By ERIC SCHELKOPF
James Durbin's hard rock swagger on this season's "American Idol" landed the California native in fourth place on the show.
Durbin will continue his musical journey this year with the Nov. 21 release of his debut album, "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster."
I had the chance to talk to Durbin about the album and his "American Idol" experience.
Q - I understand that you wanted "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster" to really represent you and the experiences you have gone through.
Some of the songs deal with being picked on and bullied. One of the songs, "Screaming," talks about just wanting to scream at the world. I was picked on and bullied from elementary school all the way through high school. I know fans of mine have gone through similar experiences.
Q - Howard Benson produced "Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster." Why did you want him to produce your album?
When I was getting bullied, one of my favorite bands I listened to for hope was My Chemical Romance. He produced their major label debut, "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge," and he really helped them to find their sound.
I loved the sound he put to "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster." I am completely happy he produced it.
Q - You placed fourth on "American Idol." Were you happy with how you did?
I was thrilled. I didn't have any aspirations. My whole goal is doing what I love to do. I just wanted to be a working musician. I got a lot more than I bargained for.
Q - Simon Cowell left the show right before season 10. Are you glad you didn't have to face him?
I don't think he would have liked me. I auditioned for season 8, and didn't make it. I knew in my heart I had a better chance with someone like Steven Tyler.
It was a real eye-opener. The producers gave me a lot of time to shine, and let me go crazy on the stage.
Q - What was it like performing in the season 10 finale with Judas Priest?
I was way into Judas Priest, especially in high school. It was unbelievable. It was a dream come true.
Q - Besides your album coming out, you're getting married this year. It's going to be a small wedding, I understand.
My fiancee, Heidi, she ordered a dress online, and I'm going to wear a suit from my closet. I didn't see the point of going huge and all out.
Q - The two of you have a son. Does he like your music?
Hunter is 2 1/2. He loves it. He knows all the words to all the songs I sang on "American Idol." He's a human jukebox.
He's already showing a major interest in music. He can't pick up the guitar unless he has a pick in his hands.
Q - You want to tour next year, right?
We're looking to do a nationwide tour in January and early February.
Q - Hopefully you'll get to Chicago.
Chicago is a big rock 'n' roll city. I was at Lollapalooza this summer. It was a blast.