Bootleg City: “Vin Scelsa’s Live at Lunch,” 6/28/00 (Pt. 2)

Written by Bootleg City, Music

In part two of this flashback edition of Vin Scelsa’s Live at Lunch, singer-songwriter Jules Shear talks about the R&B inspiration for “If She Knew What She Wants,” how he feels about artists licensing their songs for commercials, his romantic relationships with singer-songwriters Pal Shazar and Aimee Mann, and his role in the creation of MTV Unplugged in the late ’80s. In between the bursts of candid conversation, Scelsa spins songs by Cyndi Lauper and Johnny Cash, a foot-stomping cover of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'” courtesy of B.B. King and Eric Clapton, and a cut from Shear’s first band, the Funky Kings.

However, the biggest surprise of the entire June 28, 2000, Live at Lunch broadcast is Shear’s speaking voice. Suffice to say it’s not what you’d expect if you’ve ever heard “Steady,” his sole entry on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (though Lauper’s cover of Shear’s “All Through the Night” reached #5 in ’84). My own personal reaction is best summed up by the following verse from “Stereo,” the opening track on Pavement’s 1997 album Brighten the Corners:

What about the voice of Geddy Lee?
How did it get so high?
I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy.
(I know him, and he does.)
Then you’re my fact-checkin’ cuz.

[interview: Jules and the Isleys]
[interview: “Twist and Shout”]
If She Knew What She Wants (Jules Shear)
[interview: songs in commercials]
The More That I’m Around You (Jules Shear)
[interview: love and songwriting]
All Through the Night (Cyndi Lauper)
[interview: Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual]
All Through the Night (Jules Shear)
I Walk the Line (Johnny Cash)
[interview: questions from Vin’s listeners]
Nothing Was Exchanged (The Funky Kings)
[interview: MTV Unplugged]
Hold On, I’m Comin’ (B.B. King and Eric Clapton)