February 3, 2008

JBB Fantastic Fan Interview With Stubbleyou!

February 3rd, 2008

We’re excited to present our 30th JBB Fantastic Fan Interview today with Stubbleyou, a big Four Seasons/Jersey Boys fan from Southern California! Along with talking about how he became interested in Jersey Boys, and his long history as a die-hard Four Seasons fan from the early days, we had a chance to find out more about his Stubbleyou blog, that features Jersey Boys/Four Seasons humor and song parodies! In fact, considering “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” will be featured in a Super Bowl commercial today, you might want to check out Stubbleyou’s rendition in his post: Too hard to be PG, too soft to be R…!

JBB: Tell us about yourself.

Stubbleyou: I’m your basic original Four Seasons fan and music lover. I can pretty much pinpoint when I started listening to rock’n'roll by the fact that ”Big Girls Don’t Cry” was climbing the charts but “Sherry” was already an oldie. Fall of 1962 — John Kennedy, Cassius Clay, and a pimply-faced sixth grade geek named me soaking up all the hits, all the time on L.A.’s two rock’n'roll stations, KFWB and KRLA, both AM, natch.

The Four Seasons were my favorite group, and their first album “Sherry and Eleven Others” was the first album I ever bought. (I’ve learned that the same is true for both Des McAnuff and Howard Tucker, so I guess I’m in pretty good company.) That album is, as we speak, on display on a shelf in my home, along with a handful of others of my most cherished vinyl, carefully culled from the thousand or so other LP’s I’ve accumulated over the years. (The other day as I was showing some of them to my sons, I was asked, “What’s a turntable?”)

Didn’t Albert Einstein say we use only about ten percent of our brains? That’s a good thing, because all through junior high and high school I was filling the other 90% with all kinds of information, most of it useless, about sixties rock’n'roll. Late fifties too. I was into oldies way before there was a “Happy Days,” a “Grease,” or a Sha Na Na. Lyrics, one-hit-wonders, B sides, you name it and claim it. I was the guy who was trying to name that tune in one note. My friends thought I was some kind of idiot savant (actually, I added the word ‘savant’). When the British Invasion hit, I must admit, the Beatles became my number one, but the Four Seasons always remained near the very, very top of my favorites.

Thirtyish years ago in grad school I had a doo-wop trio. Strictly amateur but we had fun around the dorm and in school. Now I mess around in a garage band called ‘Four Middle-Aged Guys Trying to Fool Ourselves Into Thinking We’re Still Cool’ or some sh*t (as Pesci would say, in a line that cracks me up every time). The bad news is, it’s kind of long for a marquee. The good news is, there is no marquee. In two years we’ve had two gigs, at two parties that we threw ourselves. That’s just how good we are. You get the idea. But the idea is to have fun. Anyway, I love music.

JBB: How did you become interested in Jersey Boys?

Stubbleyou: Well, I hope this answer doesn’t offend anybody. I’m a music guy, not a theater guy. I haven’t paid any attention to the Tony Awards since 1998 (when I was interested in The Lion King because of my sons, then 2 and 5 years old), and 2006 was no exception. Somewhere out of the corner of my ear I had heard there was a musical about the Four Seasons, but in what in retrospect must have been a bout of snobbery and elitism, I quickly dismissed it as something not to be taken seriously. Another jukebox musical exploiting my music to make a buck, like Nike commercials spinning the Beatles’ “Revolution,” aiming to pick the easy pocket of the nostalgic boomer. How dare they? Fuggedaboudit. And more importantly, how could they hope to do it well? Sure, the average music listener might think it’s okay but no way could they please the discerning ear of a true fan who lived through it. I did a double take when I heard the name Marshall Brickman associated with it ( I was a huge fan of early Woody Allen movies) but that kind of humor didn’t seem to go with that kind of music. Or did they know something I didn’t?

Had I known that the “they” included Bob Gaudio, I’d have paid a little more attention. A lot, actually. Probably would have sauntered down to La Jolla on the weekend to check it out, and probably would have returned every weekend thereafter too, darn it. I’m still kicking myself.

By the time the tour was in it’s L.A. run I heard from a few folks who saw it and loved it. Somehow I wasn’t convinced. My snobbery was rearing its ugly head again. Their standards just weren’t as high as mine, I thought, so why subject myself to the disappointment? But one friend kept raving on and on about it, and finally with one week left in the L.A. run, I figured I ought to give it a chance. But ticket availability was slim or none, and battling one’s way into downtown L.A. isn’t exactly pleasant either, so I was ready to kiss it off and kick myself one more time for waiting too long. Then I read the next leg of the tour was in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California, twenty minutes door-to-door from my home. Yes, it was a sign. I decided to go.

