David Pomeranz, Singer-Songwriter-Episode #230

Jan 24, 2023 | 0 comments

The brilliant singer-songwriter, David Pomeranz, has achieved success in virtually every entertainment medium. His songs have been recorded and performed by a long list of major artists including: Bette Midler, Kenny Loggins, Cliff Richard, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls, John Denver, Missy Elliott, and Barry Manilow, who had international #1 hits with David’s “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again,” and “The Old Songs.”

David’s concert performances have delighted audiences worldwide. His recording and songwriting projects earned him a total of 22 platinum and 18 gold albums, selling over 40 million records worldwide.

At 19, Decca records signed David to a multi-album solo contract. He subsequently toured extensively with artists like: The Carpenters, Steely Dan, Air Supply, Randy Newman, Rod Stewart, The Doors and many more.

David’s solo albums include: “It’s in Every One of Us,” “The Truth of Us,” “Time to Fly”, “New Blues,” “On This Day,” and “The Eyes of Christmas.”

He has performed sold out concerts at The Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, London Hippodrome, Universal Amphitheater, and hundreds more.

David has written music and lyrics for major Motion Pictures like: “Big” and “King Kong.” On TV, his songs have been featured on “Will and Grace,” “The Summer Olympic Games,” “Boston Legal,” “American Idol,” and Showtime’s “Elvis Presley’s Graceland,” for which he composed the score.

He also contributed songs to the hit London Musical, “Time,” starring Cliff Richard and Sir Laurence Olivier. For the Charlie Chaplin-based musical, “Little Tramp,’ David wrote music, lyrics, and co-wrote the book with Steven Horwich. He also composed music for the Dickens classic, “A Tale of Two Cities” with lyrics by Steven Horwich and book by Steven Horwich and David Soames. And he composed the Tony-nominated musical, “Scandalous,” with Kathie Lee Gifford and composer, David Friedman.

Beyond all that, David also hosts “SongSessions with David Pomeranz,” a popular podcast in which David talks shop with some of the most iconic songwriters of our time. Guests have included: Richard Marx, Melissa Manchester, Barry Mann, Paul Williams, Barry Manilow, Alan Bergman and more.

SongSessions can be found at davidpomeranz.com and on major apps and platforms.




Read the Podcast Transcript

Steve Cuden: On today’s StoryBeat…

David Pomeranz: The other thing I think would help singers to know is that you can do it any way you want. This is your rendition. This is your expression. You don’t have to sing the song. You can sing the song again. Where it’s supposed to go really loud, you can pull it back and whisper it, and people will pee their pants.

Narrator: This is StoryBeat with Steve Cuden, a podcast for the creative mind. StoryBeat explores how masters of creativity develop and produce brilliant works that people everywhere love and admire. So join us as we discover how talented creators find success in the worlds of imagination and entertainment. Here now is your host, Steve Cuden.

Steve Cuden: Thanks for joining us on StoryBeat. We’re coming to you from the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My guest today, the brilliant singer songwriter David Pomeranz, has achieved success in virtually every entertainment medium. His concert performances have delighted audiences worldwide. His recording and songwriting projects have earned him a total of 22 platinum and 18 gold albums, selling over 40 million records worldwide. At 19, Decca Records signed David to a multi album solo contract. He subsequently toured extensively with artists like The Carpenters, Steely Dan, Air Supply, Randy Newman, Rod Stewart, The Doors and many more.

David’s songs have been recorded and performed by a long list of major artists, including Bette Midler, Kenny Loggins, Cliff Richard, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls, John Denver, Missy Elliot, and Barry Manilow, who had international number one hits with David’s Trying to Get the Feeling Again and the Old Songs. David’s solo albums include, It’s In Every One of Us, Time to Fly, The Truth of Us, New Blues, On This Day and The Eyes of Christmas. He’s performed sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, London Hippodrome, Universal Amphitheater, and hundreds more. David’s written music and lyrics for major motion pictures like Big and King Kong.

On TV, his songs have been featured on Will and Grace, the Summer Olympic Games, Boston Legal, American Idol, and Showtime’s Elvis Presley’s Graceland, for which he composed the score. He’s also contributed songs to the Hit London Musical Time starring Cliff Richard and Sir Lawrence Olivier. For the Charlie Chaplin based musical Little Tramp, David wrote music lyrics and co-wrote the book with Stephen Horwich. He also composed music for the Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities with lyrics by Stephen Horwich and books by Stephen Horwich and David Soms. He composed the Tony nominated musical Scandalous with Kathy Lee Gifford and composer David Friedman.

Beyond all that, David also hosts Song Sessions with David Pomeranz, a popular podcast in which David talks shop with some of the most iconic songwriters of our time. Guests have included Richard Marks, Melissa Manchester, Barry Mann, Paul Williams, Barry Manilow, Alan Bergman, and more. Song Sessions can be found at davidpomeranz.com and on major apps and platforms everywhere. So for all those reasons and many more, I’m deeply privileged to welcome one of the greatest singer songwriters of this or any age, David Pomeranz, to StoryBeat today. David, welcome to the show.

David Pomeranz: Well, my gosh. Thank you, Steve. Thank you. That was quite a beautiful introduction. I had the feeling that I was falling out of a window and it’s my last moments on earth. My entire life.

Steve Cuden: I hope for at least the next hour you’ll stay with us.

David Pomeranz: Alright, you’ve got it.

Steve Cuden: So let’s go back in time a little bit back to your roots. You’ve been performing for quite some time. You started when you were a kid, basically, correct?

David Pomeranz: Yeah. Absolutely. Maybe it’s not so different from you being in the theater and pop worlds too. But when I was five years old, I listened to the score, the West Side Story on the den floor of my house. It was at that moment when people sometimes say when did you decide to blah, blah, blah. Five years old, West Side story. I was blown away. At that point really realized that this is all I wanted to do in life is be near that kind of emotion and adventure of music.

Steve Cuden: You knew that at five?

David Pomeranz: I did. I mean, I didn’t think about my career or anything. I just knew I wanted to be near it. I wanted to eat it and drink it and have it in my life. Because it was the most real extraordinary thing that I could have imagined. Do you know what? It still is.

Steve Cuden: So that feeling at five has never left you. It’s only increased.

David Pomeranz: It’s never left. That’s true. It’s never left. I try for it. It’s the joy of my life to be around it.

Steve Cuden: So did you go off and become trained in some way? Did you take lessons? Did you go to school?

David Pomeranz: I did not take lessons. I kind of was not scared of it, but I was concerned that I’d be influenced. Because it was coming up in the time of the singer songwriter and James Taylor and Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell and these boys and girls. I don’t think they’re particularly trained in music theory. I admired that. I thought, wow, there’s something kind of reckless and wild and free about just not worrying about the notes on the page. Of course, looking back on it, I realized it was just too hard.

Steve Cuden: Well, how did you learn to play the piano? Did you just do it by yourself?

