Rami Jaffe

Meet this first call keyboard player for Wallflowers to Foo Fighters

Rami Jaffee, is best known as the keyboardist of Foo Fighters and The Wallflowers as well as featured in the work for several bands and artists, including Pete Yorn, Soul Asylum, Pearl Jam, Stone Sour, Joseph Arthur and Coheed and Cambria. Rami has also played on recordings by acts as diverse as Fall Out Boy, LeAnn Rimes, Melissa Etheridge, Keith Urban, and Ziggy Marley among many others, lending his distinct signature keyboard sound along the way. 

He began making a name for himself in and around Los Angeles as he developed his unique sound while playing with a number of local bands. His big break in session work was mainly from Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers passing his number along to the biggest producers around. Being a player after Benmont's style, being a Grammy winner, and selling millions of albums didn't’t hurt either. Soon Rami was in very high demand for studio work.

At a very young age Rami decided to spend all his time playing in bands. He had a feeling if he didn't’t succeed in the business side of music, he would at least have a ball trying. In his heart it seems he knew that’s the attitude that usually gets you a filled schedule and a load of cash in the end.

When I asked, "What are you and your band doing currently?" A quick reply was, “Well, which band?” Currently, Rami has been deeply immersed touring with Foo Fighters all over the planet tearing up arenas and having a great time. The record went #1 in almost every country they pop in to visit. This current tour is around the 6th year he has been rocking around with these guys and it just seems to gets better and better.

His other band The Wallflowers, which has been on hiatus for half a decade, is in talks about getting together to make another record in 2012. Rami agrees that he would love to see that happen. He confides “So much inspiration came from that band and so much more great stuff can happen with them.”

Rami’s  songwriting is really more all over the place as all the artists he play with. Most recently, his current side project ‘Pink Jaffee’ (with my Fonogenic studios’ partner, Ran Pink) is readily becoming his favorite sound. It’s parts Paris Texas soundtrack and Leonard Cohen. They have just released a song on the new David Lynch Foundation music compilation that has Rami really excited about.

In the future, you can expect more of the same. Whether you hear him on a Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Macy Gray or Foo Fighters CD, he will always be playing with those who inspire him. Clearly this is because when that goes away, Rami feels so will he.

Trampoline days

Currently listening to way too many songs on his Ipod, and all he does is hit shuffle. so he can go from Tom Waits to Arcade Fire within 5 minutes. It’s all good and keeps his ears and mind fresh at all times.

One of Rami’s only real regrets is his private label record company ‘Trampoline Records’, the creation of Pete Yorn, Marc Dauer, and Rami. He believes that he could have really made a better go with this record label. He summarizes the mission of Trampoline by saying, saying that he and his partners organized Trampoline to "take matters into our own hands and get that music out there to people who wouldn't normally get a hold of it. It was a great idea but I was in a horrible divorce and could barely keep my head up so it faded away as things do when you don’t give 110%. (the label and the marriage!)."

Through the years Rami has been fortunate enough and lucky to share the stage or studio with some of his all time faves (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jimmy Page, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and so on) He goes on to say ”but hey, maybe someday I can play with the Bad Seeds and Nick Cave still to come? “

Instead of concentrating on the future, Rami just keeps on doing what he does. “In my older age I don’t really give a shit about a career. I guess all I can just hope for is to keep having fun and doing what I want.”

Confidence as an artist is key

Rami has a true love for what he does which is very easy to hear when you listen to what he brings to his heartfelt playing. He has. played on hundreds of records with sales into the hundred millions mark. Some great records and some average but always making his stamp in his contributions and still continuing with that contributing as we speak. Rami shares " I love that some people dig what I do and as a music fan, myself, I know that that’s everything,. not only in work but just in everyday life." After all is said and done he would like his fans to feel that, maybe that he's carved out a nice piece of work for himself which is something he always remains grateful of each day. But at the same time, it can sometimes become machinelike, and to a creative musician like Rami, that’s lame. "It gets harder to change shit up in my old age!"

When asked to think about where he sees the business side of music going, he gives his view on things, "I'm not really sure where the music business is moving to, but unfortunately, it’s a business and with any business, you’ll have idiot shoe salesmen who know nothing about music but know about business. that’s just a sad truth in the arts since before time! But with those schmucks, there are always some great A&R men that brought us some stuff we should be soooo thankful of!! I would like to see record companies sign cooler acts. They’re out there but Execs are pussies sometimes, always have been. The Internet has definitely has changed the way things are done for ever but Rami believes however that it’s a positive. "As a listener and observer of music and artists, you really get to make up your own mind. which he feels was not the situation years ago when you only really got what was given to you." On the downside, he continues to say "Sometimes people need to be spoon fed their pop. Confidence as an artist is key but confidence as a fan is keyer. (ha yeah, i said it.)"

Rami is currently in the midst of a world tour as the keyboardist with Foo Fighters as well as preparing to go back in the studio with The Wallflowers. They have won two Grammy awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song for their song "One Headlight" in 1998. To learn more about Rami check out RamiJaffee.com
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