Friday, April 29, 2011

Interview: Jeremy Gloff

If you like your music to serve up joy and pain, love and anger in the form of broadly generic and easily digestible songs to which we can all relate, singer/songwriter Jeremy Gloff may not be for you. His songs say, "Yeah, I don't know about you but this is how I'm feeling." So it's fitting that his newest album is titled THIS. Gloff, originally from New York is now living and working here in Tampa where he is a columnist ("Cynical and Southern") for TheNewGay.net in addition to being a prolific musician. He will be celebrating the release of THIS, his 17th album, with a party at The Social Club in Ybor City on May 9th (info below). He graciously took time out of his very busy schedule to answer some questions for this blog...

You refer to THIS as a comeback; where were you?
After feeling really bad about the world for a couple years (and one album) I’ve returned full throttle and I’m ready to do THIS.


What's your approach to recording and releasing a new album? Is it when you have a statement to make or when you have a collection of songs you want to get out?
It’s as if there’s a silent timer going off that dings when it’s time to make a new album...you just KNOW. A collection of songs just hovers around and announces that there are no more songs to be written, and it’s time to make that album. It’s a rather expensive announcement.


What statement are you making with THIS?
Oh, THIS is what it is.

Is the album still a viable means of making a musical/artistic statement or is that a thing of the past?
I believe it is a thing of the past. It seems things have gone full circle. In the 1950s it was a singles market and once again all these years later it’s a single market. In keeping my arty outcast leanings I’m still of the school that an album is an ALBUM. I believe the album is still a wonderful means of artistic statemnt. I also believe that a lot less people pay attention than they once may have.

The collapse of the recording industry as it existed for decades: ultimately good or bad for artists?
I think the oversaturation of grass-roots artists makes it super hard to stand out these days. Everyone has their generic professional bios and Myspace pages. I also think that labels don’t spend the time and money to cultivate long-term careers for the artists on their roster. The song was called “drop it like it’s hot” but in the industry, they drop ‘em when they’re not hot.


You recently made your old albums available for sale on a "pay-what-you-will" basis. How did that work out?
I made a few extra bucks and I made more room in my closet.

You've lived all over the place; does where you are geographically influence your songwriting? Are there songs you've written in Tampa that couldn't have possibly been written in New York, and vice-versa?
I do wonder what kind of songs I would have written if I ended up living in San Francisco. Tampa is inspiring in a strange way. Tampa is like the weird kid stuck in the back of the classroom. Tampa is the kid who doesn’t have the coolest clothes, the best grades, or the most impressive collection of books by trendy authors. But Tampa is one hell of an interesting kid if you sit down and talk to him.

If Tampa was in The Breakfast Club...
You've expressed frustration with the arts and culture scenes in Tampa and your attempts to make changes. Do you hold out any hope that things could change or are you resigned to accepting it for what it is...and isn’t?
I certainly got bored with trying to make a difference around here. I have kick-ass friends and cheap rent. I throw some fun shows here and there. It would be easier to open a nun’s legs than to open the minds of some of the people in power around here. That said, there’s really super, super rad people creating and operating out of this area. And then there’s some really, really shameful buddy system, closed-minded bullshit too. Like anywhere, maybe. But probably a little bit worse.

I’m incredibly envious of the fact that you’ve met and hung out with one of my all-time favorite people and artists, Jill Jones. Tell me something that will make me even more envious, please.
I was a fan of Jill’s growing up but when we met it as if we were always kindred spirits. Last time I was in NY we wrote two wonderful songs together and shared a meal of chicken parm sandwiches. Jill’s daughter co-wrote “Back & Forth” with me on THIS. Jill is one of the easiest people I’ve ever written songs with. It’s as if our hearts beat in the same way.

How can we get her to come to Tampa and take her out for dinner to the Columbia or some less-touristy place?
Jill is always one to defy expectation. Now that she is in L.A. I see less of a chance of her making it down here unfortunately.
Hmm, she defies expectations and Gloffy's
expectation is that she's not likely to visit.
I see what he did there.
So are we (gays & straights) cool now? It seems like there's a healthier level of acceptance than there used to be, aside from the extremist knuckleheads who don't want to get along with anybody, of course. Or am I wrong and there's still considerable progress to be made before we can all feel good about it?
I think living in Tampa is sort of like being in a safe bubble. In my 12 years of living here I’ve never had ONE homophobic slur said to me. I know the rest of the world isn’t as friendly. That said, I do think the lines have been lightened a little. Thankfully. Intolerance is just plain old dumb.

Are you looking forward to saying "'THIS is my new album" and having Abbott & Costello-style "Who's On First?" hilarity ensue?
You can bet your life on THIS.
"THIS is not your new album. THIS is Jeremy Gloff's new album."
Monday, May 9th * 9:00 PM
The Social Club, Ybor City
1909 N.15th Street
Tampa, FL

"Square One presents JEREMY GLOFF'S THIS Album Release Party & Show
featuring special appearances by Shunda K, MACAViTi, Anye Cole & more
Music by DJ Sirius

Purchase your copy of THIS, the comeback album from Tampa superstar Jeremy Gloff, for $5 night of show.

FREE ADMISSION"





4 comments:

John Kim said...

Never heard of golff, he must not be mainstream

Why, it's Clark! said...

No, I wouldn't describe him as mainstream but his music isn't inaccessible either. You should give him a listen some time.

Marissa said...

I'll give him a listen, for sure. Love new stuff that doesn't fall into mainstream.

count me as one of those album purchasers who looks for a theme from start to finish and give a crooked eyebrow when one song has little in common with the next. Carrie Underwear comes to mind. On the same album she's singing about Jesus take the wheel and in the next breath she's causing property damage to a cheating man. It seems so jacked up.

Why, it's Clark! said...

Marissa, your interview goes up tomorrow (5/18) : )