David Pomeranz: I taught myself. I took about six months of piano lessons. Maybe a couple of drum lessons. I played drums as well. I taught myself guitar and basically taught myself piano after that.

Steve Cuden: I have never played an instrument. I don’t know how to play an instrument. I do everything that I’ve done with lyrics by ear. I’m amazed because I don’t understand how that works when you can just sit down and figure out how to play an instrument by yourself. That I think’s interesting.

David Pomeranz: My mother plays the piano beautifully and she would have what we used to call fake books, basically. Fake books.

Steve Cuden: Sure.

David Pomeranz: She had the legal ones and then she had sheet music and such, and she would play beautifully. I would look above lyrics and I’d see chord symbols, and I went, that I can confront, I can do that. I knew where a C chord was and a D chord. After a while, you knew where diminished chords would come in and augmented chords, seventh chords, and I got the feel for the whole thing. But it came from the chord symbols not reading the notes so much.

Steve Cuden: Interesting.

David Pomeranz: I could fool my parents’ guests. They would think that I was just reading, but of course I was just reading the chord symbols and playing.

Steve Cuden: Are you able to cite read?

David Pomeranz: Not well.

Steve Cuden: You have to learn a song.

David Pomeranz: Yes. I have to learn the song. I do it by ear. I could, but I don’t do it.

Steve Cuden: So you always have been a naturally gifted musician. It’s not something that you had to really dig deeply to say, hey, I understand this. You got it early on.

David Pomeranz: I got it early on. Again, in retrospect and with great respect to those who are well trained like someone like Randy Newman, for example, that you mentioned. Randy who’s a guy who plays these quirky and sometimes heartfelt pop songs and then goes ahead and writes a score that will just tear your heart out, because he’s so accomplished as a composer and orchestrator. That’s something that in retrospect, I would have done again. I would’ve studied to do that. But yes, I find my own adventure.

Steve Cuden: I think he’s one of the greatest writers of character in song ever.

David Pomeranz: True. That’s right. It’s true. I agree with you.

Steve Cuden: He really digs down and gets character into the songs. That’s not in every pop song, but they’re always in his songs.

David Pomeranz: Yeah, that’s very true.

Steve Cuden: People characters. So I’m just curious do you think of yourself primarily as a writer or a performer, or both?

David Pomeranz: Definitely both. Gosh, I struggled with that when I first started because people would ask that question. They’d say, which one are you? Are you a breath man? Are you a Candyman? What are you? In later years when I started to write for the theater after writing for pop, then they really put it to me. You got to do one or the other man. Because people don’t get it. What are you? Of course the answer is, I’m a musician. I write music. So singing and performing was a little like that. But again, I came up in a time where singer performers were the thing.

Steve Cuden: So when you are writing, are you thinking about the audience you’re going to play this for or the audience that you’re trying to sell it to? Do you think about that audience? Or are you only thinking about your own feelings about the work?

David Pomeranz: What a good question. In pop music my better songs have been personal experience. I have gotten assignments like when I wrote Trying to Get the Feeling Again, it was actually for the Carpenters.

Steve Cuden: They covered it. Correct?

David Pomeranz: They covered it. But when Manilow put his single out, they took it back and later it was released posthumously when Karen died. So that was an example of being given an assignment and I would go and write a Carpenter’s song. But of course, you can’t do that. It has to be real and feel like something and feel real. So I tapped my own experience and wrote that song, but it was for them. Again, it’s an assignment. So it’s not always, oh my God, inspiration, jump out of bed. I got it. Sometimes it is, by the way.

Steve Cuden: Well, clearly lots of artists we’ve already mentioned, quite a few of them including major superstars like Barry Manilow, like The Carpenters, they’ve performed and recorded your work. What would you say is the best part of hearing your work that you sat at a piano and you worked it out. Now somebody’s put it out on a record. What is the best part of hearing that for you?

David Pomeranz: I love it when they take it further.

Steve Cuden: They plus it.

David Pomeranz: Yes. They plus it. There’re several artists that copy my demo, which is fine and do a good job of it. But there was one case. Do you know Cliff Richard?

Steve Cuden: Oh, sure.

David Pomeranz: I don’t know if a lot of your listeners may.

Steve Cuden: He’s British and he didn’t translate over to America hugely. But he’s a big British star.

David Pomeranz: That’s true. He had a few hits here, but a huge piece is iconic in the UK. He recorded a song I wrote with Dean Pitchford, Great Dean, called, I Still Believe in You. When we heard the record, it starts the way I started and has a beautiful orchestral thing that I didn’t have on my demo. But after the verse and the chorus, they decided to take the melody, which I really liked and was proud of, and make something of it. They took what might have been 45 seconds of the record and instrumentalized if that’s a word. It is now. Mentalized my lovely melody into something that was so grand that I was sobbing. I was just crying. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was, and that it was my melody. It was indescribable. So that’s an example of when it can go plus, like you say.

Steve Cuden: Because when you, as all songwriters do, you’re going to not write in an orchestra. You’re going to write on a single instrument. Whether it’s a piano, guitar or whatever. When you’re playing on the piano, you’re sort of getting all of the feeling of the orchestra or however you’re going to orchestrate it, but it isn’t the orchestra. Then when you finally hear that thing it’s like, holy mackerel. It’s much bigger than you probably had in your head.

David Pomeranz: Sure. Well, it’s especially true of writing for theater, which you know.

Steve Cuden: Especially true for writing for the theater.

David Pomeranz: There’s that feeling where no matter how fleshed out that demo is, when you sit at the sits probe, which is the rehearsal, for the orchestras the first time the composer and lyricist hear the orchestra playing your songs, that can be very chilling.

Steve Cuden: It’s chilling. You get chills up and down your spine. Ooh, this is better than you ever imagined, at least for me.

David Pomeranz: The reason to do it.

Steve Cuden: Of course. Yeah. I’m going to ask you a question I ask most of my guests, and I find every answer fascinating. For you, what makes a good song good?

David Pomeranz: Wow. Oftentimes it’s simplicity and I guess Sondheim talks about it and such in his books. When you’ve heard it, it’s almost a cliche. It’s hard to write simple. It’s hard to write God Bless America, or Yankee Doodle Dandy or something. How do you do that? When something is simple and right and it’s undeniable. Oh, let’s say, it would be a good example would be oh, it’s the Lauren Daigle song. You say I’m strong when I say I’m weak. It’s so simple. It is just perfect because all the spaces are there. Well, on the other hand, when you listen to the overture to Candide or something, which is so remarkably complex. It is so well shaped. It is hard to describe. I’m fumpering around to say why?

Steve Cuden: Well, it’s a difficult question, which is why I ask it.

David Pomeranz: No, it’s a great question. I’ll say just one last thing about using Candide as an example. That piece of music is so great in its construction that knocks me out, just like Silent Night knocks me out for a completely different reason. One is Simple. Silent Night is my favorite song, by the way.

Steve Cuden: Is that right?

David Pomeranz: It is. When you get something adventurous and accomplished, like Candide, that’s another grand moment.

Steve Cuden: I happen to think that it would be very challenging for a pop composer, though not impossible to write something like Candide. It almost requires a Leonard Bernstein who has such a massive orchestral background to actually get there.

David Pomeranz: Yeah. But now we have pro tools and launches.

Steve Cuden: That’s true.

David Pomeranz: I find myself experimenting all the time.

Steve Cuden: And synthesizers.

David Pomeranz: Yeah. It’s just a keyboard. Two, four bar, three, four bar, six, four bar, back to the two four, and back and mess it up on purpose.

Steve Cuden: So let’s explore songwriting then a little bit. When you get an idea for a new song, you have some kind of melodic concept in your head, I assume. Or does it come to you by virtue of just sitting down at the piano and noodling notes?

David Pomeranz: It’s usually a noodler. I noodle chords. Chords are my favorite thing. Harmony chords are my favorite thing.

Steve Cuden: Alright, so then that’s where you start. You don’t start with lyrics first, or do you come up with a hook first?

David Pomeranz: It’s usually I’m sitting at the piano and I find something melodic that excites me. I go, oh. or I’ve never heard that before. I’m sure you relate to this. Sometimes it’s something that I have heard before. Not that I’ve copied something, but it’s kind of mundane a little bit. I take one note and I just cheat it down. One boom. All of a sudden it is a brand-new melody. It’s fascinating. So I mess with it until I find something where I go ooh. Then generally I’ll write lyrics to it. But there’s usually a title that comes out in my gibberish lyrics. I know McCartney talks about that too, but it’s also for me trying to get the feeling again, since you mentioned it was a-da-da-da trying to get the feeling again. Da-da-da… your bananas when you’re… But I had been trying to get the feeling again because It kind of fit there.

Steve Cuden: Well, we know yesterday started as scrambled eggs.

David Pomeranz: That’s right.

Steve Cuden: Did you then have a regular routine that you go through to develop that piece of music into a song? Is it just sitting there and sort of, I’ll use the term loosely, brute force. You’re just working the keys to try and find it? Or do you sit back and try to think your way through it? I’m just curious on your process on that.

David Pomeranz: Gosh, I’ve never looked at that, but I think it’s all of it. I’m sure with writing lyrics with you, sometimes it’s a slow intense moment process where actually you’re focusing on something and it’s got to be right, da-da-da. That’s one kind of experience. Then it could just go flow-flow-flow-flow-flow and then it’s a focus-focus. So I think the art of writing anything is many experiences. Sometimes it’s dense and a pain in the ass. Sometimes it’s glorious and sometimes it’s frustrating and it’s all of it.

Steve Cuden: We’ve heard in the history of songwriting that many songs were written in just a few minutes or an hour, and there’s the song and it becomes a massive worldwide hit. Has that happened for you or it just comes out of you and there it is? Or does it take you time? Do you have to rewrite and cogitate and spend time giving it some kind of distance?

David Pomeranz: It’s different each time. I did write one song that came very quickly called, It’s in Everyone of Us. I was driving in a car and just like an old MGM musical just started to sing it and there it was. But generally, I work hard at the small stuff. I sweat the small stuff. I don’t sweat the grand sweep of it. I left it alone. I let it happen. I let it take me over. I let it surprise me. I’m always surprised. Not always, but mostly I get surprised by where it’s taking me. But when it’s done and I’m through huffing and puffing going, wow, that was fabulous. Then I bring it back and then I start to chip away.

Steve Cuden: Do you feel like many creators that it’s not really you doing it, that something’s coming through you from the universe?

David Pomeranz: Yeah, sometimes I do.

Steve Cuden: You are not actually doing anything other than being a conduit.

David Pomeranz: Kind of letting it.

Steve Cuden: Letting it.

David Pomeranz: Letting it. Especially with lyrics, and especially for theater lyrics. I’m always surprised that as soon as I start to force where it’s going to go, it seems to close down on me.

Steve Cuden: It sounds forced.

David Pomeranz: It sounds forced and I get writer’s block and all those crazy things people talk about. I just allow it to lead me. Then I find it’s more successful. Excuse me. The last thing I would say about that, I’d have to be willing to throw it out. I have to be willing to throw it out. When I’m forcing it, basically I’ve got this thing that I want it to be. It’s got to be that and it’s not working. But now I know enough to know when it’s not working. David, it’s not working.

Steve Cuden: When you were starting out, you didn’t know that did you?

David Pomeranz: Didn’t know what?

Steve Cuden: When you were first writing songs, you didn’t know, hey, David, that’s not working. You just kept forging ahead. Like most of us, when you’re first starting out, you don’t have enough experience to know what is or isn’t really working, right?

David Pomeranz: Well, true. What teaches me the lesson is when I am angst-ridden and I want to cry and jump out the window and forget the whole thing. Something comes along and taps me on the shoulder and says, wait a minute, try this direction. I went, oh, no wonder the direction I’m going is wrong. It will be a dead end. I don’t know it yet, but it’s going to be a dead end. But if I turn it on its side or say something else. Then for some magical reason it flows. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it ties up in a bow and I go, ah.

Steve Cuden: Not to harp on it, but truthfully, that comes with wisdom and time. Somebody’s sitting down at the piano, they’ve just learned how to play the piano, and now they’re already writing stuff and they know what works and doesn’t. You are a longtime pro, and you have wisdom and experience of having done it a lot. Don’t you agree?

David Pomeranz: Yeah. Well sure.

Steve Cuden: You already know many instances this is not going to work. So you immediately eliminate those. That’s how I look at writing. You know this isn’t going to work. I know if I go down this road, I am not going to be happy with it. So I just don’t go down that road.

David Pomeranz: Why waste your time?

Steve Cuden: Right.

David Pomeranz: But you don’t get to that point until you’ve done it for a while and you’ve had some experience with things that don’t work, and those that do. Oh, this will work. That’s how I look at it. I’ve spoken about this many times to students of mine that it’s a little bit like Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire, when you watch him dance, he looks like it’s effortless, like he got there with hardly any work at all. Yet it took hundreds of hours of really working the body to make it look effortless.

Steve Cuden: That’s part of the songwriting process too, I assume for you.

David Pomeranz: It is most definitely. Most definitely. It’s got to go beginning, it’s got to flow, it’s got to go somewhere. Where it goes, it’s got to keep my attention and keep my attention and keep my attention and keep my attention. For any reason it goes up, it goes slow, it goes faster, it goes harder, it goes softer, but keep my attention and then it pays off, pay off, boom. Sometimes gentle and sometimes bang. But it’s got to travel. It’s a story. I don’t mean like this happened and that happened. But it’s got the qualities of a story. Don’t you agree?

Steve Cuden: I totally agree. One of the things that I was going to ask you, which is you’re leading to is song structure. How important is structure to your thinking in a song? How important is it?

David Pomeranz: Let’s see, Richard Rogers. You know Richard Rogers. Hammerstein Rogers.

Steve Cuden: Sure.

David Pomeranz: Richard Rogers to me, he’s the man. Because what he does is he sets up these incredible structures that you just know where it’s going, and it doesn’t go there. But you wouldn’t have harmonically, and you wouldn’t have the joy that he intends for you if he didn’t have the structure first. When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high and don’t feel afraid of the dark. Statement. At the end of the storm here’s a golden Scott Waugh. Now he’s making God for us. But if he didn’t have that first little section where you kind of go, oh, that’s lovely. I’m going to lean forward now. He just blows your mind.

Steve Cuden: You mentioned earlier that when you’re working, you like to continue to feel surprised by what you’re doing. I think that that’s what makes great storytelling and great songwriting what it is. The artist knows where you’re headed, or you’d like to think you are, but the audience is going to be surprised by what it is that you’re doing. That’s what you’re talking about. Right?

David Pomeranz: Yeah, that’s true. I mean but as you say, the thing with structure, the other thing about it is there’s some, there’s something so delightful about predictability. You know, All the Me Loves All of You. I mean, it’s, it’s so predictable and it’s, it’s fresh and it’s new. I’m not saying it’s predictable copy, it’s predictable, it’s simple. It doesn’t intend anything but honesty. It’s just correct. And why it’s correct. God only knows. It just is. So there’s structure for you, you know, and pop music is the greatest. I mean, you know, going back as far as the twenties, thirties, forties, and on the American songbook and all that, into the rock and roll thing, into the pop thing it’s always, it’s the song, isn’t it? It’s something you’re supposed to sing.

Steve Cuden: It has to have something sweet in the melody. It can’t be unharmonious. It has to have a harmony to it. Am I right? I can’t think of a pop song that’s not. Yeah. Pop melodies. I can’t think of one that is not harmonic in some way.

David Pomeranz: I think that’s true. Yeah. I mean, I was looking at Sondheim when he said that. When he writes Send in the Clowns, that’s a pop song.

Steve Cuden: That’s a pop song. There’s no question. Pretty Women is a pop song.

David Pomeranz: It is.

Steve Cuden: He knew exactly what he was doing, and sometimes he was a little discordant, but most of the time he was writing something that was challenging and surprising the whole time he was doing it. He was good at that.

David Pomeranz: Absolutely. Oh, yeah.

Steve Cuden: I can tell when you are singing and listening to you sing, and also in the songs that you write, that there’s a passion that comes through. That you have passion for what you’re doing. How important is passion in the art form that you practice?

David Pomeranz: In the writing part or the singing or both?

Steve Cuden: Both.

David Pomeranz: Well, I think it’s the only reason. It’s the only reason I can think of. It can make you laugh. It doesn’t have to make you feel deep feelings.

Steve Cuden: Well, passion is all kinds of things.

David Pomeranz: Yeah. It’s got to do something for you. It’s got to have an emotional response.

Steve Cuden: Do you think that a singer can learn how to find the emotional core of a song? Or do you think that a great singer has to have it already? An understanding of it.

David Pomeranz: I think that you mean if a great singer is handed a song.

Steve Cuden: Yes. So they’ve never heard of it before, and now somebody’s going to play it for them for the first time. Can they just find that emotional core because they have it innately.

David Pomeranz: It could happen. Sure. Or they have to find it, like you say.

Steve Cuden: But you can’t be taught it if you don’t know how to sing and find the emotional core of a song. Can you be taught that?

David Pomeranz: Gosh, I don’t know.

Steve Cuden: I’ll tell you why I asked the question. I stopped sort of watching American Idol a number of years ago, but I watched it for a really long time. The auditions at the beginning, you would frequently see people who they purposely showed you who couldn’t hit a note. They couldn’t hit a note, but they were passionate, and they thought that they were perfect.

David Pomeranz: If they were, they weren’t feeling it.

Steve Cuden: That’s what I’m saying. I think the answer’s probably obvious and the answer’s probably no. But can you be taught to do that? I don’t think so. Do you?

David Pomeranz: I don’t know. I so agree with you, and I talk about it. Well, I sit and watch those shows sometimes with my wife, and I’ll go, so many of them are just wailing away and trying to be grand. It’s like, stop. Stop. What are you doing? I don’t have feelings. Anything. I’m feeling lots of perfection and the audience knew the voice. That was mask singer and all that. The audience is going, woo hoo. It’s like acrobatics. Oh, they just went through a flaming hoop. Woo-Hoo. Which is fine. It is. It’s fun. But enough. Sometimes someone will come on and go, la-lala. They get right on the mic, and I go, and everyone goes, wow. They sit forward. Right. But can you teach the dynamics, I think is what you mean. The feel for the dynamics. Exactly. I have no idea if you can teach it or not.

Steve Cuden: I have a feeling it can’t be taught. It has to be something that’s innate. It can be developed, but not taught as in you don’t have that. I’m now going to teach you how to do that. I don’t think that’s possible.

David Pomeranz: But let’s say teaching, acting, for example. I mean, I studied acting for a minute. I don’t think I was very good. But I was trying to find how does this connect to me? How do these words connect to me? Sometimes I’d hit it and I’d go, oh. I think maybe similarly with singing songs, you can find the character in you that’s real. All it has to be is real. The other thing I think would help singers to know is that you can do it any way you want. This is your rendition. This is your expression. You don’t have to sing the song. You can sing the song. Where it’s supposed to go really loud, you can pull it back and whisper it, and people will pee their pants. It’s fun with emotion is what it is. I think maybe if one could teach that, just go free. Go free. Go free. Break it open. Break it apart. Turn it upside down. Then maybe they’d find that they could do it.

Steve Cuden: Were you doing that sort of thing early on when you were first, at five, you were learning music, and you recognized that this was something for you? Were you already doing that when you would sort of emulate songs that you were hearing?

David Pomeranz: Well, I did it naturally, because that’s part of what I loved. When I heard West Side or any of those things that my parents would play for me, it was the dynamics. This thing is going real soft and it’s romancing me and lulling me. Then it just goes into a magnificent swell of emotion, which wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t for the prior soft thing. It was all of that that captivated me. I thought, man this is the music. That is how you make music. You don’t make music. It’s like sex. You don’t go bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang- bang. It’s a finesse. It’s communication. It’s a feeling. You’re there co-creating it with your partner.

Steve Cuden: And with the audience. You have to have the audience as well.

David Pomeranz: And with the audience. That’s absolutely right.

Steve Cuden: You can’t really get anywhere without the audience, that’s for sure.

David Pomeranz: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: You aren’t going to have any kind of success. What’s the point of doing it? I mean, you can be an artist, I guess, and do that forever and never show it to anybody. But you need that third leg. You need the source, the message, and you need the audience in order for it to be a complete circuit that makes sense.

David Pomeranz: Sure. It’s communication.

Steve Cuden: Aristotle is what it is. Yeah.

David Pomeranz: It’s the joy of having it be received, you know you made that effect on somebody. Right. That’s pretty cool.

Steve Cuden: That is pretty cool. You’ve done that a lot. You’ve had that effect on a lot of people over a lot of years. My assumption is that that then spurs you on to do more. Yes?

David Pomeranz: It does.

Steve Cuden: So what is your favorite thing about performing in front of an audience?

David Pomeranz: Well, when it’s really happening, we’re having a blast. We’re having fun. When I’m really in good voice, I’m enjoying presenting this thing to them, because I know it’s having an effect on them because it’s having an effect on me right there. I am so in it that I’m not worried that they aren’t, but I’m sure that they are. They have to be.

Steve Cuden: You can feel it.

David Pomeranz: You can feel it. You bet. Back to the American Idol syndrome, where if you don’t feel it, then why? You can sell records, but why? What are we doing here?

Steve Cuden: That makes sense. What do you do, if anything, to develop your voice on a regular basis? Do you practice every day? What do you do?

David Pomeranz: No, I don’t. Before I perform, I train. I mean, I do exercises and stuff, but I just play a lot. I play around a lot. Sometimes I sing in the car. I just use it. I use my instrument.

Steve Cuden: Do you play every day?

David Pomeranz: No because it just seems organic to the day. Again, sometimes I’m in the car. Sometimes I’m at the piano. Sometimes I’m playing a show or rehearsing, but there’s always singing somewhere.

Steve Cuden: You’re a singer every day in some way, even if it’s just walking through the house.

David Pomeranz: Pretty much. Yeah. I’ll just come home singing a song because I like it, or I just heard it on the radio or something.

Steve Cuden: Do you have a pre-show ritual that you go through?

David Pomeranz: Yeah, I do. Let’s see. Well, first of all, I get into training about several days before I do a show. It’s a tour, and I stay in the zone. It’s a diet thing.

Steve Cuden: Is the training also physical, like working out, that kind of thing?

David Pomeranz: No. It’s a diet thing. I go into a zone where I just have protein and vegetables. No spice, no wheat, no grains.

Steve Cuden: What happens if you were to have that?

David Pomeranz: I’d get short of breath a little bit. My lungs kind of swell a little bit. It’s probably an allergy of some kind. So I’m not saying people should do that. I’m just saying that’s what I need to do. I ate lots of eggs.

Steve Cuden: Eggs.

David Pomeranz: It’s in my contract. It is. People think I’m joking. The promoter will say, yeah, and hard-boiled eggs. I say, no. So eggs are like little protein pills.

Steve Cuden: They are.

David Pomeranz: Before I go on, I pop an egg or two, take a couple of sips of coffee maybe. I make sure that I’m well exercised. I’ll do my exercises in the dressing room.

Steve Cuden: Your vocal exercises.

David Pomeranz: Yes. What helps me too is this. You’ve heard of Scientology, obviously.

Steve Cuden: Sure.

David Pomeranz: I love it. I’ve studied it for many years. One of the things that I love in Scientology, they call them processes or things that you do. This particular one gets me arrived in present time. Bang. Basically, I look at things and I look around. Oh, there’s a wall and there’s a ceiling. Until I’ve arrived. Then the last thing I do is I go into the wings and wait to be announced or called on. I say to myself, why am I here? I only started to do this because of all the years when I didn’t do this, and I walk out on stage without a purpose. Maybe I was trying to show off in front of girls, or I was trying to be cool, or trying to be a star, or whatever stupid things I was doing. It wasn’t working and I get depressed during the show. I wasn’t free, blah, blah. So what I realized was why am I here? The answer always is for them.

Steve Cuden: For the audience.

David Pomeranz: It’s for them. It’s not for me. It’s not about me. Don’t worry about me. As soon as I start worrying about me, I’m not there. I’m putting on a crappy spot.

Steve Cuden: Do you know that that’s parallel to what actors do or taught to do, which is to not focus on themselves, but to focus on the others in the scene.

David Pomeranz: Perfect. Yeah.

Steve Cuden: That way you’re taking the onus off of yourself and placing it on what’s coming at you to react to it.

David Pomeranz: Yes.

Steve Cuden: When you go out, you are giving to the audience, and then they’re reflecting back to you.

David Pomeranz: Yeah, exactly. So when I go out there and I say, hi, I’m actually looking at them.

Steve Cuden: So, have you ever been inspired in the middle of performance with a new song? Has that ever hit you? I’ve got a song idea while you’re performing.

David Pomeranz: No. But in sound checks and stuff, I go, wait a minute and I’ll take out my little handheld, whatever it is.

Steve Cuden: You have had inspiration, that lightning bolt has hit you at certain times. It might not be overly convenient, but there it is.

David Pomeranz: Well, sure. Well, in sound checks, always, because the piano is always better than the one I’ve got at home. It’s like, wow, I’m playing on this Bösendorfer Steinway mega hoo-ha big 11-10 foot Yamaha.

Steve Cuden: I’ve never, by the way, seen a mega hoo-ha. But that’s okay.

David Pomeranz: A mega hoo-ha. I used to date many of them. There were mega hoo-has. But you know what I mean? I enjoy that so much. Something will come like that. Yeah.

Steve Cuden: That probably feels pretty good when that happens. It’s like, there it is.

David Pomeranz: Well, it’s at least an idea or something. Music’s supposed to be fun.

Steve Cuden: If it isn’t fun, why are you doing it really?

David Pomeranz: Right. It doesn’t mean you don’t struggle, but it’s supposed to be fun. Or writing lyrics, or writing books or writing screenplays like you do, and all the things that you do. Obviously preaching to the choir here, but basic, when it works, it’s worth everything.

Steve Cuden: I have a sign on my computer in front of me that says, enjoy the ride on this rollercoaster.

David Pomeranz: Good. That’s perfect.

Steve Cuden: Because you’re going to have highs and you’re going to have lows, and you better figure out how to enjoy this, because it’s not all going to be perfect all the time.

David Pomeranz: That’s right. Yeah. Sometimes it’s really hard. It’s really hard. It’s not the right word. That’s not the right word. It’s sounds banal. It’s terrible. Then wait a minute, but the right word is blah. Sometimes that’s a hundred hours later.

Steve Cuden: I was going to say, sometimes you walk away and then it comes in the middle of the night, or while you’re cooking a meal, or whatever it is.

David Pomeranz: Exactly.

Steve Cuden: I want to turn our attention to recording and the difference between… You’ve made plenty of records. What for you are the big differences? Not the obvious ones. The obvious ones are, you’re in a studio without an audience, and you’ve got a microphone in front of you and headphones on. It’s different than an audience. But what are the big differences between creating music and a song in a recording studio versus performing it live? Is it an emotionally different thing?

David Pomeranz: Well, yeah. Because of the sound. The music sounds so good. When I’m singing, it’s in my head because I got headphones on. But the real perk is in the control room, when it’s over and it’s cranked up and those monster speakers, and the bass and the bass drum are doing what they’re supposed to do which is to feel it in your chest and whatever. Anyway, but there’s the fun of hearing it so awesomely awesome. That makes recording so much fun to me.

Steve Cuden: Is there a challenge that you don’t have the feedback of the audience?

David Pomeranz: Yeah, sometimes. Sure. You bet. I can sometimes sing too rigidly or too seriously, or I’m trying to get it right and you can hear it in the performance. Whereas sometimes I’ll get a friend of mine to sit in the control room, or even in the recording studio and sit there and watch me so I can sing it to them.

Steve Cuden: Would you say that, or are there other things that you would say are common mistakes that first timers in the studio make that you had to learn not to make?

David Pomeranz: I think the studio is something that I’m still learning. Same with songwriting and singing too. But with the studio, I don’t feel like I’ve yet hit a performance on a record that I can create on the stage. Some of my live recordings have something else. It’s like something else.

Steve Cuden: Do you think it is the audience that’s doing that?

David Pomeranz: Yeah. It’s the happening thing. It’s the communication thing we talked about. It’s happening there and there’s no thought. There’s no thought. It’s just pure, whatever it is. It is what it is. Hearing that back, it’s something charming and exciting. Sometimes I feel that I can do a little better with that in the studio. That’s my own consideration. My records are fine. I like some of the things that I’ve recorded. There are some of my recordings that I think are, yeah, that’s the way to sing that. But it tends to be a little careful.

Steve Cuden: Well, certainly in the studio. You make a mistake in the studio, you stop, and you go over it again.

David Pomeranz: That’s part of it, isn’t it?

Steve Cuden: Live on stage. You’ve made the mistake and it’s gone. That’s it.

David Pomeranz: It was like all Beatle records. I Saw Her Standing There. I’m a fan of the Beatles channel. Are you?

Steve Cuden: I love The Beatles channel.

David Pomeranz: Me too. Just, all the time. Every time I hear, I Saw Her Standing There, and John and Paul are singing in unison or harmony, the whole song from top to bottom. She looked at me and I can see. Well, since I saw. It’s two lyrics. The lyrics change. One is when I saw her standing there, and later on, it’s since I saw her standing there, because the story changes. McCartney sings it right and Lennon messes it up on the second chorus. He sings when, and McCartney sings ‘since.’ When you listen to the record, you hear it. They kept it in because it’s so cool. It’s just cool. Interestingly, as a footnote, the last two times they sing the chorus, it is so much fun because you hear Lennon shy away from the when or since word and let McCartney sing the ‘when’ or the ‘since’. Then he comes back in with the rest of the line. Anyway. But that’s an example of the fun of the Beatles.

Steve Cuden: They had played together at that point for thousands of hours together.

David Pomeranz: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: They knew one another intimately as to how they would go on in a performance. They did. They were very playful in their approach to all of it, where they would do things that were unconventional and that’s what became conventional.

David Pomeranz: Very playful.

Steve Cuden: Very playful.

David Pomeranz: Yet I’m sure when McCartney overdubbed his base, which he did in the later recordings, he wasn’t kidding around. When you hear paperback rider or something that really features the base. Those parts are just orchestral. They’re just so well written. I suspect that he worked at that very hard.

Steve Cuden: Another self-taught more or less musician who is clearly one of the great musical geniuses of all time.

David Pomeranz: True.

Steve Cuden: The stuff just pours out of him. It’s amazing how productive he’s been over his whole life. I want to talk about musicals for a moment because we certainly share that passion together. You’ve written now a number of musicals that have been produced. What is it about musicals that attracts you? Why musicals?

David Pomeranz: Because it’s an opportunity to mine the gold of the emotion. It’s so much opportunity for emotion and other kinds of things like comic things and plays on words and the joy of inner rhymes and things that maybe in pop music sound a little too academic or something or can anyway. But in theater, when you hit the right thing and the rhymes are real rhymes, they’re actually perfect rhymes, not just near or close rhymes, there’s something about it that makes me feel accomplished, like I’ve really done something well. Like a good painting. A good painting.

Steve Cuden: It’s a big chunk. It’s not a little. A song is a small chunk in terms of time, but a musical is a really big chunk.

David Pomeranz: Yes, that’s true too. You can tell a scene in an eight-minute song and reprise the thing in a different key and blah-blah-blah. Or 10 minutes of stage time with a song. You can’t do that on a record. Not unless it’s a Jim Steinman record. But he’s a very theatrical exception.

Steve Cuden: I have a hard time convincing some of my, not colleagues, but friends and certainly students that songs and musicals are what we can’t do with just a play or a screenplay. Which is, you can’t go and expect the audience to know what’s in a character’s thoughts. But in a musical, you can take a song and express those inner feelings and thoughts out loud, in a beautiful way.

David Pomeranz: Nice. That’s nicely said. Yeah.

Steve Cuden: I think that’s part of what you’re talking about. Do you think of the three legs of the Libre of the libretto itself, the book, music, and lyrics, do you think that one is more important than the other?

David Pomeranz: I don’t know. I mean, I’m a fan of the music part only because that’s more of my tendency. But boy, a good lyric knocks me out.

Steve Cuden: Well, the old saying is that when an audience loves a show, they walk out talking about the composer. But when they don’t like a show, they go out complaining about the book.

David Pomeranz: That’s true. That is unfair. Well, the book writer famously is the most important element. There’s no question about it.

Steve Cuden: There’s no question. Without the story, you have a concert, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with a concert.

David Pomeranz: It’s true. I mean, the story. Yes. But even the structure of a musical, as you know, is something very different than writing a play. Its own art form and it’s very hard. I tried it. I always have a hand in the story writing, but I leave it to the others because I recognize that it’s its own art form and it can be tough hearing the book to Fiddler on the Roof, let’s say Joe Stein’s book. That didn’t even need songs to me, and it has those songs. As a book, that’s very hard to do.

Steve Cuden: What would you say is the most important thing about song spotting in a musical? We’re going to put a song here, but not there.

David Pomeranz: Oh, it’s so important. It’s the most important thing. I’m so glad you said that. I never actually thought about that. It is so important. You can miss by a million miles, by the wrong placement of something. Or to think something’s important enough to write a song about and it isn’t. You write the songs that carry the thing through. It’s easy to say in retrospect after you’ve seen the show, hey, it just really did that. You get to throw out 20-30 songs and writing a musical because that great song doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do when you listen to the whole thing together. Or we listen to those 20 minutes of the show. So, oh my God, I’ve wasted so much time and so many beautiful, I think, possible songs that are in the trunk now going, let me out. Bang-bang-bang. Let me out because of that. Because I just didn’t know.

Steve Cuden: You have to publish your own fake book of trunk songs.

David Pomeranz: Yeah. I’m sure you’ve got a few.

Steve Cuden: There’s one good trunk. One from Jekyll.

David Pomeranz: That didn’t make it.

