It is Podcast Month which means that we will be bringing you all the fun shows you should be carrying around in your back pocket on a phone. Today we speak to a podcast that is hosted by an Improviser and a member of the band Senior Discount – they have interviewed some great acts such as Big Reel Fish, Bowling For Soup and Less Than Jake as well as delving into the world of pop culture. I caught up with the guys Chuck Staton and Brad to find out more.
Hello guys! Can you tell us a little bit about the team behind The Chuck and Brad Podcast?
Chuck: We’re Chuck and Brad! I’m Chuck Staton. I’m in the punk band Senior Discount, I’m an independent filmmaker (I work for Walt and Bryan from AMC’s Comic Book Men and Brian Quinn from TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), I’m a culture writer for Motif Magazine and both Brad and I do live comedy. I love pop culture, comedy, film, music and food!
Brad: Chuck and I have been friends since 2008. We both love comedy and art – creating and consuming it. Chuck’s a little more outspoken than I am, I’m somewhat more cerebral than he is. Chuck’s in a band, I do improv, we both do stand-up.
What is the show all about?
Brad: The show is about art and comedy. Maybe some friendship, too. Basically, it’s whatever Chuck and I are going through at the time – promoting a show, going through some personal issues, talking about a movie we like, talking to an artist we like.
Chuck: The show is really about two artists growing and experiencing art. So it revolves around us with our many artistic endeavors, as well as our experiences with our artists and their art.
We talk to a lot of New England-based artists, but we love general pop culture so we also discuss that a lot, and have interviewed the bands Less Than Jake, Bowling for Soup, Reel Big Fish and many more. We also interview people in other fields of artistry: In April last year, Hulu sent us to the Tribeca Film Festival to interview Jeff Tremaine (director of the Jackass movies) and director Patrick O’Dell.
We’ve interviewed storyboard artist for the movie “The Town” Jason Mayoh, Disney animator Nicholas Kole, plus many, many other bands, comedians, artists and entrepreneurs from the New England area (and beyond). We were also invited to cover Warped Tour as press for the podcast last summer.
But we talk about all kinds of art and pop culture.
How did the podcast come about?
Brad: I wanted to start a podcast in late 2008 – a scripted dramedy that I only had the most nebulous of ideas about. Chuck and I talked about the need for new content to bring people to the band’s website, he talked me out of my terrible dramedy idea, and we started up in early 2009.
Chuck: I was re-doing the website for my band Senior Discount long ago, and I wanted to create a reason for people to keep coming back to the website. At that time, Brad had already mentioned that maybe we should do a podcast, so I thought we should put his idea into action.
“…we hope to keep working together to some sort of weird podcast/live comedy hybrid.” – Brad, Chuck and Brad Podcast
How do you decide what each of the episodes are about?
Brad: It’s most often whatever is going on in our lives. A lot of times that’s movies or TV, but it’s really anything. Usually Chuck will come with a bunch of topics and I will have thought of one, maybe two – usually things about our loves outside of pop culture. But Chuck is usually in the driver’s seat when it comes to topics – I’m working on taking some of the load off his shoulders. Not there yet.
Chuck: So by default, our episodes are going to revolve around the pop culture that’s currently speaking to the world, as well as the culture that gets to us personally, and the things we’re experiencing as humans.
For example, when Black Pather came out, the episode right afterwards had a lot of our thoughts about Black Panther. But then I also talked about a great restaurant I went to in Rhode Island, a beer launch party we were invited to, and finally (and most boring of all) the big fight I’m having with my mortgage company about my flood insurance.
If you’re wondering why we would talk about that, it’s because we believe that podcasts are places for people to connect with the hosts, and even though my specific flood insurance battle might only be happening to me, there are probably a lot of people out there with similar frustrations who might want to hear that other people are dealing with the same kind of problems.
You have interviewed some really interesting people on your podcast, what have been some of your favourites and why?
Brad: Oh dear. We’ve had a ton of great ones. Who did Chuck say? I think our talk with Ray Harrington was so much fun and so interesting. I loved the two-part conversation with the guys from Reel Big Fish. Our talk with freelance illustrator Nick Kole was a ton of fun. And then the talk with Patrick O’Dell and Jeff Tremaine was just incredible.
Chuck: I’d say my favorites have been Jeff Tremaine from the Jackass film series, Chris from Less Than Jake, the comedian Ray Harrington, and Matt di Chiara from the Copacetics. With Jeff and Chris it was great because I got to have real one-on-one conversations about art we both love (film and music, respectively). With Ray and Matt, it was more because the podcast is really at its best when it’s documenting artists bonding, and Ray and Matt were both strangers to us for the most part beforehand, and I really think we all walked away as friends after.
Plus sometimes you just connect to somebody and can have a lot of energetic discourse, which is what you want in terms of creating an entertaining episode for listeners.
How do you decide who to have as a guest on each show?
