Chuck Shute Podcast

Jim Babjak (The Smithereens)

September 23, 2022 Jim Babjak Season 4 Episode 281
Chuck Shute Podcast
Jim Babjak (The Smithereens)
Show Notes Transcript

Jim Babjak is the guitarist and founding member of The Smithereens.  The band had several modern rock hits including "Blood & Roses" and "A Girl Like You",  as well as performing on SNL and with Tom Petty.  They have a new album out now called "The Lost Album" that was recorded in 1993 and features all new songs.  We discuss the new album, how Madonna almost recorded with the band, Kurt Cobain being a super fan and more! 

00:00 - Intro
00:45 - Library & Reading Books
02:38 - The Lost Album
06:11 - Juggling a Day Job
13:35 - Coffee
16:15 - New Single, Songs & Tour
18:45 - Blood & Roses
19:49 - Girl Like You & Say Anything
20:45 - Madonna & Guests on Records
21:50 - Kurt Cobain is a Fan
23:30 - Don Dixon the Producer
24:35 - Getting Signed to Capitol
26:56 - Bruce Springsteen
28:18 - Being Recognized & Music
29:45 - Music Business, Money & Touring
32:54 - Fan Mail & Power of Music
33:45 - Monkey Man & Stop Bringing Me Down
35:30 - Betty Babjak Memorial Fund
36:25 - Ordering Physical Copies
37:30 - New Christmas Music
38:15 - Outro

Jim Babjak website:
https://www.jimbabjak.com/

The Smithereens website:
https://www.officialsmithereens.com/

Betty Babjak Memorial Fund website:
https://www.jimbabjak.com/betty-babjak-memorial-fund

Chuck Shute website:
http://chuckshute.com/

Support the show

Thanks for Listening & Shute for the Moon!

Chuck Shute:

Welcome to the show. Coming up, we have Jim Bob Jack, he is the guitarist and founding member of the smithereens. The band has a new album out called the last album that was recorded in 1983. When they were between record labels, lots of great songs and has that 90s and a shout nostalgic feel, I think you're gonna enjoy that album. Plus, we're going to talk about the old days getting songs on soundtracks, a record business, a super fan that was Kurt Cobain from nirvana. And plus, they have more new music coming out and so much more that we can talk about coming right up. Wow, so is this your like, study your office, or

Jim Babjak:

this used to be a living room, and now it's my late wife. She said, let's make it into a library. So it's a library. And I play vinyl records in here. So all that's in here is it's just for reading and for listening to vinyl.

Charles Shute:

Wow, it's just so many books like my my dad's really into books, too. I try to read like some, and I is having the podcast forces me to read if I have a guest on who's written a book, but have you read all those books behind you?

Jim Babjak:

That's impossible. It's impossible. I you know, I tried to read through, you know, I try to read whenever I can, but she's like at the New York Times on the weekend, and I could barely make it through that. You know, it's just, you know, I have so many things to do. And you know, if I can get I'm happy if I can get one or two articles in on Saturday or Sunday morning, and I'm happy if I can get that in.

Charles Shute:

So was your wife more the reader then?

Jim Babjak:

Oh, she was Yeah. She was vivacious. Yeah.

Charles Shute:

When you do have a chance, what kinds of books would you want to read?

Jim Babjak:

I like biographies, autobiographies. She was more into like Stephen King and stuff like that. But so yeah, of course, I have a lot of music books on on, you know, the who the Kings, the Beatles, all that stuff.

Charles Shute:

Yeah, I find that stuff really fascinating. I love people starving. That's why I do the podcasts. I love hearing the stories of people. Yeah, journeys, how they. Obviously your guys's journey is really interesting, too, of course.

Jim Babjak:

Life is a journey.

Charles Shute:

Yeah. So tell me about this new album. It's called the last album. I mean, it's aptly titled because it was basically last for however many years since 94. Is that what was recorded

Jim Babjak:

93 Yeah, we were in between labels. Capital. Well, grunge was was in its stride at the time. And there was a new president of Capitol Records that decided to change things around. So anyway, being that we're survivors, the Smithereens have always been survivors. You know, we, for the first six years that we got together with Pat, you know, we, it took a while for us to get a record deal. So what happened here was we decided to go into the studio and record everything we have, and see what we come up with and maybe put it out independently, like we did our first two records in the 80s. And, and then we got signed to RCA in 94. So we took half those recordings and re recorded them. Because these were like really good demos is what they were at the sessions. So the other half that was left over, was just kind of sitting sitting there on an on a dat and we kind of moved on recorded other records and toured. And it was truly forgotten and lost. And then after Pat passed away, we started looking back at our catalogue of things and we thought, you know, this is something that our fans would would love to hear because I love hearing it. Pat's voice was youthful. You know, we were coming up with different material. So there it is, it's just there. You know, and it might might as well be heard, you know,

Charles Shute:

so half of the songs then were on that was the date with the Smithereens

Jim Babjak:

not of these, there was two albums worth of material. So

Charles Shute:

so none of these these are all totally unreleased.

