UNRELEASED: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018 is the new album by renowned rock musician Jonny Polonsky. With a musical pedigree comprised of collaborations with Johnny Cash, Puscifer and Frank Black (The Pixies) among others, Polonsky has assembled a collection of songs that, for some reason or other, did not fit on their respective albums. While the collection is comprised of tracks spanning over twenty years of Polonsky’s recording career, the cohesiveness of the album should not be understated.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Jonny Polonsky about being completely transfixed by She Loves You, recording for Johnny Cash, and about Jeff Buckley and Elizabeth Frazer.
Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?
I don’t know if I can recall the exact moment music became important to me. But I very clearly remember being five years old and stealing my parents Beatles album and taking it to my room, playing it over and over again on my portable record player. It was the red album where they were looking down at the viewer. I was completely transfixed by She Loves You. I would listen to it on repeat. Please Please Me, All My Loving, so many incredible songs that moved me from that early age.
Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?
There are so many songs I wish I had written. I just listened to Velvet Goldmine by David Bowie. I love that song so much. It’s just a great melody, really interesting and strange words. I love the groove. It sounds more like a song from the Weimar Republic days than a pop song from the early ’70s (the chorus does anyway…) I also really love All Flowers in Time Bend Toward the Sun by Jeff Buckley and Elizabeth Frazer. I love the chord progression, the melody and how they weave together in such a unique and satisfying way. It’s just a beautiful song.
If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?
I would work in a really nice studio with a producer and really take a lot of time to make the record. I’ve done that for other people’s music, like with Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond or the Dixie Chicks. But I’ve never had that experience with my own music. I think it would be a cool experience. No one really does that anymore, it’s too expensive and everyone knows they’re most likely not going to make a fraction of that money back.
I don’t have a problem making a record on the cheap like I’ve been doing the last several years (using a studio just for a day or two if at all, recording mostly on my laptop and most of the money goes to the mixer). But making an old school big budget record would be cool.
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
Definitely. Quite literally everyone with a laptop or a smartphone can make a decent sounding recording on Garage Band. And Pro Tools is super affordable too.
Getting heard costs a lot of money for publicity, and maybe a bit of good timing.
So what about putting your ultimate band together? No restrictions. No limitations. If you want David Bowie on backing vocals and Prince on guitar, go ahead. What would the band look like? And what is the song you will start jamming on? To find out it if this really works?
Marc Bolan on vocals and guitar, Diamanda Galas on vocals and piano, Bootsy Collins and John Entwistle on bass, Budgie on drums, Vangelis on synth, Steve Vai on guitar, Fred Schneider on Fred Schneider.
Click to listen at CDBaby