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Ep. #154: Tom Scharpling

Tom Scharpling is a comedic writer, performer, and personality who hails from the state of New Jersey. He founded a fanzine and record label called 18 Wheeler in the early 1990s, he was a writer and executive producer on the TV show Monk during its eight year run on the USA network, he made contributions to the show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and has directed music videos and short films for people like the New Pornographers, Ted Leo, the Postal Service, and Aimee Mann among others. But along with Jon Wurster, Scharpling is most beloved as one-half of the comedy duo Scharpling & Wurster and for hosting the popular and influential call-in music program The Best Show on WFMU in Jersey City, New Jersey. Scharpling commandeered the Best Show for 13 years, before ending its run in December 2013. This past October, he announced that the Best Show would be returning as a podcast, which can soon be found at thebestshow.net, and the Numero Group is also releasing a 16-CD Scharpling & Wurster Best of the Best Show box set this coming March. Here, Tom and I discuss soggy New Jersey, getting over winter, the current status of The Best Show, why the original Best Show stopped, quality trumps all, volunteering at a non-commercial station like WFMU, no money, working real jobs while putting a lot of time and energy into a volunteer project, working for Monk, whether or not the consumption of free content means that content has been devalued, people value phones more than the entertainment they’re consuming, the elimination of singles and music industry mistakes, loving the things that people make, making a living, The Best Show will be less a podcast and more of a live-on-the-internet type show, no doubt, commercials, I convey envy for some reason, how the end of The Best Show on WFMU impacted people, growing up lower middle-class in New Jersey, getting into comedy and music at a young age, loving game changers like SCTV, SNL, David Letterman, Bill Murray, and Howard Stern, starting a zine and record label, writing a screenplay, performance anxiety, getting into WFMU as an overnight DJ, how other people’s work might influence your own, it wasn’t really the best show, when The Best Show and Scharpling and Wurster began to click, there’s no fun in fundraising, the best is yet to come, Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week? and Marc Maron’s WTF, not listening to other people’s stuff when you start making stuff, calling upon independent podcast and radio hosts for interviews, perceptions of success, the Scharpling & Wurster box set is special, reflection, Patton Oswalt, Julie Klausner, Jake Fogelnest, Damian Abraham, and others contributed to the liner notes in the box, Tom and Jon each wrote descriptions of the tracks, Fucked Up rule, future plans and media appearances, Letterman, going to Late Night with Conan O’Brien tapings, whether or not Tom was at a taping of The Chris Getheard Show featuring Sleater-Kinney instead of doing Jon Solomon’s WPRB radio show, what the Best Show might look like, smashing a phone with hammers, the song “Sun Glass” by Fucked Up, and that’s the end.

Related links: thebestshow.net numerogroup.com vishkhanna.com

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Categories
News Podcast

Ep. #136: Absolutely Free

Absolutely Free is a powerful and ambitious three-piece band from Toronto, Ontario. For years, Matt King, Moshe Rozenberg, and Mike Claxton used to play together in a fantastic post-punk outfit called DD/MM/YYYY that put on one of the best live shows in the world. After they broke up, King, Rozenberg, and Claxton eventually reconvened to create music that was a little less frenetic and possibly more dynamic; they seemed keen to explore psychedelic, textured pop and Krautrock as touchstones for something unprecedented. The latest manifestation of their work is their first full-length, self-titled album, which is out October 14 via Arts & Crafts, and on Saturday October 11, they’ll perform the record with a special hologram/laser light show at the Long Winter Bloor Hot Docs Theatre Take Over Event in Toronto. Here, Matt and Moshe talk about throwing vegetables into the fire, DD/MM/YYYY and 11/11/11, absolute freedom, guitars and synthesizers, you can stop the rock, RHCP with an emo twist, misinterpretations and the right comparisons, that time I emailed Moshe during a show, a dysfunctional band can be like a bad tooth, Absolutely Free keeps getting smaller and more impossible, sister act, the rough side of Richmond Hill, southern Ontario hardcore punk, Dan Deacon in Toronto, Mike Claxton was in a band called Plant the Bomb, MuchEast and the Wedge VHS collections, loving the Super Friendz, Jack Grunsky, Boyz II Men, Celine Dion, the Offspring, Green Day, Nirvana, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, adult excitement for music, mixing textured vocals kinda low, Steve Clarkson, mistakes, hazy trends, my SCTV Complete Series box set, the way in which Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up produced and contributed to the new record, life and time and light, existentialism and transcendence, climbing the ladder, external considerations and receptions, scoring the film Two Cares Due None, releasing a bunch of unreleased material, holographic versions of Absolutely Free are playing Long Winter this Saturday while the actual band is in Hamilton, Toronto Laser Services, the song “Earth II,” and then we’re absolutely free.

Related links: absolutelyfree.ca torontolongwinter.com vishkhanna.com

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