Talking At The Diner Podcast

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 10 - Erin Fox  

I met up with my friend Erin Fox recently at the Fishtown Diner in Philly to have breakfast for dinner and we had a fascinating conversation that actually lasted long after the lavalier mics were turned off, but what we did capture in the recording was the backstory of a person who truly embodies the name of her alt rock band Resilient, because she has faced down some serious life and career challenges to stay the least. Whether it was playing bar gigs in her Mom’s cover band since the age of 7, or signing shady music biz contracts by the time she was in her teens, or having brain surgery in her 20’s, Erin Fox has survived things that would absolutely have broken some people. Yet, she pushes forth and just keeps getting better at her craft. Her 2021 album Fuzzy Logic sounds like a lost mid-60's baroque pop classic, with soaring melodies, sophisticated chord changes, and lush instrumentation.  I'm extremely grateful she took the time to have this conversation with me. 

I hope you'll take a listen and enjoy!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 9 - Judah Kim  

Judah Kim is one of my favorite songwriters and vocalists in the Philly music scene. I was particularly excited to meet with him and break bread for the first time because we share a lot of experiences in common as Asian American musicians. Interestingly, our initial encounters over a decade ago when I was playing in IKE and he was in his band Stonethrown were perhaps not so feel-good, but I just chalk that up to "where our heads were at" during that time of our lives and point on our respective musical journeys. These days, I can say I got nothing but love for the guy, as he is a truly talented writer, guitarist, and singer. 

Judah and I recently hit up the Penn Restaurant in Oreland, Pennsylvania - a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it establishment that just so happens to be just down the road from Forge Recording, where we both have done our share of projects. Judah is currently working with my good pal, Ron Disilvestro, having Ron mix an ambitious collection of singles that Judah is releasing at the breakneck pace of one a month. In 2022 alone, he’s put out killer songs like “Right Where We Belong,” “Back Door,” “Hey There Kids,” and a brand new gem called "The Real Kind."

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 8 - Joey DiTullio  

Friends, it was bound to happen: "a very special" Talking At The Diner is upon us.  Don't worry: nobody gets hurt or molested like in those questionable episodes of Webster or Diff'rent Strokes from back in the day. But while the premise of this podcast has always been that it's a show in which I have stimulating conversations with fellow musicians in the comfortable confines of the diner of their choice, this episode's conversation takes place not inside the diner, but on the way to it, and on the way back from it. Why, you may ask? Well, because the diner... WAS CLOSED!! 

However, since we were already mic'd up on our one-mile trek to the Whitman Diner in Turnersville, NJ,  Joey DiTullio and I just kept right on walking and talking! 
For the uninitiated, Joey DiTullio has been a major figure in my musical life for close to a decade now. I met him when he was a teenage guitar prodigy and he has since evolved into one of the best all around musicians I know. He’s a multi-threat instrumentalist, one of my favorite singers to harmonize with, he’s now also a producer, engineer, go-to session musician. He does it all. He’s been a cornerstone bandmate of mine and there is no doubt that he is the OG Meddling Kid. Please enjoy this great conversation!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 7 - Sug Daniels  

As a musician who grew up in Delaware and spent many years trying to find myself, my tribe, and my opportunity to shine, I really relate to Sug Daniels. This diminutive powerhouse of an artist is fast becoming (if she isn't already) the beating heart of the Delaware music community. She's a musician, who in some ways is just starting to gain the recognition she deserves - her band Hoochi Coochi broke into Philly just this past year, gaining the coveted opening spot at WXPN's Xponential Fest. As a solo artist, she's a genre-bending electric ukulele-playing dynamo.. a little bit folk, a little bit soul and R&B, and she's even done collabs that veer into the punk/garage rock realm. In other words, she can not be pigeonholed. In addition to her musical pursuits, she is an ardent booster and facilitator for her fellow musicians, with a music blog that amplifies new releases and notable shows, and a series of info-packed videos on the best practices for indie artists who are trying to navigate the music business in 2022. 

We had a great conversation at the Melrose Diner in south Philly, mere blocks from her new digs in the City of Brotherly Love. Hope you enjoy listening! 

By the way.. if you're in the Philly area, you can catch Sug at the City Winery on 2/16/22 as part of the Black Opry Revue - a collective of black country, folk, blues, and Americana artists.

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 6 - Andrea Nardello  

I like to think that "Talking At The Diner" digs a little deeper than your garden variety music-related podcast. I want to gain insight about the things that make musicians tick.. and I think I got that with my friend - musician and songwriter Andrea Nardello. Andrea is an indie musician who tours smart, cares about her fans, and releases wonderful music with a level of care that is above and beyond. Buy a physical copy of one of her CD's and you'll see that even the packaging is next-level. Our conversation at Ponzio's Diner in Cherry Hill, NJ covered many topics from how musicians are reevaluating their ideas of success and connection, to the buzz one can get from exchanging energy with just a few like-minded people, to the fact that the human buttocks is an endless source of fascination and hilarity. 

