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Podcast Review: Going Off Track: “A More than Music Podcast”

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Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall of your favorite talk show and hear the conversations that go on when the cameras stop rolling?

Four fellas who met through their connections within the music industry and their work on Fuse Network’s Steven’s Untitled Rock Show are giving you that chance. As early as the end of 2011, followers of Steven (Smith)’s Twitter account (and to a lesser extent followers of the other three masterminds as well as some of the future guests) started getting teaser news of a project he was working on – a celebrity interview podcast with a twist. Smith would be joined on air by journalist Jonah Bayer, “The People’s Producer” Mike Cangemi, and the show’s producer Brad “Goop” Worrell, and the four would sit down for a candid conversation with that week’s scheduled guest.

The “interviews” are completely unscripted, working only with a basic idea of what is going on in the interviewee’s career and life at the time of the interview. The idea of the show is Smith’s favorite part of the hundreds of interviews he has done over the years. The part where it starts “going off track.” And so the Going Off Track podcast concept was born.

The first episode aired April 3, 2012. An interview with guitarist Joe Trohman (Fall Out Boy and The Damned Things) brought people into the show, giving listeners and idea of what they should be expecting from Going Off Track. Since that first episode, the group has discussed Fuse memories with Smith’s The Sauce co-host, songwriter Jared Cotter; Jewish teen camps with comedy writer Julie Klausner; ordering cookie delivery under an assumed name with comedienne Vanessa Bayer (Saturday Night Live); and life as a Hare Krishna with writer and musician Norman Brannon (Shattered, Texas is the Reason, New End Original).

There is also a 90-minute episode which roughly consists of five minutes of introduction, conclusion, and “interview” mixed with 85 minutes of Lyle Preslar (Minor Threat) regaling his audibly awe-struck hosts with stories of his life and career. Because of, or possibly in spite of, the hosts’ collective experience and skill at what they are doing on the show, there are moments in Going Off Track where, even though it is an audio-only show, listeners can practically hear the dropped jaws and blank stares as the conversations take their own organic turns to reveal information no one was expecting.

A full guest schedule has not been announced but the quartet has already recorded shows with several guests, dropping names like MTV and VH1 VJ Jim Shearer, designer of Pnut jewelry and H2O guitarist Rusty Pistachio, and singers/alt-rock frontmen Jonah Matranga (Far, New End Original, Gratitude), Anthony Green (Circa Survive), and Mat Devine (Kill Hannah, Setting Fires) as future guests. New episodes are posted on the show’s website and as a free download from iTunes every Thursday.

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About D. Gabrielle Jensen