The most serious moment in my conversation with comedian Don Jamieson occurred when I asked “Who is the funniest person he has ever known.” In complete sincereness and New Jersey richness, Jamieson replied, “My mom.”
Don Jamieson is metal. He lives metal, breathes metal and one week before his show at Vinyl Music Hall, we talked metal and more for my column in the Pensacola News Journal. Here is a link to the column and the full interview follows below.
*** Don Jamieson Interview ***
MS: You’ve got “That Metal Show”, tours, Inside the NFL, hit albums; of all this and everything else, what is the most exciting part of the entire Don Jamieson experience for you?
DJ: Yes, my devastating comedy kingdom. It’s great, but basically, the only place I’m a household name, is in my household. For me, doing all of it is exciting, but certainly nothing more exciting than the live performance. Getting on the stage, making people laugh and that’s where performers come alive. When I hit the stage at Vinyl Music Hall, I want to be pumped and ready to go.
MS: What did you listen to growing up?
DJ: I only listen to metal. That’s the only music I ever liked, I started with KISS and worked my way from there. Aerosmith and then I started listening to heavier stuff like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Even when grunge came on in the 90’s, I never threw my concert shirts away. I kept them. I never wore flannel one day in my life. Kept wearing concert shirts and I’m 45 and I still wear a concert shirt every day. I’m 12 years old at heart, man.
MS: Who is the metal person you ever met?
DJ: The most metal person I ever met is a guy, his name is Richard Christy, he’s on the Howard Stern Show and he’s a metal drummer as well. And he’s so hardcore into all his favorite metal bands that when he goes to see them live in concert, he wears a diaper. Cause he doesn’t want to miss one song during the show because he drinks a lot of beer, so he pees right in the diaper and then he can stand at the whole concert and not have to move.
MS: Insane. Here’s a crazier one. Who’s the most metal person from New Jersey?
DJ: Two most metal people I know from New Jersey are my co-hosts on That Metal Show. Jim Florentine and Eddie Drunk. These guys are metal through and through. If you grow up in New Jersey, it’s basically a state law that you have to like heavy metal. New Jersey is about three things, Mike. Mall, Mullets and Metal.
MS: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at one of your concerts?
DJ: I was doing a show here in New Jersey and there was this woman who was highly intoxicated and she had gigantic fake breasts that she was showing off very much. But she was kind of drunk and stumbling around and she kept getting up to go to the bathroom and every time she got up, she would yell at some guy on the other side of the room. I said, “What the hell is going on here?” and it turned out that the guy on the other side of the room was her old boyfriend and he was there with another girl. She was screaming at him and they had a fight right in the middle of my act. They started screaming at each other. He was like, “Who bought you those breasts?” it got so crazy…and then I walked off stage and I went out to get back in my car and she was passed out in the parking lot behind my car. At the Comedy Zone. So Mike, I couldn’t get out and the whole audience is inside, so I went back in. I did an encore for like 15 minutes.
MS: Who is the funniest person in your life or you’ve ever met?
DJ: (In total New Jersey accent and totally sincere) My mom. I gotta say that because I got my sense of humor from my mom and my mom is 67 now and she still-every time her and my dad come to see me-she always says the same thing. Whether I do good or I don’t do so good, whatever, she’s still my mom. It’s like I’m in little league, you know. “Oh you did so good tonight, honey!” She’s supportive, she’s funny and she’s still bugging me to do a mother son routine on stage.
MS: Oh God, that would be awesome. Did you do anything special for Mother’s Day?
DJ: Yeah, yeah. I got her some roses. I didn’t have a lot of cash, but there’s a cemetery right by me, so I worked it all out. (I die laughing)
DJ: Hey! It’s the thought that counts. Come on!
MS: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
DJ: The best advice I’ve ever been given was actually from a song. A Motorhead song, who are my favorite band and they have a song that’s called, “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down”. And that’s the best thing you can keep in your mind when you’re a comedian. Because it’s a tough business, Mike! People are always trying to grind you down in this business. You’re not funny, you’re not this, you’re not that. Club owners beating you down, not paying you, treating you like garbage, but you just got to always remember, “Don’t let them bastards grind you down.” And if you remember that, you’ll be alright.
I take a lot of my influence in comedy from heavy metal, you know all my mottos in the comedy business come from metal. The other one from Lemmy in Motorhead is “If you don’t quit, they can’t get rid of you.” That’s just a great thing! It’s like, “Yeah! Alright, if I don’t quit, they can’t get rid of you, so I’m just going to keep hanging around.” And because I have, I’ve done all of those great things that you’ve mentioned at the top, that I’ve been lucky enough to do.
MS: With everything you’ve done, what’s up next? What is the next big goal or plan for Don Jamieson?
DJ: Probably porn. (at first, I thought Don said “Comedy Porn”) That will be the biggest challenge, I think. I’ve done just about everything else I’ve wanted to so probably, yeah. Hardcore porn. Might as well have a little fun before I go out, Mike.
MS: What words of wisdom would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?
DJ: Dogged persistence. Those two words. That’s it. Dogged Persistence. Again, basically, never give up. If you believe in it, if it’s what you want to do, do it! Don’t worry about what anybody else says and most importantly, have fun! So, Have fun, don’t worry about anybody else, do what you like to do. Do things your way and have fun and just keep going and don’t worry about what anybody else says. You know why? Because 99 percent of the time they’re not doing anything! So who are they to tell you what you can do?
MS: My last question for you Don, a crazy question…
DJ: Alright, I’m ready.
MS: I’m bracing myself. Do you prefer Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
DJ: You know what? I hope I answer this right for you. I feel like I let you down if I don’t, but I’m going crunchy. I gotta go crunchy.
MS: Why so?
DJ: Because, it’s like you get a little bonus. You get a little extra. Like when I struggled in this business to start, that’s all I could eat was peanut butter sandwiches. When things started going really good in my career, I could afford the chunky. Before that, I could only have the smooth. So now that I actually can afford peanut butter, I always get it crunchy, because I get a little extra there.
MS: “Movin’ on up to the big time”. I’m with you. I’m creamy now, I’m a creamy journalist, so I’m working my way up to crunchy.
DJ: If it helps any, I went back to yellow mustard from the spicy mustard because you had yellow mustard when you were a kid, then you went to the spicy mustard when it came out and I stayed with that almost my whole life for like five years ago, back to the yellow mustard and I’ll never go back to the spicy stuff. You gotta stand up for the things that are right, Mike. And yellow mustard is the right thing.
MS: Don Jamieson for President! That’s what I want to hear. I like that.
DJ: Believe me, there’s more skeletons in my closet than John Wayne Gacey’s. I’m not runnin’ for president of anything.
MS: Is there anything you want to add for the fans who will be seeing you on June 1st at Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola?
DJ: Yeah! Hey look! Come on down, expect a good time. There’s great comics, there’s some great bands playing, it’s going to be a big party. Everyone is going to be hanging out, I’m going to meet everybody and we’re really going to have a fun time. And I’m excited to be there. The more people that come, the more fun we’ll have.
-Michael L. Smith
– Link to an additional photo gallery of the concert by the PNJ/GoPensacola.com crew.