J.D. Boucharde is known for complex, deep-thinking prog-rock concept albums such as his autobiographical Contra Mundum series. His storytelling style served him well when it came time to produce his one-man musical Happy Songs about the War, co-created with local theatrical icon Leigh Scarritt and staged in 2008 at 6th@Penn in Hillcrest.
“It was a musical multimedia call for non-violence,” says Boucharde, who partnered with website-designer Josh Callow for the show’s elaborate Pink Floydian visuals.
Boucharde snagged national press last year when he was joined onstage at the Turf Supper Club by local-boy-gone-glam-star Adam Lambert, who had taken his father to the Golden Hill eatery for Father’s Day. “I hadn’t heard him sing, though I had heard of him,” says Boucharde.
“I don’t watch television, and I sure as hell don’t watch American Idol. Don’t get me on my soapbox about America’s obsession with turning every worthy thing — and even a good many non-worthy things — into a competition. But I sat there and talked to him for a half hour or so. Cool kid. I’ve known his dad and his dad’s wife for a few years. They live in South Park: really, really good people, and I sat and talked with the three of them in the corner of the restaurant.”
Boucharde has a regular gig at the Turf Supper Club every Sunday night at 8 p.m., and he makes his main living teaching piano and playing occasional sessions. He currently has around 30 students, ages four through adult. A new full-length release is planned for later this year.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) Bob Schneider, Lovely Creatures. “I’m all about the songwriting, and Bob’s my new favorite. Innovative, diverse, and deep and wide.”
2) Ben Folds, Supersunnyspeedgraphic, the LP. “This compilation album from three of his EPs has a Dr. Dre cover that should go down in history.”
3) Tim Flack, The Bridge Is on Fire. “Local guitarist breaks up with his girlfriend, writes a bunch of songs about it, and the world listens to his heartache through the walls. The title says it all.”
WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO IN YOUR CAR?
“NPR, especially This American Life podcasts. I spend my life in my car driving to lessons, and I’m addicted to podcasts. Ira Glass’s show is simply the best. The retraction episode on Mike Daisey’s half-baked truths about Apple’s factories in China was extraordinary.”
1) The Alarm, Starlight Amphitheatre, 1991. “They were my favorite band through college. I had just moved here and somehow scored a backstage pass and watched the show alongside the stage. It was my quintessential ‘I’m the king of the world’ moment.”
2) Pink Floyd, Jack Murphy Stadium, 1994. “Sure, Roger Waters was gone by then, and sure, most folks there were in their 40s with babysitters watching their kids. But this was the one time I saw Floyd, and I was in awe. I felt 16 again.”
3) David Wilcox, Coach House, 2005. “He’s my favorite songwriter of all time, and this was just the man and his guitar. The audience was transfixed.”
WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?
“The Spruce Street Bridge in Bankers Hill. It’s a great imprint for me. I moved to San Diego 20 years ago, and my postage stamp–sized flat at Fourth and Laurel was a stone’s throw away. It’s a great place to carelessly idle the day away, alone or otherwise.”
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR WITH?
“George W. Bush. We’d discuss Halliburton, the federal deficit, his Harken Energy stock, the Carlyle Group, his Constitutional amendment record, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“‘People Will Say We’re In Love,’ from the original Oklahoma! soundtrack. My parents used to sing that one to each other on vacations in the car, way back when. Best old-school love song ever.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?
“‘Brother, you have no clue how good it can be.’”
WHAT’S YOUR ADDICTION?
“Netflix. I’m a stage-three cinephile, so, pre-internet, I was always making late-night movie runs, banging on Kensington Video’s door three minutes after closing. No more. Thank you, Netflix.”
“Get into a fistfight.”
SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE?
“Bruce Hornsby’s ‘Mirror on the Wall,’ about all the possibilities of what to do with the second half of your life. Everything’s so strange and new these days.”
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?
“My first girlfriend used to call me Robert Redford, but lately I get film director Jim Jarmusch. That’s quite a drop.”
EVER BEEN A CRIME VICTIM?
“I was living at Fourth and Laurel, lying awake in bed early one morning, and I heard the blinds rattling three feet from my head. I look up and see this dude’s leg coming through the window. It was the most surreal moment. For a second, I simply didn’t know what to do. I yelled at the guy, and he ran. I got dressed quickly and pursued but didn’t catch him or see him again. Maybe I should’ve bit him.” ■