Jules Mark Shear is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He wrote the Cyndi Lauper hit single "All Through The Night" and The Bangles' hit "If She Knew What She Wants", and had a minor hit as a performer with "Steady", which reached number 57 on the US charts in 1985.
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My short bio: I came up with the concept for MTV Unplugged when trying to promote my own acoustic record. Here's Joe Walsh and myself performing Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" on Unplugged: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK07uhB8LGw
I'm currently recording a new album in Los Angeles and thought this would be a fun thing to do.
EDIT: Wrapping it up here. Thanks for all the questions -- it has been fun!
Of all the MTV Unplugged sessions that have been released as albums, which session is the best of all time and why?
After I left MTV Unplugged I didn't keep up as much with the performances. There have certainly been some unforgettable performances since my departure.
How do you feel about the current musical climate in Los Angeles? Who's coming up? What's going to be hot around here? Is the local scene hurting or helping new artists?
I live on the east coast, I'm just out here working on my new record, so I don't feel capable of having an opinion one way or the other.
Who is the best songwriter in history in your opinion?
Oh yeah -- like I'm going to answer that.
What is your favorite song to perform and why?
I don't have one.
Whats the most weird thing that happend on your show?
On tour opening for Peter Gabriel, Peter one night came out and introduced our band holding a teddy bear. That was weird.
How on earth did you develop your unusual guitar technique? Is the description of your fretting hand style in Wikipedia accurate? Does it allow you to do everything you want to do with the instrument?
Being a lefty, I first started on my brother's right handed guitar. I tuned it to a chord and just barred it up and down the neck.
I think its cooler to keep the chords basic when I'm writing, so it works perfectly.
Jules, are there any songwriting cliches that really get under your skin when you hear them?
I let my own songs get under my skin enough.
Who was your most favourite artist to appear on Unplugged and why? Also, is their any artist you wish you had seen on Unplugged but can't because of illness or that they've passed away?
I loved Joe Walsh's appearance. I would have loved to see Bach wail on a harpsichord -- can you imagine that? I wonder what my duet would have been?
Jules, how has the shift to online streaming affected you? Services like Spotify, Pandora, etc.
I think it's very cool to be able to get lots of music easily, but it's certainly not easier to earn a living as a songwriter than it was before.
Jules, I have only recently become aware of you, by looking up the authorship of "All Through the Night." What album of yours would you recommend I start with?
The one I'm recording right now! I promise I'll have something new for everyone to listen to within a week. Keep checking my Facebook page for the link -- first one is going to be on me.
Will you be playing any gigs this Summer and where? Will I ever be able to see you with a full band (which would be awesome)?
Not as of yet. Any agents with a good offer should feel free to reach out!
if you are looking for one for some of his old music I would recommend Demo-itis
I like "Demo-itis" as well. It is really raw.
Even though it is only guitar and vocals, I'm really proud of "The Third Party" too. Marty Willson-Piper from The Church did it with me.
"Healing Bones" is a full production record that was produced by Rod Argent -- I still really enjoy listening to that record.
It is always hard for me to say what things I've done are my favorites. I tend to move on. I like creating more than I like listening.
What advice would you give to a songwriter just starting out?
Yeah. Try and write a song everyday. A new one.
Will the "Chasing Jules" film be out anytime soon and have you been involved with any of the editing?
It's not my film and I have not been involved with any of the editing. I'd like to know the timing, but I don't know much more than you do.
what was it like working with Buster Venyan?
Oh wow. Buster Venyan. We're still very close, but I don't get asked about him very much. I'll send him your best.
Still in touch with Marty Willson-Piper? Any plans for future collaborations?
Yes we stay in touch, but we don't have any future plans. He's great though. I love collaborating with Marty.
Jules, as you know, there are some things of yours that are out of print. What are the chances that there might be CD reissues of Watch Dog and Demo-itis?
I don't know what that would entail but I'm not against it. Do you think that we would sell enough of them to make it worth doing? Maybe thru downloading?
Are you typing these answers in by yourself? Or is someone from Reddit helping transcribe you? If so, who?
What was it like working with Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles?
Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles -- that's an all star band right there!
I love all The Bangles. Cyndi I haven't seen in a long time.
Cyndi and I wrote together first. I got to know The Bangles thru her. They're all a pleasure to work with.
Are there plans to re-release any past albums on vinyl, e.g. The Great Puzzle and Healing Bones?
It's funny you should ask that. Just yesterday we were talking about what it would take to get access to the masters and release a vinyl box set -- a really nice one, preferably pressed by Quality Record Pressings. It would also allow us to do quality artwork as well, which is really important to me.
Lyric writing is mostly a lost art these days, who inspired your wordsmithing?