Jim Breuer Talks ‘Songs From the Garage,’ AC/DC, Ozzy + More
Comedian and lifelong metalhead Jim Breuer has been working on an album for a while. He put together a band, hooked up with producer Rob Caggiano (Volbeat), and the result is Songs From the Garage, the debut from Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy. Loudwire caught up with Breuer for a chat about the album, the guest spot from AC/DC's Brian Johnson and more.
Now that the album is finished, as you look back was the process easier than you thought it was going to be, or more difficult?
I would say so much harder than I thought. I never worked so hard in my life. I'm not even kidding. Thank God I did, thank God I had Rob Caggiano. He worked me to the freaking bone. That guy went through every line, every note, every song, I mean literally. I'd be in the studio for hours over a line and it would make me pull out my hair. He's a perfectionist and thank God or else this would be a disaster. It was way harder than I anticipated and I have a whole new, huge respect for the whole music industry, just a whole different outlook on how things are made and everything. I'm completely blown away, but it's not going to stop me from continuing on because I love it.
How did Brian Johnson's guest appearance come about?
He asked me. I was going to ask Rob Halford, I was thinking about asking James Hetfield. There was part of me that thought, I don't want to put them in a spot. They don't know what they're getting into. Brian came to me after seeing a show and said, "I heard you're making a record. I really want to do it with you." I went, "I don't know if you've been drinking..." He said, "No, no, I'm dead serious. Let's do this." So I said, "Well all right, I'm going to take you up on this."
I didn't call him again and then he called me again and asked, "Jim, are we doing this? I want to do this. I'm coming to New York." I came up with the idea of the song ("Mr. Rock 'n Roll"). Rob had a great riff for it. We presented it to him. We just kind of bounced off each other with ideas. He left, we wrote it. We went to Florida to finish the record. He drove himself and recorded with a handheld mic in the board room, no headphones, just listening to the monitor speakers. It was the most mind-blowing event I've ever seen in my life, just to watch Brian record and it really didn't hit me until I listen to it now.
He's so giving. He's just such a giving human. I'm still beside myself that this happened. We're in the studio and I said, "Brian, listen, you don't like it, it's not on the album." He said (doing his best Brian Johnson impression), "Listen, listen, me son, I trust you Jimmy. I trust you'll do the right thing with the song." Those words coming from Brian Johnson, I hear that every day and I want to make sure it's justified to him, his voice and it didn't come off corny. I wanted him to look great in it.
Have you been in contact with him since he's not been able to do AC/DC live shows because of his hearing issues?
Yeah, he's really depressed. It's very depressing. It's horrible. He's very sad that he can't tour. He's devastated by it. He's struggling a little bit with where he's at, but he's a fighter and he's not a quitter. He's going to continue to try to figure it out.
What's your opinion of Axl's performance filling in with AC/DC?
I have nothing against Axl. I have a hard time watching without Brian. It just doesn't make sense to me. It makes no sense whatsoever. To me as a fan, as a die-hard AC/DC fan, Brian Johnson is the reason I discovered AC/DC. Brian Johnson is the reason I became a Bon Scott fan. I would have never been attracted to AC/DC if it wasn't for Brian Johnson and that's the God's-honest truth. I can't accept it. I just can't accept it, but it's just a fan view.
When some people see that Jim Breuer, who they might only know as a comedian, is making a metal album, they might think it's a novelty thing. How do you overcome that perception?
Well, I just keep going at it and touring and just let them know this is not going to end and it's not. I'm definitely going to make more, I'm going to do stand-up tours and eventually I'm going to mix the two worlds and make this an unbelievable live event. It'll be a tremendous stage event, live, eye candy, ear candy concert and I can't wait to put this out there. I've been waiting to do this for 20-some years.
The whole thing that took me so long was gaining confidence. I've been wanting to do this since high school, but the comedy took off really quick. This was always on the back burner. Once the comedy really hit, it was a little weird to jump in this world. I wanted to make sure I had the biggest, most powerful team around me that would build my confidence. Rob Caggiano was the final key and he did it for me. He brought up that confidence and he just put me over the edge. I freaking love him.
Do you have any live shows booked at this time?
Yeah, we have some festivals. We have Chicago Open Air, Houston Open Air, we have Rock Allegiance outside of Philadelphia, we have Brooklyn, we have two Mondays in Brooklyn where those are going to be fun shows to check out because that's a lot of improv plus the music and I've got a lot of cool stuff planned for that. Then I'd like to book a huge headline tour for all of next year.
Are they going to try to book you to perform on some of the late night TV shows?
My dream is somehow one of these songs makes it to Saturday Night Live and they have me as the musical guest. That would be the ultimate. I'm trying really hard to get on Fallon. I think Fallon's going to be a tougher thing for me for whatever reasons, but I would love to get on there.
During your time on Saturday Night Live, who were some of the musical guests that really impressed you?
Smashing Pumpkins. They blew my mind standing in front of them watching them perform. I think that was my all time favorite performance, that and the Eurythmics. Annie Lennox is tremendous live. What a presence. Tina Turner, Metallica and Soundgarden, those were my all time favorites that I watched on there.
You were able to not only watch them during the live show, but also soundcheck earlier in the week, right?
Yeah, that's when I would go. I'd go on a Thursday and I'd go watch them doing the soundcheck and rehearsing. That's the one thing I miss about SNL, Thursday soundchecks.
A big recent news story is the possible split between Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. What's your take on that?
It's sad. I don't know them at all. I've always been a fan of Ozzy and it seems like Sharon has given her life and soul and everything she had and keeping a great family, keeping him going. I do nothing but praise her and praise them both, really. I'm a little saddened by it and I just wish them the best. I really admire Sharon.
In North Carolina where I live, many bands have been canceling shows because of a controversial bathroom law passed by the state legislature. Is there any political issue that would cause you to cancel a show?
I don't follow politics. I don't read news and I don't watch TV. My job in life is to entertain people. I'm not going to scorn an entire state because of some political yo-yos. Why would I let the average Joe suffer who bought a ticket that wants to escape it all? That is not my style, nor do I believe in that. If bands want to do it, that's their thing. To make a political stand, that's not my style. Why am I going to let the little guy get punished? It's not their fault. That's ridiculous.
Our thanks to Jim Breuer for the interview. Pick up the Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy's album 'Songs From the Garage' here.
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