Jim Babjak:

Yes, well, Pat, we recorded two of the songs for his first solo record, or and but other than that, no, it's it's pretty much new to to our fans and people.

Charles Shute:

Interesting. So you're why do you why do you think you guys waited so long? I mean, that seems like a long time. Hold on to that. I mean that many songs.

Jim Babjak:

There's more. There's a lot of stuff we haven't released. Because it wasn't the right time. And, you know, you got to look at the time period to record we record labels didn't want. They didn't want us.

Charles Shute:

You know, that's interesting. Yeah. Because you guys, I mean, weren't you kind of considered alternative, which was the cool thing at the time in the 90s, even though you started in the 80s, you weren't like an 80s, you didn't weren't like synth pop or anything? You know,

Jim Babjak:

we never followed that trend. We never followed any trends. It was just bad luck, I suppose. And bad management. And you know, and then time just kept moving on. And, you know, we just did whatever we had to survive. And we kept touring. And that's it. You know, that's pretty much it. I had, I have two solo albums worth of material that I haven't released, because, well, I'll tell you one thing. I mean, I was raising three kids. I ended up getting a day job in 2001. Up until last year, so I had to juggle the day job, raise a family, you know, and I just got out of my job got outsourced to India, during COVID. So that actually gave me more time to keep working on new material and finding these things. Because my day job took up a lot of time, I would get up at 530 in the morning, I my commute was about three hours a day back and forth. I'd get home 730 at night. So luckily, I was able to tour I had six weeks vacation, I could use that to tour. And you know, like that. I just, you know, we recorded I think seven albums while I was working during the day.

Charles Shute:

Get in Trouble. You almost got in trouble on time, though, because you had an offer to tour with Tom Petty and you're like, that's pretty crazy.

Jim Babjak:

I went above my boss's head and I said, Look, I can't I can't miss this opportunity. You know, we're playing hockey arenas. Crazy. So I almost got fired for going above my boss's head because my boss's boss was sympathetic to me and my situation. So that was one hurdle I got over. And I'm glad we did it. Because so many chances do you get to open for somebody like Tom Petty.

Charles Shute:

Right? It's just interesting that Yeah, it's like, it seems like there's some there's a gap there between, you know, Tom Petty, like, you think that would be enough to carry you but that was just a one time thing. And then it wasn't enough to have the full time make it a full time position with the Smithereens at that time.

Jim Babjak:

Right? Well, I needed the health insurance for my kids and just a steady paycheck, because, you know, the gigs we did were, you know, maybe three or four months at best, and on weekends, so yeah, I was tired. Most of the time, I would take flights in back home from like LA or whatever, do three shows. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, take the read I go into the parking lot at work, change my clothes and go to work as if nothing happened. And for a long time, people didn't know I was a musician. Until one day somebody Googled or you know, found out but even then it didn't matter because you know, that, like my boss, she never heard of Tom Petty. So that's what scared me. I mean, I insulated in this world, it was in the banking industry, and, you know, these people didn't listen to music and, and I worked with people from China, Trinidad, Japan. You know, it was just people working in the industry and I was just in a cubicle doing my job, and I kept quiet. I even had a sign on my, my computer that I wrote to myself a note saying, Don't be yourself at work. One of them was funny, I had a note to myself saying suck it up cupcake. Wow. Because I didn't want to talk about what I did. You know? Which is my my life. You know, that was just the job to get by.

Charles Shute:

Did you kind of want a break from the music industry? Is that why you did something totally different? Because you could have you probably could have found something a producer job or some sort of job in the music industry now.

