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Interview: Don Jamieson, talks new comedy album, music videos, future of ‘That Metal Show’

Posted by on April 24, 2017

Ever approach one of your musical heroes for a photograph? What kind of pose did you strike? Did you smile ear to ear and flash some devil horns? Did you put an arm around the shoulder and try to play it cool… Or did you bend over in front of your favorite entertainer and drop to your knees simulating a sex act? If you were Don Jamieson taping the hidden camera DVD Meet the Creeps 2 at Ozzfest in the mid 2000’s, it was the latter.

Of course, Jamieson could never get away with such a raunchy prank nowadays. Shortly after that DVD was shot, he and his comedy partner Jim Florentine were the co-hosts of That Metal Show alongside fellow New Jersey native and legendary DJ Eddie Trunk. After nearly 8 years and 14 seasons, the show was not renewed by VH1 Classic, but it’s popularity made him a recognizable face at rock and metal concerts. It also brought a whole new crowd into the night clubs to see the seasoned stand-up and opened up new doors like working with Metal Blade records. On April 21st Jamieson released his 3rd comedy album with the label, and this time around he doesn’t hold back. Whether its about a bizarre drunken encounter with Kiefer Sutherland, sustaining a massive head wound, or the many metal musicians that occupy ample real-estate in his rattled head.

 

How you doing brother?

I’m doing good, I’m excited my record’s out, it’s doing pretty well on the charts which I’m excited about. It cracked the Top 10 on iTunes, so I guess I’m officially a sellout now.

 

So you had a good number of pre-orders then cause the album came out today.

Yeah, I’m super grateful. I’m lucky cause I kinda have two different audiences, the comedy audiences but I also have the hard rockers and the metalheads who have been supporting me ever since That Metal Show as well so I’m thrilled, anybody who bought the album: Thank you.

 
I listened to about 80% of it and I love the metal references obviously cause I’m a metal head, there’s some great lines in there when you’re talking about Amon Amarth.

Well thanks, that’s such a big part of my life I have to bring that on stage. It’s like anything else whether it’s a divorce, or a break-up, or a sex story, a falling off the skateboard story; whatever happens in your life and you’re a comedian that’s what you talk about and hard rock and metal’s a big part of my life so if I want to talk about viking metal I’m gonna do it! But obviously there’s lots of other stuff on there I talk about KISS, Def Leppard, The Scorpions, Van Halen. It’s real cool cause I’m a night club comedian but I also have my foot in the rock world too and that’s super important to me.

 

It’s a good niche, I wanted to get down to the root of everything cause the album cover is your Rutgers University yearbook photo right? I just wanted to know how you started and everything, where did you grow up?

I grew up in. . . you’re in South Jersey right?

 

Yeah I grew up around the Trenton area.

So you know when you grow up in Jersey it was basically a law. You had to have a mullet, you had to like metal, and you had to hang out at the mall so I did all three of those things and I had the long hair all through college. My nieces and nephews saw my college yearbook and texted me the picture, I hadn’t seen it in like 20 years and they were laughing at me and how funny my hair was cause it was sort of a feathery mullet, business in the front party in the back kinda wanted dead or alive look. When I saw it, it made me laugh, and my major was communications, so I immediately thought we’ll add breakdown, call it Communication Breakdown and the picture’s gonna be the album cover. People are getting a kick out of it, and me being an older dude, I’m 50, so I like the physical copy I like to work the packaging in to make it fun for people.

 

I think that’s coming back too. See I went to college in the late 90’s and I had white guy dreads, which are probably worse. People clown on the 80’s hair all teased out but white guy dreads are pretty fucking bad!

Well look, if you put out an album, you already know what your album cover’s gonna be.