JBB: Upon seeing the show for the first time, what did you think?

Stubbleyou: I was blown away. Let me explain.

Stubbleyou: “C’est Soiree” HUH?? Good unexpected grabber beginning. Straight into “Silhouettes.” One of those, as Tommy was about to explain, “other people’s latest hits.” I really appreciated the inclusion of songs such as “Silhouettes” (The Rays), “Earth Angel” (the Penguins), and, later, “Stay” (Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs) both because they showed a depth and interest in authenticity, and because, though I’m a big oldies fan, it was the Four Seasons’ versions of songs such as “Stay,” “Goodnight My Love” (Jesse Belvin), “Oh Carol” (Neil Sedaka), and “Ain’t That A Shame” (Fats Domino) that I became familiar with before I got to know their originals. So this concept of “singing somebody else’s latest hit” really clicked with my own listening history.

Then when they went into “Apple Of My Eye,” I flipped. It’s on that first “Sherry” album, and I probably hadn’t heard it in forty years (OMG, what’s my age again?). And because I think it’s one that most folks didn’t know, I was beginning to realize how much accuracy and attention to detail there was in the show. I needed to share this with my boys, now 11 and 14, so I started whispering excitedly to them (“That song (‘Apple’) is on the first album I ever bought!)” or after “Big Girls Don’t Cry” when Bob says they have the number one album (“He’s talking about that black one with the big pink circle I have on display upstairs!”) or in the Brill Building door-knock scene (“That’s a real thing – your piano teacher did that in real life and actually got in [true]!”) or during “Short Shorts” (“That really was an early rock’n'roll hit – they’re not just making this up for the show!” “I know, Dad.” “You do? How?” “I heard it on the Simpsons” [true too].) I was more frenetic than Joe Pesci trying to arrange a sit-down between Tommy and Bob. In retrospect I think I was doing it more for myself than for them. I needed a release for the excitement that otherwise might have made my whole head explode. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t disturb the people around me.

What was the question? Oh yeah. Don’t worry; I’m not going to go line-by-line through the whole show. Little things kept grabbing me one after the other, like how the backgrounds at the end of “An Angel Cried” segued directly into those at the beginning of “I Still Care.” How the arrangement and backgrounds in “Trance” sounded straight out of “Ain’t That A Shame.” Suffice it to say that by intermission, I knew, just as Bob knew he had to write for Frankie’s voice, that this show had to have been written for me. Swearin’ to God.

JBB: How many times have you seen the show? What keeps bringing you back?

Stubbleyou: Only three. I know that barely qualifies me for my first merit badge around these parts, but I assure you that what I lack in numbers, I more than make up for in enthusiasm and appreciation. And number 4 will be 4-4-08 (hey, that’s a lot of fours; wonder what Bob Crewe would make of that), opening night in Las Vegas. I’ve got my cyberticket in my hot little cyberhand already.

What keeps bringing me back? Well, I love the whole show, but it has to be the music. The show takes songs I already love and makes them larger than life. Better electronics, more voices, more and better instruments, but true to, and maintaining the character of the originals. Due, I’m sure, to Bob Gaudio’s involvement. Ever notice that with all the covers that have been done of music from the fifties through the nineties, virtually nobody has even tried to have a hit by covering a Four Seasons song? (Okay, one or two. And I’m not counting the Euroboppers). That’s because, as Barry Belson says, the sound is so distinct — for most it wouldn’t work. But in JB, the performances still have all the uniqueness and feel of their originals, but they’ve been made bigger and richer and fuller and louder and, well, larger than life. It’s fantastic.

Also — other things that contribute to the “specialness” that keeps bringing me back: the choreography in the big production numbers, the excellence of the musicians’ product (I wish they’d play longer after the final bows) , the seamless interweaving of music and dialog, particularly in Act One. The show is just put together so well. And the suits and shirts. Love the guys’ shirts. I hope they open a gift store at the Palazzo in Vegas with all sorts of JB/Four Seasons stuff, including replica shirts, like the Mirage has the Beatles’ Love boutique.

JBB: What about your favorites? How about your favorite JB song?

