Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 88 · 1 year ago

88: Trick or Treat: Spooky Stories, Scary Shows, and Ghoulish Ghosts

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It's nearly Halloween and the thought of seeing even a single piece of candy corn is freaking me out, so why not channel that spooky energy into the podcast?

This episode features several scary stories from musicians, models, and authors. You'll hear all about the worst gigs for rapper David Shibani, country musician Kimberly Dawn, model Ekin Ozlen, jazz lounge singer Nancy Stohlman, and producer Akeel Henry talks about a frightening experience while making music in the middle of the woods.

Plus, Marc Hartzman and Susan McCauley share their fascination with ghosts and how you too can experience the thrill of the supernatural. No tricks here–it truly is a treat!

Good people cool things as a podcast feature and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. Get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing, and here's your host, Joe held. Welcome to good people cool things. Halloween is in the air, this is Halloween. This is Halloween. Say Beetle Juice, get your hocus pocus gone, whatever you got to do, because we are celebrating another spectacular we've made it to our second Halloween since good people cool things became a podcast, and we've got a lot more scary stories, which I typically formulate as the worst gigs that musicians have played or the worst shows or events that authors entrepreneurs have had. But in this case we've also got some fun little history. So we're going to be diving into some of the classic episodes from good people cool things past, specifically the spooky moments. We're chatting with Nancy stollman about Kinky mink, her lounge jazz metal trio, from the group's history to its worst gig. We're looking at Susan mccaulay and her book Ghost Hunters, pirates cursed, a ghost hunting adventure and why she wanted to turn that whole book into a series. Chatting with a Keel Henry, a producer who's worked with all kinds of artists that you know and love, about a scary adventure he had while making music during the Pan and demic. Chat with Kimberly, dawn, country musician, who shares some of her worst gigs that she has ever played. We're talking with Echin Oslan, model and founder of the company Carousel, for her worst modeling gigs. She does music, but her modeling gigs are much more they're generally pretty good, but they're kind of horrific. What or two of them are a little horrific, so she's sharing those. Also chatting to David Shabani, a rapper who's worst gig involves the fast and the furious franchise, and so it's a delightful story. So we're diving into that. We're going to wrap it up with Mark Hertsman, who is the author. You had a number of fantastic books, most recently chasing ghosts, a tour of our fascination with spirits and the supernatural, and that just seems like the perfect way to kick off the Halloween Week Spirit festivities. I hope you have a wonderful time with your candy, so I hope you enjoy it this spooktacular series of conversations. Kicking US off, it's Nancy Stollman, author and lead singer of Kinky mink, about her band's history and the worst gig that they've ever played. We started doing it in two thousand and eleven, I want to say. My partner is a classical pianist and we just started kind of messing around. You know, I'm a singer, not I wasn't a professional sing at the time, but I've always been a singer, musical theater background and all of that. So just you now we're messing around. We would just start playing through like s song books, but start, you know, improvising them in these jazzy lounge styles. It's definitely been something that a band like the postmodern Jukebox is doing now and that sort of thing, but it just caught on and with my partner being, you know, classically trained and all of that, he can do all those classical trills. We just said. You know, what would happen if we did Ozzy Osbourne Jazz Lounge Style and I got in a sparkly dress and laid on top of the piano and very influenced by like the fabulous Baker Boys, which is a great movie. If you haven't seen it, any of your listeners out there, it's classic s Michelle Piper lying on the piano and singing, and so we just did a lot of that, and I mean Ozzy Osborne and Metallica and you know them, things like Bon Jovi and just ZZ top and just had so much fun and then, of...

...course this whole element of theatrics with it. We got a drummer, so there was three of us and yeah, we just had so much fun and we have so many stories too of like being being booked to play in a, let's say, quote, Regular Jazz Club and then next thing they know they're getting like white wedding and I'm in like a wedding dress, you know, singing this crazy like white wedding lounge style with reverb and all this stuff, and they're like Um, yeah, you can't come back here. But it's been so much fun and it's just been this other place for me to expoolore creativity and all of these things in for my writing. So I think the more creative avenues you have, the better, but it's just been such a joy. I just love it. And then we've written a couple original things to we've got a couple of music videos on Youtube. The one of them is timey up for Christmas, which is our big Christmas song, and it's very silly and yeah, so you can have fun and watch those as well. Fantastic. I'm looking forward to it. I didn't know there was some youtube action as well. and M Christmas, Christmas songs. That's a smart musical play you always get. Yeah, get that longevity that. Yeah, they don't always get exactly like it. I like it. Creative and Smart Business Acumen. Exactly, and something I always like to ask musicians, although maybe you touched on this with the surprised jazz venues, but if there is a worst gig than that, what's the worst show that you've ever played? Worst show? Yeah, I mean I remember playing in this French restaurant and she the rest we should have known that the restaurant was not going to make it and therefore their client till they may not have a lot of people, but she was like, you know, I'd love you to do like a Brunch, and at that point we'd added a few things to a repertoire that were, you know, family friendly and that sort of thing. So, you know, riffs on Sinatra and that sort of thing. But she's like, I'd love you to do like the Sunday brunch and we've got, you know, this French brunch and mimosas in the whole bit, and so we said okay, and it wasn't it was an ideal gay but we were like, you know, it seems cool. This French restaurant art cafe was kind of cool, and there was just one person in the audience for about the first forty five minutes, and that person was a person that I hadn't buy it or who had gotten the notice through my social media. So I hadn't seen her in years, and there she was like with her husband and they're both eating their eggs benedict and looking embarrassed for us and we were just like, oh my gosh, you don't have to look at us. Finally, of course, people started coming in, but you know, it went out of business shortly after that. So yeah, I think it we really learned to not just take any GIG because it was offered, but to make sure that if we're going to get our audience motivated that it's going to be worth their time. Yeah, I think that's a good a good lesson. Hopefully you got a nice brunch out of it though. If nothing yeah, we did. We got we got a good brunch, French brunch. It was tasty. Yeah, French brunches usually pretty good. It's very nice. Yeah, yeah, it's the Nice perks of it. But and and it makes for a good story later on. I thought that was very enjoyable. I know it's always terrible in the moment, but that's one of my favorite things to ask musician's right. Well, and so much of what we did, especially at the beginning, was we were just over the top so much that our audiences would you know, they would leave with their jaw sort of like I don't even know what to say to that. You're all like just...

...not expecting it at all. Like, as I was talking with the wedding dress. So when we would do white wedding, I would put on this whole wedding dress and then come like walking through the Isle of people, which is great if you're in like a weird club, but when you're in like a classical jazz club and they're expecting classical jazz and here's like, you know, like a weird procession, gothy looking, you know, into this white wedding. I remember we used to laugh there was this jazz musician who is really well known in Denver and he came to one of our shows and we overheard him at the bar talking to somebody else and he was like that ain't jazz. We just said we should name our next album that ain't jazz. So yeah, next step. Susan McCauley Talks about her book ghost hunters, pirates curse, at ghost hunting adventure and your most recent book, ghost hunters. Yes, pirate tiers curse the second in the ghost hunters series. It is a ghost hunting adventure. Is this one? And bones in the wall the first one? So tell us about this series. Did you want it to be a series right aware? Did you write one and you're like, Oh, I've got enough for a second now? I knew this one. I knew this one was going to be a series for sure. My editor and I were talking and she were originally like five books. Do Five books? And you know, it's picking up, it's getting good reviews, people are really liking it. Reaching readers is a is a is a big challenge. So we're going to do four books for now and then I'm going to do another series. But if ghost hunters continues picking up steam, then I will probably go back and do more in the middle grade. I do have an idea for a young adult spinoff to following the kids as teenagers, but I I definitely knew I wanted to do it as as a series. For sure. Nice see. Yeah, I think a spinoff. I immediately jumped to rug rats jumped to my mind right now. I feel like those episodes are kind of divisive, of like regrets. Is Teenagers. But I always, always liked it. I liked when they absolutely yeah, get us some new new experience. Let mean, yeah, I'm between and this is a upper middle grade, middle grade. I've had some I've found one. I was one teacher who read the first ghost hunters book two or seven year old because it it was too advanced for the reading level, but apparently the kid really loved it. Fourth, fifth, sixth seventh graders, they seem to love it. You know, it's not too scary. It's a little scary, but you know their kids. I want him to have fun. To me it's like, to me the books are like writing the haunted mansion ride at Disney. It's kind of spooky but it's also a lot of fun at the same time. Nice, Nice, and is that? Is that kind of your motivation of it? Of like, because, for my reference, I think the scariest stuff I would enjoy growing up was like goosebumps. Yes, and then I really didn't get into are you afraid of the dark? But I don't know if it was necessarily because I was scared of it. I think I just watched one and was like whatever, but yeah, what one of my teachers, I think it wasn't I can't remember his third or fourth grade, read one of those are you afraid of the dark stories and it's scared the out of me for four years. But definitely I didn't read. I mean I didn't read. I don't know if I might be too old have read r Elstein when I was a kid. I don't even know when those books start coming out, but I didn't read or Elstein. A lot of people like in my ghosts on or series to Arl Stein. I don't know if you're familiar with Jonathan Stroud at all, he's a British author and he writes a ghost series with these young their young teens going after ghosts. To me it's more like that. R El Stein is obviously brilliant and but he's very, very plot focused. I definitely focus on plot, but I I try to have the character's growth development, character arcs, just as...