 

True. I wanna know about real early on though, I can remember when I was a kid around the 5th grade, I got a little taste of what it’s like to get laughs from a big group, I’m so envious of you comics. Quick story I was at basketball practice, 5th grade, most of the kids were older, the coach is talking to everybody and I had gotten ejected from the game the night before, so he said to me “What happened last night?” On the spot just as a goof instead of saying “ejected” from the game I said ‘oh I got EJACULATED from the game.’ All the kids are laughing and I didn’t even care that they thought I wasn’t in on the joke, so then the coach is like setting me up to say it again, he calls the assistant coach over and says tell him what happened, so I go ‘well I’m going back and forth with the guy, things get physical and then I get Ejaculated!’ People are dying, so at that moment I was like wow this feels so good, so do you have a story that’s similar to that, that set you on the path to stand-up comedy?

Well I think it’s a similar thing it usually starts out, sometimes in school, maybe you’re the class clown, you’re in gym class doing sit-ups on the hardwood floor and you rip a fart everybody cracks up and you go ‘wow that was awesome.’ There was one time I remember probably in like 8th or 9th grade I had this HUGE zit on my nose, it was just ready to burst and I normally wouldn’t, they say “don’t pop the pimple or you’ll get a scar.” So I had this giant Lemmy mole sized pimple on my nose and I just thought it’d be really fun if I pop this thing it’s gonna go all over the place. I was in the middle of Spanish class and I went for it and the goo shot out and went on the back of this girl’s shirt. She screamed, then I jumped up and started screaming, I threw myself up against the chalk board. Of course I got sent down to the principal’s office but the class laughed like crazy. So those are some of my early attempts at humor.

 

I bet that led you to your Meet the Creeps DVDs.

Well meeting Jim Florentine was definitely a turning point for me in terms of first of all getting started being a stand up comic because he’s the one that sort of mentored me and kinda gave me my first start. Then we became comedy partners and are still comedy partners 20 years later, you’re referring to the hidden camera DVDs we do called Meet the Creeps, we do a series of CDs called Terrorizing Telemarketers. I think the good thing with the two of us is there’s really no voice of reason. There’s nobody to say maybe that idea’s a little too over the line. Whatever idea you have, the other guy’s gonna try to one up it.

 

The upper decker, where you poop in the top of the bowl, I recommend all 3, but the first one, is probably one of the greatest things of all time in comedy. I could go on about this all day.

I appreciate it, yeah those are fun to do. They are comedy DVDs but there are no happy endings as we like to say.

 

It’s great, but the new comedy album I heard you say you think its your best yet and I’d have to agree, you really stepped it up big time. I loved the part when you were talking about the Lita Ford/Ozzy video and beating off, and that it was too risky cause you didn’t want to finish on Ozzy. That’s a real deal for me, I don’t know how much you’re embellishing but when I grew up it was pre-internet, so music videos. Off the top of my head the Aerosmith video, I think it was “Crazy” with Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone?

Yeah look that was our porn back then, that’s all we had. I appreciate the good words and all that, look all comedy is a little bit embellished but you know sometimes when you’re watching an old Lita Ford video you gotta take care of business.

 

Well I’m gonna find out how much of a “Meet the Creep” you really are, Have you ever whacked your bag to just a song, no video?

No, you know I’m old school there’s gotta be a visual.

 

I wanna ask you about That Metal Show, it’s not coming back right? There haven’t been any last minute phone calls since I last heard?

Well it’s still out there in the world. The producers are shopping it around, so hopefully. The three of us are still best friends, we still hang out together, we still do That Metal Show when we’re hanging out together, we just hang around and talk about music, we don’t have the cameras anymore that’s all.

 

You’re a vegetarian, how long have you been one, or are you vegan?

No, not vegan, vegetarian, 25 years I’ve been doing it, But I always say Geezer Butler has been a vegan for 40 years, so it doesn’t get anymore metal than Geezer Butler.

 

Can you imagine being a vegan back in the day, he had to been eating like gravel.

Especially in the midlands of England. I have no idea how the guy did it but he’s very into it. I’m a vegetarian 25 years and I think vegans are insane how can you not eat cheese and pizza and stuff. I love that.

 

Do you have any go-to (foods) when you’re on the road doing comedy?
Paint chips. . . groupies, things like that.

 

Don Jamieson’s new comedy album Communication Breakdown is out now on Metal Blade Records, you can hear the entire interview below

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