Steve Cuden: That didn’t make it. That’s trunk songs. It got published. It’s very interesting to see. When you are working on a musical, you are creating songs for a character that helps to move the story forward.

David Pomeranz: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: So it’s both internal and external at the same time. It’s different from a pop song, which can do that. But pop songs don’t have to do that. A song and a musical usually must do that. It must carry the character and move the story forward at the same time in some way. So, do you have any particular technique or trick or thought as to how you look at the story and go, okay, what am what am I doing here? That’s part of the song spotting process is to say, we don’t need dialogue here. We need a song here.

David Pomeranz: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: But when you go to write the song, you need to figure out how that character is also carrying story forward. Yes?

David Pomeranz: Absolutely. Yes. Yeah. Or the emotion has to be said, which is, I guess in a way, carrying the story forward in a way. The emotion has to be said. My gosh.

Steve Cuden: Now you’ve done something completely unusual in that you actually do a one man musical. Correct?

David Pomeranz: Yeah. I tried and I’ve done it.

Steve Cuden: That’s not common. That’s fairly unusual. What would you say were the biggest challenges of it? Was it to have no one to play off of, or what were the biggest challenges for you in doing a one man musical? This is Little Tramp, right?

David Pomeranz: Yes. Little Tramp about Charlie Chaplin. It was easy for me because it was a function of the backers auditions that I would do where I’d sing all the character. The agent says hello. I do all these voices. I did the women. So my dad one day said, why don’t you just do that? I said, what do you mean? He said, just do that. Just skip getting a producer and 12 and 30 actors and just sit at the piano like that. Go on the stage and do that. I did.

Steve Cuden: Wow.

David Pomeranz: I still do. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun.

Steve Cuden: Would you say it’s more fun than doing a typical David Poland’s concert?

David Pomeranz: Yeah. Way different, but yeah. Way different. It’s great fun. It’s just great fun. Maybe more fun, because I get to act and find my way. Every night is different, like any play.

Steve Cuden: Have you thought about taking that into New York?

David Pomeranz: Yes. We’re working on it, baby.

Steve Cuden: There’s a place for it. I’m telling you. I’m sure they exist, but I can’t think of any one person musical. There’s certainly plenty of one man shows but not musicals. That’s different. So what impact does music have on the outcome of a movie? You’ve written works for movies before. We already have covered what impact it has in a musical, but what impact does music have in a movie?

David Pomeranz: Music or songs?

Steve Cuden: Well, each.

David Pomeranz: Well, I mean, score is something that I don’t do. I don’t do it for a reason. Because it is something that I respect way too much to dabble in it. Because that’s what I would do. I would dabble in it. Yeah, I could do that. I could. The greats are great, so I just leave it alone. Songwriting, however, is a joy to write for a movie. I’ve not done a lot of it, but the things that I’ve done were either songs that had been written that were placed in a film. It’s in Everyone of Us was put into Big. It’s like that.

Steve Cuden: As opposed to a commission where somebody said, we need a song here. Let’s hire David to do that.

David Pomeranz: Well I’ve had a few of those. Those are very satisfying. They don’t always work. I did one with the great John Barry with a composer.

Steve Cuden: Great John Barry is right.

David Pomeranz: Oscar winner. I did a lyric for King Kong. The Jeff Bridges, King Kong, in the late seventies.

Steve Cuden: Dino De Laurentiis.

David Pomeranz: Dino De Laurentiis, King Kong. Right. Jennifer Lange. Oh no. Jessica Lange.

Steve Cuden: Jessica Lange. Yeah.

David Pomeranz: Awfully cute back then.

Steve Cuden: Wow. And a really big monkey.

David Pomeranz: And a big old monkey. So John and I wrote a song, and I’m trying to think. I’m the lyric writer for that. So I’m going, it’s King Kong. What the hell is this? What am I going to write here? What is this? I hit my head together and I thought. I pictured the girl in his palm, looking up into his eyes and wondering, are you in there? Are you a being? Are you in there? Or are you just this monkey body? So I wrote a lyric called, Are You in There? Are You in There? Can you hear me? Are you someone I should know? It was okay. I don’t know how I could have done it better or where I might have done it. Because it was meant to be a theme so is meant to be over the credits and such. So I did it as well as I could. Trying to think of another assignment where that really worked. Yeah. There was a television show called Home, and I wrote with Fred Carlin. I wrote the lyrics to something. It was from a TV movie. We were nominated for an Emmy for it. I feel like I nailed it. I was given the scene, and I watched the scene, and I wrote a great lyric for it. When you watch it play and you go, there it is, it works.

Steve Cuden: You’re capturing the emotion for that scene.

David Pomeranz: Yeah. Or you’re supporting it. It’s what isn’t there that the music then supplies.

Steve Cuden: Well, that’s the interesting thing to me about the difference between plays and movies is that most plays don’t have a score. Sometimes there’ll be a little bit of incidental music or something in a play. But in a movie without that score, movies don’t do very well. They need a score.

David Pomeranz: That’s mostly true. There’re a few exceptions to that. I’m a big fan of old movies. Executive Suite which is written by Ernest Lehman and starring a million characters. No music. Twelve angry men.

Steve Cuden: No music.

David Pomeranz: Not until the last, I don’t know, three minutes of the movie or something. Then the music swells, but there’s no music. It’s rare, but it works to great effect. I attended a class at UCLA with Jerry Goldsmith, the great movie composer.

Steve Cuden: Amazing.

David Pomeranz: It wasn’t a whole class. It was a series. I sat in on one of his classes and he played a scene from a movie he was scoring called Logan’s Run. He played it with and without music. That was brilliant. That was so enlightening. And there was this clunky, ridiculous—sorry to the guys, if you’re listening, who made that movie. It was a regular old, silly looking scene. With music, it just completely worked. Ever since then, I’ve been so aware. I’m sure you are too, and your viewers are, or your listeners are aware of when you can take a terrible movie or something that’s just talky-talky, and it’s got no dynamic and put the dynamic under it with the music and make it something that’s a beautiful art form. That’s really exciting.

Steve Cuden: The people often point to a movie called The Magnificent Seven written with the music by Elmer Bernstein. There’s this famous scene in it where the cowboys are just on their horses and they’re just moving across the landscape. Without the music, it’s really dull, there’s nothing happening.

David Pomeranz: They’re just traveling.

Steve Cuden: Cowboys traveling. But the da-da-dah and suddenly it becomes super exciting and really intense. So the score means everything. It’s underpinning all of the emotion of that moment.

David Pomeranz: Oh, it really does.

Steve Cuden: Yeah. Before we wind the show down, I want to talk for just a moment about your podcast, which I think is fascinating. In song sessions, you speak, not dissimilarly to this, but differently about how to write songs mostly. You are doing this with really highly successful songwriters. Do you find it very educational for you in talking to the other songwriters?