Jim Babjak:

No, I tried. When, you know, I tried to. I tried that. It tried everything. And the only reason I got this job is because my neighbor living across the street was a senior VP of this company, and he was in the World Trade Center when it was hit. He was on the 46th floor. He made it out alive. And how did he get out, may walk down to 46 flights of stairs before the building collapsed. And he was walking his dog in October, that's actually when I got this job. It was a month after 911. And I was joking to him, I said, you know, I think, you know, I should get a job because, you know, there aren't that many shows and gigs. And he said, You know, I got something for you. And I said, Wait a minute, I don't know anything about banking. He says, Don't worry about it, you'll learn. So I started filing and all this stuff. And then he gave me position. And I kind of stayed there and kept my kept my ass low to the ground, you know, kind of quiet about it, just did my job, went home and did what I had to do. So the only reason I got that job, I had a fake resume. You know, it was just just some bullshit, just to get in because

Unknown:

you didn't know why the rains and no has

Jim Babjak:

nothing to do with that he you know, it was just he knew I'd be a good worker. And that's all I needed. He needed to know. Because he knew me for a few years at that point. I moved here in 1993. So yeah, that's it. I mean, it's all who you know, in life, to give you a break, you know, I call it, ya know, I

Charles Shute:

was just wondering, because, you know, you had the sign that said, Don't be yourself at work. Like I had a job like that for 17 years, believe it or not, it was a guidance counselor. And it to me, it just felt like, I think I was kind of the same way where I was like, I couldn't be myself. And eventually, that kind of sucked my soul. Did you have that kind of thing going on? Where you just felt like it was a soul sucking thing? Or was it a thing where you could just do your work, and everybody left you alone, and then you just leave and

Jim Babjak:

yourself? It was totally soul sucking i, i If I had to do that for a living, I don't know, man, I Well, that's why I had that sign. Suck It Up cupcake, because I'm there for a purpose on providing for my family. And I just had to do what I had to do, you know. And in the meantime, like I said, I recorded all that solo material, recorded albums for the Smithereens toured. So I did everything, all under that, that. But I think what made it work was I did have some good coworkers, you know, that were really, really nice. And they helped me out when I needed help with some computer stuff that I didn't get. And, yeah, there were some people there that I was grateful for. And I still keep in touch with them. So when they downsize me, they gave me a year severance and a year's health insurance. And so that all worked out, because I'm going on Medicare, and I'm turning 65 and two months. So the health insurance take care of and move on. You know, it's the continuation of life.

Unknown:

Now, you can just focus on music full time.

Jim Babjak:

Absolutely. And coffee. What I started a coffee company five years ago, and it's called Bad Jack's coffee with an ex and what I was going to do back then after my wife passed away, I was going to open up a cafe coffee shop that sold vinyl records, I thought it might be a cool thing to do. Because I used to own the records, a store and from 1980 to 1988. And I sold that, you know, because we were on tour with the second album green thoughts and I just, you know, couldn't deal with with owning a business at the time. And but then I gave that that up and now I'm so I started it five years ago, but I've just started selling it online two months ago. It took that long for me to get everything together. So anyway, that's it's a side hustle that I have and I love coffee. So

Charles Shute:

pretty easy thing to start up. It seems like everybody's a lot of musicians have either a hot sauce or a coffee.

Jim Babjak:

That's funny. No, I have a friend who's a roaster for a long time and we were joking around one day and I said can you infuse bourbon into coffee and see what that tastes like? And we actually tried that. And but anyway, he's got one infused with Rome called Highland Grog, I call it Highland Grog. That's really good. So that's what started I said, You know what, I should probably bag this and sell All right. So right now I just have a Morning Blend, a dark roast and that and then we're gonna expand to decaf and whole bean and all that. But you know, it's just a fun project.

Charles Shute:

So if it's infused with the alcohol doesn't doesn't get you drunk though, right

Jim Babjak:

now. It's just the flavoring. I don't even know. I don't know how they do it. I mean, there's professionals that do that. I don't actually pick the beans myself. I don't go to America.

Charles Shute:

Yeah, I've heard they work under harsh conditions. I don't know.

Jim Babjak:

Well, apparently not where I get it from. Oh, that's good. I did ask about that.

Charles Shute:

That's yeah, that is like a that's like a thing. Like, there's so many things like that, that we don't know anything about that. It's like these things that people kind of just don't like, wink wink. We don't talk about that, like how your iPhone was built and your Nike shoes, and we just don't talk about that. But everybody owns those things. So

Jim Babjak:

true. That's true. And you know. Yeah. There you go.