Stubbleyou: Of course it’s hard to narrow down, but if you let me pick a few they’d have to include “Cry For Me.” I love how it grows musically from one voice/one instrument to multi/multi while at the same time showing how the guys gel. Plus, I had never heard it before. Its finish is probably the greatest moment of the show up until that point. Also the vocal agility in “Moody’s Mood for Love” knocks my socks off. And all the choreographed big production numbers – the Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand, and Hall of Fame performances, particularly “Dawn,” where the Seasons are facing away from us. Dynamite.

JBB: Favorite JB line?

StubbleYou: Two. “It’s a sign” (when the sign lights up; not the other time). And “Chasing the music, trying to get home.” I read in an interview of the real Frankie that he said he just loves singing and if he hadn’t made it big he’d probably have spent his life happily singing in clubs. Some people just have that special connection with music. And then there are the unlucky ones.

JBB: Favorite JB scene?

Well, again I’d have to include “Cry For Me” and all the big production numbers. But I’d add two more: Frankie’s introduction, appearing up on the catwalk singing “Silhouettes” in his falsetto, gives me chills. Good chills. But above all others I’d put the entire finale, from each of the goodbye speeches, mixing sadness and laughter, into “Who Loves You,” which I’ll never hear again without feeling the emotion of the end of the show, and then back into “Oh What A Night,” with everybody onstage looking as if they’re having a huge dance party, exuberant with excitement, though you know of course every step is precisely choreographed. It still feels like a big, wonderful release.

JBB: Your StubbleYou blog is hilarious! On your blog, you state, “I made this blog for humor about Jersey Boys and the Four Seasons, mostly song parodies.” Who or what inspired you to create the blog?

Stubbleyou: Thank you! There actually is a pretty specific answer to that question. It started when someone made a comment on a JB-related blog about bagels. That got me thinking – what if the ethnic twist on JB were Jewish rather than Italian? A few song titles came to mind (“Oy! What A Night!” and “Walk Like A Mensch,” for example) as well as a little alternate dialog. A few days later while singing along to the JB CD in the car, I starting messing around with the lyrics. When I had a song or two done, I figured I needed a place to put them that I could link to, and that I could add to little by little. I’m up to about twenty entries, over half of which are song parodies, separated by other various and sundry attempts at humor. Some have my own low-budget, low-quality vocals thrown in. It’s a work in progress, but a labor of love.

Since it all relates to Jersey Boys and/or the Four Seasons, there’s a pretty narrow niche audience that could even understand what I’m getting at, which is why I appreciate you mentioning the link to my blog. Anybody who reads your wonderful Jersey Boys Blog will at least know what I’m talking about. Whether or not they’ll find a chuckle in it here or there, I can only hope. Some of the songs relate to events or dialog from JB; others are just Four Seasons parodies. Where else could I make a joke based on a TV interviewer mispronoucing Steve Gouveia’s name and have people actually know what I’m talking about? Or replace a few words in CTMEOY with similarly-sounding ones to give it a whole new, um, semi-adult meaning? I hope folks will take a few minutes to browse through. And the brave ones might even give a shot at listening to me sing.

JBB: Do these lyrics just pop into your head (the way it happened to Bob Gaudio with “Sherry”)?

Stubbleyou: Ha ha ha. For one or two songs, yes, but I assure you any similarities between his and my creative processes end right there. I like wordplay. If you sing in the car with the news on, you can’t help but notice that “Obama” rhymes with “ask your mama.” And then that song (“Sherry/Oprah”) is done the moment you realize “Dance the night away” sounds like “dance in Iowa.” Same with “Gaudi-O/Connie-O” — just noticing the similarities in the names started that ball rolling. Others take longer; I’ll mess around with one line or a title and see where it leads. Hopefully somewhere.

JBB: Do you have any plans or features that will be appearing on the StubbleYou in the near future?

Stubbleyou: I try to add something every few days. (Hint hint: Check back often!) I’d like to hit every song in the show and a few other Four Seasons tunes too, if possible. After that, now that you’ve got me thinking about it, maybe expand to other ’60′s songs but with a JB spin. How does “My Baby Does the Frankie Panky” sound? Or maybe imagine what songs the Four Seasons might have done if they joined forces with the Beatles, like the ‘Fab Four Seasons’ doing “Baby, You’re a Brickman.” Or what if they combined with the Beach Boys as the ‘Jersey Beach Boys’ for songs like “McAnuff, McAnuff, Buddy Gonna Shut You Down?” Infinite possibilities.

JBB: You seem like a natural singer, poet, and comedian. Have you done other entertainment-related parodies?