Brad: Chuck and I talk about it, then one of us reaches out to that person to see if they can do it. One of my favorite things about Chuck is he isn’t afraid to make big asks – not many of them have panned out, but all it takes is one.
Chuck: If somebody or some project interests us, we reach out. That’s it!
Who would be your dream guest to appear and why?
Chuck: Probably someone like Marc Maron or Kevin Smith, for the reason that I believe they share the same ideals of seeing entertainment is a gold mine to be explored.
I’d say Mark Hoppus from blink 182 as well, because he’s my biggest musical inspiration and I’d love to pick his brain.
Brad: There are too many dreams to list.
What is the best thing about recording a podcast?
Brad: I get to sit down with my closest friend in the world and talk to him for 90-120 minutes – and all of those are recorded for posterity.
Chuck: Being able to have a specific reason to sit down with your feelings and, in our case, talk them out with some logical and intelligent.
What is the most challenging?
Brad: Getting the word out.
Chuck: I think just the side of promoting it and doing the technical stuff. Editing and uploading and the XML side of it. Borrrrrrringgggg.
Are there any plans or have there been any live versions of your show?
Brad: We’ve done three live podcasts. We’ve also down a few shows at comedy clubs that are kind of extensions of the live podcasts, and we hope to keep working together to some sort of weird podcast/live comedy hybrid.
Chuck: Yes we’ve done three live podcasts. We hosted a nightmare midnight release of Batman: Arkham Knight for Gamestop and that was hilarious.
And since then we’ve kind of evolved our live show to something in between a live podcast and stand-up comedy.
Brad you are from an improv background, tell us about your troupe and the style of improv that you are interested in?
Brad: I currently work with the team “Seagull Related Fish Fight” at the Providence Improv Guild. We typically do a form we invented called the Zoom In, but lately we’ve been doing organic longform shows or whatever else we feel like before we go on stage. I also have a number of two-person groups: B&B’s B&B with Melissa Bowler, Bradalie with Natalie O’Sullivan, and Jade Bark and the Plosives with Jake Goldman. I’ll do any kind of improv – longform or shortform – but I’ve done mostly longform in the past few years.
Brad what are some of your favourite scenes you have been a part of in a show and why?
Brad: Wow! This is a tough question. At a rehearsal with my former group, SkyPunch, we did a twenty minute scene set in a diner. One guy played the diner owner, I played the bookkeeper (a woman), and the other guy played my son. And it was just so beautiful and magical and funny and heart-wrenching and everything I love about improv. Even the fact that it was done in a community center basement and will literally never be seen by anyone.
Brad – we have a lot of readers who are improvisers themselves – what advice would you give to improvisers who want to develop?
Brad: Do improv. Rehearsals and shows. After you do improv, go out with the people you do improv with, get some food, and talk about the shows. Talk about what you liked about the show and where you messed up. Keep rehearsing. Keep performing.
Brad – which improvisers or comedians do you enjoy / find inspiring and why?
Brad: There are so many to list! As far as famous ones go, I occasionally watch the Asssscat! DVD to remind myself how fun improv can be – Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and a few other funny people. But I’m probably most inspired by all the people I get to (or have gotten to) perform with.
“…it was just so beautiful and magical and funny and heart-wrenching and everything I love about improv. Even the fact that it was done in a community center basement and will literally never be seen by anyone…” – Brad, Chuck and Brad Podcast
Chuck – we are also a site that has a lot of music fans – tell us all about your band Senior Discount?
Senior Discount is a punk band. We’re inspired by bands like NOFX, Blink 182, Rancid, Green Day, Less Than Jake, Alkaline Trio, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, etc.
We’ve been playing for over a decade. We’ve played hundreds of shows all over the East Coast. We’ve played with Strung Out, Anti-Flag, The Pilfers, Gym Class Heroes, Boys Like Girls, Girl Talk, The Bravery, Guttermouth, Less Than Jake, The Ataris, Leftover Crack, Darkbuster, The Swingin Utters, Chuck Ragan, Streetlight Manifesto, The Loved Ones, and a million more.
“My favorite shows [with Senior Discount] are the ones where I feel like we’re firing on all cylinders. We’re tight, we play well, we’re energetic, and we’re funny. I want to walk away feeling like we did an A+ performance and that’s my favorite type of show…” – Chuck, Chuck and Brad Podcast
Chuck – tell us about the writing and production process of a new song – how do you create ideas?
I’m the songwriter of the band so usually an idea or a melody strikes me and I record it, and save it in my bank of music ideas.
Then when I want to develop it, I write a LOT of lyrics, a lot of freeform ideas. I work out the music and the melody first alone, music and melody currently is most important to me in music, and then I try to take the most important words and phrases and see how I can get them to fit.
Then I bring the song to the band and we work on basslines, guitar leads, and drums. The drums will change it the most. Finally we focus a LOT on vocal harmonies.
I really care about pop music and the craft of writing pop songs so that’s where my priorities lie.
Chuck – what have been some of your favourite gigs you have played and why?