Charles Shute:

Sorry. I just took a dark turn on this interview.

Jim Babjak:

We sure did. Let's get out.

Chuck Shute:

Let's get out. Let's go back to the album. So the last album, the new saw the first single, which is out now, I believe it's called out of this world. And I mean, you can tell, listen to this album, it's like, it's almost I don't I hope this isn't offensive. But it's like, it's in a way to me. It's like nostalgic, because it sounds like the 90s. Like, if you liked that 90 sound. I mean, it's like it takes you right back there kind of made me think like some of the songs like, Dear Abby, I mean, I feel like that could have been on a soundtrack to like a 90s. Rom Com or something.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah. Yeah, true. True. Oh, it's really, I don't know how to describe it. It's a time capsule of what we sounded like them. And, you know, and, and now I'm working on songs with Robin Wilson from Gin Blossoms, and Marshall Crenshaw, and we're hoping to put out a new original album, maybe next year, a brand new material. So we've been working on that I started doing COVID Working on songs with them, and it's gonna be a gas, you know, it's gonna be great.

Charles Shute:

That's really cool. Yeah, I had Robin on the show a long time. And he's from Arizona, here where I reside now. And he's so talented. We saw the Gin Blossoms in Vegas. They still sound great. And so I think you guys are coming to Tempe in the next month or something. So and that'll be with Robin.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah. So we're 21st? Yeah. My parents live in Arizona. So that'll be it'll be good to see them. Yeah,

Charles Shute:

good time to visit in October. So some of the shows with Robin and some with Marshall. So then if you're saying if you do the album, it'll be the same of my half and a half?

Jim Babjak:

Well, yeah, sort of half and half depends on who gets what, or who wants to be involved with which songs. But I've already got like, six with Robin. So you know, and we're working with Marshall on a couple of songs. Okay. It'll be Yeah, I mean, I'm writing so much now that I, I, I could safely say there's probably two albums worth of material. So it's kind of scary, because what do you do you pick the best ones or what you think is the best ones for the first album, and or save some for the second album? I don't I'm not a good judge of that. Because even when our first album came out, I didn't know blood and roses would would do what it did. We had we had no idea. You know, so as an artist or creator, you actually don't know what's going to work. You know? It's it's tricky.

Charles Shute:

Yeah, that's interesting. So the blood blood and roses that song I didn't realize that song was about a girl that took her own life is that what happened was that was about

Jim Babjak:

contemplating suicide. Contemplating.

Charles Shute:

Okay. Yeah, that's, that's a catchy that's a catchy little tune though.

Jim Babjak:

I thought so at the time, but it was just an album cut, you know, but here's where fate and luck. And all that stars were aligned and ended up in a movie. And then in the end credits, and then MTV. They had a video for the movie. And then after the movie, ran its course he edited out the movie scenes and left us in there and it just snowballed. And it's just luck. That's all it is. Yeah, yeah.

Charles Shute:

No, I just gotta say the movie thing like you guys have had a lot of cool soundtrack appearances like the Miami Vice show and then both Durham and Backdraft and Encino Man and what do you tell the story though about the girl like you originally was supposed to be in a Cameron Crowe or say anything the Cameron Crowe movie. And then it didn't happen because the song gave away too much of the plot. Is that the story?

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, Pat Got the scripts for the movie from from Cameron and yeah, I'll say anything right. It's from the from the movie. But yeah, he did follow the script in the lyrics to the song and Cameron didn't want that. So he loved the song, but he couldn't use it. So ultimately, it just didn't make the cut. So but I'm kind of glad because it was a hit single for us.

Charles Shute:

Yeah, it went on to success anyway. So it's interesting that he wouldn't maybe do it a different use a different song from you guys or something.

Jim Babjak:

No, I think they pretty much had the rest of that stuff. And the funny thing is, our manager at the time was also Madonna's manager of Freddie demand. And Madonna was slated to sing the the female vocal on that, but she backed out at the last that day that she was supposed to come in. For whatever reason she backed out I don't know the true story. I heard that she had a fight with Warren Beatty that morning, but I think that's a bunch of bullshit. She just pride in you know, want to be involved with us. I don't know. But we thought it'd be kind of strange because it was so left field. And we like to throw curveballs at people so you know, we you know, that would have been interesting to have Madonna on on one of our songs being that we were total opposites we were you no alternative and she was top 40

Charles Shute:

Right. Well, yeah, you because you've had some good guests, Lou Reed, Susan Vega, Belinda Carlisle. I mean, those are all big names.

