Jamie Burke is a rock star waiting to happen. His charisma, his gracious presence, and his (sorry to compare, but) Johnny Depp-ish looks, have him traveling in all the right circles, all of which circle back to catch him when he plays out. The crowd that caught his new act Delilah at the Bowery Electric a couple weeks ago was simply delicious. With more hot girls than a George Michael video and the hipsters/rockers, movers and shakers who follow such gals and the downtown rock scene, Delilah seems poised for stardom.
Jamie’s new band seems tighter and in possession of more real material than his previous go, Bloody Social. Bloody Social was the go-to act when a joint wanted that looks-like-a-rock-band-and- their-groupies-in-an-MTV video crowd. Jamie has been romantically linked to Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Lindsay Lohan, Courtney Love, May Anderson and a slew of others. I’m not going to tell you any more about his love life, as he doesn’t talk about mine. He played Sid to Bijou Philip’s Nancy in cult director/genius/neighbor Abel Ferrara’s flick Chelsea On The Rocks. For a bit, Calvin Klein had his gorgeous puss plastered on a billboard on Houston and Broadway. He was as big as King Kong, but with his head so large and so high he always remained so humble and down to earth. To know him is to love him. He is a gentleman and in my world that’s just about the highest accolade I can offer. Everybody wants him to make it. Everybody see’s him as Mick Jagger. Teen Vogue once named him an “It Boy” and we all want him to become an “It Man.” Delilah looks and sounds like the real thing. Burke has shorn off his trademark long locks and now sports a faded short punkish ‘do. Everybody discussed it. Sides were taken. Maybe this is how it happens. Maybe a time comes when the talent, the street smarts, the worldliness, the music, and the industry converge and a star is born, a legend is created. The rockers in the crowd at Bowery Electric clutched their motorcycle helmets under their arms oblivious to the swaying beauties around them. They were absorbing a moment that they may recall in years to come, when they saw Jamie Burke play in that small club. Maybe this is how you get from here to there. To us on the sidelines, it seems inevitable. I caught up to Jamie via modern technology and asked him a few questions.
Is cutting your long locks tied in with the name Delilah? On the surface no, but sub-consciously it may well have been. I was seeking a new persona for this project as well as this part of my life. When the hair became a thing I was known for it had to go.
Tell me about playing Sid opposite Bijou Phillips’ Nancy? It was great working alongside Bijou, Adam Goldberg, and Giancarlo Esposito, not to mention my favorite director, Abel Ferrara. He was a trip and I’d work with him again anytime. Bijou was great, we had a cool chemistry in the way we portrayed Sid and Nancy in quite a fresh light, vis-a-vis the storyline, and to do all this within the building itself, well that was a trip.
I believe you’re 25 now. Tell me about being close and what you think you need to break out? I think what I’ve learned through past endeavors is that you have to be ready and that your art needs work and nurture before you or your management can even start thinking about business. I would like to see this band go out on the road with a big act that we respect and will allow us to perform to their fan-base
You were on a billboard with your face 25 feet wide, yet you always remain a gracious person. People like you. People want you to succeed. How will you define success? When I can pay my rent on time! I have too many goals to ever feel like I’ve succeeded. There’s always something else to do.
Bloody Social drew a very sexy crowd, but now you are lead singer of Delilah. Was Bloody more hype than substance ? What changes in your approach have you made to not be a scene band but a band seen by many more people? Bloody Social was a period of time spent with some of my favorite human beings on this earth. However, yes there was a lot of hype surrounding it which may well have led to its demise. I was on that billboard, had a famous girl, and there were a lot of fashionistas hangin’ out, and I’m not knockin’ them because they came to the show, but like I said, a band needs time to work itself out. You can’t just stick four long-haired guys who’ve been playing for three months on the roof of Macy’s with Broadway shut down, 1000-plus spectators, and expect Pink Floyd. However, we didn’t mind the cheques. Delilah is taking her time. The band is for the people. It’s modern rock for a new Bowery generation. We will play to whoever wants to listen and we hope they enjoy the show.
Where are you now and what’s a day in the life like? Right now I’m taking a few days of surfing, before we fly to Germany for three Berlin shows and then to the U.K. for two shows including the Virgin Festival, which I’m psyched about. A day in the life generally consists of waking up in the East Village, coffee, banana, gym, grab a sandwich, meet my sleepy-eyed friend Mikki, then over to Brooklyn to our rehearsal space where we play from 2pm to 6pm, four times a week. Following that, a smoke and a beer, and then work out what the night has in store for me. Who are you influences and idols? Joe Strummer, Herman Brood, Ian Curtis, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison.