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Don Jamieson

December 20, 2010 by  
Filed under 80s Guy For The Modern Eye, Interviews

Currently rocking their sixth season of “That Metal Show” Don Jamieson, Jim Florentine and Eddie Trunk have become the go to guys for metal enthusiasts nationwide.  Providing a forum for metal fans through insightful interviews, comedic debate and fan infused trivia, the trio are carring the metal torch loud and proud.

Comedian Don Jamieson has been a music fan all of his life so none of this really feels like work to him.  With the recent news of his record deal with Metal Blade Records for a comedy album in 2011 he took some time to talk to us about his career, the path he followed and of course his love for all things metal.

Interviewed by:  Roger Scales

You just signed a deal with Metal Blade records to release a comedy album in spring 2011. How did this partnership come about?
I met Brian Slagel (Owner/CEO Metal Blade Records) about a year ago and I was so blown awat when I met him because he is a hero of mine, mainly due to him being responsible for bringing so much great metal to this country. I was truly excited to talk with him and we started planning a possible collaboration. I did a tour with one of his bands, Charred Walls of The Damned (featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals) last summer opening all of the shows doing comedy and Brian came out to a couple of those dates and liked what I was doing. One night shortly thereafter I think he had one glass of wine too many and offered me a record deal!

 Don some newer fans may have only seen you on “That Metal Show” and may not be that familiar with your past endeavors as a comedian. Do you think fans of the show would have a preconceived notion of your stand up act or maybe refer to you as a ”Metal Comic” and are you okay with that?
Well I’m definitely okay with it because I think the stuff that I do in my act that isn’t metal per say still has a metal attitude to it! My comedy is very loud and aggressive and in your face so it is like metal in that sense. It’s hard to talk about metal a lot in my stand up act. For instance, if I’m playing in a comedy club what percentage of the crowd is going to be true metal fans? However it is a part of life so I do about a good 10 minutes of topics that are strictly metal related but it’s broad enough so that people who don’t really appreciate metal will understand it. If you talk about Gene Simmons or some of the other bigger names people will totally get it. I try to mix it up as much as I can. 

How did your partnership with Jim Florentine start and was this the catalyst that lead you into a career in comedy?
Well..yeah I think it was. Jim is definitely a comedy mentor of mine but it really just started out because we had a few things in common – we had mullets, we liked strip clubs and enjoyed breaking balls!! So we bonded over that right away then I went to see his stand up act a few times and thought he was really funny! I had always thought about trying it myself but Jim was the one who really pushed me. He kept asking me “Why don’t you get up on stage and give it a shot?” I was like no I can’t do that..then one day I was like OKAY..I’ll give it a try. I had been dying to try it and I’m glad I did because its 15 years later and I’m still going!

The hidden camera DVD’s “Meet The Creeps” and a CD series called “Terrorizing Telemarketers” got real popular with metal bands that would listen and watch your stuff while on tour. Is this how you came to the attention of Eddie Trunk?
Well it’s true that musicians like Dimebag Darrel and Vinnie Paul (when Damageplan was first formed for instance) would come check out our performances. By just sitting in the crowd and watching us and they became fans of ours which was truly mind-blowing! They liked our comedy discs so much that would pass them around to other bands, fans, whoever and that’s how word spread in the metal community. We were actually fans of Eddie listening to him on NY radio for 25 years. We would always make sure we tuned in after shows, driving home from late night gigs and we would both be like let’s see what Eddie talking about tonight!! Who talked about UFO for 20 minutes? We knew we had to meet this guy, he talks just like us!! We finally met him and we started to guest on his radio show and we could see the chemistry starting to morph between the 3 of us and that’s where That Metal Show was born.
 Did you watch Headbangers Ball on MTV first with Dee Snider as host, then Adam Curry and finally with Rikki Rachtman back in the day and what did you think of it?
I did watch it. I always thought it was funny with Adam Curry that he would do VJ shifts during the day then at night put on the leather jacket and suddenly he was The Metal Guy!! I loved the way he feathered his hair!! But that’s not why I watched it..I watched it because like most Metal heads it was our sole outlet of hard rock and heavy metal videos on TV back then. I also think that’s why That Metal Show is so popular now because there is no other outlet where you are going to see your favorite artists from your childhood be interview on TV somewhere. I always thought that Headbanger’s Ball did a good job with the diversity of the acts, they way they respected it then when they finally brought in Rikki (a true diehard Meatlhead) they started to play a lot more heavier acts which I found great!
 Do you follow just as many new/current metal and hard rock bands as well as keepings tabs on classic more mainstream acts?
Yes, Jim and I are definitely into finding new bands and discovering new great music whenever we can. It’s funny that people still talk about a band like Hatebreed as a new band and they have been around for at least 10 years or so. Also our friends from Canada Danko Jones, an act Jim and I are hugs fans of, have been around 10 years plus now.
 Are you a CD, record, cassette or an iPod guy?
Well I wish they still made LP’s in more mass production. I would prefer to listen to LP’s because I think they have a fuller sound. CD’s are cool because if you don’t like it you can always use it as a beer coaster!! I think the sound is too compressed as opposed to an LP and I’ll take the little dings, the scratches and hisses over downloading something over the internet. I do have an iPod I admit it. It’s easy to use in the gym for sure but I have at least 600 cds as well so I cover all bases.
 I was a huge Rock magazine guy growing up – Circus, Hit Parader, Metal Edge, Kerrang. Were you that same type of guy pre-internet back in the day? Are there any current websites or magazines that you frequent today that you use to get your up to date hard rock and metal news and information?
Eddie, Jim and I all love Classic Rock magazine printed in the UK. It’s unbelievable in its layout because it covers all the current trends and newer bands on the scene but will also do a 15 page retrospective on Thin Lizzy. Add interview clips in the text and really pay tribute to these bands the way that they should be. It is a bit hard to find but yes I did love all of those magazines you mentioned including Cream as well. We have a partnership with Revolver magazine as well where Eddie, Jim and I write a monthly article and they support our show. The internet of course has replaced print media to a certain extend but I’m an old school guy Roger!! If it was up to me I’d still have a rotary phone.


