"UNRELEASHED: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018" to be released November 23rd/Black Friday on Detroit's Jett Plastic Recordings
“Jonny Polonsky is a true original. His music should be celebrated everywhere.”
“Baby, you’re a real motherfucker. And I mean that in the best sense of the word.”
Over his storied and dynamic career as a solo artist, Jonny Polonsky has been a secretly prolific
artist. Secretly, we say, because five full length records over a 22 year period is hardly turntable runneth-over territory. But unbeknownst to the world at large, Jonny had been constantly writing and recording music, he just wasn’t making it available for public consumption. Now, his UNRELEASHED: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018 will be released by Detroit's Jett Plastic Recordings on Black Friday, November 23rd. The choice to release on Record Store Day was prescient, as the special vinyl gatefold edition comes in a limited run of colored vinyl; it will also be available digitally and on CD (with 3 bonus tracks). The stellar album art was created by underground legend Bossdog,
Where did Jonny disappear to, after his critically lauded debut album Hi My Name is Jonny captured the ears of thousands of listeners in the mid 1990’s? It would be another 8 years until his second album, The Power of Sound was released. Where’d the guy go and what happened to all of the music he had been making?
“I disappeared into a wine bottle and watched a lot of Ally McBeal,” Jonny admits. Fittingly, he took a rock n roll cliché and twisted it into something typically quirky and endearing. Touché.
“I was unable to handle the tiny modicum of success that came with the response to my first
record, and I imploded,” Jonny reveals with the self effacing candor that has made him a fan,
critic and media darling for over two decades. “I didn’t get dropped from American, I asked to be let out of my contract. From there, I spiraled and was kind of lost on the moors for a long time.”
Didn’t he ever see An American Werewolf in London? “Steer clear of the moors….” Well. That is all ancient history. What was the catalyst for releasing this collection of previously unreleased music?
“About six months ago, the thought occurred to me that I should release a greatest hits record.
Which is, of course, ridiculous because I don’t have any hits. But the idea quickly morphed into
a compilation record of all the best songs from the last 20 years that I never put on a record.
That idea sounded exciting to me.”
Thus, the unleashing of these unreleased songs has begotten UNRELEASHED: Demos and
Rarities 1996-2018. 18 tracks that slipped through the cracks. (Plus three extra songs on cd
and digital platforms). What are these songs about? To what treasures of Man’s psyche do these lost tomes possess access?
“ ‘The Same Song’ is something I had kicking around for years, but only ended up finishing
when I first moved to LA. I had met Lyle Workman when he was playing in Frank Black’s band,
and Lyle co-produced the track. Nick Vincent (another Frank Black alumnus), who had played
on my original FB demos, played the drums. The song is basically about loneliness, lust and
romance. About two people coming together and not worrying about anything further than two or three hours down the road.”
What about the provocatively titled “What a Wonderful Way to Die?”
“All my songs tend to be about love, sex and death. What else is there? Sometimes not physical
death, but the death of a way of being, of operating in the world. You can see things from a
brand new perspective and it’s like your old identity has disappeared and you’ve acquired a new
one. That’s a kind of death, too.”
And how about the lead off track, “Everywhere All the Time?”
“That song was actually written and recorded around 2007, but I feel like it really describes the
chaotic, divisive, mean spiritedness that permeates so much of our daily lives right now. ‘You’re
everywhere all the time, but nobody sees you there.’ People talk a lot about being one human
family and loving and accepting one another, despite our superficial differences in beliefs or
appearances. But we still have a long way to go. I personally feel hopeful and optimistic about
humanity, but I had to vent my frustration and pain about this all-too-frequently cruel and insane