He may have "killed a man" as he freely 'fesses here in this exclusive tell-all Amoeblog interview but Job O Brother is one hell of a gifted writer and his Another Witty and Unnecessary Blog contribution to this Amoeblog section of amoeba.com is always guaranteed to be must-read material; the type of prose that leaves the reader fiending for more of its consistently engaging, well-written, and witty insights and observations on life - Job's life.
In fact Job O Brother's refreshing conversational writing style allows his readers an inside look at the personal details of his life - including life with boyfriend Corey and his workmates at Amoeba Hollywood-- is so natural and free-flowing that he makes it all seem really easy to write. But as anyone who has written a short story or blog will attest, to accomplish such results a writer must put a lot of time and energy into their craft.
"Job is a born writer, truly gifted," offered Brady of Amoeba's Bay Area Crew - one of the regular readers of Job's Another Witty and Unnecessary Blog. But who really is this Job O Brother? Does he write for other outlets besides the Amoeblog? Is he independently rich and only puts in time at Amoeba to get material for his writing? And did he really kill a man?
If you read Job's official Amoeblog bio we are told: "Mr. Brother was born into one of the wealthiest royal families in Europe. Having been raised in luxury only known to 1% of the world's population, he studied in the greatest schools and with acclaimed private tutors until he reached maturity, at which point he decided he "really, really wanted to work in a record store," which is what he's been doing and will continue to do until the demands of tradition force him to rule as King over his country or they hire him at "Donut Time" on Santa Monica and Highland. 'Which ever comes first,' he says."
It should be noted that Job penned this bio and, like some things he says, you never quite know if it is truth or fiction--nor do you care when the writing is so entertaining. So to find out a little bit more about Amoeba Music Hollywood employee Job O Brother I set up an interview with the man, deliberately conducting it via email since this way I figured I could get him to write/type out his answers which I guessed would be as witty and entertaining as his Amoeblogs always are. I wasn't disappointed. Scroll down and read on...........
AMOEBLOG: Exactly when and how did you end up working at Amoeba? Was it something to do with them hiring you before Donut Time on Santa Monica & Highland had responded to your application?
JOB O BROTHER: Confession time: A few facts in my Amoeblog profile are not entirely true. Yes, I am heir apparent to a powerful, European dynasty, but I’ve never actually applied for work at Donut Time. When I first moved to LA (a little over three years ago) I assessed the work market and decided that Amoeba Music was the ONLY place I wanted to work. I wasn’t sure when they would hire me, so I also applied to other places, but ONLY establishments that were soulless, corporate chains which I would feel no guilt quitting even after one week of employment, so that I’d be ready for when Amoeba called me. I even applied for a job at (insert f-word here, plus the suffix ‘ing’) Jamba Juice.
My plan was to go into Amoeba every week and hand in a fresh résumé, with some creative spin added to it, until they finally hired me. Attached to my first résumé was a three page list of music trivia that I knew – everything from Morrissey’s nickname to how many guitar tunings Joni Mitchell’s credited with inventing. Funny thing is, Karen called me about a week after I applied, so I never got the chance to push the limits of attracting their attention. As an added kicker – all those soulless, corporate chains I applied to? Not one of them called me in. Amoeba is the ONLY place that considered me!
(If this interview was face-to-face, you could comment on how I chuckled merrily at this point.)
AMOEBLOG: What makes working at Amoeba unique compared to other jobs you've had?
JOB O BROTHER: For starters, it’s legal. For another, my life isn’t in constant danger. I only wish I was joking. There’s been some questionable and dangerous occupations in my past.
Until Amoeba, every establishment I’ve worked for seemed to be in financial peril. I mean, that’s the status quo, right? But our management are a savvy bunch – they know what they’re doing. It allows me to feel relaxed. Also, Jimmy, one of my bosses, pays me a huge sum of hush money every month so I don’t publish photos I have of him impersonating Carol Channing at The Spotlight after-hours. That’s a big perk that’s certainly unique.
AMOEBLOG: Job, what exactly is your job at Amoeba?