Stubbleyou: Wow, thank you! I don’t often (read “ever”) get compliments like that! Isn’t the anonymity of the Internet, the world-wide invisibility cloak if you will, a wonderful thing? It lets me shed my inhibitions and release my inner goofball. Regarding humor, I am pretty good at making myself laugh (one of the benefits of having low standards), but doing the same for others, now that’s the challenge. I try not to put up the mediocre on my website, despite posted evidence to the contrary. The impossible challenge, making my fourteen year-old son laugh, I’ve given up on. To him, nothing I do or say can or ever will be funny. It’s a basic rule.

As far as singing goes, like Frankie (and that’s where this similarity ends too), I just really enjoy it. Singing in the shower, singing in the car – it just makes me happy. You know how when people catch you whistling or singing, they always say, “Oh, you must be in a good mood?” Well, I finally realized that it’s the other way around: It’s the whistling or singing that puts me in the good mood. Putting my vocals on my website is just for fun; I’m well aware of my limitations, believe me. I use some free downloaded recording software and a $10 mike from Target. It sounds better than singing into a telephone. But not much.

I’ve goofed around with other song parodies on a few humor websites, but most weren’t entertainment related. Mostly just throwaway stuff.

JBB: Considering you’ve been a Four Seasons fan since 1962, do you have a favorite Seasons’ song?

Stubbleyou: As far as favorite songs, I’d have to go with “Walk Like A Man,” “Marlena,” “Candy Girl,” “Working My Way Back To You,” and “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me).” And a little gem from the first album called “Peanuts” that is guaranteed to make you smile – my hand to Gaudio.

JBB: Anything else you’d like to share with the Jersey Boys Blog readers?

Stubbleyou: Yes, if I may. Seriously, the emotion I’ve gotten from JB goes beyond the joy of the show itself. Some nostalgia, some reflection, some satisfaction, some introspection. It is gratifying and heart-warming to see the Four Season’s music – my music – enjoying a whole new round of appreciation and popularity. And to see new generations of fans and performers alike learning it, enjoying it, exalting in it, respecting it, loving it. Irrational as it sounds, JB’s phenomenal success gives me a sense of personal pride. It’s like I feel I can stand on the mountaintop and shout, “See? I was right! I told you this was great music!!” I’ve been vindicated.

So in that vein, as naïve as it sounds I want to express my personal gratitude to Messrs. McAnuff, Brickman, Elice, Valli, Gaudio, Crewe, DeVito, Trujillo, Melrose, and all the other creative people responsible for giving me this very personal and wonderful gift. You have created more joy than you can imagine. Thank you.

They say the music of our adolescence through our young adulthood becomes the music we remain most emotionally connected to for the rest of our lives. Maybe that’s why “chasing the music” has so much more meaning than those three words themselves. We all have a streetlamp we stood under at one point or another. “Trying to get home.” I’m not really sure what that means. But I know exactly how it feels.

And my dad wants me there by eleven.

Thank you so much to Stubbleyou for sharing his amazing ride with Jersey Boys, the Four Seasons, and his hilarious blog! If you would like to be featured in a JBB Fantastic Fan Interview, feel free to let us know! Please click on the Contact Page and send us your contact information.


  1. stubble, What a wonderful interview!!!! I will read this again, thanks….Jody

    Comment by Jody Cardillo — February 3, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

  2. What a great interview, stubbleyou! It just gives me more insight to who I am talking to in the forum. Awesome job!

    Comment by Kristen — February 3, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  3. We’re all looking forward to your stand-up act on the 4th of April!

    Comment by Mama Lucy — February 3, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  4. Hi, Stubbleyou,

    I just saw your picture at Howard’s birthday celebration – can’t wait to meet you. We will be partying in April – only 9 months from now!
    Hugs! IE

    Comment by irene eizen — February 3, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  5. Hi there!

    You definitely described it all…including:

    Nostalgia…Reflection…Satisfaction…Introspection…Gratification…but most of all “Heart Warming”…

    Looking forward to meeting u…StubbleYou…!


    Comment by NewJerseyLasagna — February 3, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  6. Hey stubble, I just listened to you sing, I loved it!! N.Y. Apple song ;-) GREAT!!! Jody

    Comment by Jody Cardillo — February 3, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

  7. I have also thought of the Artist Name combinations, stubbleyou, particularly in regard to covers of “We Can Work It Out”! I summarize the relevant covers as by the “Fab Four Seasons” and “Stevie Wonder Who”.