Jim Babjak:

Well, Lou Reed, yeah, that that was that was really special. That's, you get a lot of street cred with that one.

Charles Shute:

Well, yeah, speaking of street cred, I just read this today when I was looking at the PR release. It said Kurt Cobain was a big fan of you guys and influenced by you. I didn't know

Jim Babjak:

that. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. We we did a Christmas single with Butch. Butch Vig was supposed to produce our next album for capital back in 1993. But right, but because we got dropped from Capitol he didn't end up working with us. But we did. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer promo single for capital. One of the last things we did for them before they dropped us and Butch Vig produced that and he was telling us how whenever recording nevermind they were a being the mic guitar sound trying to get trying to get my guitar sound, which I thought was was pretty cool. I never heard that before. And then I heard stories from everybody else saying that. Oh, Kurt Cobain couldn't stop talking about us. And then it's in his book that were a big influence. He loved the first couple albums. I wish I got to meet him, you know, but that never never happened. Also, I found out that Don Dixon, the producer of our first two albums, Kurt Cobain approached him to produce nevermind. And Don Dixon still kicks himself in the ass for declining, right. Oh my god. Wow. Imagine it would have made him a millionaire overnight. Yeah, funny. Why

Charles Shute:

did he decline it? He just didn't think it had that he listened to it even or

Jim Babjak:

I don't know the details, but I guess he was either too busy or whatever. Well, he declined with us to at first. But we he was doing a show at folk city, an acoustic show. And we kind of just all showed up and said, you have to you have to produce our next record. You know, we just went there and showed up at the gig and kind of forced them to work with us.

Charles Shute:

Why did you guys pick him? What is there something else that he had done that you were a fan of? Or?

Jim Babjak:

Well, he was an engineer on the first two REM records. And we liked his solo stuff. And from what we read, He was a it was a very nice person great to work with. So and it turned out to be true. He's, we'll probably use them again for this next album. And we did work with him on the 2011 album again. And Gin Blossoms did an album with him. Marshall Crenshaw did an album with him. So we all know him. And I think he's the perfect fit.

Charles Shute:

Yeah, that's really cool. So the story the story of you guys getting signed is really interesting, too. It took six years and then wasn't it somebody? It's kind of like you said earlier like it's who you know, this is like somebody kind of went to bat for you that had heard you either from college radio or saw you live and said we should sign these guys and that's what it took. Because you you had already sent out your demos and everything to every record label and everyone turned it down.

Jim Babjak:

I have a stack of rejection letters I see recently on YouTube People are posting, like YouTube posted their rejection letter from I don't know what label. And so people are doing that. But yeah, we got rejected by everybody. And there was a former college DJ that heard one of our independent records from 1983 that was working for Enigma records. The initial wreck record company that signed us for the first album out of a box of hundreds of tapes, he saw our name and thought he would listen to it. And on that tape that we sent to everybody was blood and roses and behind the wall sleep. The what you're hearing pretty much now is what was rejected our first two singles that went through the roof. So, you know, you hear stories about these record company, people that just they they didn't see it as being anything. Like I told you earlier, I didn't know blood and Roses was gonna be you know what it was?

Charles Shute:

Right? It's so interesting. It's so hard to predict what people are gonna like, and why. And like you said, maybe the blood rose. And maybe it was because of that movie that it was in or whatever. It's like, you just never know maybe it's a commercial. That's somebody's hears the sound the song too. And there's all sorts of weird things like that were what was it Lizzo song that was like, she put it out. Nobody cared. And then it was in some Netflix movie, and then it just took off after that. It was just totally random.

Jim Babjak:

It's the power of the media and mass marketing, and we're whatever, you know. Yeah, it's

Charles Shute:

no, yeah, that's a big piece of it is how its marketed and doesn't necessarily, maybe not necessarily movie or TV or commercials. But somehow they've got to market it so that people find it. But you guys have so many fans that like the Kurt Cobain's and Tom Petty, you know, he personally wanted you guys on the tour. And then was Bruce Springsteen, also a fan too. I heard

Jim Babjak:

I met him, Well, we did a benefit for 911 victims here. And, you know, we, we did a show with him for two days. I saw him at the airport a couple of years ago, we were in the lounges before you go go on the plane. And you know, we talked for about an hour and a half about family and just careers and stuff. And I wouldn't say we're friends, you know, more acquaintances. We've we've worked together before, but he doesn't live that far from me, but he never calls.