JOB O BROTHER: As you know, Amoeba often steers clear of official titles. That being said, IF you were to assign a position to me in spoken terms, it would be something like Supreme Overlord of the Soundtracks. For the first year, I was (again, assumed title) Prince Regent of Classical Music. My second year was more humbling – I was Serf of Silent, Gay, Children’s DVD’s (Folks, please take note of the commas in that last sentence – very important).
AMOEBLOG: Had you written elsewhere before the Amoeblog or do you write elsewhere now?
JOB O BROTHER: I’ve been writing consistently since I discovered my mama’s Smith-Corona typewriter at age 5. Before I moved to LA, I had a thriving career as a performance artist and short-filmmaker. Ironically, moving to Hollywood set my career back considerably, because I no longer had access to my creative posse. But that’s starting to turn around again.
I have written one film – a B-movie, going straight to DVD – but because I wrote it “to order” and it had nothing to do with who I am as an artist or what I want to say, I’m not telling anyone what it is. I didn’t even use my real name. All I’ll tell you is that it will star Tracey Gold of Growing Pains fame.
I have a TV show in development, and that project I AM excited about because it’s my writing style and I have some degree of content control. It’s also why I don’t blog as much as I used to. If only I could master sleep-blogging!
I’m starting to bore myself here. Is anyone still reading? Would it spruce this interview up if I told you I once killed a man?
AMOEBLOG: Since last May you have penned close to a hundred Amoeblogs. When you started writing your Another Witty and Unnecessary Blog did you think that you would be such a consistent and prolific contributor to the Amoeba website?
JOB O BROTHER: I thought I’d contribute much more! (Again, imagine a hearty chuckle here.) At first, the idea was to blog every day. This was easier when I was posting my mini-screenplays, which were a writing exercise I did anyway. After a while of that, some Amoeba overseers were (justifiably) concerned that my blog didn’t really have much to do with music or movies. That’s when I switched to a more conventional blog format. Theoretically, I could post something daily, but I wouldn’t get to craft the epic nonsense I like. One of my entries takes hours to do, believe it or not. For one thing, I write everything in an ancient, Sumerian dialect first, then translate it into English, which alone adds an extra couple hours. My friends have asked me why I don’t just write them in English to begin with, to which I always answer, “Umma Šamšī Mursili šarrum rabûm šar māt Hatti qarrādum!” That usually shuts them up.
AMOEBLOG: I know you write about various topics including vacations and trips you make but what is your process for writing your blogs? Do you wait till you have an idea to write one or do you try and write a certain amount per week/month?
JOB O BROTHER: I have certain windows of time when I can write a blog, and that’s when I do it – regardless of how witty I feel at the time. A constant source of inspiration is my iPod. I’ll scan it until something stands out and build upon that.
My life is pretty routine, so when I do get a vacation, I feel obligated to blog about it, just for variation’s sake. Lying is also a good well to draw from. Like the time I lived amongst the caribou. That’ll provide me with lots of material.
AMOEBLOG: One of the things most refreshing about your Amoeblogs is your witty conversational style that is so warm and personal. (Assuming as I do -as a reader- that what you write is indeed factual.)
Reading what you write, one feels at once as if they are your trusted friend being confided in, with all your life's details including the relationship with your co-workers and your boyfriend Corey. Does he or anyone written about ever get mad at you telling all your personal biz to the world?
JOB O BROTHER: The only person who’s raised an eyebrow about being mentioned in my blog is a co-worker I won’t mention because she’ll raise an eyebrow at being mentioned. Otherwise, people have been good sports, especially my boyfriend and my sisters.
Anything truly personal is going to be about me. I pretty much shamelessly whore anything personal in my work – not only in my blogs. I never feel vulnerable doing it; if anything, it feels liberating. It could probably keep me from getting laid, but thank goodness, I have devastatingly good looks which helps counterbalance that.
Also, thanks for the compliment! Refreshing, eh? So my blog is like a cold can of Coors Light?
AMOEBLOG: I remember reading in one of your Amoeblogs about how you observed that there were some regular Amoeba customers who would religiously come in every early Saturday morning and crate dig for hours, essentially putting in as much time as paid staff. What other interesting customer behavioral patterns have noticed during your time at Amoeba?
JOB O BROTHER: This is a tricky question. If anything could be a potential source of inspiration, it would be writing about various customers, but I purposefully avoid doing that out of respect for them. It’s a conflict of interest, and I wouldn’t want the poor freaks who sometimes frequent our establishment to feel like we’re poking fun at their weird faces and shocking physical gestures. It wouldn’t be neighborly.
Honestly, I think the best way to answer this question is with this song by Paul Anka…
AMOEBLOG: What are the Top Five Items at Amoeba this week that you have noticed people are seeking out?
JOB O BROTHER: Well, living in soundtracks as I do, we are currently selling lots of the Once, soundtrack. Other perpetual sellers are Pulp Fiction, Rushmore, Saturday Night Fever and The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. Anything by Ennio Morriconne sells well. When I’m really hurting for dough, I sometimes scribble “composed by Ennio Morricone” on things like business cards and Post-It notes and sell them under the table to naïve customers. But that’s off the record.
AMOEBLOG: Top five fave albums of all time?
JOB O BROTHER: What is this, Sophie’s Choice? That’s an impossible question, hombre. I’ll tell you five albums that absolutely send me, but don’t think for a second it’s a definitive list of top five. That will never happen.
* Judee Sill – self-titled
* Scott Walker – Scott 4
* Minnie Ripperton – Come to My Garden
* Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
* Ys – Joanna Newsom
* Chipmunk Rock – The Chipmunks
Ugh… That wasn’t fun. I just had to go with the first 5 albums that came to mind as “most favorite”. The true list would number in the hundreds. I didn’t even dip my toes into classical or jazz records for this.
AMOEBLOG: Best album cover art or CD cover art of all time?
JOB O BROTHER: Hmm… I quite fancy Camper Van Beethoven’s cover art for their Take the Skinheads Bowling single. Also, one of my favorite bands, de Kift, win hands-down for amazing packaging. They’re a Dutch band that remains mostly unknown in the United States of America, and their CDs are often pricey, partly due, I’m sure, to the elaborate packaging.
AMOEBLOG: Fave movie?
JOB O BROTHER: No, no, no! How can people answer such a question? I assume anyone who can pick one favorite movie simply hasn’t seen enough of them, because it’s impossible!
The closest I can come is picking a favorite director, and that’s Ingmar Bergman, but he’s closely followed by Fellini, Hitchcock, Buñuel and Godard.
There was one week after I saw Satyricon when I thought it was my favorite movie, but I came to my senses. How could I choose between Brazil and Plan 9 From Outer Space? I can’t! I shan’t!
AMOEBLOG: First record you ever bought & do you still like it?
JOB O BROTHER: The first record I ever identified and procured was Linda Ronstadt’s LP Simple Dreams. I was 5. I was also way into Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Chipmunk Rock. Alvin singing Juice Newton was a high point for the music industry.
I still love all these albums, although, as a child, I liked the upbeat tracks on Simple Dreams whereas, as an adult, I prefer the ballads, like “Carmelita.” Linda Ronstadt singing about heroin addiction. That is so neat!
AMOEBLOG: What is LA like as a place to live and work and socialize?
JOB O BROTHER: Is there a word that means both “glamorous” and “degrading"? I’ll tell you what I love about LA – Hollywood in particular: I am constantly seeing things that crack me up. I walk to work, and nine times out of ten I see something or someone that makes me laugh.
It’s a tough city to keep perspective in, and frankly, beyond the weather, I don’t know why anyone not involved in the entertainment industry would stick it out. You’re constantly faced with the things you can’t afford being tossed around like trinkets. Red carpets and limos thwart the little guy from doing his thing, but I love that, too. It keeps my sense of humor in check. And where else could I gab with Kirsten Dunst about why I hate romantic-comedies while helping her find an obscure French DVD?
AMOEBLOG: Best place(s) to eat nearby Amoeba Hollywood?
JOB O BROTHER: My house! Just be careful that my cat doesn’t eat you first. Because he will. He’ll eat you as soon as look at you.