    For those of you who don’t remember, the “All This And World War II” Soundtrack included “We Can Work It Out” by The Four Seasons and “A Day In The Life” by Frankie Valli. The “We Can Work It Out” Four Seasons cover did quite well on the British Charts. I’m very fair, though, and my favorite cover of “We Can Work It Out” is Stevie Wonder’s over both the Beatles and The Four Seasons.

    I never went through a phase where I preferred The Beatles to The Four Seasons, subbleyou. I only own the Beatles 1962-1966 CD Compllation and one copy of the Sgt. Pepper LP from 1967, and that was a gift.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — February 4, 2008 @ 10:10 am

  8. Great interview, Stubbleyou. I can relate to everything you’ve said as respects the music of The Four Seasons and how it impacted your childhood & teen years and now re-connecting again through the adult years via Jersey Boys. It is a truly special feeling. Looking forward to meeting you in Vegas.

    Comment by LindaL — February 4, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  9. Hi Stubbleyou,

    Great interview! Can’t wait to meet you in Vegas in April!


    Comment by Krystal — February 4, 2008 @ 10:26 am

  10. Hi Stubbleyou,

    I really, really, really enjoyed reading your JBB Fantastic Fan interview! Being a big fan of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and absolutely adoring the fabulous Broadway musical Jersey Boys, I related very strongly to all you expressed in your conversation with the JBB. The feelings you shared regarding your “sense of personal pride” at being vindicated for enjoying this music from its beginnings; the emotional connection to the success of the show and, by extension, the “new round of appreciation and popularity” of the Seasons catalog of recordings; and the introduction of this music to “new generations of fans and performers alike,” all struck a familiar chord with me as well. These comments and some of your other insightful observations (especially in answer to the JBB question, ‘Upon seeing the show for the first time, what did you think?’) really hit home (and I’m still trying to get there, only now, instead of the curfew being set by dad, it’s my wife).

    I am looking forward to checking out your blog. If it’s half as fasinating and entertaining as your JBB interview, I may have another blog to check on a regular basis.

    Comment by Len Gersten — February 4, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  11. Your line “bad news, it’s too long for a marquee…good news, there is no marquee cracked me up!” What a fun interview. Enjoyed it!

    Comment by Jan Haas — February 4, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  12. It’s just too good to be trye
    An interview with Stubbleyou
    What a marvelous style
    That I haven’t read for a while
    Your Blog’s one I’ll pursue
    When I sign onto Yahoo

    Your humor’s so rare
    And you had so much to share
    With your thoughts so unique
    I know I’m not the only antique
    You’re just about to debut
    Please don’t bid us adieu

    We love your Bloggin’
    But when we need some more
    We’ll be hobbnobbin’
    On April four
    It’s just too good to be true
    Having some thoughts from Stubbleyou.

    Stubbleyou, I had the pleasure to meet you in person and you’re just as witty in person as you are above. I look forward to hearing and reading many more lyrics from you. And do remember our very first poetry line as kindergarteners: “Orange and lemon have no rhymes, so when writing poems, be sure to use limes”!! Great work Stubbleyou, and thanks.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — February 5, 2008 @ 12:30 am

  13. Wow, this is great for my ego – now I feel like I can cancel the next three month’s of shrink appointments and afford that trip to Vegas after all!

    Ted – “Stevie Wonder Who” – xlnt!
    Howard – “I know I’m not the only antique.” Ha!
    Irene – that was the other stubbleyou.

    Seriously…thanks to all for the kind words.

    Comment by stubbleyou — February 6, 2008 @ 3:12 am

  14. stubbleyou, it has taken me a few days to savor this Fantastic Fan interview. When the hits keep coming and the JBB reaches its 1,000th FF, folks are still going to be saying “Remember Interview #30. That stubbleyou has been on the ‘Top 40′ list forever!” Your interview was an early Valentine’s gift for any Four Seasons & Jersey Boys lover.

    You’re a bright, humorous and talented guy… a little scary to think you might be using only 10% of your brain. I think a marquee could be in your future!

    I vote for a Part 2 to this where you DO go through the show line by line. Thanks for just a really great interview!!

    Comment by Audrey — February 8, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  15. Subbleyou-It was just over a month after our discussion about “Fab Four Seasons” and “Stevie Wonder Who” that David Archuleta sang that arrangement of “We Can Work It Out” on “American Idol”. I wonder if he read our Blog comments, as there is quite a bit of buzz online that Archuleta should try out for a “Jersey Boys” venue. Randy and Simon abosultely panned the use of the somewhat underrehearsed Wonder arrangement, but I really liked it!

    Comment by Ted Hammond — April 27, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

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