David Pomeranz: Yeah, I do. Well, I start with interviewing people that I’m really curious about and I’m mostly fans of. Just by listening to them, I’m just excited. I feel like I’m a little kid. I’m a puppy. I interviewed Barry Mann, the part of the Man and Wild tradition, and wrote, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin on Broadway and Just Once, and I mean, so many beautiful, incredible hit songs. They even wrote, We Got to Get Out of This Place by the Animals. We Got to Get Out of This Place. This is the last thing we ever do. I’m thinking, how does that guy who wrote Somewhere Out There write that too?

Steve Cuden: Exactly.

David Pomeranz: The Animals at that time even.

Steve Cuden: How does that one person write all those different things?

David Pomeranz: He’s a great musician. Anyway, the point is that I would get talking with him as a fan. I’m talking with all these people as a fan. How do you do that? Do you realize what you did there? Something like that. Sometimes, mostly they don’t. Say, oh, did you do that on purpose? They go, no. What are you talking about? I just modulated it. But that’s how it’s done. You don’t think about, hey, this is going to be good. You just find it and go, eh, it’s good. So Barry Mann, I got that with Paul Williams and talking about his lyrics. I got that with Alan Bergman, who wrote The Way We Were, and all the many things. The one last thing I would say, I did one with Felix Cavalier from the Young Rascals.

Steve Cuden: Right.

David Pomeranz: I grew up loving the Young Rascals and learning how to play drums to Dino de Laurentis playing drums and all. I had to ask him. Because he played the Hammond organ, after Stevie Winwood established Hammond organ with, I’m a Man and those great Spencer Davis records. Felix Cavaliere was the next one who brought it into popularity on pop records. Felix played the organ and played the base part with his feet.

Steve Cuden: What?

David Pomeranz: Yeah. Dum-dum-du-dum-du-du-dum. He played with his feet. It’s like church organ.

Steve Cuden: On a base?

David Pomeranz: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: Oh my goodness.

David Pomeranz: On the pedals. On those planks down there.

Steve Cuden: Really?

David Pomeranz: I said, how did you come up with that? How did you do that? In my puppy dog fashion. He said, I listened to Jimmy Smith, who was the great jazz organist. He would do the whole thing. I guess it came from church. So, stuff like that, I’m just fascinated and that’s why I do the show as I want to know more.

Steve Cuden: Well, that’s why I do this show, because I want to know more. There you go. I’m hoping listeners get something out of it by hearing what it is that I’m interested in.

David Pomeranz: There you go. Well, you do such a great job, Steven.

Steve Cuden: Well, thank you.

David Pomeranz: I really am enjoying this.

Steve Cuden: Well, you’re enjoying it and I’m probably enjoying it twice as much as you are. We are going to wind this thing down a little. I’ve been speaking to the great David Pomeranz for a little more than an hour at this point. I’m just curious. In all of your experiences, which are many can you share with us a story that’s either odd, weird, strange, quirky, or maybe just plain funny?

David Pomeranz: Okay, well, when I was making an album of the Charlie Chaplin’s the Little Tramp Show. We had celebrities doing different parts, and we had Richard Harris doing Old Charlie. This is for the record. It’s just a record. Mel Brooks played Max Senate. We had Leis Solana, Petula Clark. It was just a wonderful experience. So we had Mel Brooks come in and he was obviously a tremendous asset to this album. He was on again and off again. I was in London at the time, and he was in LA. I want to do it. He was so sweet, but he was busy. Finally, we talked him into it, and we got him booked in Los Angeles. I flew back to Los Angeles. A day before the recording, he called me and he said, David, I’m making a movie, and I just can’t find the time. So I go ahead, and I try to convince Mel Brooks. Mel. I put on my super do ring. If I had a cigar, I’d stick it in my mouth. At that point, I said, Mel, baby, listen, this is going to be great. We’ve got Richard Harris on board, and he’s great. I’m convincing him to show up. He goes in his beautiful fashion. He’s got that voice. He says, all right, Pomeranz, we’re going to do this. He shows up the next day and here’s the funny part. So we’re recording his song, and in the middle of it, I wrote sort of this improvisational thing where he’s supposed to direct the girl on the tracks. It’s like old time movie making. Right?

Steve Cuden: Right.

David Pomeranz: The girls on tracks and locomotive’s coming, and he’s got to say stuff to her. He’s writing this stuff. I had already written it. We’re writing together and I’m thinking, oh my God, I’m writing with Mel Brooks. Finally we came up with this thing. Of course he just took it and improv. Hey, come get up on that train. The train is coming. Whatcha doing lying there? What’s wrong with you? We have, it must be an hour of his ad libs that I would love to release as an album sometime. We only used 30 seconds of it. That was a red letter. That was a hilarious red-letter day for me in my life.

Steve Cuden: Last question for you today, David. You’ve already given us a huge amount of advice throughout this whole show. But I’m wondering if you have a single solid piece of advice or a tip that you like to give to people who are starting out in the business? Or maybe they’re in a little bit and trying to get to that next level.

David Pomeranz: I’d say get out of the business. Forget the whole thing. Be an accountant just like your parents want. Okay. That’s it. No. Let’s see. The simplicity. Here’s a good one, I think, is write a lot. For songwriters I’m talking about. Write a lot. If you’re a performer, perform a lot. Don’t be shy. Bar mitzvahs, weddings, school, on your neighbor’s picnic table for the neighbors, for your parents. It doesn’t matter. Do it a lot and you’ll find your way. A lot of audiences, different audiences. It’ll all come to you. It’ll all fall into place. That’s especially true of writing. It’s all the things we were saying before. So that’s what I would say. If you’re going to do it, do it a lot. Gosh, try not to do it as a Diante. I know it’s rough out there. I know you have got to make money. I know it’s rough to make money, especially now because a hundred million streams equal $12 as a writer.

Steve Cuden: Crazy.

David Pomeranz: But yeah. Just do it a lot and love it and eat it up and spend your life doing it even though you have another job. That’s okay. But do it for real. That’s what I would say.

Steve Cuden: Well, I would say that that’s about as sound a piece of advice as anybody could give. Without doing that, you’re not really going to get very far, very fast. So you must do it. I think that’s a very solid piece of advice. David Pomeranz, this has been a fun, terrific hour plus on StoryBeat today. I’m so grateful that you have been here to spend a little time with me and with the audience out there. I just can’t thank you enough.

David Pomeranz: Well, Steve, thank you very much. I really admire your work and I admire what you’re doing here, and I’ve had a great time.

Steve Cuden: So we’ve come to the end of today’s StoryBeat. If you like this episode, won’t you please take a moment to give us a comment, rating, or review on whatever app or platform you are listening to. Your support helps us bring more great StoryBeat episodes to you. StoryBeat is available on all major podcast apps and platforms, including Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Tune In, and many others. Until next time, I’m Steve Cuden. May all your stories be unforgettable.

Executive Producer: Steve Cuden, Producer: Casey Georgi, Announcer: Javier Grajeda
Social Media: Mina Hoffman, Design & Marketing: Holly Reed, Reed Creative Group


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