‘Disgraceland’ Podcast Ready to Rock & Shock With Crime Stories About Winehouse, Cobain & More in Season three


Series founder Jake Brennan tells Billboard he is additionally spinning off two new pods this 12 months.

Norwegian black metallic murderers, bloodthirsty cannibal rappers, a meth-loving funk paranoiac, essentially the most debauched band in exhausting rock historical past and a soul superfreak whose precise epitaph would possibly as effectively have been "cocaine is a helluva drug" — these and plenty of extra tales have been informed on Jake Brennan's ripped-from-the-headlines podcast Disgraceland, a real crime serial that focuses on a few of the most outrageous, felonious, bloody tales in music historical past, together with final 12 months's profiles of Mayhem and Barzum, Big Lurch, James Brown, Mötley Crüe and Rick James.

Brennan, who lately introduced a partnership with iHeartMedia to deliver two extra seasons of Disgraceland to the iHeartPodcast community, is kicking off season three on Thursday (March 14) with a two-episode story on late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain and spouse Courtney Love.

"What hooks me is partly liable for why folks like [the podcast]. … I would like a hook I can chew into that may preserve me ," Brennan, 44, tells Billboard about his distinctive means of re-creating the typically oft-told tales of rock 'n' roll trangression. The upcoming season will characteristic extra of Brennan's purposely tacky pre-programmed Mellotron beats as an alternative of snippets of precise chart-topping hits and the host's typically profane, no-holds-barred supply, which goals to seize the sweaty, drug-fueled, frantic excesses of our most beloved and bedeviled music stars.

"I do know the made-for-TV variations [of these stories] just like the again of my hand, however with any story, in the event you look a bit deeper or learn between the traces you can discover the story behind the story," he says, pointing to final 12 months's recounting of the Tupac vs. Biggie East Coast/West Coast feud, which he reframed by trying on the media's culpability in whipping up the rivalry narritive between the 2 legendary rappers within the 12 months earlier than their respective murders. "That was a solution to inform the story that was attention-grabbing to me and offered a brand new solution to body it up."

Brennan, who grew up across the music trade because the son of Boston roots rock participant Dennis Brennan and performed in a collection of his personal punk and Americana bands, stumbled into podcasting after his taking part in days dried up and he rapidly burned out on an promoting/branding company gig. "I knew I wished to do one thing in audio and one way or the other make a residing, so I made a decision I wished to do a podcast and I knew I wished to do one thing with music," says Brennan, who discovered fast success final 12 months mixing his lifelong love of true crime novels and music, a combo he was assured would assist him stand out within the more and more crowded pod area. 

"I feel I'm assisted by the medium and the format, which compelled me to inform the story otherwise," he says of the 30-ish-minute size of most episodes, which mixes concision, precision and a streetwise, understanding voice that he swears simply sort of occurred. "In my head once I'm writing, the voice I typically hear is Wil Wheaton telling the pie-eating story in [Stephen King's] The Body [which was made into the beloved 1986 Rob Reiner film Stand By Me]. One factor I’ve going for me is that there are usually not numerous single-voice, narrative storytelling podcasts [amid] all those with numerous commentary, or true crime reveals with two or three folks buying and selling information."

Instead, his reveals characteristic simply his voice, robust audio design and sufficient homicide, mayhem and maniacal conduct to maintain you on the sting of your seat even when he's retelling a narrative you would possibly know (Marvin Gaye's homicide by the hands of his personal father) or have seemingly by no means heard (nation singer Spade Cooley's jealous, murderous imply streak).

Call him what you need, however Brennan may be very admant that one factor he’s not is a journalist. Instead, he's a voracious reader and watcher who combs over numerous biographies, autobiographies, biopics, documentaries and journal articles in compiling the episodes he principally writes on his personal from his myriad sources. Each episode is damaged into what he describes as "5 blocks," the primary one being his patented introduction with the Mellotron loop and the opposite 4 elements marked by "one signature super-dramatic occasion per block" that he makes use of to propel the story, unconcerned with chronological order or linear construction in favor of making a extra "cinematic" tone.

That leads him to some private discoveries, such because the one he came upon whereas researching an upcoming episode on Amy Winehouse. Aware that the tragic British soul star was thought of a peerless singer, Brennan rediscovered how deliberate Winehouse was in her vocal decisions throughout a profession marked as a lot by chaos, public meltdowns and drama because it was by gorgeous songs and performances. That's why you would possibly discover out greater than you knew about Amy's favourite night time, Trash, at a late '90s/early 2000s Camden membership known as The End, the place Winehouse went to see reveals and soak within the electro/post-punk British debuts of bands together with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and LCD Soundsystem.

Similarly, within the two-part season three opener, Brennan zeroes in on the utter hopelessness and brokenness of Cobain's house life and the way that chaos led to a bruised coronary heart that would by no means be healed. "There was simply no hope, even in fame; he didn't have a house or wherever to go," he says. "And with Courtney, I assumed I’d hate her, and in numerous methods she enabled him, but in addition took care of him and did look after him and I imagine that greater than the nutty stuff on the market." Each episode takes a few week of writing and one other of manufacturing — together with a brand new authentic music for every present — following, in fact, many hours of analysis and digging round to seek out recent takes.

"I used to be a pain-in-the-ass juvenile delinquent who was grounded on a regular basis and spent all my time locked in my room with my stereo and cassettes," says Brennan, who provides that his mom's solely different means of punishing him was to take his music away. "So I used to be left with books and magazines, and the guide I used to be studying once I determined to do the podcast was Legs McNeil's [punk oral history] Please Kill Me. That was the seed for Disgraceland, simply realizing what number of of my favourite artists are complete fucking animals." 

New biweekly Disgraceland episodes will likely be launched on Tuesdays beginning March 26 with a present on Snoop Dogg, with the iHeart partnership additionally providing up two extra authentic reveals: a serialized 10-episode deep dive into the inventive genius/insanity of producer Phil Spector, Rocka Rolla, and The 27 Club, a take a look at the legendary checklist of rock stars who've died at that essential age, together with Cobain and Winehouse.

"[The iHeart deal] permits me primarily human sources to increase and develop and rent a number of further writers and a full-time audio engineer and increase the Disgraceland universe of reveals," Brennan says. "Instead of simply driving Disgraceland into the sundown — there are solely so many of those tales to go round which are really true crime and music — it is a means for me to remain in the identical universe and nonetheless discuss musicians and scandal." The Spector present is due out later this 12 months, together with one other 10-episode run of Disgraceland, with the 27 Club collection slated for early 2020.

Check out the primary episode of season three beneath.