Thursday, September 26, 2013

Erica Rivera Interviews Adam Carolla


Adam Carolla: Podcast King

“My life philosophy is pretty straight forward,” Adam Carolla said in a recent phone interview. “Grit is better than I.Q., intestinal fortitude is better than any degree, and always blame yourself.”

Given the success that 49-year-old Carolla has enjoyed in radio, television, and film, there might be something to his commandments.

A child of divorced parents who came of age in North Hollywood, Carolla spent his 20s working as a carpet cleaner, a custom closet installer, an earthquake rehab contractor, and a boxing trainer. It was that last gig that led Carolla to Jimmy Kimmel, then known as “Jimmy The Sports Guy” on L.A. radio station at KROQ. Carolla coached Kimmel for a boxing match in 1994 and the two became fast friends.

Carolla soon rose to notoriety on Loveline, a raunchy sex advice show he co-hosted with the straight-laced Dr. Drew Pinski. Over ten years, the odd couple answered questions about everything from genital herpes to “I want to be with a man and a woman and a donkey at the same time—and what’s so wrong with that?” Carolla recounted with a chuckle. The show also featured appearances from bands like No Doubt and interviews with celebrities like the cast of 1999’s Being John Malkovich.

Carolla went on to create The Man Show with Kimmel for Comedy Central, author two New York Times bestsellers (In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks and Not Taco Bell Material), and launch a line of ready-to-drink cocktails called Mangria. His current podcast The Adam Carolla Show set the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded podcast ever. Over the years, Carolla amassed a loyal fan base that he rallied this summer to raise over $1.4 million for his forthcoming directorial debut, Road Hard.

“I spent over a decade doing mindless donkey work. Now I’m overcompensating and trying to make up for all that lost time,” Carolla said of his unrelenting ambition.

Considering Carolla’s impressive media empire, could there be anything left on his bucket list?

“I’d like to start a bucket company—no, a line of signature, high-end buckets. Beautiful oak buckets with beautiful rope handles,” Carolla answered, deadpan. Given the breadth of his talents, it doesn’t seem that far out of the realm of possibility. The man once taught himself to ride a unicycle, after all.

As many of his fans are college-aged, Carolla offers this advice to those newly entering the workforce: Use setbacks as learning experiences and be realistic about your abilities. Just because you have your heart set on a certain profession doesn’t mean you’re qualified to do it.

“There’s a lot of people who are untalented hacks,” Carolla said regarding those aspiring to work in show biz. “They want to produce, they want to direct, they want to write. Well, you know what? They’re not any good. And thus, they’re going to have a very hard time making a living because they suck.”

While Carolla uses his no-holds-barred humor to address polarizing topics like affirmative action, police presence, and gay marriage, he made it clear that he doesn’t see his comedy as a vehicle for social change.

“I don’t really break it down along those lines,” he said. “I don’t even think ‘What’s funny?’ ‘What’s not funny?’ I just think about ‘What do I want to do? What do I want to convey?’ and I do it.”

And though most of Carolla’s podcast episodes skew pessimistic and focus on his pet peeves, the married father of twins doesn’t really hate everything on Earth.

“The focus on the stuff that drives you nuts is comedy,” Carolla said. “As long as we got iTunes, iPhones, and professional football, I’ll be happy.”

Originally published on Vita.mn in Sept. 2013.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Erica Rivera on the Best Dog Bakeries


It's a "ruff" job, but somebody's gotta do it! Erica Rivera searched high and low to find the Best Dog Bakeries in the United States. Treat your four-legged friends to something tasty at one of the canine-centric venues featured on The Daily Meal here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Erica Rivera Interviews Jackson Scott


Profile: Jackson Scott

Jackson Scott is a 20-year-old soloist born in St. Paul, raised in Pittsburg, and currently based in North Carolina. Scott started playing piano at age 8, followed by drums and guitar in his teenage years. Though he’d always set his sights on being a movie director, disillusionment with the film industry sent Scott deeper into music, a passion which persisted throughout his freshman year at UNC Asheville.

“I never really had the intention of taking college too seriously,” Scott said in a recent phone interview about abandoning his new media and digital design studies in favor of experimentation with lo-fi sounds and voice distortion.

The result was Scott’s first album, Melbourne, named after the street he currently calls home. Released on Fat Possum records in July, the debut LP is a strange and somber mix of almost inaudible lyrics and hazy instrumentation. Called “creepy” in a Pitchfork review, Scott’s tunes explore morbid topics like the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

“I’ve had realizations in the last couple years about the duality of a lot of things,” Scott said. “Beautiful and happy and joyful things can only really exist if there are nightmare, bad, awful stuff, too.”

But lyrics aren’t Scott’s main focus; the melody is. “Whenever I’m writing, I usually focus on the musical aspect first and foremost,” he said. “There’s a certain type of ‘90s alt-rock that I’m obviously kind of nostalgic for.”

Scott is also nostalgic for the pre-Instagram days, as evidenced by snapshots of himself—all untouched and often unglamorous.

“I’ve been really obsessed with everything analog recently,” Scott said. “My friends were into 35mm disposable camera photography and I started noticing [that] the difference between a cassette and a really well recorded digital sound is the same as the difference between a disposable camera photo and a high def digital photo.”

Scott prefers the “cool aura” of printed film, just as he prefers the rougher sound of 4 track audio tapes.

Don’t expect to see Scott posting many of his artistic endeavors—analog or otherwise—on social media. He’s averse to Twitter and admitted he enjoyed a reprieve from Facebook after he was hacked out of his account.

“I can’t just totally dismiss it,” Scott said of the necessary evil of the internet. “It’s definitely helpful for getting people to hear about stuff, but personally I think people can get oversaturated with it. I know I can.”

For such a young musician, Scott seems to have his priorities straight.

“Maybe some people are kind of bewildered that it’s all happening to me when I’m really young,” he said of his sudden popularity on the indie scene. “At the end of the day, it’s [about] whether or not you’re happy with the music you’re making and happy with the shows you’re playing.”

Originally published on Vita.mn in Sept. 2013.