In our decade of friendship, Andrea has been there for me in ways I can't begin to thank her for. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 5 - Brianna Sig  

Brianna Sig - or B-Sig as her friends call her - is the drummer Soraia, the Zou Zou Mansour-led Philly rock band signed to Little Steven's Wicked Cool Records label. For the past five years, she has anchored a band that otherwise has seen more than its share of personnel changes. She has played the drums since she was in her early teens and has fought her way up the Philly rock ladder to tour the US and Europe, open shows shows for the likes of Joan Jett, and become one of the musicians I respect the most. She's an honorary Meddling Kid, and it is her kick ass drumming you hear on my 2016 singles "Miss America" and "Puzzle Piece." She also knows a good pun when it hits her and she ain't afraid to say it out loud!  

We got together a while back at Michael's Restaurant in Glenside, PA, a place with one of the best-maintained salad bars I've ever enjoyed. They also do their baking on premises. As long as you don't get a booth too close to the bathroom, you are golden!  

Please enjoy this fun conversation with the incomparable Brianna Sig!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 4 - Jesse Lundy  

Jesse Lundy has been a key fixture in the Philadelphia concert biz for two and a half decades. He’s put on huge shows, intimate shows, rubbed elbows with music royalty, curated the bill at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, booked the legendary Main Line venue The Point, and helped out li’l ol’ me on many occasions, even against his better judgement.. like when I named a short-lived songwriting collective the “Semen Brothers” back in the early aughts. He's also an accomplished guitarist, who plays regularly in the city with numerous bands. Throughout the pandemic, he’s been a straight shooter, a mensch, a friend, always honest, invariably entertaining. He’s got stories, he's got opinions, and he's not afraid to share them. Hope you enjoy our conversation in which we discuss rock star run-ins, how many books he can read in a year, and how we're both fairly certain that getting murdered is how we're going to die! 

Enjoy our convo from Greg's Kitchen in the lovely Manayunk section of Philadelphia!

'Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 3 - Ang Bocca  

Ang Bocca embodies so much of what I love about the musicians I’m here to celebrate on this podcast.. she’s a hustler, a survivor, she leaves it all out on the stage, and to coin her own phrase.. she can sing her d*ck off. 

I met Ang a decade ago when I was the host for a very strange little battle of the bands at Legendary Dobbs on South St. in Philadelphia, where I was also the weekly open mic host. Ang and the Damn Band didn't win, but that was just a minor bump in the road. 

In the past ten years, Ang has done her thing in Philly, New York, and LA, with projects ranging from the aforementioned Damn Band, Angenue, The Mean Redz, a stint with indie rockers goodnight/goodluck, and more.  Having overcome adversity, loss, sexism, and a bad production deal, she's now on the precipice of another new chapter in her musical life with the release of her new unabashedly pop EP "First Love Records." 

Check out our great conversation at the south Philly institution - the Oregon Diner!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 2 - Reece Ratliff  

If you don’t already know Reece Ratliff, you will. Trust me. I’ve known him for what we estimated to be about seven years. I started out as his vocal coach and eventually became a producer on his debut EP - I’ll Take The Fall from 2018. Since then, he has co-written with some of the biggest songwriters in Nashville, booked his own national tour dates, released his first full-length album Compass, become an artist manager, and.. oh yeah.. 

In our conversation at the Bethany Diner in Bethany Beach, DE, Reece and I discuss the full plate of his music career and he explains to me how somebody who is pretty much good at everything stays humble.

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 1 - Brett Talley  

In this “inaugural” episode of “Talking At The Diner,” John goes to the Dining Car in N.E. PHL with longtime “fixer” and bandmate from both IKE and the Caulfields - Brett Talley. Topics of discussion include: Brettman’s preference for “well done” fries, his issues with condiments that are not ketchup, the state of the upcoming Caulfields concert movie 26 Candles (which Brett is directing and editing), the significance of his Nine Inch Nails tattoo, his musical origin story, and more! 


A number of people are named or referred to with no further context, so for those who are new to John & Brett’s musical universe, here is a handy reference guide (hopefully in order of appearance): 

Frank Lafaro - Longtime studio client and confidant of Brett’s. Frank is the frontman of the Doo-wop group Frankie & the Fashions, which formed in the early 60’s before all four members went off to fight in Nam. Sometime in the 2010’s, Frank offered to “treat John to lunch” at the Dining Car for the purpose of “picking his brain” regarding the music business, but, in fact, just needed help setting up a YouTube account. At the end of the meal, the diner’s then-cash-only policy, coupled with an out-of-order ATM, led to John having to pick up the tab. 

Phil - Phil Murphy, lead singer of Brett’s band Outset, as well as the front man of Bangarang, his cover band in which Brett plays lead guitar. 

Sue / Susie - Susie Steen, bass player in Outset, IKE v2.0, and mother of Brett’s son. 

Joann Schmidt - Bass player in IKE v1.0, who gives John “lighthearted shit” about the number of songs on the band’s third album Where To Begin. 

Jason Miraglia - Drummer in IKE v2.0 and Bangarang, who, like Brett, is an avid Pearl Jam fan.