Jim Florentine has been quite busy throughout 2015 with the fourteenth season of That Metal Show, touring as a stand up comic, delivering a hit podcast and most recently, releasing Terrorizing Telemarketers Volume 6 with Don Jamieson. Jim is no stranger to Journey of a Frontman as we originally chatted nearly two years ago, which you can check out here. We sat down the other day and chatted about what he’s been up to since.
Alex Obert: The biggest recent news in the music world is passing of Scott Weiland. What are your thoughts?
Jim Florentine: It sucks, man. He was a huge talent. They wrote some great songs. The first four Stone Temple Pilots records are fuckin’ great. The few they put out after that were okay too and the solo stuff was decent. It’s too bad, man. I don’t know exactly what went down. I know he’s had some issues in the past. Chester just left Stone Temple Pilots to go back to Linkin Park full time, so who knows if Scott woulda been back with them and doing shows again.
Alex Obert: Some can handle that type of a lifestyle for decades and others get caught up in their demons. The Ozzys of the world continue to hang on.
Jim Florentine: It’s a whole different level now with pills and the heroin, it’s so easy to get in everybody has complete access to it. That’s really fucking people up. They said something like a hundred and ten people a day in the United States die from drug overdose, just finding pills in the parents’ cabinet and getting hooked. The prescription pills are so powerful and the drug companies don’t give a shit. They just want to sell ’em, the doctors just wanna push ’em; they don’t give a fuck. It’s tough. Once you get hooked on that stuff, you can’t stop. I don’t know if that was the case with him, but I know he’s had problems with that stuff in the past. It’s a lot easier to get really caught up in that shit. When I was growing up, there was like one guy in town that had coke. You had to try and track him down if you wanted to get coke. Now, anyone has pills. You can get addicted to heroin all of a sudden.
Alex Obert: You’ve been up to a lot with shows, albums and your podcast, but not much has been going on with That Metal Show. It’s only been one season a year as of late. What’s your take on that?
Jim Florentine: That’s pretty much what we’ve been doing the whole time. Look, I’m busy doing other shit the whole time. When That Metal Show is ready to tape, it takes two weeks out of my life when we go do it. And then I go back on the road and do the stand up. Whenever they call and they block out some dates, I go do it and then I’m back doing my thing. They call when they’re ready.
Alex Obert: Nothing has been pitched for 2016 yet?
Jim Florentine: It’s around the holidays, nobody does anything right now. I’m sure we’ll be doing something in January.
Alex Obert: Those who keep up with the show know that Ozzy, Gene and Paul are three of the biggest names who have yet to be on. Aside from that, who do you feel is in that category?
Jim Florentine: Eddie Van Halen. Alex Van Halen. David Lee Roth. James Hetfield. I think those are the ones that are the big ones that I would like to see on there. Bruce Dickinson would be great. A lot of times, it’s all about timing and if they’ve got something to promote. If we’re taping in February and Maiden’s got a new record coming out in August, they’re not gonna do it in February. They’re not doing press then. It’s tough to pull them out. It’s all timing. Look, whoever shows up, I’m interviewing. I’m just happy that people wanna come and do the show.
Alex Obert: How do you go about researching a guest whose music you’re not as familiar with?
Jim Florentine: I know pretty much everybody on there. But you Google somebody, Wikipedia, go to YouTube. Watch some of their videos of them getting interviewed to see what kind of vibe they’re putting out during an interview. Luckily I don’t have to do too much of that because I’m a fan of the music.
Alex Obert: The three of you have been taking That Metal Show on the road over the past couple of years. You each have individual time on the stage and although you and Don are quite familiar with that setting, it’s something different for Eddie. How do you feel about his set?
Jim Florentine: Well he does more like storytelling and tells funny rock stories. He does great. He can do a whole show by himself. He can be a comic, he’s that good at it. He’s confident up there. It’s great for us three to be on the road and have fun. I look forward to those dates when we do them together. We’ve got something in Rochester in January.
Alex Obert: You brought up Van Halen earlier as those who should go on That Metal Show and it reminds me of a tweet you sent out a few months ago. You recently saw Van Halen live and thought they were amazing, despite negative reviews.
Jim Florentine: Everybody’s got a thing with Van Halen. “We saw ’em once and Dave didn’t sound good and other nights they did.” These guys are older, you gotta cut ’em a break. Dave’s sixty years old, let’s see some other sixty year old go up there and do that shit. I would say go see them on tour because you’ve got fuckin’ Van Halen playin’ ten minutes from your house. Whatever venue it is, they played everywhere this summer. You had Eddie Van Halen playin’, he’s sober and he’s playin’ great. Alex is a monster on drums. The set list is unbelievable. Wolfgang on bass. It’s a great show. Playing all the old shit. And why are you not going? People got in contact with me and they’re like, “Dude, you convinced me to go check that show out cause I wasn’t gonna go and thought it was gonna be a disaster. It was the best thing I did. It was an amazing show.” People just go in with a negative attitude and think it’s gonna suck. Do they have off nights? All bands do. To go see those guys up there playin’, I’ll go pay for that any day. As a comic, I have off nights too. I try not to and you try your hardest, but you never know.
Alex Obert: Comedy Metal Midgets continues to get bigger and bigger. You’ve covered a lot of various topics and have series such as “Awful Facebook Posts” and “Awful Vanity License Plates”. What are some ideas for future episodes?
