Don Jamieson is a comedian and television host best know as one of the hosts of That Metal Show. He is also a member of acoustic death metal band Gunfire-N-Sodomy. Jamieson and long-time friend, comedian Jim Florentine, lent their brand of humor to the popular sports show Inside the NFL winning an Emmy for their work. His album Live & Hilarious hit the Top 20 on iTunes.
Recently we spent some time with Don to discuss his new book, You Might Be a Metalhead, available now. We talk lists, getting a key to the author’s lounge, and where That Metal Show is headed. Check it out:
Whens the last time you went from eavesdropping to full on “I need to be involved in this conversation” based on just something you heard in passing.
No, those are the type of conversations I try to move further away from because for some reason, the one sided conversations are just so annoying. It’s word torture, your waiting for the other person to respond and they never do, I don’t have time to put that in a whole conversation together. If two people are having a conversation, yeah, like subways are great, like I’ll get up on people in a conversation.
Are you one of those people who say “Hey, I don’t mean interject, but I overheard you guys talking about the greatest softball players of all time and I just want to make it clear that so and so needs to be included in your list.”
Yes, but I never start by saying “I don’t mean to intrude”. I was just in the elevator at Sirius [Satellite Radio] and Sandra Bernhard got on with a whole posse of people and they were talking about the buttons on the elevator, these new ones, you press the button and its you which elevator to go to, so when you get in, you don’t press a button, and they started talking about that and I just interjected myself into the conversation, saying how annoying it was. Elevators don’t have to be upgraded in anyway other than the cables that let you up and down. Other than that, we know how the buttons work, we see the number, we push it.
Right, why did we have to make this more complicated?
I didn’t want to make contact with Sandra Bernhard, I just wanted to be in the conversation about the new elevator.
Congrats on the new book, “You Might Be A Metalhead”. When you were a child, I’m assuming you had Scholastic Books in school and you conned your parents into letting you get the latest edition of the Guinness Book Of World Records on top of another copy of The Hobbit. Where you always a big book fan? Or was becoming an author just something you fell into?
It’s funny Mark, I was just talking about the same thing with J.K Rowling and Stephen King. Now that I’m an author, now we all talk and whatever. J.k, I get it, It’s only my first book. You wrote all those book about The Hobbit or whatever. I get it, you like to write about a bunch of books but this is my first time and I’m just trying to take it easy. Its my first shot at authorship and it combined the two of the things that I love in the world, Heavy Metal and Comedy.
Now did you find this more difficult to title than one of your comedy DVDs or various projects? Because this is a book, books are respected, they go on bookshelves.
Well, first of all, mine is going right into people’s bathrooms. So, I’m not holding out hope for a lot of faith for Barnes & Nobles for my book but it’s funny you ask that because I was talking to James Patterson about this the other day. He says he’s always had trouble getting titles for his book and I was like “Jimmy, relax”, do what I did, steal the name from Jeff Foxworthy and change one word and then you have a title!
Who knows, confusion could lead to additional book sales, right?
I went on Amazon to check where I was on the best sellers list and actually Foxworthy’s book shot up to the top and I actually lost ground.
It had the reverse effect?
I’m plummeting down the charts.
Well now that we mentioned plummeting and bathrooms, would you say this is the upper decker of books?
This is the upper decker of Heavy Metal joke books, absolutely. Its a good size, if you fold it in half you could stick it between the roll of toilet paper in the holder.
With all seriousness Don, whenever lists come out, everyone instantly say the list is bullsh*t. Is everyone else’s opinion just frustrating when because it isn’t your’s and is simply wrong?
That’s what the beauty of lists are. Like on That Metal Show show we always did the Top 5. I’m a ground breaker as an author, for my book, I came up with a top 6 list. So now we have Metal 6 packs. What else goes better with Metal than a 6 pack? I have stuff like top 6 tunes to eat your neighbor to, and top 6 lists bands that sound like a Dark Age diseases, stuff like that. People love lists, usually in terms of metal credibility, I immediately go the Rolling Stone, Metal top 10 or top 100 musicians and promptly throw it away.
Do you think eventually, we’re gonna have a book that contains the top 10 greatest lists of 100 greatest list of drummers or guitar players? How deep are we going to go down this rabbit hole?
