Filking Mini Interviews with Jeff Bohnhoff (Featured Filker), Gary Ehrlich, Denise Gendron

Boskonians! Filking has long been a part of Boskone’s program, and filkers (i.e. musicians) from far and wide come to filk and talk music every February. In honor of our filking traditions, we’ve got a special set of Mini Interviews for you today, which features Jeff Bohnhoff (one of our Featured Filkers), Denise Gendron, and Gary Ehrlich. Sit back and enjoy the Filking Mini Interviews.

Jeff Bohnhoff

Jeff Bohnhoff is a professional musician, songwriter and recording engineer/producer. With his wife Maya, he has released 5 CDs including 3 albums of hilarious parodies of classic rock songs, and 2 albums of beautiful original songs. He has also produced albums for Seanan McGuire, Nancy Freeman, Mary Crowell, Betsey Tinney, Twotonic (Katy Dröge Macdonald and Steve Macdonald) and Harmony Heifers. He is currently working on new albums with Scott Snyder and Char McKay. Midichlorian Rhapsody, a spot-on parody of Bohemian Rhapsody from Jeff and Maya’s most recent album Grated Hits, went viral on Youtube. Jeff and Maya have been frequent musical Guests of Honor at cons all over the US and the world, including the UK, Germany and Canada. Visit Jeff’s website, friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @mysticfic.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

I’m especially looking forward to connecting again with the community of musicians and writers from the east coast community. Maya and I were last in New England in 2003, so it has been too long. Boskone offers a rich combination of activities from the literary, visual and musical arts, and I want to meet the creative people involved with all of them.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m currently producing an album for the filk artist Scott Snyder. It’s a collection of songs about gaming called Rock and Roll to Hit. As of this writing, I’m at the mixing stage, which is always a fun challenge. Mixing involves thousands of decisions, that all affect each other. You can take the same set of raw tracks and get very different results depending on how you mix it. I love sculpting sound, especially when I have such a strong set of tracks to work with.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

I like to describe my parody work as a classic rock FM radio station that has gone feral. For our parody recordings, I try to match the production of the original song as closely as I can, so that ideally, you can’t tell it’s different until the lyrics come in.

Denise Gendron

Denise Gendron has been reading SF since 1966, teaching music since 1976, and filking since Lois Magnan pulled her in from the hallway to sing. She has written about two dozen music books and recently released her fourth CD of original music.

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

I love the energy at Boskone. Apparently, if you gather that many intelligent, curious people in one place, you can feel the potential! I always come home inspired and eager to tackle my next project.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

As usual, I’m working on several projects; two music instruction books, various compositions, and a musical (all in addition to teaching!). The musical is taking a long time to write because it is complex. It doesn’t appear to be genre inspired, but I would never have started it without the inspiration I get from sf. I also plan on referring to as much sf/fantasy literature as I can, mostly through favorite quotes. I am thoroughly studying Dr. Who and Sherlock to improve my plotting, dialogue, and scene building skills. Steven Moffat’s brilliance is both inspiring and intimidating.

From a fan perspective, what new book, film, TV show, or comic are you most looking forward to seeing/reading?

Due to a big sale, coupons, and hoarded gift certificates I recently amassed enough Dr. Who DVDs to last me for months! Most exciting is last year’s collection, as I have only seen the first episode with Peter Capaldi (and that only weeks ago!). Bring on the blizzards, I know what I’ll be doing!

Gary Ehrlich

Gary Ehrlich is a mild-mannered structural engineer who stalks Northeast conventions singing of space flight, lunar colonies and hyperspace hotels. Gary is a past chair of NEFilk’s Conterpoint incarnation and is Balticon’s Director of Filk and Other Musical Mayhem. Gary is a 2012 inductee into the Filk Hall of Fame. For more information, visit Gary’s Livejournal.

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

I was originally drawn to Boskone by its fine filk program, but quickly came to appreciate the strength of its literary program as well. The program committee always seems to do an excellent job at scheduling a wide spectrum of panel topics, not just the same “Religion/Economics/Political Systems/Humor in SF” panels that you can find on almost every general SF convention schedule. Favorites have included “What’s So Cool About the Middle Ages, Anyway?”, “Bad Science on TV”, “Boston as Setting”, and “Fun with (or Fear of) Genetics?”.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

Thematically, my songs often come from the media and literary ends of the fannish and filk pool. I have songs about Star Trek, Babylon 5, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, and Zenna Henderson’s People stories. I’ve also been known to work city or building imagery into songs – that’s my engineering background and architectural interests breaking through. Musically, I include James Keelaghan, Schooner Fare, and Pete and Maura Kennedy among my inspirations. I’m one of those rare folks who’s adept at both funny and serious material, which means you often never know exactly what kind of song I’m going to launch into next!

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

The event that looms largest over my years in fandom is my first trip to Canadian filk convention FilKONtario in 1994. My maternal grandmother passed away during the weekend, but for various reasons I chose to stay in Canada. Many of the folks who helped comfort me I had just met for the first time in person (having corresponded on-line previously via the GEnie Science Fiction Round Table). Meanwhile, outside of the personal crisis it was a great convention musically and otherwise. That weekend established for me what a perfect filk convention and a fannish community should be. I strive for those ideals when helping run conventions and in my local filk and fan communities.

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