Jim Florentine: Just the usual shit like the Facebook and the slang. But then I’ve also been doing these random rants now because I don’t have enough material to do an hour. I’ve always had these topics, but I don’t have enough on them. Now I just do little pieces on them and it’s going good. People love that stuff, so I’ll just keep doing it. They like to hear it on Monday morning when they get in the car and they have a shit work week ahead of ’em. They like the anger and rage. And I can build it up, no problem.
Alex Obert: How would you feel about taking callers to discuss and debate topics?
Jim Florentine: I would do that, but I just don’t have set up for it. I have no problem with it, absolutely. It’s just real simple with a little Zoom Recorder. I talk into it in my house and I upload it. My nephew puts it out there and that’s it. I don’t have time to go meet people and set it up in a studio and all that shit. I’ve got a busy life going on. If I could somehow work that out, I would definitely do it. It would be great.
Alex Obert: I heard you mention your son on one of the random topic episodes. On that note, what shows does he have you watch with him?
Jim Florentine: He watches that Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon, I got no problem with that. We watch PAW Patrol. He likes Dumb and Dumber, both those movies. He likes Shrek and shit like that. I saw the Peanuts movie with him. It’s not like it’s Frozen, but as long as he’s enjoying it.
Alex Obert: Is your son getting into the music that you listen to?
Jim Florentine: He loves the music, absolutely. That’s all we do is listen to music all the time. We wake up in the morning and we got Slipknot on, Foo Fighters, all that shit. He’s a hundred percent into it. We just play name that tune in the car when we’re listening to it in the car and we’re driving. I put music on it and say, “Let’s see if you can get ten in a row.” As soon as he hears the opening chords to something like Cat Scratch Fever, he says, “The band is Ted Nugent and the song is Cat Scratch Fever.” It’s great. He takes music lessons every Monday. Takes drums, guitar and piano lessons. He switches off each week. He loves it.
Alex Obert: You’ve been posting headlines on Twitter of crazy ways people have gotten arrested. What are some of your favorites?
Jim Florentine: I love it when it’s something like a guy blowing a horse and he gets arrested. And it’s the second time that happens. Shit like that is funny to me. There’s so much serious shit out there and just silly shit and propaganda. I figure some guy wants to read about the neighbor fucking his dog and he’s in love with the dog and wants to have a relationship with it.
Alex Obert: Would you say there are trends or approaches that you dislike from newer comics?
Jim Florentine: I don’t really watch other comics, so I don’t know what’s going on. I respect any comic that has the balls to go up on stage and perform in front of a bunch of strangers. I never trash comics. I root for ’em all. There’s room for all of us. Make it your own way, whatever way you gotta do it. Some of the shit isn’t for me, but whatever. Whatever works for people. There’s an audience for nerd comedians, there’s an audience for hipsters, there’s an audience for edgy guys, for dirty. Whatever genre you can get and you get your audience, that’s fine. I got no problem with it.
Alex Obert: What was the reaction from your comic friends to Awful Jokes from my First Comedy Notebook?
Jim Florentine: People loved it. Every comic loved it. Some people didn’t understand it, but that’s fine. It was a big hit amongst comics.
Alex Obert: And they admitted to having a similar notebook?
Jim Florentine: Yeah, exactly. I might do a volume two, there’s enough material. I like doing different shit like that.
Alex Obert: With the recent release of Terrorizing Telemarketers Volume 6, how has it felt to be back at it seven years following the last release?
Jim Florentine: We weren’t sure if we were gonna do one after we did the last one seven years ago. We thought we were out of ideas and done. We left it alone and got busy with That Metal Show and touring. And with those things, I always say you really have to have nothing going on in your life. You have to sit around and wait for the phone to ring. I was married and Don was in a relationship, then this past January, both of our relationships blew up. So I’m sitting in my house by myself and he’s sitting in his house by himself. “You know what? Why don’t you come over and we’ll do a telemarketers CD. We got nothin’ else going on.” We’re sittin’ in empty fuckin’ houses and all of a sudden it’s February, we’re sitting in my house and waiting for the phone to ring.
Alex Obert: How do you attract the calls? Do you sign up on various websites?
Jim Florentine: I have a house number cause it comes with the whole fuckin’ cable package. I always unplug it cause I don’t even use it. If you’re on their call list, they’ll keep on calling. So we’re gettin’ those calls. Then we have friends that have businesses in the area, so any telemarketer calls, here’s the number to give ’em. The phone rings constantly. We had enough over the course of a month to get it done. It was great.
Alex Obert: Before we wrap up, can you fill readers in on what you’ll be up to for 2016?
Jim Florentine: I got a special that I shot last year that’s gonna air somewhere soon. I did a one man show a few years ago that I just put on the shelf for a while. I have a great copy of it and I’m gonna put that out in 2016. It’s already done and I’m working on getting that thing together. I’m working on a book, rants from my podcast basically. I’m transcribing that. And then I’m gonna shoot a new comedy special, I’ve got a whole new hour of material. I’m gonna shoot that this year too. I got a busy year up ahead. Everything’s good.
Alex Obert: Looking forward to it! I’d love to thank you so much for your time.
Jim Florentine: Yeah, no problem. Absolutely!