Jonny Polonsky received national press attention when his debut album, the likable Hi My Name Is Jonny, came out in 1996. He was widely billed as Frank Black's protégé and a power-pop prodigy, but things went sour when neither Polonsky's nor Black's albums sold particularly well that year. Both lost their record deals, and Polonsky has recently begun shopping his solid new follow-up, The Power Of Sound, to labels. Building on the deceptively simple, brevity-enhanced power-pop of his debut, the new recording has considerable commercial potential should it ever be released. As a service to Polonsky—and to the hundreds of record labels that receive subscriptions to this newspaper—I recently conducted a sort of job interview with the talented singer/songwriter. Note: This service is only available to Jonny Polonsky.
The Onion: What's your current status, as far as labels go?
Jonny Polonsky: I'm label-less. During the midst of recording last year—I spent all of 1997 recording this new record, The Power Of Sound—I asked to leave American, because I couldn't help but notice that they were asking all their bands to leave. It's not really any different from being dropped, except you don't really have as much of a stigma as a "dropped" band. I just asked to leave, because they were kind of having a rough time. So I left American, and I've been talking to a couple of labels since. Nothing has really come to fruition, but I'm still sending out tapes and plugging away.
O: What attributes do you feel you could bring to a record label?
JP: [Laughs.] Am I interviewing for a label? I feel my fiery brand of rock 'n' roll will light a blaze, providing any label with a proper amount of everything and more.
O: Name the last conflict you had with a record label, and how you resolved it.
JP: Hmm. I don't think we had any conflicts. I mean, American… It was basically a thing where everyone was so confused that there was no way to have a conflict. There was a real lack of communication and a lack of organization. I really didn't have any outright conflicts.
O: What do you feel is your biggest flaw as an artist on a record label, and how do you plan to overcome that flaw?
JP: I just can't churn 'em out fast enough. They're just so good, I've got to take more time to revel in them.
O: How do you plan to overcome that flaw?
JP: Well, I recently acquired a yogi, so I think that through extensive amounts of meditation and some sort of physical regimen, I can balance my mind, body, and spirit. That way, I can try to be my very best, and try to be the uncarved block for the world.
O: What work experiences qualify you for a spot on a record label's roster?
JP: I just got through working at a print shop where I ran a forklift. I was being bullied by an ex-cop with a very thick neck. You know those ex-cops with folds and folds below their heads? This was one of those guys.
O: So, basically, that was a conflict with a co-worker. How did you resolve it?
JP: It wasn't really a conflict; the main thing was that I couldn't see myself running this forklift and chopping large pieces of paper into small pieces of paper for more than a few months. So, in truth, I left to sharpen my computer skills, so I can attain a job that will utilize my brain.
O: So, if a record label offered you a position operating a forklift, would you take it?
O: Do you have any scheduling conflicts a record label should know about? Would you be able to work evenings and weekends?
JP: I generally go to bed around 10 or 11, but other than that, I'm free.
O: If you saw another musician on your record label stealing money from the till, what would you do?
JP: I would ask him where the till was.