Charles Shute:

Is he pretty down to earth though? Like, do you? Is there some sort of magic quality you see with him? Or is he just seemed like a regular guy who just is very successful.

Jim Babjak:

He tries very hard to be a regular guy, like he'll, he'll go to his local gym or just pop up in a bar or something and have some beers with people. And you know, he tries to be regular guy, you know? But he's not. Obviously, if you go to his he's probably got 24/7 security in his house. So, you know, it is what it is, you know,

Charles Shute:

yeah. Do you know that you were able to have this job and nobody recognized you but there has to be times where you're at the airport, at a show or somewhere a coffee having coffee, and people recognize you. Does that happen?

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, yeah. But not not like on that level? No, no,

Unknown:

no, nobody's on that level. Yeah. No.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, occasionally happens. And then there was a time where I was really depressed about working my day job. And somebody recognized me at the airport one time. And I said, Yeah, it's great to be considered one of the greatest underrated bands and, or some shit like that. I was, I was being an asshole.

Charles Shute:

No, but that is cool. I mean, it's just sad though, that you had to get a day job like because you're so talented. Seems like that's your gift in this world is music and I am glad that now you can focus on fully again, because it seems like it's such a waste for you to be working at a bank. You should definitely be doing something with music.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, I feel that way too.

Charles Shute:

Just the way the harsh reality of the music business is what I've what I've learned from doing these interviews.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, a lot of people don't own it. It was better to keep it quiet, you know for for a while but you know, I guess now I could talk about it because you know, you when you meet people they think you're you're wealthy Rockstar and this and that. And it's like, that's not reality. You know?

Charles Shute:

Right. Because I know like the the bands always Oh, the record companies money. But how does that work? Do you still get royalty checks to or does it all just go straight to the record company until it's paid off?

Jim Babjak:

Now, I'll give you an example like are smithereens 11 and smothering was blow up the budgets for those records to record back then was like $350,000 per album. And then like, let's say each album had about four videos, at least 50 grand each. And there was one video we did for a girl like you that was rejected by MTV. And that cost $100,000. So that all has to get paid back before we get a penny. So you think about this, you know, we sure the records went gold, and they, you know, we probably sold like 4 million records for capital. But no, we didn't get any of that money because of the cost of everything. And then we also didn't know that every time they took us out to dinner, or hired a limousine to pick us up to go to the Jay Leno Show and et cetera, et cetera, all that stuff got charged back to us. And so yeah, now there's the money we made was from touring, just from going on the road and, and Boston harasses.

Charles Shute:

And that's still how you'll make money going forward. Because now you get a bigger piece of the pie. So you don't have a record company, right?

Jim Babjak:

Well, you know, if we sell 10,000 copies of this record, that's, it's it's a big hit. You know, being that there's no real record company involved, or our manager, his record label is putting out this last album. So there's no real middleman per se. And we own the masters and we already paid for the recording of it. So you know, I mean, what are you gonna make you're gonna make some grocery money, it but it's not about that we have a passion for music, and it's not about the money anymore. We'll, you know, we'll go out and work. You know, keep growing. Keep paying our dues, as they say, business. Yeah.

Charles Shute:

Well, the shows I mean, that's going to be touring. And then do you are you going to try to get I think I saw you guys or are you doing one of the cruises? Because I think like, that's like, the cruises in the festival seem like they pay really well. Those are kind of good gigs to have some fun, too.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, yeah, pays well, but I got to be on a boat for seven days. So if you work it out like that, no, we're not getting paid as much as we would for a standalone gig. If we did seven gigs in a row, or whatever. No, it doesn't match that. But I'm looking at it as a vacation. And just the fun time, and it's great meeting fans and taking pictures and yeah, and all that stuff. And them telling us their stories about it. The first time they saw us and this and that. And it's really endearing. It's really great.

Charles Shute:

Do you have a lot of those kinds of stories where people say like, like one of the songs changed their lives or something like that? Oh, hell

Jim Babjak:

yeah. Hell yeah. Even before social media, we used to get fan mail letters to PO Box and people saying how they were depressed and how the songs helped them from preventing suicide. You know, I got a few of those letters. So that's pretty pretty deep. You know that that in the power of music, where it can help people with their personal problems and stuff and how they interpret songs. It's It's pretty heavy, heavy stuff.

