The Pursuit Of Happiness w/ Hollywood Mogul Harry Shearer

No, the title has nothing to do with life and pursing the American dream or anything like that. It was actually the unexpected answer I received when I asked Hollywood actor/writer/radio host/comedian etc Harry Shearer recently. I mean I love their hit song, I’m An Adult Now and remember the cool video that accompanied it via Erica Ehm and Much Music ; but for this to be his favorite Canadian band ?…was not expected.

The Pursuit of Happiness. I really loved that band with “Moe” Berg the singer (pictured below), and their music, ….. and I am also sure that there were sparks flying in the studio with the combination of that band and Todd Rundgren. (who produced the first two TPOH albums.) It’s pretty remarkable…you could hear Rundgrens’ sort of  trademark touches in their records and it worked really well with their music.

Rush, Triumph, The Guess Who, etc are usually answers I get, but maybe that is because it is cliche and easier to remember as per their global success. If I were to be asked who my favorite Australian band was…..well……if I didn’t have too much time to think, I would probably blurt out AC/DC, … but thinking about it….I would go with Rose Tattoo….anyway….yeah.

As we chatted, he did mention that as a Canadian solo artist, his go-to would be Michael Buble.

Yeah, I would have to say Buble… I do know him , so I guess I am a bit partial, but he IS a really nice person and very talented guy.

Anyway, I felt a bit …… well a lot…. of nostalgia speaking with Harry who was the mutton chop mustached bass player Derek Smalls in the cult following movie This Is Spinal Tap.

I told him that I was a big fan of his acting in the above motion picture and it took me about 3 years back in the 80’s to confirm it was parody of a fictitious heavy metal band. He laughed and then I asked him if it was rehearsed or more ad lib as the acting was so acute and natural……and that is why I was fooled….and schooled (on the arts).

...well, yes and no…you’re on the right track but it was improvisational. Ad lib is about talking and improvisation is about listening. When you are improvising, you’re reacting to the talking. Now we were working with some very funny people and so it was encoded into the DNA that something funny was going to happen while we were trying to tell a story. 

I was even more astounded when I asked him if there was some sort of script involved.

No…..what you had on paper is what a a movie script would look like if the CIA had come in and redacted every line of dialogue. There were stage directions to tell the crew where to be and what scene it was, and here is what happens in the scene….so no written dialogue. 

As per my research regarding the voice of Principal Skinner, I quickly found out that he was very political as per some of his Twitter posts. I won’t tell you whether he is pro or con regarding the guy in el Casa Blanca right now, but I will give you a bit of a hint.  When asked if he had anything to say to his Canadian fans or followers……..he paused, and returned fire with in a dead serious monorail….I mean monotone voice .

Yup, crystal clear all right ; if you can’t figure out what the insinuation is…..we’ll you shouldn’t be allowed to vote…..and are probably asking what insinuation means.  🤣 .

If there is one thing that separates Canadian from Americans it is this.

Canadians in general are overall (in my opinion) more blase or passive in regards to politics, where as Americans are very passionate….violently passionate unfortunately at times. If you liked the tune above, be sure to grab The Many Moods Of Donald Trump which is slated for release on October 30. I hear this album is going to be a great big basket of satirical new original songs based upon the life and times of el Presidente de los últimos cuatro años.

Running away from politics, as I Am Canadian……I thought I would try and jump-start my Hollywood writing career and cut right to the chase.

I asked Harry if I could be cast in a Simpsons episode as Homers illegitimate son Ernie who was the by product of a fling Homie had with Marge’s prom date Artie Ziff’s ex girlfriend Chinese exchange student Wuhan Huawei.

There was a bit of dead air……and then……IT’S GREAT !!! ……but you’re talking to somebody that has absolutely nothing to do with what gets done (written) on The Simpson. It’s a writers show, shall we say. 

I was confused, humiliated, embarrassed, but overall, …..confused again as I then said to him…”I thought you were one of the main writers”?

Oh God no ; I wrote one episode years back regarding when Kent Brockman sort of had the  Brian Williams experience of being called out as a liar……but I really have zero (influence)….the actors and the writers are in two totally different universes ; two different tribes. I think that is common in most mediums of television ; the writers outnumber the actors probably three to one. 

At this point, since my research was……….well terrible ; my next question had to be manipulated a bit so I tried this ; “When you are in the studio and you walk past the boardroom where the writers are writing, is cannabis the strongest smell when passing by?”

I’ve never been in that situation….literally we are in two different worlds. The studio where (we record the voicing) is literally across the lot from where the writers write.

🤦‍♂️…..Again,I found out that I should stick to writing about music.

Anyway, I guess I should tie up a few loose ends.

When I mentioned Steel Panther, Harry knew of them but didn’t have any interest in checking them out. I advised him that they were an actual touring band to which…..Harry once again lol, put me in my place.

Spinal Tap is an actual band that toured too. We played the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, we did a 26 city tour of outside venues in the States a couple of decades ago and we also did one Canadian tour on one day …on Canada Day in 92 I believe, from coast to coast. We played in St Johns, then Toronto, and finished up in Vancouver at midnight.

I told him that I remember that year and other bands did the same thing that Canada Day. (They were ) Not on our plane !

As Derek is a practicing bass player, I had to ask. Influences ?

……in the Jazz world, my ear went to Ray Brown who was a wonderful upright bass player who was on all the Frank Sinatra records. I mean you can barely hear the drums…..the pulse of the music was Ray Brown. I also really like McCartney as well because if you listen to his bass parts, he almost never repeats himself. He has a bass line that remains consistent throughout the song, but he is always adding to it, and it’s amazing to listen to him.

2 Not Very Strong Swimmers

If you want to know who the voice of Otto’s‘ favorite Canadian comedian is………….the answer is this….Martin Short….I must say

Martin Short. I worked with Martin for a shred of a season on Saturday Night Live…I loved working with him and was always a big fan of his.

ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz  I am exhausted and this concludes the broadcast day.

I would like to thank Harry, Derek, Otto, Principle Skinner, Kent Brockman, and most of all Sir Rik Emmett for indirectly helping this interview take place.

 

Next up…..Johnnie Dee from Honeymoon Suite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernest Skinner