Wayne Kramer/Jesse Malin/Joe Sib/Dave Ross - Live In Hollywood (Cover Artwork)
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Wayne Kramer / Jesse Malin / Joe Sib / Dave Ross

Live In Hollywood (2015)

live show

On January 15, 2015 I decided to go to Side One Dummy Records in Hollywood, California to see another live recording of the label’s podcast, Story Tellers. (You can read my review of the first one I went to here). How could I not go? Look at that line up! When else was I going to see Wayne Kramer of the MC5 perform live in such an intimate setting? When I say, “intimate” I mean that the room was full at about forty people. And of course, free beer was provided for the audience before the show started.

So aside from this show being incredibly awesome just for its line up, this was recording of Story Tellers not only had stand up comedy, but Wayne Kramer and Jesse Malin played some songs for the audience as well. I believe this was the first time anyone played music live on this podcast.

Every podcast episode has a theme. The theme for this episode was A Night of Stories and Songs which meant that each funny story had to be some how related to or tie in with a song that influenced each comedian/artist. (Just a quick note: There are some light spoilers coming up, but I won't go into too much detail of what each story was about).

Up first was comedian Dave Ross. The song he chose to fit the theme of his story was “Argyle” by The Bouncing Souls. Like a lot of young people that get into punk rock, he felt like people just didn’t understand him. His story was about how he was in Denver doing a comedy festival and how he got into this funny situation with a heroin addict who literally had just got out of prison that same day.

Then Joe Sib, co-founder of Side One Dummy (who was also the MC for the show) got up in front of the audience after Dave Ross was done. Joe chose the song “Undone- The Sweater Song” for his story. And Joe’s story was about how he was in the band Wax at the time and a young Rivers Cuomo asked if Weezer could open for Wax. Weezer later on got signed, while Wax got dropped from their label. Like I said before, I don’t want to give too much away, but I can let you know that the way the “Undone- The Sweater Song” fits into his story is hysterically funny.

Up next was Wayne Kramer, founder and guitarist of the MC5 and proto-punk legend! He got in front of the audience and picked up his acoustic guitar. But before he played his song he told a story about how he was incarcerated for a non-violent drug offense and how when he was released he felt he really needed to do something about the out of control war on drugs. He also talked about how The Clash song “Jail Guitar Doors” was written about his incarceration. Seeing how he felt so strongly about how detrimental the war on drugs is on American society, he talked about how he created his charity organization called Jail Guitar Doors. And the song he chose to fit with the theme of this episode and perform was “Sing Me Back Home” by Merle Haggard, which played and sang masterfully. It was absolutely amazing to whiteness that in person.

The last act was Jesse Malin and he had a couple of stories, but it seemed like he was mostly there to play some songs. He first told a pretty funny story about how he met Arturo Vega and got his band to open for The Ramones and how he and Arturo stayed friends up until his death. He chose his original song “Addicted” to fit the theme of the episode. He also told a story about how he was asked to play The Clash song “Stay Free” at a friend’s funeral. Jesse and his backup singer/backup guitarist played and sang both of those songs and then they brought Wayne Kramer back up to play another one of Jesse’s original songs, “Burning on the Bowery.” Jesse got the crowd to stand up and participate in singing part of the chorus and then put his guitar down and took the mic and started singing and walking through the audience and walking on top of the chairs. It was pretty intense way to end the show to say the least.

Now what also made this adventure of mine extra cool was that a few of the audience members were famous punk rockers. I know for certain that Kevin Lyman, creator of the Vans Warped Tour was there and Clem Burke, the drummer of Blondie was there as well. And then as I’m walking out I see The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon.

As usual, I had an awesome time at this recording of Story Tellers. For me, this was one of those special once-in-lifetime shows that I knew would be ridiculously stupid of me If I had missed it. If you are in the Los Angeles area definitely try and go to one or check out the podcast. Either way you’ll be far from disappointed.

You can check out Side One Dummy Story Tellers here or here.