...important as a plot. So to me that's how I see it's different from R Elstein. During the pandemic, I Keel Henry has worked with musicians all across the country, really virtually, as well as in person one time at a cabin out in the woods and who he's got a great story from it. Okay, so I couldn't do the the online session stuff. I'm I really feed off the energy of everybody else in the room. So I as I mentioned, with the looney stuff and quarantine. We went to the house for a while and we just worked on her project for a few months that. I left that house and then got another place to another two or so months or three months with with another artist, Lisa, and I did another artist that I'm kind of working with. So I was in person with with if artists. Like the whole quarantine I was I kind of just like we rent a house two or three months at a time and then move and do it again and then do it again until that's I thought I'd be over after the first one, but it just kept on getting longer and longer. So I just kept on doing it. So my quarantine experience wasn't the same as most producers. A lot of them were just doing online sessions the entire time, but I just I after the first three weeks I knew I couldn't do that. Yeah, it was. It was definitely like, at this should be over sooner than it is feeling for a good at least, I'd say, the first few months, if not longer, where it's like okay, surely the end is in sight, and then it was like, oh no, this is this is going to last for a while. So when you're doing these rental house switcher ruse, were you looking for something in particular, for like when you were looking at these houses, or was it just kind of whatever was available, for a change of scenery, to work with someone new? What we use the air bb and we do their monthly rental things. So yeah, I though there are a lot of options. People really people weren't traveling a lot, so they were actually amazing offers for very cheap. It actually kind of worked out. So we got we just we focused on making sure the house having a vibe and then making sure that we could be loud then have any neighbors. We had to get a place kind of secluded. So it was it was actually kind of fun because we lived like we're out in the middle of nowhere for most of these and it was just like it was just us in the music for my we didn't see anybody we knew, we didn't like. We just woke up, created two we could till we couldn't stay awake and fell asleepy did the same thing like seven days a week. Did you see anything unusual in any of these houses? One of the houses had me terrified because when we got in there there are a bunch of books on how to fight off a bear if you encounter a bear. So I literally didn't leave that house until we left. I stayed inside. I left you like when the Cardia groceres like. I didn't that step outside. I was just Nope, I do not need to fight off a bear here. And did you read the books? At least I didn't read the books. I'm like, I don't need these books. I'm not. That's stepping outside. So, yeah, that's kind of an intimidating thing to see when you walk it too, and it was. It was a beautiful place, but that was just like there were so many books on bears. I don't like. WHOA this is. This is a thing here. Yeah, at least they're preparing you for it and the worst, but I think you made the right decision and not venturing a yeah, yeah, it was three of us in my house and none of us left unless it was groceries. And because of the COLBA situation, we were trying to not go out as much. We would not leave the house, and this is the only time of it done this. I not stepped outside them for like two weeks at a time, because you try to buy at least two weeks of groceries. So I we literally never stepped outside. That was super weird for me because I'm like that I've never done that before my life. Kimberly dawn has had a couple of gigs. Should consider her worse, and we're diving into all of them. Oh Gosh. I mean, listen, I've played it...

