Published on February 26th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Jay Mohr & Logan Lynn On “My Movie Star,” Portland & More
If you are a fan of comedian Jay Mohr’s podcast Mohr Stories, then you ought to be very aware of Portland, Oregon-based musician Logan Lynn. If not a Mohrrior, then you may know know Logan Lynn from his prolific solo career — he had landed a record deal via The Dandy Warhols — or as the founder of the Keep Oregon Well campaign. Although Mohr is primarily known for being funny, he has an ear for music and decided to showcase that as a producer for Lynn on My Movie Star.
Uncharacteristic of the times, My Movie Star is not just an album. Rather, it is a multi-media double album paired with a Mohr-produced film, as done in partnership with Lynn and filmmaker Kevin Forrest of Portland Film Works. The musical release was done in collaboration with T-Pain muse GLASYS — who T-Pain is rumored to have discovered via Reddit — and features a mix of Lynn originals, remixes and covers. GLASYS and Mohr aside, musical guests on My Movie Star include the aforementioned Dandy Warhols, Jarryd James, Rian Lewis, and Tiffany. Yes, that Tiffany.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with both Mohr — who recently appeared on the Fox hit The Mick — and Lynn, and the results were very entertaining. More on Lynn can be found at www.loganlynnmusic.com, while Mohr can be visited online at www.jaymohr.com.
Logan Lynn: Well, this year marks 20 years since my first album was released and I have been in a process of getting down to the essence of what I’m actually trying to do, in life and in music, ever since. When Jay and I met, I had just finished making my last album, Adieu, and was getting ready to release it. He was one of the first people to ever hear those songs and gave me the most thoughtful, tender, honest feedback. He also wrote one of the first reviews for that record and I think the seed was planted there. I remember feeling like someone had finally really seen and heard me and what I was doing with my songs…or, at least, was trying to do.
Jay Mohr: Tough question for me personally, as I can’t speak for Logan’s motivation or mindset. However, while listening to Adieu, during the song “Break Me Down,” the line “Love me and I’ll kill it with you in time” hit me between the eyes. I thought, “There! There’s the real guy!” I felt like Logan’s albums were all beautiful and incredibly-decorative floats. Maybe I pushed him to learn to drive something small without spinning dancers and people wearing captain’s hats on board.
Logan Lynn: He believed in me and I trusted him instantly. From there, I just started sending him the songs I was working on and he showed up in that same thoughtful, tender, honest way as I wrote. It was a really organic, inspired process. Unlike literally every other producer relationship I’ve had, Jay’s entire mission was to get me to cool it with the bells and whistles. No more tricks. Just me, a microphone and a grand piano. Scary stuff, but it worked. I ended up writing over 20 new songs, which we narrowed down to 10 for the release and ended up working with T-Pain collaborator GLASYS on building out and performing all of the piano parts from there. Jay is credited as a writer on two of the songs, and was there at the infancy of every single one of the rest. This album would not have happened without him.
Jay Mohr: For some reason, he just trusted me. This was the well beneath the well — these songs were the treasure and he kept sharing them with me. I felt I needed to protect them.
How did you guys first meet?
Logan Lynn: I interviewed JJ for the mental health advocacy campaign I created called Keep Oregon Well when he was in Portland doing stand-up. I feel like I pressed record on the video camera on my phone that first day and we have basically been laughing and high-fiving each other ever since. We both, like, recognized each other. We bonded instantly over music and mental health and it was honestly some cosmic soul s**t! (laughs)
Jay Mohr: Honestly, I’m not going to say how we met. I don’t want to lessen the importance of the hundreds of years we’ve shared.
Jay Mohr: Yes, literally since high school, I’ve thought seriously about producing music. I feel really strongly that there is a way to communicate with someone to get them to reach higher, dig deeper and sing more quietly – but this is the first time anyone has said ‘Notably Aerosmith’s greatest hits skit on SNL.’
Did you ever consider starting a band yourself?
