Musician/engineer/bartender Allen Epley talks with artists of all walks and at all levels of success about their own unique journeys and jobs they've worked in order to follow their passions. Many successful musicians, actors, filmmakers, composers, and comedians still have side gigs that afford them the ability to create their art for us. Some get to work in their chosen field and some work jobs that are convenient and make that buck. It is this unique hustle that's at the heart of this podcast. How exactly does the sausage get made when there are bills to be paid? And what drives these maniacs to make our desperate lives better with their art when the pay-off often fulfills their hearts but not their bank accounts?
Episode 169 - Eugene S Robinson
Being a body-builder and MMA fighter, Eugene S Robinson was a bit of an anomoly as the charismatic front man for the band he founded OXBOW, and before that in Whipping Boy, a more traditional punk rock outfit in the early 80's. It's in his new book, A Walk Across Dirty Waters and Straight Into Murderer's Row: A Memoir (Feral House) that we learn how he navigated these sometimes murky waters with braun and confrontation, a style he had had time to perfect as a black man in the world of punk rock. He's a direct and brash writer with a penchant for vivid story-telling of his often turbulent life. He's been a contributing writer and/or editor-at-large for GQ, Vice, Hustler and many more magazines and continues to spill his musings on his different platforms; his vlog Show Stomper with Eugene S Robinson allows him a place to air politics and MMA issues, and his blog Look What You Made Me Do, is an often personal, moving and funny account of his life and times. The new OXBOW record Love's Holiday (Ipecac) features the song Lovely Murk which was recently nominated for a Grammy, a first for this human who continues to expand his brand in brilliant ways.
Episode 168 - Rob Zabrecky
In 1993, Rob Zabrecky was certain he'd seen his future and that future was as a rockstar and frontman for local LA rockers Possum Dixon, his band that had just been signed to Interscope Records for a 3 record deal. But life is complicated. Indeed they had, by all accounts, a pretty great career as an "alternative" band with big tours and big producers like Rik Ocasek of The Cars. But like many other rock stars he fell prey to drugs and all the other issues that can derail a career. So he pivoted, as one does, to auctioneering, a fascinating career path over several years that eventually allowed him the time and resources to begin practicing a secret love; comedy, magic and sleight of hand. He's a handsome man, funny with a charismatic onscreen presence, having acted in commercials, TV and several feature length films in the post rockstar years. That charisma directly aided his new career path into a one-man show made of mentalism, magic and comedy that he has honed over the past 15 years. He now travels the world and has made quite a name for himself in this new career as Zabrecky and is deeply immersed in that distinctive niche, mingling and sharing the stage with some of the biggest acts in comedy and magic.
Episode 167 - Greg Suran Revisited (orig Aug 9, 2019)
This is a pre-pandemic revisit to a previous episode from Aug 9, 2019 in which touring and session guitarist Greg Suran visited the TGS studios to talk about his globe-trotting experiences playing in his own Chicago-based band Cupcakes and BlueManGroup before joining The B-52's in which he still enjoys frequent gigs. He later joined Sunny Day Real Estate for their last two studio albums and subesequent tours, and has worked since that time steadily as a session player with the likes of Joe Walsh and Don Felder of the Eagles. He later was asked to join the house band on the set of the American Idol TV show, and most recently has enjoyed a long touring stint with the legendary Lionel Richie. His revisit to the TGS studio here is relevant because since he's been busy with Lionel, Greg was kind enough to ask your host AE to fill in for him in SDRE so it's a great recap with a man who's made music his life and his experiences have forged a human with a rich DNA tapestry.
Episode 166 - Tony Higbee
The 18 year old version of a now grown Tony Higbee would surely be pinching himself for who he shares stages with these days. As a highschool rocker from tiny Monmouth IL, he was a bass player and had evolved into a serviceable chording guitarist in college. It wasn't until he began writing songs in Atlanta with his band Simple Sick Device in the early 2000's that he began to play guitar with more authority mainly because writing songs on guitar was so much more fluid, and that translated into becoming a real guitar powerhouse. He moved to Nashville and started his own band Caprice which begat East Side Gamblers, but it was his ability as a great singer that sealed the deal and he's ended up as an in-demand touring and session guitarist for Tom Keifer, lead singer of the 15x platinum hair-farmers Cinderella. Tom's solo albums have been a huge success and led to their collaborating for more than 10 years now and traveling the globe. That work also helped connect him with Brother Cane whom he also tours with as lead guitarist. He's a cancer survivor and an animal rescuer along with his girlfriend and is most certainly living his best life.
Episode 165 - Jeffrey Babko
When this episode was recorded, the writers and actors strikes were both still going strong with no end in sight, so resident keyboardist for the Jimmy Kimmell Show, Jeff Babko, was able to find time in his normally very busy schedule to rap with me. In fact, the Kimmell show is just a piece of his crowded schedule, which includes being the touring pianist on stage with Steve Martin and Martin Short, in addition to composing for movie scores like the new Weird Al biopic, Toy Story 4, Encanto, but also recording with James Taylor, Jason Mraz, Shelby Lynne, Simon Philips, Sheryl Crow-- not counting the folks he's played with on Kimmell. He's a funny man, driven to make music with whomever and in whatever forum is available, but usually includes incredible musicians like Vinnie Colaiuta, Jeff Coffin, Matt Chamberlain, Mark Isham and many more. He's a podcast host for the Caffeinated Keyboardist, owns his own studio Tudor Tones and is generally just busy because what in the hell else is there in this life but to make music. He's got a new record called The Libretto Show with bassist David Piltch and is generally just ready to rip at all times.
Episode 164 - Ryan Patterson
When heavier-than-anything Louisville band Coliseum began to sense their time together was coming to a close around 2015, band leader and seed-writer Ryan Patterson started to get some glimpses of his next move but was struggling to find his voice within that sylistic change. It was a move from guitar-bass-drums based pummeling into synth-synth-bass-drummachine based songs that were much more mid 80's Dark Wave than Coliseum's post hardcore earth-rattling. Turns out he found his voice in what would become Fotocrime with the help of producer J Robbins (who also produced several Coliseum records) and since 2017 has released a growing catalog of these darkly powerful analog synth-based records, their latest ACCELERATED (Artofffact). Ryan decided to take the Fotocrime recording process into his own hands for Accelerated in his own home studio which has grown to where he can record other projects as needed. It's a huge growth for this seeker, and one consistent with how he has chosen to exist with the help of his own business, SHIRTKILLER.COM which is quite successful in it's own right and gives Ryan an endless supply of subjects to create for and with.
Lou Hakan - Musician and fan
Allen Epley has this great conversational way and craft of bringing out interesting commentary from his guests. Wonderful analysis of art and the creative process is a strength of this podcast. He does it in an natural way and entertains us as well. My favorite parts are the dive into songwriting or other artistic creative processes while dabbling in silliness like Ratt or Dokken. Way to go AE!!
Allen is truly a gem and this is an amazing podcast to listen to. Doesn’t matter who the guest is, it’s always a great conversation. Entertaining must listen!
For creatives of any stripe
Epley has gathered a great assortment of artists whose work continues to inspire. The 100+ and counting shows are filled with great conversations where he ably frames their stories with a kind wit and humor that shows such a genuine regard and friendship full of mutual admiration. I’m of the generation who were in their twenties through the 90’s boom and bust of major labels signing these bands I loved and this show has brought me a clearer understanding of what the careers of these bands I so greatly admired were really like and how they continue creating today. Thank you, Allen Epley, and all of your guests for this gift.