...some dive bars like literally in the pouring rain. I can think of one. It was like literally in Hollywood and it was like on a November and it was like pouring, pouring rain. And Anyway, Long Story Short, my guitar said I had playing with me wasn't like an acoustic set. His guitar string broke in the middle of it. I mean it was like it was like everything you could imagine kind of went wrong. I mean, listen, it was pouring rain, so people like just trying to get in there were like drenched and I think I had probably ten friends that came, but let me tell you, that bar was so happy that I had ten friends that are because it was my ten friends that were in the bar. That was it the home light. So anyway, but yeah, there's there's been. Obviously, actually, this last show that I had, five minutes before I went on, the sound engineer came over to me and said, I'm so sorry, but something happened. We lost all your settings. So everything from the sound check, we had literally an hour and a half sound check, was gone. That we reined it. Did it work out? Yeah, I think it did. I mean everyone said sound good. I'm like, all right, I can't and I couldn't hear myself. I had my my my ears in and I literally come out to sing my first song and couldn't even hear myself. So I ripped out one of them and I was like, okay, this is how it's going to go. We're just going to do this. So now worked out. I had fun. You know what, it's having fun. I learned that early on. If you have fun, the audience is going to have fun. You just gotta have fun. Yes, have fun and don't act like things are going wrong exactly. You got to just kind of play it off exactly exactly. So I think that's a skill that is important for for really any performer, but especially musicians. It's just the ability to roll with things because, like you said, things are going to go wrong. Sometimes, maybe you have a real sunny day and then it just starts pouring right like ten minutes before, like well, all right, we're going to roll with it. Yeah, you just gotta Roll with it. Yes, take an Improv class or two if you need to, and then I love that. I love that. I can osland has had plenty of modeling gigs and, while a lot of them are good, she said one or two that make for great stories, but maybe word is fun. At the time. Oh my God, I had so many bad let's see, I think the poop by far. I had the worst gigs as a model than then as a musician, I mean musician. It was always fun for me, you know, seeing performing there. I don't I can never say that anything was ever bad. That was always just I was honored to be able to do that in the times, but I did and I certainly didn't do it enough, like I feel like I'll circle back to that later in life. But as a model, I mean I can tell you I did a commercial for silk, soy milk, where I had to wear a cow costume on my body. And I mean just the things that you do as a model. It's insane, the things that you do that, the temperatures that you work in, the weird positions that they put you in, it's like there is no end. And I was actually doing a podcast just a couple weeks ago and I said, you know, I don't understand why there's not a models union, like why is there SAG and Aftra? Okay, I'm say, I'm after a perfect but why is there not a union from models that protect us from this kind of abuse, labor abuse. You know, it's like, I can't believe know it's come up with that yet. Maybe that's a future project for you then can I I had too many. That's what happen. It out there. I'm like, somebody else needs to do this, protect all the upandcoming girls. Like yeah, put it out into the universe and somebody will hear and then they'll react. Rapper David Chavani played a show where the fast and the furious was involved. So let's see how that turned out. I think I got two...

...one. This one is not as bad as the next. This one time I was playing at this they said it was a festival sort of. It's like, Yo's a festival in this town, and what it was pretty much is that like there's going to be like thirty acts playing in different places, and they had me rapping in this like this local pizza shop, and I was like in the corner and people are coming in like getting the orders, and it was the strangest as like people are not here to watch this, people are buying pizzas like I don't I don't know. Yeah, put me here, but I will say even in that show some people enjoyed the show. So it's like all right, cool, I guess is a crowd to wrap in front of us. So I appreciate that. But I always think about how I was in a corner like right next to the like, you know, people flipping the dough trying to make pizzas. Is like all right, well, I guess yeah, book me here, so that's what's up. But one show that I really think was the worst, the worst gig Guy had, was it was an Austin. This name of the place. I don't think it it exists anymore. I think a might we call head hunters, but it used to be like a metal venue and for some reason I got booked at the show and I was I going to Tuesday night or something like that, and one of my friends lived in Austin at the time. He went to he went to Texas, and so he was like Yo, where do you play out? You play downtown. I'm gonna come check you out. He came by I himself. It was just him. It was there was another dude in the corner that just happened to be in the bar, and then there was the bartender and the bartender. You know, when you go to the bar they have the TV on. Hmm, he kept the TV on. So the TV might have not been like the volume might have been on, but it was on. They had fast and fears on, like to fast your fears, and one with tyree's it was on like right next this I go on stage. So if you look at the stage, I don't even if I don't even know if you looking at me or if you looking at a television. So I at some points I'm looking at the television. I like. So they're like, but the thing is I was honestly rapping to two people and the bartender WHO's watching TV. And what's crazy is also they have but me for an hour set. I'm over there just doing songs. I guess I could do this one and then have a DJ at the Times I'm just a pressing songs on my laptop. But I'll do this one, I'll do the I do the next one. And I will say, though, at the end of the show was I thought I was just like yeah, I just wrapped in front of two people. So that's what's up. Two and a half if you can't like half of the attention span of the bts and but there was a do that do that was at the end of the table. When I got done, he's like, Hey, this long time ago to so like times, you know, times of different in terms of like exchanging music, but he was like when I got done, he was like Ay, you wouldn't happen to have a CD or something. I really like you're set. He was sitting, was just by. It's not like he came to see me. He was just have this random ass bar to. I like. No one like, you know, not much going on, and he enjoyed the music. So he was like yeah, sure. I was like yeah, sure, I had a CD and I guess, you know, I presume or assumed that that man is still a fan today. But that's probably the wildest Gig of them play. I was wrapped. I was competing with fast and fear. That's fantastic. I also like that you you were taking breaks to watch too. Yeah, it's good movie. Okay, that is Solom I. Have you watched the newest one? Seen it? It's getting a little skin, little ridiculous, and Mark Hartzman dives all into the ghoulish with chasing ghosts, a tour of our fascination with spirits and the supernatural and my goodness, this is a fun conversation. I mean I've always been fascinated by ghosts in the parent normal that's just been one of those things that I think kind of comes with the territory of liking the two world of the bizarre. But I had really...

