15 Minutes: a podcast about fame, with Jamie Berger
Episode 62 - Sonny Smith
Sonny Smith is an old San Francisco friend I hadn’t spoken to in fifteen years.
Here’s what Mother Jones had to say about his new album:
“On his own, or as leader of Sonny and the Sunsets, the engaging Sonny Smith specializes in finely observed vignettes about everyday people that showcase his wry, slackerish voice. For all its rough edges, though, there’s nothing casual about his scruffy garage pop, which tempers a streak of melancholy with offhand, self-aware wit. Produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach (who knows a thing or two about making eccentricity accessible), Rod for Your Love is Smith’s most commercial effort yet—it’s all relative—boasting a brighter sound and sunnier vibe than before. Witness the jaunty, toe-tapping optimism of the irresistible “Lost,” where he chirps, “I know the way this time,” or the romantic drama “Burnin’ Up,” featuring Angel Olsen’s tangy harmonies. While Smith may never top the charts, he’s never been more entertaining or more deserving of mainstream attention.”
We talked about flying to Nashville to be produced by a rock star (and guests Pat Sansome of Wilco and Angel Olsen), and about then deciding to head home and onto his next projects instead of hitting the road to promote that album. We traded Robyn Hitchcock and Spalding Gray stories. We went into the tough decisions artists need to make regarding creative living versus promoting a creative life. To name just a few topics. We had a lot of fun reconnecting. Or at least I did. I think we both did.
We mention a few names and places. Virgil = Virgil Shaw, Kelly = Kelly Stoltz, Atom = Atom Ellis, and the Make Out Room is a bar I used to work at and he used to play at in the Misison in SF.
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Michael Ian Black - re-edit/reboot of episodes 50 & 51
Back in 2017, I spoke to actor/writer/comedian Michael Ian Black for this show. At the time, I broke our conversation up into two episodes, each preceded by a long rant by me about the political and social injustices of the day. Well, it's the end of the year, and I'm exhausted by injustice, and decided to re-edit the conversation into a single, more entertaining whole. I think you'll enjoy it. We talk about fame of course, and about our mothers, about toe fungus, his feud with Marc Maron, the list goes on. Listening back, I found this, on how what's better than being a lead, the famous one, on a TV series, is being somewhere around 5-7 on the call list:"“If I knew that I would have an acting job for the next five years on a network show, where I didn’t even really have to think, it was just showing up, doing some scenes, having a free lunch and collecting a fat paycheck, I would like to do that for the next five years with the full knowledge that at the end of the five years I’d have enough money in the bank to write a novel, devote myself to the podcast, five years of being number 5-7 on the call sheet. There’s a sweet spot there that’s just ideal. I don’t want to be in every scene, I don’t want to solve the crime.”***I wish us all better times, and a free and fair election, in 2020.-Jamie B.
Episode 2 - Tim Lockfeld
My dear friend and former San Francisco Public Library colleague, skater, certified arborist, actor, adventure traveller, and raconteur, on how he brought punk and skateboarding together; the splendors and hazards of trimming Sharon Stone's trees; and other gems. A perfect example of the hardest-to-lure guest: the decidedly non-famous person who wants to come on a podcast and dig into the topic.It's still one of my favorites, back from when I didn't know what I was doing at all but sometimes it worked.Enjoy!-Jamie
That First Hodgman Episode from back in aught-16
If you listened to Episode 72, with John Hodgman, or even if you didn't (you should), here's Episode 1, as promised, with same. Warning: there's a lot of ambient, though not unpleasant, noise (of a busy bar) in the interview, and then rather low sound quality for the Judge John Hodgman meetup, which ostensibly wasn't being recorded for the podcast, but which I wanted to include here for the true JJH Stans out there jonesin' for a deep cut. Image is a pic from the poster for the event at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls, MA, back in 2015 (yes I dithered an entire nother year before launching the show - don't do that!), designed by Anja Schutz.