We played a sold out show at the Boston House of Blues opening for mash-up DJ Girl Talk. That was big. 3,500 people. That was crazy. It felt like we proved something that night.
Honestly, we played a St. Patrick’s day show that was sold-out in Providence, opening for …. Darkbuster? And I remember feeling very proud of us after that.
Actually one of my favorite shows we played (in terms of our performance) was just a few weeks ago opening for the Pietasters!
My favorite shows are the ones where I feel like we’re firing on all cylinders. We’re tight, we play well, we’re energetic, and we’re funny. I want to walk away feeling like we did an A+ performance and that’s my favorite type of show.
Chuck – what advice would you give for anyone interested in starting a band?
I’d say one of the hardest thing for me was that the band really exposed a little difference between me and some of my friends. Just in terms of dedication, and the work I was willing to put in, versus the work they were.
My advice is to really have a talk about whether or not you and the people you’re starting a band with, want the same things. See how much time they’re willing to put in. As things progress with the band, really be open about changes in responsibilities and time commitments and really try to make it as equal as possible – and if people don’t seem as dedicated, or as willing to put in the time, get ready for problems to occur.
Relationships change and people become bitter and angry. It’s very hard and people you now think are your best friends may eventually be willing to completely abandon you.
Chuck – whats bands do you like / find inspiring and why?
The bands that inspire me most are blink-182, NOFX, Green Day, Against Me!, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Rancid…and I’d say the reason why is because to me, they’ve all found their own mix of good song-writing and high-energy, aggressive performance. I feel like that’s a big part of what I love about music.
Right back to podcasts – do you have to cut a lot out of your podcasts or do you tend to keep it raw and quite fluid?
Brad: We don’t cut much out. Usually just coughs and sniffles. Occasionally we’ll go too long and have to cut an episode in two parts, but overall – it’s fluid.
Chuck: We only really do too much editing if there’s dead space. I think podcasts are all very different. And since the medium is wide open, sometimes podcasts require a lot of editing and that makes sense to me. The reason we don’t require much is because our podcast is so fluid with how long it needs to be. Most of our podcasts are around 90 minutes but they could be anywhere from an hour to two hours. And since we don’t look to fulfill a specific amount of time, we’re never stretching to fill anything or rushing to end by a certain time.
Plus, we don’t have a topic and then just kind of loosely discuss it. We will have many segments, so as soon as we’re done talking about a topic we move on.
We’re both kind of seasoned performers so we know when to move forward and make the energy continually feel “up”.
“…we believe that podcasts are places for people to connect with the hosts.” – Chuck, Chuck and Brad Podcast
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting a podcast?
Brad: Follow through. There are so many podcasts out there that finished five episodes, then took a month off, then recorded two episodes, then never recorded again. So if people are thinking of starting a podcast, I would say make schedules a few months out….then stick to that schedule.
Chuck: Just do it. Good gear is fairly inexpensive. Just start. Oh, and start social media promotion immediately. We made a big mistake by not having a Facebook for A LONG time.
What make you different to other podcasts out there?
Brad: I hope it’s the genuine friendship between us.
Chuck: I think the difference might be the fact that we have so many artistic outlets and legitimately partake in so many. I think being behind the scenes on that journey is something really, really special. I think it’s interesting to really be able to follow artists as they continue to forge new paths.
What other podcasts are you a fan of and why?
Brad: Hello From the Magic Tavern – some guys I did improv with in Chicago run this and I am delighted at how successful they are. You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, Tell Em Steve-Dave, WTF with Marc Maron, Talk is Jericho and a passel of others.
Chuck: Tell Em Steve Dave is my favorite, I work with them, I do their film projects. I love WTF, Smodcast, You Made it Weird, the Bret Easton Ellis podcast, those are a few of my top ones. I just think they all offer unique personalities. I love the idea of podcasts being windows into people you relate to.
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
Brad: I run very boring Twitter and Instagram accounts @bradrohrer
We’re on Facebook as the Podcast at http://www.facebook.com/chuckandbradpodcast
“…our episodes are going to revolve around the pop culture that’s currently speaking to the world, as well as the culture that gets to us personally, and the things we’re experiencing as humans…” – Chuck, Chuck and Brad Podcast
What are your aims for your podcast in 2018?
Brad: We’d like to continue to expand. Get some sweet interviews. Do some awesome live events. Keep it going.
Chuck: I honestly really want to do more live performance. We do stand-up, live podcasts, and a hybrid of the two. I’d like to do more of the hybrid.
If people want to find out more about your show where should they visit online / social media?
Brad: Our website is www.chuckandbradpodcast.com
We’re on Facebook as the Podcast at http://www.facebook.com/chuckandbradpodcast
Chuck: @discountchuck on Twitter and Instagram, and facebook.com/chuckandbradpodcast
In three words why should people listen to your show?
Brad: Art Comedy Friendship
Chuck: Laughs / Love / Jizz