Talking At The Diner Podcast

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 13 - Annalise Curtin  

Underestimate Annalise Curtin at your own peril! She may be diminutive in size but so many things about this dynamo of a human are BIG.... big personality, big smile, big laugh, big talent (I am in perpetual awe of her finger picking abilities on guitar), and big, BIG voice.  

I met Annalise back in 2011 at an open mic (the weekly "Late Night Series" at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where I was the songwriting prof at the time). She's come (and gone) a long way since then, having lived and immersed herself in several different music scenes (Cleveland, Milwaukee, Seattle) over the span of several years, while always keeping her connections to Philly strong. Even when she lived in different parts of the country, she always made a point to hit me up when she came back east to visit, and we've shared many a laugh at many diners since she's been back living in Philly the past few years.  

After a long hiatus releasing recorded music, Annalise took the 2020 lockdown as an opportunity to get back in the game, releasing a string of killer singles and collaborating with artists across genres (and geographical borders), expanding her musical horizons and putting her name in the conversation of Philly artists to watch.  

She and I have been doing more shows together and we have our first collab single ("Ghost Writer") in the pipeline to be recorded later this year!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 12 - Joe Trainor  

Joe Trainor first landed on my radar as the front man of the aptly named Joe Trainor Trio, known to us super fans as JT3.. his Ben Folds-y piano rock was a first-state staple for a full decade in the earlier part of the 2000’s but then he moved into a different musical space entirely, forming The Rock Orchestra, an entity that features multiple large lineups of various musicians playing the music of the classic bands that inform Joe’s musical sensibilities. On top of all that, he’s also a key member of the team over at Gable Music Ventures, the promotional juggernaut responsible for all kinds of events, like the beloved Ladybug Festival. 

Joe and I met up at the Marsh Road Diner in Wilmington and among other things, one of my favorite parts of this conversation has to do with both of us sharing what it’s like to feel the inevitable pull of aging as a rock musician and what our own strategies might be as we show no signs of stopping. We also do an unexpectedly deep dive into Styx.. the band, not the river. This podcast could have been twice the length it is now, but rest in the knowledge that you're getting the absolute crème de la crème of our conversation!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 11 - Ron DiSilvestro  

Ron DiSilvestro - RAHHHHHHHN as I like to call him - is one of my closest friends from the Philadelphia music scene in part because I have worked with him in several different capacities over the 20+ years I’ve known him. The man does so many things at a high level. He's a go-to record producer, engineer, mixer, session drummer. He's also an inspiring audio recording educator with his own music school and production company RDS Music and Media. I've played in numerous bands with him such as the Awesome Bros. and the Jane Anchor, which I had to fire him from, but that's water under the bridge 😜 

Ron's current band, Superunknown, a Chris Cornell / Soundgarden / Audioslave / Temple of the Dog tribute band, recently signed with a major booking agency and has been touring all over the map in recent months and only stand to get bigger. I've had the pleasure of playing the Eddie Vedder role in their rendition of "Hunger Strike" onstage a couple times and it feels as close to the real deal as you're ever gonna get at this point. 

Ron met up with me at the Moonlight Family Diner in Glenside, PA - just a short drive from Forge Recording, where Ron was the salaried house engineer for fourteen years before forming RDS Music and Media. By summer of 2022, Ron will base RDS out of legendary Studio Four in Conshohocken, PA. 

I hope you enjoy our great conversation! 
JKF ❤

"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!