I failed to mention 8 track tapes earlier but I certainly would be amiss if I didn’t ask if you still own any?
I do!! I can’t get rid of them. Between cassette tapes and 8 tracks I cannot get myself to throw them away, they are taking up so much space. I live in an NY city apartment where you fight for every inch!! I was holding Alice Cooper’s Billon Dollar Babies in my hands just the other day saying how can I get rid of this? You just can’t and here it stays..
 Do you have an all time favorite band?
Motorhead. Lemmy’s one of my heroes. Where do you think these sideburns came from? I just didn’t do the whole wart thing. Every Motorhead album is a lesson in life because Lemmy writes about Rock n roll, sex, politics, and plain old common sense. Each album is a little slice of life! That’s probably why they have always been a constant in my life. Sometimes you grow out of bands as well but not Motorhead (with me). Even with their most recent release Motorizer I think it’s ONE of their best albums if not THE best ever. 

Talk a little about your association with Andrew Dice Clay, my favorite comedian from the 1980’s. When did you first meet and what has been your working relationship like?
He’s my favorite comic from the 80’s as well!! Florentine actually got me on the stage but the reason I wanted to do comedy to begin with was because of Dice. I was standing there at a Madison Square Garden sold out show chanting DICE DICE DICE and now for the last five years I’ve been his support act on the road and he’s become one of my best friends. It’s really surreal. Dice is the king of all that is the art of ball busting and Jim (who also sometimes opens for Dice) and I are always in awe. I have been to all of his houses, I was at his wedding, I went to his kids Bar Mitzvah, seeing Dice in a yarmulke now that is surreal!!
He’s a true lover of all music and is a fair rock drummer correct?
He did a Stump the Trump on our show and we were all surprised at his musical knowledge. He’s a pretty decent drummer because when we have gone out sometimes he will jump up with a band and just jam. His son Max is a killer drummer and his other son Dillon plays guitar so he has passed that talent on both of them. 

You’ve also performed on the long running cable program “Inside The NFL”. Describe what that experience has been like.
Jim and I have lent our humor to the show – writing, producing, and performing sports-themed comedy sketches and we have had a ball doing it. We are both huge sports fans so it’s been so cool working with Bob Costas, Dan Marino and all those guys. We just did these really edgy sports segments that they would feature on the show and then the craziest most amazing thing happened. The powers that be submitted some of our work for Emmy consideration and we won!!! Talk about surreal moments. Jim and I went to the ceremony and we missed the announcement that we won because we were in the crowds drinking and goofing on people and having fun!! We missed the whole thing and then Bob Costas comes up to us at the end and congratulates us and we were like “for what?” and he tells us that we just won an Emmy!! We were like ..”we did??” Meanwhile we were in the room with the gift bags grabbing like 12 a piece because there is some serious swag in those things!! We are just two idiots from Jersey, you’ve got to be kidding we just won an Emmy?
 Where do you keep the Emmy? Do you have a mantle in your apartment?
Roger if you’re lucky enough to win any type of award – an Emmy or a Grammy – and you’re a single guy, the right place for it is on your night stand. It’s an aphrodisiac!!
Does Eddie ever back check questions from the Stump the Trunk segment to check for inaccuracies? It just appears that he gets all fired up when he believes an answer he has given is correct but gets the buzzer and the audience member gets to dip into the box of junk for a prize?
That’s the great thing about Eddie, he’s so reactive to just about everything on the show. He’s angry one minute and happy the next. Just his passion in talking about a specific band or how he feels about the “Rock-n-Roll Hall Of Shame”for instance. What you don’t see is us the 5 hours before we tape in rehearsals and in our dressing room is Florentine and I breaking his chops mercilessly for hours so that by the time we get to the moment of truth to tape the show Eddie is a bunch of frayed nerves so he has a tendency to fly off the handle rather quickly!! But that’s what makes the show entertaining!! But we always check on those questions for accuracy.