Charles Shute:

Ya know, I love that's why I say like, that's what your your gift is to this world is playing the music. So I'm glad you're doing it again. I like this new album. It's good stuff. Like I said, it's very nostalgic. Yeah, I think we talked about most of the songs. Oh, you know what I thought was kind of a fun song on the new album was the monkey man. Tell me about that one? Because I love that guitar riff that seems like it'd be a fun riff to play.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah, it's kind of like a Rolling Stones kind of riff it to me it was sounded like something Keith Richards would have done. I don't know Pat and, and Mike Hamilton are our sound man at the time. Were most involved with that one, writing the lyrics to that. It was about rolling with the punches. You know, kind of, kind of like, at that time, you know, we were dropped by the label. And, you know, it's a phrase that we use, it's like, you gotta roll with the punches. You know, suck it up cupcake. Kind of the same thing, you know? And then and then don't bring me down that one. Stop bringing me down. Sorry. Yeah,

Charles Shute:

we're heavy riffs almost like a Black Sabbath kind of thing.

Jim Babjak:

Yeah. And that was really into the Black Sabbath. And you know, that was back then I was contemplating getting a job. So the song is about, you know, a musician that's down and out and having to get a job stocking the shelves and your boss, you know, telling you hey, stop fucking around. and loads the shelves, you know? And then at the end of the song, it's like, you know, someday I'll be back and better than ever. So it was kind of uplifting. For us to write about stuff like that.

Charles Shute:

Absolutely. Well, yeah, people can check out when does it when does this feel for album drop?

Jim Babjak:

Today or yesterday? Today? Today? It is great.

Charles Shute:

All right. Well, there we go. So it should be out now the whole album is out. Great. Yeah. Cuz I listened to it. It's it sounds great. And then I always end each episode with promoting a charity. Is there a charity you want to promote here at the end?

Jim Babjak:

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I started a memorial fund for in my wife's name is the Betty Babb, Jack Memorial Fund. It's on my website, Jim boucek.com. And it provides scholarships every year to kids going to Rutgers University, because that's where my wife, with my late wife went to school and two of my kids went to school there. And yeah, it's a scholarship. I started after she passed away, and they can find that information on my website.

Charles Shute:

Yeah, I'll put your website and I'll put that link in the show notes. And then people can check out the new album it's on. I'm sure it's on all the streaming platforms can they get? Can people order a physical copy, like a CD or vinyl? Yeah, we're

Jim Babjak:

not going to get it on our site for a while. Because right now it's on Amazon and some other sites. And I heard Amazon's been telling people that they're not going to get it till October or something. But I think that's wrong. I think their algorithms or something because they did sell a lot of them a preorder was going to be replenished very soon. So yeah, I guess the best bet would be Amazon right now. And who else? walmart.com or some something like that. Okay. And I think even Tower Records like and then your local record shops, I think little you know, local independent record shops will probably carry it.

Charles Shute:

Very cool. Very cool. Yeah. I look forward to even more new music. And if I can't, I'll try to come see that show. I think it's at the marquee. But I know you guys are doing shows you have dates so people can check the website for current dates on that as well. And, okay, thank you so much, Jim. Anything else?

Jim Babjak:

Well, we are we we got the rights back to our Christmas album. Oh, two, seven, and we're reissuing that on vinyl. I just got it in. It's on green vinyl. It's really cool. And I'm releasing a Christmas 45 on vinyl. Called it's love on Christmas Day. And, and that's something I recorded back in 1995. And I'm just putting it out now. Because of, you know, life getting in the way but there's a lot of material we're gonna put out now.

Charles Shute:

Okay, well, I'm excited to look forward to more of that. And I'm sure all your fans do as well. Yeah. Okay. Thanks so much. All right. Thanks

Jim Babjak:

for the time. Okay, everything. Thanks. Okay,

Charles Shute:

you too. But thanks again to Jim Babb jack from the smithereens. The latest album is called the last album. It sounds like there will be more new music from the Smithereens and Jim so make sure to follow the band on social media stay up to date. And if you want to support my short little show here, that's a great way to do it. Follow us on social media, your likes, shares, comments, all that stuff really helps us out and helps grow the show so that we can get great guests like Jim and some other exciting guests that we have lined up that I don't want to spoil yet. And also make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to be up to date with future episodes. Thank you so much. Have a great day and shoot for the moon.