Retrospective: Jeff Simmermon

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"I feel like storytelling shows get real sweater vesty, like if you have too many people, like, talking about their difficult childhoods at a time, my ass starts to hurt pretty fast--my mind's ass starts to hurt. Then, burlesque shows--you get too many of those folks in the same room and it gets skanky after about an hour. And then comedy shows can get too mean. I want to take all that and mix it all up." --Jeff Simmermon

Jeff Simmermon is a live performer whose hallmarks are originality, daring and heart. In this conversation, Jeff shares about:

  • what he learned from having a ska metal band as a teenager
  • the performers who inspired him
  • creating since toddlerhood
  • love in his 30s, and
  • what no one told him about hosting a live show.

You can read one of my favorite posts by Jeff here:

One Year After: When the Curtain Calls for You

JEFF SIMMERMON is a writer and storyteller who regularly appears at shows around New York. He has written for Vice Magazine, appeared onstage at The Moth's GrandSlam, on the Moth's podcast, and on This American Life. He produces, hosts and performs in And I Am Not Lying, a comedy storytelling burlesque sideshow that has appeared around NYC, at SXSW 2012 and most recently at the Black Cat in Washington, DC. The show is based on a blog packed full of stories, art, and other weirdness at www.andiamnotlying.com. And even though he's been writing for years, he never gets any better at doing these bios.

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Click the link at the top to listen, or listen in iTunes.

Retrospective: Jonatha Brooke

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"As an independent, you really have to decide: what is enough? What is success for you? And there's, of course, a part of you that still wants to be Beyoncé, or sell a gazillion records but is 100,000 gonna be enough? That would be incredible--a hundred thousand records as an independent? You will end up making more money then you did on major Blah Blah label. And you will have done it yourself and you will have had control, you will have made all the decisions. You will have chosen the artwork. You will have paid for the record, and yes, your pockets are not as deep as Warner Brothers, but it's yours." 

   --Jonatha Brooke 

In this episode of Retrospective, we follow the journey so far of acclaimed singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke. Click the player below to hear all about:

  • her first record deal
  • going independent
  • caring for her mother
  • and her new musical play that's in the works right now.
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Click the player above to listen, or listen in iTunes.

Jonatha Brooke has been writing songs, making records and touring since her early days in Boston with her band The Story, which released two albums, Grace in Gravity and The Angel in the House, on Elektra Records. In 1995, Jonatha released the first of two solo albums on MCA/Universal, Plumb, followed by Ten Cent Wings in 1997. In 1999 she started her own independent label, Bad Dog Records and has since released six more albums. Her latest, The Works, combines previously unheard, unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics with her own music and arrangements. Jonatha has written for three Disney films, has had songs included in many television shows and composed the theme song for Joss Whedon's television series Dollhouse. Currently she is working on two theatrical musical projects - Quadroon, with legendary contemporary jazz pianist Joe Sample; and My Mother Has Four Noses, a multi-media musical play that is an intimate account of her experience caring for her mother who endured dementia.