Folks! Welcome to something new here that I’m calling 10 Questions With… I’m asking Fanboy stuff here(nothing to personal) and I hope you all Dig it! No one will be safe from my “10 Questions With’. Hell I may even ask you!
As many of you already know by reading my blog. Brent Jensen is easily my favourite writer as he has written three excellent books (No Sleep Til Sudbury/Leftover People/All My Favourite People Are Broken) which are all standouts! Brent is a real cool guy plain and simple! Support local independent writers! Not only that, but Brent is kicking ass with a podcast over at iTunes! Please check it out…
Take it away Mr Jensen.. and thanks a ton for doing this!
- When did you decide to write the book No Sleep ‘til Sudbury? Was that the plan from the get go? Or were you just jotting done stuff and realized you were sitting on a book?
I decided to write the full book in 2010 after really giving some thought to the emotional investment I had made in music as an isolated small-town kid growing up in the 80s. I had been writing articles for magazines at the time about bands like Guns N Roses and Motley Crue – edgier, more critical stuff about the bands that compelled me as a kid, not just the retelling of music history. I figured it may be a good idea to weave these critical pieces together using a very personal, conversational narrative that focused on what it was like to grow up in the middle of nowhere really depending on music to pull me through the time.
- No Sleep is such a great read as any music fan can relate to it, even if you’re living in Bangkok! I have to ask – were you surprised by the reaction you got from it?
Initially I was, yes. But I did figure that someone else out there in the world could relate to my story, and my primary intention was to ‘speak’ to those people through the book – the kids who spent hours in record stores, the kids who studied liner notes with laser focus, the kids who were interested in how music FELT as a result of its sound and look.
- I like in No Sleep how you tell the story of seeing iron Maiden in 1984 and then bookending it with the Maiden tour in 2006. In between you saw Maiden with Blaze Bayley after Bruce Dickinson left in 93. I don’t want to give away the full story about it, but how long after the Bayley show was it that you listened to Maiden again?
It was depressing for me to see that Bayley show, and I say that with absolutely no disrespect intended toward Bayley nor Maiden. It was a real low point for the band, after they had ruled the world for years and years. I said in the book that it was almost like visiting a friend in the hospital, because they seemed so vulnerable and exposed in comparison to how I ever seen them at any other time. I had witnessed the band live at the height of their powers in 1984, and I had felt a kinship with them almost as absent friends because I was such a rabid fan. It wasn’t until that Powerslave-themed tour in the late 2000s that I took up with them again, because I felt like it would bring me full circle.
4-Your second novel “Leftover People” documents your journey on a book promotional tour of the United States. It must have been a surreal moment when of all people Jack Starr(Virgin Steele) was sitting there at one of your tour stops. Who else have you come across in your travels that has surprised you?
Yeah, that was bizarre. There were a lot of metal-looking types there that day, but I kept looking at Starr from the podium trying to figure out where I knew him from. It came to me just before the Q&A portion of the book signing ended, and we shook hands and chatted afterwards. Great guy.
Since then I’ve been lucky to have a few other musicians drop by in-store signings, but no one too crazy. Someone in the industry did tell me once that Axl Rose read No Sleep ‘til Sudbury, and so did Nikki Sixx. But they haven’t turned up to have their copies signed yet J
5-Following “Leftover People” you wrote “All My Favourite People are Broken”. How did that idea come up? I mean let’s face it, we have all had conversations about music with our friends but you took it one step further and documented it. What spurred that on?
My old friend from high school Garvey and I had been talking for decades about those songs that really move us, the ones that really make your skin vibrate. We talked about it so much that I finally proposed the idea of gathering up all of these songs and secluding ourselves for a while to really go through all of them once and for all. I figured it would be interesting and lots of fun, but I learned so much more about myself than I had imagined that I actually developed the idea into a podcast, a professional speaking gig, and a group team-building exercise I do with companies now. Music can tell us so much about ourselves, if we have the guts to ask the hard questions.
6- Now you’re doing podcasts as well. NSTS podcasts are pretty diverse, as you have everyday 9-5 working folk but you also have snagged rock dudes like Phil Collen (Def Leppard) and now Rik Emmett(Triumph). It’s amazing how you get some of these artists. Just wondering who would be on the Brent Jensen Bucket List?
It’s a long list, man. Axl and Metallica’s James Hetfield would be up there near the top along with some other musicians, and there are so many others I’ve considered beyond the realm of music – pro athletes, actors, and other people who have intrigued me over the course of my life for whatever reason. But in a guest, all I really ever want is for them to be engaging, open, and real. That’s when the magic happens. Rik Emmett was a perfect guest in that regard, as you’ll hear this week in the episode we taped at his home. He was just outstanding. And I played some of his guitars – that’s some bucket list stuff right there!
7- First album ever purchased with your own money?
Hmmmm…I believe it was either KISS’ Creatures of the Night on vinyl, or a cassette of Loverboy’s Get Lucky. One of those two.
8- I know you’re not big on lists. BUT if you had to go with 5 albums that would make your skin vibrate, what would they be?
I really do hate lists. But five albums that make my skin vibrate (in no order) would be The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, Ryan Adams’ Gold, David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark, and Metallica’s Ride The Lightning. But there are soooo many more. Do I only get to name five?!?!?!
9-Arena or Stadium Show? What band or performer was the best?
Sheesh. That’s a tough question. I don’t know if there was a best, but the ones that come to mind right now as being really outstanding have been seeing Metallica at the Sudbury Arena in 1986, Bruce Springsteen at The Pyramid in Memphis in the late 90s, that Maiden show you mentioned earlier in the late 2000s, Paul McCartney in Toronto mid 2000s, and seeing Axl fill in for Brian Johnson with AC/DC at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in London in 2016. That was truly life-enriching.
10- Plug away your stuff or whatever it is you’re currently up to? Thanks for participating!
Well, the books and the podcast keep me busy, and late last year I co-founded The Firefly Group of Companies to facilitate the speaking engagements and team-building exercise I mentioned earlier, coupled with an insights and research consulting component that my business partner oversees along with a presentation skills training program she also spearheads. AND….book #4 is being talked about. I’m working with a new publisher, and it’s going to be quite an adventure. More on that towards the end of this year.