Best of What's Next...Jim Bianco

Music Features Jim Bianco
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Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
For Fans Of: Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Dean Martin
Album: Loudmouth

With his fourth full-length album, Loudmouth, Jim Bianco—a blunt, crass and thoroughly enjoyable sort—has offered the world a slap-in-the-face, a vigorous wake-up call with stinging honesty, softened by laughter and played out as if the soundtrack to a raucous party that Bacchus would support.

Bianco balances the necessities of work and play. “There’s a really cool Oscar Wilde quote that I like to live my life by, sounds pretentious but, ‘Life is too important to be taken seriously.’ It is far more important to enjoy yourself and have fun. I do think the process is important, but i think the point is ‘why can’t you have fun and be serious at the same time?’”

He’s shown that it’s possible to do both. With four “unofficial” releases to go with his three studio records, a live album and an EP that includes four short films, he performs and tours rigorously, funds his music completely through his fans, wrote a book of short stories and writes, acts, directs and edits his own silent movies. How does he manage to juggle it all? “There’s time,” he says. “You have to allocate it and organize it, but there’s time. ... There’s something inside of me that when something seems important, worth sharing, that turns on a light. When that light goes on is why and how I share it. Why else would the light go on?”

Bianco tends to write about the common things in life that are common in an uncommon way. He gives weight to overlooked simplicities, all while laughing. “Humor was used more as a place to hide and now used as a place to express,” he says. “It brings an element of truth to the record. It is laughing at the truth and changes the weight of the songs and the record. Truth always weighs more.”

His fans seem to agree, as Bianco has been able to produce his music and tours independently, relying only on the funds that he’s raised from his supporters. “I just tried to create something that people need,” he says, “and they totally did so it’s worked. It’s encouraging. I also really try to keep it real and not try to slice off a piece of me that I may need later on, like my soul.”

For such a devilish character it’s surprising that he would be worried about his soul, but don’t be misled by his “wicked” ways; he’s genuine and unabashed in exposing his flaws. This earnestness is the basis of his music and for those who wonder the key to his success, it’s simple:

“Work hard in the right places. Wear a jock strap because you will be repeatedly kicked in the balls and cannot be deterred by that. Learn to laugh. And don’t forget that the whole point of this is to enjoy yourself, I forget that sometimes.”