Jerry Jonestown Massacre started the way most good things do: after major hangs at the local tavern.
Matt Stubbs told Dustin Schneider he thought they could produce a podcast around their bar convos.
“I knew we would be good at it, but [Schneider] was iffy,” Stubbs said.
Then Schneider heard a podcast with actor Jason Mewes and director Kevin Smith, they of Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob fame, and “was on fire,” Stubbs recalled, saying, “ ‘Let’s do this.’ ”
Seven years and 379 episodes/weeks later, and the Jerry Jonestown Massacre is still going strong.
“I never thought it would last this long,” Schneider said. “It was a temporary thing … . Now that we’re at the seven-year mark, I don’t see anything changing.”
Schneider had the equipment, Stubbs had the ideas, and the two brought along friend Seth Haynes for the first year or so. Wil Dumke joined for a while as a factchecker extraordinaire.
The hosts broadcast live every Tuesday night at The Temple of the Eye, a backyard shed in North Richland Hills which is named after Schneider and Stubbs’ old band, Eye Was Once Eaten. JJTM’s listenership has grown from a group of mostly friends and family to 80,000 per month. Everything is fair game. Local music, politics, sports, you name it, Schneider and Stubbs cover it with their usual mix of intelligence and humor. In podcast terms, seven years is an epoch. No wonder JJTM has won the Weekly’s Best Of award for podcast four years in a row.
It hasn’t always been just Schneider and Stubbs. After Haynes and Dumke left the show, the producer spot became a rotating seat. Richard Hennessy of the local prog-pop band Henry the Archer, Jessi Foster, and even I helped out a little. Most recently, comedian Brian Breckenridge has been onboard, but mostly it’s just Schneider and Stubbs — neither has missed an episode.
Both hosts bring their own gifts to the show. Stubbs can immediately loosen anyone up and make them feel comfortable with a laugh and a wink. Schneider has a seriously wicked sense of humor, big time intellect, and a drive to be successful.
“One thing that got us out there and recognized was that Schneider had an unrelenting drive to have us active in the music community,” Stubbs said. “We needed to go see shows and hang out with these people where we love their music and get them to come on the podcast.”
Over the years, many guests have made their way through the doors of the temple, including the German industrial band KMFDM, comedian Tim Dillon, and dozens of North Texas bands. Some of the locals that really blew away Schneider and Stubbs have been Henry the Archer, The Me-Thinks, The House Harkonnen, Duell, and Slow Roosevelt (basically anyone on the Do For It record label). Schneider and Stubbs’ favorite show, they said, was with Peter Thomas, the frontman for Slow Roosevelt who’s also a psychologist. His episode addressing suicide in the North Texas music community was picked up by local radio.
But the most rewarding thing about JJTM, the hosts said, has been their friendships with local artists.
What makes JJTM so much fun?
Schneider said that besides being super-relatable to the average listener, their show has a secret sauce: whiskey. No, seriously, they have found that people really open up after about an hour and a couple of drinks — hence the two-hour format and the open bar cart and ever-ready fridge full of beer. They typically will spend the first hour shootin’ the shit, catching up with each other and their guest, talking about whatever is the hot topic of the week, and then in the second hour, the hosts and their guest dig into the meat of the episode.
When asked if they have a favorite, they both quickly said they have a lot, but they really enjoy when it ends up being just the two of them because it is then that they have some good discussions.
“We just enjoy each other’s company,” Schneider said. “It’s fun. I have fun” with Stubbs.
There is no denying Schneider and Stubbs have an on-air chemistry and will go on some epic rants. And the guys crack each other up.
“We have some crazy shit that happened in Iowa that nobody is even talking about,” Stubbs said on a recent episode.
“What?” Schneider deadpanned. “Did Slipknot come out with another new album?”
When asked about where the podcast is headed with COVID-19 throwing a kink into their regular rotation of bands coming on to promote their releases and shows, Schneider said that no matter what, it was important to keep doing the show together, in person at the Temple, for a sense of normalcy. Stubbs added that he felt they “needed to come together and do what we always do … and stay 6 feet apart.”
You can catch the Jerry Jonestown Massacre live on Mixlr and YouTube 8-10 p.m. every Tuesday. After that, shows are posted and archived to JerryJonestownMassacre.com