Interview with Jim Shearer
[Conducted in November 2010]
I love it when someone starts up an exciting new project related to the Beastie Boys and personally I eagerly await every new episode of The Brouhaha podcasts. We have a chat to Jim, the man behind this project...
Let's get straight into it - why a podcast?
Whenever I listened to sports talk radio I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a radio station that did this same exact thing with the Beastie Boys?!” So my podcast is an attempt to do that.
From an outsider it looks like each episode would take a long time to create. I personally love the snippets in between the segments like the recent one with Kelis and the Cool Kids etc. How long does each show take from start to finish?
Each episode is a different beast. All in all, each podcast probably takes anywhere between 2-5 hours, factoring in interviews, writing trivia questions, editing, and uploading the show to the website.
Any chance of a video snippet to accompany the podcast one day? So we can all see the behind the scenes action. Actually, um, you are wearing something (a bathrobe at least) while doing these podcasts aren't you?
If I ever get a free second, I’d love to produce some Beastie web-shorts. As for podcast attire, I’m usually clothed, but there are lazy times—especially during the summer—when I’m sitting in front of my laptop in just a pair of plaid boxers.
Are there any copyright issues?
I don’t think so. Podcasts usually steer clear of copyright hullabaloo. Posting song MP3’s is what will get you taken down. The Beastie Boys freely inviting their fans to remix their music is a good indication that a podcast won’t encounter any opposition from the Oscillospe legal team.
How many people are downloading each episode?
I think we get around 200 an episode. In the grand scheme of things that’s not a lot, but I don’t have much more spare time on my hands to schlep it to the rest of the internet.
What has been your favourite interview/podcast so far?
It’s gotta be the Cey Adams Spectacular! Whenever I started The Brouhaha, Cey was actually the first guest I had in mind. I think fans, confidants, and insiders can take us deeper to the Beastie-core than the Boys themselves, cause let’s face it, it’s tough to get a straight answer out of them.
Who would you love to get on the show?
Here’s my wish-list right now: Glen E. Friedman, Amery Smith, DJ Hurricane, Mario Caldato, Mark Nishita, Ian Rogers, Tamra Davis, Kathleen Hannah, Kate Schellenbach, and Sir Stewart Wallace.
I know a lot of people love the quiz. Who comes up with the questions?
I come up with all the questions. I used to do a ‘zine called Milkit, and during the release of Hello Nasty I made a 50-question Beastie test. If my brain ever goes blank, I usually refer to the test for extra questions.
How do you think you would go on the quiz?
I’d like to think I could ace it, but all it takes is one freak question to trip you up. What if I was asked to name the members of Circuit II? I’d be screwed.
If you were taking the quiz and you had the ability to "phone a friend". Who would it be?
I’d go with Adam Yauch. He seems to have a hand and an eye on everything—and he’d probably be able to help me out with the Circuit II question.
Will the quiz continue if someone wins? Will you make something new for us to compete for?
If someone wins the Beastie-rama, I’ll probably suspend “20 Questions” for a few episodes just so they can relish their victory. However I do have a stack of tour programs from ’95 that would make for a good prize.
How do you tee up your interviews (like Cey Adams, Kid Rock)?
I had become friendly with Cey during the promo cycle of TT5B, but having the initials MTV and VH1 behind your name doesn’t hurt either. Without those initials people might I assume I’m a crazed, Beastie-stalking lunatic.
Can you tell us a bit more about the other podcasts that you are involved with?
I host a low budget, homemade web-show called Yinz Luv ‘Da Stillers! and Yinz Luv ‘Da Guins! (respectively following the Pittsburgh Steelers & Penguins). A few years ago, as the music video industry began crumbling—and my sudden realization that you don’t see many 50-year old VJs—I created this series of web-shows and podcasts to beef up on my sports experience, because you do see a lot of 50-year old sports personalities.
Give us a basic rundown of your resume. How the hell did you become an MTV VJ?
This is a true story: in high school I decided that I wanted to be an MTV VJ, cause I thought that would be my best chance in life to meet the Beasite Boys. My plan paid off 13 years later.
In 2000 I had sent MTV2 a homemade audition tape and never heard back from them. The following year, MTV2 held an open VJ-tryout in New York City. I attended the open casting call, but did horribly on my reads. In desperation, I sent MTV2 another copy of my audition tape, and this time an executive producer forwarded it to the casting people. One of the guys remembered me “not being good,” another hadn’t seen me, so they decided to call me back for another audition. I did much better the second time around, and after a few more callbacks—which turned into quite a lengthy process—I was finally offered the job at the end of 2001.
On your interviews you quite often ask people's favourite Beastie things. So what are your personal favourite Beastie:
Track: So What’cha Want?
Album: Check Your Head
Moment in History: Hosting a live show with the Beastie Boys on the day they released TT5B and getting to introduce a live performance of my favorite song ever.
T-Shirt: Heather blue, A.B.A. ringer-T
Side Project: BS2000 (although I still love that first DFL album featuring Adrock on bass guitar.)
Rumour: I’m still waiting to hear the Beastie Boys album recorded underwater in a submarine.
Now you said you've seen the band in concert 25 times! That's pretty damn impressive. How many countries and cities does that include?
It only includes one country—U.S.A.—but as for cities: Burgettstown, PA; Columbus, OH; Cleveland, OH; New York, NY; Wantagh, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Washington D.C.; Las Vegas, NV; Austin, TX; and New Orleans, LA.
NOTE: For anyone who wants to add to their live Beastie Boys show total; move to New York City.
Which would have to be your favourite?
The Beastie Boys at Lollapalooza ’94 (Columbus, OH) was just so surreal. Looking across a sea of people this is what I witnessed: Kids literally surfing on top of concert barriers as they were being passed throughout the crowd and hundreds upon hundreds of concert-goers being propelled in the air by picnic blankets. The soundtrack to this (somewhat) controlled anarchy was supplied by the Beastie Boys, who—without question—were the hottest live ticket on the planet in 1994. If you were there, I don’t need to explain a thing.
The Beastie Boys show at Madison Square Garden (the one used for Awesome I Shot That) came pretty close. The movie doesn’t do it justice. My section—stage right—had an amazing energy to it. Mixmaster Mike’s beats were near perfect that night as well!
You mentioned a certain Beastie site recently as being one of your favourite sites on the internet. What are some of your others?
Well, when the Beastie Boys are putting effort into it: beastieboys.com. I’ll also check out BeastieMixes and MicToMic when I’m not brushing up on my history over at Beastiemania.
Your expectations for the new album?
I have a feeling it’s going to have the vibe of Check Your Head and Ill Communication sans instrumental jams—which the Beasties seem to have gotten out of their system on The Mix Up. The songs I’ve heard so far feel very organic (live instruments, obscure samples), although the new production-tweak could give it a completely different vibe.
How many more podcast episodes do you plan on making?
I could run this franchise for another 50 years. Everyone’s got a good B-Boy story to tell.
Any sneak previews on what's coming up in future episodes?
In a couple months, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 will be heard for the first time in its entirety on The Brouhaha, with MCA, Mike D, and Adrock giving commentary throughout. How ‘bout that for a sneak preview, eh?
Wow, that is very exciting! I can't wait to hear that. From all of your listeners we want to say "Thanks Jim, keep up the good work!"