...gotten into spiritualism in the past several years and I've been buying a lot of books on it from like the late eighteen hundreds, early nineteen hundreds, partly because I have beautiful covers. They have these amazing titles and everything inside him is just kind of wondrous and amazing, all these difference. I mean I have a book called next world interviewed, which is all these interviews with dead people, famous dead people, talking about the other side and what they've learned, you know, all captured by mediums or, you know, supposedly, but it's just incredibly read these different thoughts and you know someone someone had these different ideas that they put down and attribute them to these different spirits or they believe they actually heard them from the spirits. But it was just such an amazing time to think that, you know, millions of people truly believe that we were we could communicate with the dead and and we're very confident that there was another side and the death was not the end, and I just found that whole error to be really an incredible time to be alive to think that. And then you have all the mediums who were, you know, Crane these sciences and having these amazing manifestations, whether it was just a voice or automatic writing, slate writing, you know, different kinds of physical manifestations, things, you know, apporting or spirit trumpets, you know, flying across the room, Ectoplasa, all these amazing things happening and it's like how, how were they doing these things? In the book I kind of get into that how some of them were proved to be fraudulent. In some cases it's a little hard to show what they were doing, but it's it's an amazing time. You know, people were doing extra ordinary things and people truly believed. So that all that kind of got me going into the ghosts in the paranormal of course that spread into other topics for the book. Jason, ghosts. Have you gone on a significant number of ghost tours? I'm pretty sure I walked by one that was happening last night, which I thought was pretty fitting. I've been on quite a few. Is there one that hands out as a must see or a must die? I must stop by. I all know that there's one in particular it's like, you know, so much greater than the others. I mean I did One in York in England, which was great because York is such a cool town. It's, you know, it's got so much great history. I mean yourk has a little street that I believe Harry Potter's diagon Alley was modeled after, and you walked it like this, looks like diagon alley. So and it's got, you hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of years of history. So it's that was a pretty cool place for a ghost tour. I've done one in Charleston, which is a great, great little town and has, you know, that has a good history as well. St Augustine of Florida. In New York City, a friend of mine runs burrows of the dead and she does great ghost tours. So I did one at the Greenwood Cemetery, which is an amazing cemetery. People can go there. You should go there. All kinds of incredible people are buried there and she does want about spiritualisty magicians kind of this topic. So that was a really cool tour to do, fantastic. I've only ever done one and it was here in Austin Texas, and I enjoyed it because, I mean, I also find that interesting at but I was in between someone that was fascinated, like obsessed with ghosts and someone who was skeptical as hell about everything that was happening, and the juxtaposition of the two is just a delight between and it. Did anyone see anything but the friend and one other person. We went into the DRIST Goll hotel in which is an I think, probably one of the most wellknown facts about the drists goals that it is haunted, and they they claimed they saw someone by the staircase. That's cool. Head and head and back. I forgot. I forgot to...

...mention one HMM that I should I should mention since you asked. I did a great ghost tour of the Mark Twain House and two thousand and ten it was the hundredth anniversary of his death and so they were doing a special program with our twin house in Hartford Connecticut, and I was doing weird news stories for Al Well, we're news at that point. So I was carving the events as a story. But the tour was being led by Lorraine Warren who, if people know the warrants, famous. She and her husband Ed were fame movest ghost hunters, demonologist, famously stay the mighty bill horror case. If you've seen the conjuring films, those, those are based on the warrens and a Belle of course. So so they're pretty well known in that that world. So I got to talk to lorraine and interview her in advance that. She was giving me chills, raising the hairs on my arms from our stories just over the foam. And then she led the tour and I was like fuck, going to see a ghost. It's going to be at the Mark Twain House with Lorraine Warren. So that was pretty cool. Of course I didn't. I thought I was giving myself a pretty good shot. Yeah, that's all you can ask for. Be In a position gotta try. Yeah, I hope you enjoyed the spectacular series of conversations. There's a lot of fun have in them and I hope you have a wonderful Halloween. Of course. Will still wrap up with a Corny joke, because that's what we do on this show. Where do fashionable ghost shop at Bootikus? Get after it today people, good people, cool things is produced in Austin, Texas. If you were a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button. That helps more people here the show. You can send me a message Joey at good people, cool thingscom. Thank you to all of the guests who have been on good people, cool things and check out all the old episodes. Be a good people cool thingscom. As always, thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

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