Musician and producer John Feldmann visited Audacy's KROQ studios in Los Angeles to chat with his friend and host, Kevan Kenney this week, sharing stories about his time working with such iconic bands who helped shape the pop-punk genre and continue to push it forward, like blink-182, The Used, Story of the Year, Good Charlotte, MOD SUN, 5 Seconds of Summer, and more.
Listen to Kevan Kenney and John Feldmann's chat below, and hear your favorite tracks now on Audacy's all-new stations like Punk Party, Emo Kids, and more!
When he arrived for his visit, Feldmann talked about how his life changed after hearing his band Goldfinger's song "Here In Your Bedroom" on the radio for the first time in the 90s. John says he was still selling shoes at the time while trying to get his band off the ground, playing in front of as many bodies as they could scrounge up, but after a SXSW performance, things began to look positive.
The person who booked the Sex Pistols was in the crowd, which immediately got them a slot on the band's 1996 Filthy Lucre Tour. Also in attendance was the man who could get them on Los Angeles radio; KROQ's Kevin Weatherly. "He added us like 38 times a week," Feldmann says, adding, "and I was still selling shoes. I got my record deal, selling shoes on the promenade... and I slipped my demo tape in a pair of nine and a half, oxblood Doc Martens." Feldmann continues, "I couldn't not hear it. Dude, it was the best feeling ever. I had this hundred-dollar Dodge Colt I bought from my grandma's best friend... and I'd turn on KROQ and hear it in my terrible sound system. But I remember I pulled over, just going crazy singing along. It was the best!"
For those who have been keeping up with Feldmann’s career since his Dodge Colt days, you’ll know some, if not all, of these interesting facts that Kevan gathered. The first being that Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee helped produce his first band, Electric Love Hogs', first record. As a producer now, the experience, flaming farts and all, gave John the confidence he needed to be able to go into a studio and have fun rather than be a nervous wreck.
John began producing for other bands in the late-90s but met blink-182 drummer Travis Barker a few years earlier when Barker (or The Baron Von Tito) was playing with The Aquabats. He would eventually meet the rest of the band during the 1996 snowboard-themed Sno-Core Tour when blink was the opener for Goldfinger, and Reel Big Fish. Confirming our theories, John says he could see back then that Travis was "the G.O.A.T."
"He would set up on the floor and be doing these rudiments, that I'm like, 'how is this kid able to do this?' We became super tight back then... and then he hit me up on Twitter."
Feldmann would end up not only meeting the new incarnation of the band with Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba, but also writing "Bored to Death" with them the very same day. Remembering back, he says his Tommy Lee experience returned while recording their 2016 album California, but made it clear he waited until at least the third day in the studio before showing up naked.
Fans will surely remember Goldfinger's single "Superman" being included on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater -- arguably the best-soundtracked videogame to ever exist -- which you can learn all about in the documentary, Pretending I'm Superman. For John, it was just as life-changing a moment as being played on the radio. The band was performing in England at the time, not doing so well, when mid-set they started "Superman." He says the entire place, "probably 1,500 people were in a circle pit. I was just like, 'why is this happening..?'" That night he called his label and found out that the game had been released, and "that song, it's now our biggest song when we play live," Feldmann admits.
Feldmann would go on to bring The Used to the masses after frontman Bert McCracken threw his demo tape at John's head while Goldfinger was on tour in Salt Lake City. Obviously impressed by Bert ad the band's sound, John produced their self-titled debut as well as most of their other releases through the late '00s, returning again for 2020's Heartwork. Feldmann credits Bert for discovering another beloved group of the era, My Chemical Romance, who Bert was friends with and helped get signed to Warner Bros. John says although he was begged to produce their first record, "I just felt like I had The Used. They were my band and I felt like it would have tarnished my relationship with the band. We did 'Under Pressure' together, which I got to work with My Chemical Romance for that, which was amazing. But everything happens for a reason... you kind of figure it out as you go."
Feldmann's latest endeavor is MOD SUN's newest single "Rich Kids Ruin Everything," which was released just last week. "He was talking about Taking Back Sunday and The Starting Line and making kind of a classic emo/pop-punk song. I had written this track, and he came in and was just like, 'this is exactly it!' He had the concept.. he told me the whole story. MOD's like a visionary; he knows what he wants and he will not stop until he gets it. He's such a legend, we're like brothers now. He just went in there and kinda wrote the whole melody, the whole thing. He does stuff, freestyle. He channels the universe, it's very bizarre to watch."
Listen to Kevan and John's full interview above, and stay tuned for even more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy.
Listen to more of your favorite music on Audacy's Punk Party, Emo Kids,'80s Underground, and ALT Roots exclusive stations -- plus check out our talent-hosted Kevan Kenney's Music Discovery, Megan Holiday's My So Called '90s Playlist, and Scott Lowe on the Go's Post Modern Music Box!
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