Well, I’m not sure how avant garde I can get with the Metal crowd. One of the ways you might be a metalhead if you don’t get the irony behind Heavy Metal Parking Lot. I think keeping it simple is probably the best way. You’ve seen my stand up act, there’s not a lot of layers to it either.
One of my friends bands down in Atlanta, GA wrote a song called, “Why Do Fat Kids Like Metallica? Do you have an answer for that? Is that a stereotype or an early 2000’s fad?
I think that was so Summer 2000 Mark. There’s definitely now chubby kids and very fit kids that like Metallica, we’ve come a long way.
What the first metal t-shirt you ever owned?
It was Ozzy’s Speak Of The Devil. The front cover of the album was the front of the shirt and he’s the fangs in and he’s got chunky blood stuff coming out of his mouth and I was like 15 at the time. I told myself the first time I have sex with a girl, I’m gonna be wearing this shirt.
Were you successful in wearing that shirt, if not first, at any point while having coitus?
The first girl I had sex with, I had to have sex with her a few times with a regular shirt and then she’d let me put on the Speak Of The Devil shirt. After I cut the sleeves off and cut all the way down the side so they see my mid section.
You worked with Joe Bartnick on “You Might Be A Metal Head”?
Yeah, great comic from the west coast. We did this all via email, and Joe is a great metal head as well. As we alluded to him when he’s sitting in the audience at that metal show with a Hawaiian shirt on. We thanked Danzig on vacation for coming to the show.
From that moment on, we knew we had to write a book.
What do you think is missing from metal these days that was prominent back when you first became a fan of the genre and made it your life’s mission to ingrain yourself in this lifestyle.
Yes. Chicks. You go backstage at any metal concert, its eight dudes sitting around on road cases taking about music. There’s nothing going on, like everybody’s gotta get backstage and you get back and you’re like “Oh my god this is boring!” These guys sitting back here talking about what kind of headstock they have on their guitar. Who gives a shit? Where’s the broads? Where’s the booze? What happened? Motley Crue, “Girls, Girls, Girls” not their “Guilts, Guilts, Guilts,” nobody wants them backstage.
I do remember seeing, correct me if I’m wrong, an AC/DC bootleg, where people were underneath the stage conducting “shenanigans”. Why do you think this doesn’t happen anymore? Has Rock ‘n Roll become an STD?
Well I think part of it, even though there’s young metal bands coming up, a lot of them are getting older, a lot of the classic ones that I love, have gotten older. They’re married, or whatever. Maybe their wives are on tour. Def Leppard was famous for having the room underneath the stage where someone would be playing a solo they’d run down there and get bj’s from chicks. Now, that room has juicers and weight lifting equipment in it, organic food.
Whats the latest on That Metal Show? Is there anything you can talk about or any new developments?
Well right now, Jim and Eddie and I are on the streets of New York with coffee cups like this is our Kickstarter campaign to try to raise money. Nobody plays rock anymore!! It’s so terrible, there’s no TV stations that are interested in putting any kind of rock on. The show is being shopped around, we’re trying to find a new home. Believe it or not Mark, there’s not a lot of TV outlets looking for three middle aged guys who wear concert shirts.
It’s disheartening, its disappointing, its frustrating, and how is there just no heavy metal channel available on Television? If we can have a Golf Channel, specific to left handed golfers, why can’t we have this channel? Why isn’t this happening?
Maybe we could combine it and have left handed golfing metalheads network?
What better tool to play air guitar with than a golf club, right?
I think we’re on to something here, Mark. Finally.
Well Don, you’ve got the key to the authors lounge now. You get to hang out with the likes of JK Rowling, the aforementioned Stephen King and all the less celebrated authors that sit in the back corner and just hang out.
I’m somewhere between JK Rowling and Snooki, so I’m happy with my spot in the world of authors.
That’s true. She does have a book that has led to a papercut or two, that’s a thing. Someone has gotten a paper cut because of Snooki.
Sales have skyrocketed. In all seriousness, it is a cool accomplishment. Even to find a publisher and actually get this done and out into the world. Its really cool and I totally appreciate the support as always.
You can order You Might Be a Metalhead right here.