Jay Mohr: You obviously haven’t heard of a little band called U2.
Logan Lynn: (laughs) But for real, Jay has a great voice. I’ve heard it many times in real life and also in that Frank Sinatra scene in Pluto Nash. That wasn’t movie magic. He’s really singing and dancing there and it’s fantastic.
Speaking of movies, do you have a favorite song from My Movie Star?
Jay Mohr: “Nothing’s Ever Wrong” — and it’s not even close. Truly one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. It could go on The River, John Legend could use it, Foo Fighters… There’s no genre where that song isn’t bananas.
Logan Lynn: Awwww. See what I mean? So supportive! For me, it depends on the day. We made the album of originals, as well as a full-length second disc, featuring a bunch of my all-time favorite bands and artists doing covers and remixes of those originals. I have mostly been listening to that second disc, just because it’s such a trip to hear my 80s pop icon Tiffany or bands I love — like The Dandy Warhols and artists like Jarryd James — take these songs on and make them their own. If I had to pick my favorite right now it would be the collaboration I did with Rian Lewis, called “Underground.” It’s a banger. I’m excited that we got to play in so many genres, while also pivoting to that very stripped away experience for the main course.
Jay Mohr: Very well done. The clock was ticking on talking points and you crushed ‘em out.
When exactly did this go from being a standard album into a double album and accompanying film?
Logan Lynn: That also happened kind-of organically and was — at least in part — born from my own anxiety around making such a big genre leap, even though this grand piano trip I’m on will come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to my last few releases. I still love dance music and want to hear my songs that way, even though I have moved into a much quieter space, and I wanted to make sure there were pathways for people to dig this record, even if they don’t dig being in that very quiet, still place with me. I hope they will, though. It’s special in there. As for the featurette, all of the imagery and story for this album has been old Hollywood glamour the whole time, so it made sense to release what would normally have been music videos, as a short film.
Logan Lynn: Well, we do have the 10 songs we couldn’t fit on the album this round that I actually really love and will most likely turn into a follow-up or bonus tracks or something, eventually. We are all super-focused on this release for the time being, though. It’s all My Movie Star all the time for the foreseeable future and I am so happy that time is finally approaching. It’s exciting that people will finally get to hear what we’ve been up to. I’m terrible at secrets and waiting.
What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Jay Mohr: Jeez… Guess it was Lukas Nelson. Such a sweet guy and a brilliant songwriter.
Logan Lynn: I get to see a lot of shows, given that I produce that Keep Oregon Well concert series. We have had over 200 concerts or festivals over the past three years with artists like Desiigner, Flo Rida, Charli XCX, Alice Cooper, Graham Nash, Kevin Bacon, Of Monsters And Men… So it really takes something special to bring me out to a show, or get me to leave my Portland compound in general.
My PDX music buddies-turned-hometown heroes, Portugal. The Man, completely blew up this past year with their song “Feel It Still” and I came out for their hometown victory lap. I’m so f**king proud of them. They were all lined up to be part of this record with us and do a remix for side two, but then they just got too busy with their meteoric rise and we couldn’t make it happen in time. Every time the studio session was booked with John and Kyle to get it banged out, they would win another award or get nominated for a Grammy and get sucked into the epicenter of the pop music vortex. It was hilarious and rad, and has been fascinating to watch people take notice of them in such a huge way. They’re really lovely, talented humans and I’m so happy for them.
When not busy with your career, since we’ve established you aren’t going to tons of shows, how do you like to spend your free time?
Logan Lynn: I write a lot, I watch s**tloads of TV, and I try and only ever do exactly what I want. Always. I say “no” a lot and I spend recklessly on things that make me happy. It’s a lifestyle.
How about you, Jay?
Jay Mohr: I coach high school wrestling and also love fishing from a paddle board in Malibu. I get very manly when I’m not working.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Logan Lynn: Ummmm… Be nice? Don’t do drugs? (laughs)
Jay Mohr: You control time, not the other way around.