jason Richardson. Welcome to the podcast.

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