Interview: Les Bohem

Les Bohem started his music career in the 80’s and has just released a new album. He took the time to answer some questions about both of those and everything in between. Check out the interview below.

 

You first started your creative career in music in the 80’s, so when did you decide to move on to working on screenplays?

I had written a couple of screenplays in the 70s that went nowhere.  The drummer in my college bands was producing movies.  Gleaming Spires was popular in Los Angeles and my friend managed to wrangle me a job writing a script about rock and roll.  Rock and roll movies never get made – but the movie business is, to a large extent, unionized – and so there are protections – like if someone wants you to write something, they pay you for it.  For several years I did both – and writing the scripts for movies that never got made paid my bills.  Writing songs that never got recorded didn’t.

Was that something that was really influenced by your parents careers in screenwriting?

Sure.  My idea of what grown-ups did when they went to work was that they went into the other room and typed.  And they were both wonderful writers, which didn’t hurt.

How do you decide what to work on and when between screenwriting, songwriting, and writing short stories?

It’s instinctive at this point.  I mean, sometimes you know.  “Bruce Springsteen Dyes His Hair” is a song, not a movie.  On the other hand, one of my songs, “the Jimi Hendrix Story” was going to be a short story for a long, long time.  I never could write the story.  I think I a good rule, for me at least, is, “If you can tell it in three minutes, do so…”

Putting what you do into one category is impossible. How would you best describe the career you’ve had up to this point?

Lucky.

What was the best piece of advice given to you when you first dove into the entertainment industry? The worst?

I think the best was from my dad.  “Show, don’t tell.”  It applies to all the things I try to do.  And it’s hard as hell to live up to.

The worst – Don’t give up your day job.
In your opinion, what’s the best thing someone can do to get a creative career going?
Create.  There is no substitute for hard work.  As Rodney Crowell says, “Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes it’s work.”   Lots and lots of people want to live the artistic lifestyle – or want to be famous –  a lot fewer people want to actually put the time in.  Lunch is never free.

Moved to Duarte
 recently came out, what was the inspiration behind that?

I had never made a record – an honest to God record, of my own songs.  Solo.  And I hadn’t written songs in a long time.  Then, in short order, I saw Bruce’s dye job and a sign in a shop window that said, “Moved to Duarte.”  I wrote those two songs.  I was, and am, very proud of them.  Like most “creative people” I hate everything I do, wish I was better, get down on myself etc.  But those two songs – I really liked them.  And so I wrote some more songs.  And I really liked them.

At the same time, I was having a particularly frustrating year at my day job.  Now, I’m a grown man, and people pay me to make shit up, and any complaints that I might have are bullshit.  The only real job I ever had was working in a clothing store.  I’ve never had to lift for a living.  All the same, I was not happy in my work – and the songs I was writing made me happy.  Even the saddest of them.
What else can we expect to see from you in 2017?

I’m working on a couple of TV projects and one feature script.  I have the songs for the next two albums, or another double, ready and will be recording them.  I will play anywhere they’ll have me, so call me if you hav a living room.  Oh, also, I have a script that I want to turn into a graphic novel.  I can’t draw.  It is NOT about superheroes.  Anyone with any thoughts, let me know.

Thank you so much for your time. Where is the best place for our readers to keep up with you?

My pleasure.  Lets see – I’m pretty lame at social media, but my socials are

Gram @movedtoduarte
Twit @newsfromduarte
FB I think is just Les Bohem
And then, you know, the music places – soundcloud evenghas some of my weird demos. And I try to keep my website up.  It’ll send you to my fiction and it has some extra music as well.  it’s lesbohemswonderfulworldoflesbohem.com