Are Eddie and Jim pretty much the same guys off camera that we see on the show ever week?
I think we all are. That’s the beauty of the show or at least the image we try to portray as just three guys taking backstage at a concert. We don’t censor anything. We don’t even discuss the interviews we just go out and wing it!! We want to leave fans with the impression that it’s just a hang and I hope we have done that. 

Do you play any musical instruments or can you sing at all?
Well I played guitar in high school and was in a band and we played house parties and stuff but I thought wow this really sucks. You have to lug around all your own equipment, you have to have a large enough vehicle to carry it around it, and even then I was more interested in comics than becoming a musician. Let me try the comedy thing because you don’t have to lug around any equipment. You just write down all your dirty jokes, stuff’em in your pocket and you’re good to go!!
Rockband and Guitar Hero – have you ever played them? How good are you at them? Do you think that bands truly benefit from the exposure they get to a younger generation of gamers who may now go out and purchase their music?
I have played them with my nieces and nephew and I have to tell you its pretty disturbing to hear my six year old niece singing the lyrics to “Talk Dirty To Me”! But that being said it is making an impact on younger fans for some of the older fans that need new ways to generate interest in them. Judas Priest for instance..for years a household name, sold show shows tour after tour and now they are being introduced to a whole new generations of fans. The kids blow me away on these things because after all it is a video game at the end of the day but amazingly they do retain the lyrics to most of these songs and do remember who the artists are.
 What’s the strangest/scariest fan interaction you have ever had and why?
No one has ever asked me this before..this is hysterical. In Cleveland once Jim and I picked on this guy in the front row, I think we called him a nerd or something. Nothing too severe I think we made reference to the fact that he probably played Dungeons and Dragons. He came up to the merchandise table after the show and told us he didn’t like what we said about him. I didn’t even recognize him at first, the lights are on you, and it’s dark. I asked him what did I say that offended him to much? You said this about me and it really hurt my feelings. I started laughing but he was dead serious. He had this long coat draped over his arm and then went to reach into the coat now I’m not saying he had anything in there but it sure appeared to me that he was hiding something in that coat!! I couldn’t tell if he was kidding or trying to scare us but he did a damn good job of the latter because I excused myself, hid in the green room and stayed there until everyone left the club.


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 Earlier you mentioned opening shows with Charred Walls Of The Damned last summer but you also played with Dream Theater on off nights of their tour with Iron Maiden. Had you heard any rumblings about Portnoy leaving the band and do you think they have made the right decision to go on without him?
No he didn’t let on prior to his announcement that he was leaving DT. In fact he and I had done a radio show earlier that day and he never mentioned it. I’m not close enough to Mike where he would have confided something like that to me personally. I don’t think Mike’s involvement in DT is over by any stretch of the imagination. I’m thrilled for Mike because he’s so important in the metal community that we are spreading him out a little bit more. I’m thrilled that he got to play on his first #1 album with Avenged Sevenfold that is so cool for him. Like I said I don’t think the final chapter of Mike in DT has been written yet. He just wanted to spread his wings a little and the guys in DT just wanted to continue working. So hopefully their paths will cross again. 

It may not be the last chapter in the DT history annals but certainly someone else behind the drum kit of DT other than Mike Portnoy will be the oddest chapter in DT history up to this point!!
Right!! Who do you get to replace Mike in DT? Unless Neil Peart takes a break from Rush I just don’t know who they get? Besides Mike the drummer Mike was also the publicity machine behind DT. The album concepts, the videos, the business side of it Mike did it all. They will find someone who might be able to replicate what Mike does not stage but he’s like the Derek Jeter of DT..too many intangibles to ever really replace him. 

Any final messages to your fans?
For those of you that have been watching That Metal Show, the three of us cannot thank you enough for the continued support. We know metal fans are very loyal but to be heading into the 7th season of a tv show is incredible. I hope you all check out my first comedy cd coming out on Metal Blade in the Spring 2011 I’m really pumped about that!! We should have some new shows of That Metal Show right around that same time so I’m sure we will chat again next year!


For More info:
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