Rock House Podcast

Stories from the music underground of Boston and beyond

Season 4 - Four Questions

One episode per week about the new band, Learson Peak

Stephen and Michelle Learson take you on their journey of running the indie rock band, Learson Peak. Follow us to see if we can make it through the music underground of Boston and beyond.

S4 Episode 8: Gems of 2018

Songs You Should Have Heard in 2018

In this final episode of Season 4, Stephen shares 10 of his favorite songs released in 2018. This is a specially curated list of songs under 500,000 Spotify plays that you might have missed but should have heard. You can find the full list here: Gems of Each Year.

S3 Episode 2: Burning Slow

The Story Behind the First Track

We explore the first song off of the Learson Peak album - Burning Slow. Find out why Stephen wrote the song, and all the cool synthesizers he used to create the effects. Michelle gives us an update on the the past weekend and formation of the Learson Peak live band. 

S3 Episode 1: Gems of 2017

Songs You Should Have Heard in 2017

Welcome to 2017! For a second year in a row, Stephen brings you his pick for top 10 must-hear songs of 2017. Check out the Stephen’s playlist of Gems of Each Year, and let us know what you think.

Season 3 Teaser

After a year of working on Stephen's new album, Learson Peak - we're back with a brand new season. Season 3 will bring to your ears a deconstructed view of each track on the new album. Stay tuned for the Rock House Supernova.

S2 Episode 8: Gems of 2016

Songs you should have heard last year

In this special New Years episode, Stephen shares 11 of his songs from Gems of Each Year - an annual specially curated list of our favorite songs released in 2016 that you might have missed. 

S2 Episode 7: Sax and Songwriting

Karl Denson of Lenny Kravitz And The Rolling Stones

Karl Denson - an acclaimed singer, saxophonist and floutist - reflects on his journey in jazz and rock music. Karl has had a long career touring and recording with a wide variety of artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Soulive, and The Rolling Stones. He also leads his own successful project - Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

S2 Episode 6: From YouTube to the Grammys


Michael League, leader of the Grammy award-winning band Snarky Puppy, reveals what it was like to write with David Crosby.

S2 Episode 5: A Drummer with Good Taste


Ian Chang, a classically-trained drummer from Hong Kong, explains how his voracious appetite led him to the maximalist band Son Lux. We had a chance to speak with Ryan Lott, leader of Son Lux, as well as guitarist Rafiq Bhatia. Special thanks to Adam Schatz (Landlady) and Justin Chang (Ascot Chang) for being guests on our show.

S2 Episode 4: Rules We Break On Tour

Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz

Turkuaz, a colorful 9-piece power funk band from Brooklyn, shares how the band originally formed, chose their name and grew their fan base. Singers Sammi and Shira read through a list of the band's rules of the road - which they break all the time, and we also get a chance to hear from Thor Harris, the original author of the viral list: "How to Tour in a Band or Whatever." Stephen gets to practice a fascinating vocal tip.

S2 Episode 3: Why I Left Passion Pit


Jeff Apruzzese, former bassist for Passion Pit, reveals why he left the band and joined Berklee Popular Music Institute. We complete the Altamont story with Jeff Dorenfeld, our guest from Episode #2.

S2 Episode 2: Creating Festival University

Jeff Dorenfeld of BERKLEE Popular Music Institute

Meet the man who has seen it all: Jeff Dorenfeld. He's the former manager of the multi-platinum band Boston, former tour manager for Sammy Hagar, and former tour accountant for Ozzy Osbourne. Jeff is the mastermind behind the launch of the Berklee Popular Music Institute (BPMI), a new experiential program that is taking students to large music festivals across the nation such as Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and Electric Daisy Carnival New York.

S2 Episode 1: Power Funk

Nikki Glaspie of The Nth Power

Season 2 of the Rock House kicks off with one of the most talented drummers in the music industry: Nikki Glaspie. Nikki has played with Beyonce, Chaka Kahn, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Maceo Parker, Destiny's Child and George Michael. In 2012,

Nikki left Beyonce and started her own band, The Nth Power. In this episode, we were lucky enough to speak with Nikki as well as Nate Edgar (bass) and Nick Cassarino (guitar, vocals).

Thank you to our sponsor Izotope for making our show possible. Special thanks to Sounds of Berklee podcast
Photo Credit: Jeremy Scott

Season 2 Teaser

Mrs. Elaine Friedlander of FRIEDLANDER Piano Studio

SURPRISE! We have a very special BONUS track where we introduce Turkuaz - one of our feature bands for Season 2 of the Rock House. After the short preview, Stephen spends some time with his long-time piano teacher, Mrs. Elaine Friedlander of Friedlander Piano Studio. Meanwhile, Michelle gives us an update on her Podquest.

S1 Episode 12: Pimps of Dance Vibes

Brian J of Pimps of Joytime

In our Season 1 finale episode we bring you a glimpse into the mysterious life of Brian J, lead guitarist and singer for the Brooklyn band Pimps of Joytime. David Bailis (bass / keyboards / synths) discusses the band's song-writing process and gigging thirty nights a month in Brooklyn while Kim Dawson (vocalist) shares her perspective on working with Brian. Stephen and Michelle prepare for Season 2.

S1 Episode 11: Wild Wild Writing

Evan Friedell of Jimkata

Evan Friedell, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the electronic rock band Jimkata discusses pandas, failure and the future. Evan's brother, Russ, reflects on their childhood while Aaron Gorsch (synth & guitar) shares skateboarding memories, and Packy Lunn (drums) compares Russ and Evan's personalities. Finally, Stephen and Evan resolve some unspoken tensions.

S1 Episode 10: Building Bands and Brands

Russ Friedell of Levitate Artist Management

How did Russ Friedell become the manager of Jimkata and Big Mean Sound Machine? How do you build your band's brand? Russ shares his experience with marketing, promotion and touring. Angelo Peters, Evan Friedell and Packy Lunn weigh in their thoughts. Stephen is evasive on his experience touring with Jimkata in 2015.

S1 Episode 9: Life of a Brooklyn Freelancer

Grant Zubritsky

Grant Zubritsky is a well-known Brooklyn bassist who has performed internationally with an impressive list of artists such as Nina Persson (lead singer for The Cardigans), Alex Winston and Cymbals Eat Guitars. He's spending the first part of 2016 on tour with MS MR and the High Highs in Australia. Grant also records and produces his own projects which include Lazer Cake and Monuments.

S1 Episode 8: Step Into Her Office

Marie Kim of Blank Paper and MS MR

Marie Kim is a Berklee-trained keyboardist, singer, songwriter, and sound engineer. An accomplished musician from Brooklyn, NY, Marie leads an original synth-pop group called Blank Paper. She has toured the world with bands such as MS MRSt. Lucia, and X Ambassadors.  When she’s not on tour, Marie is the Front of House engineer at Webster Hall – one of the largest venues in New York City.

S1 Episode 7: Death-Funk Dance

Luke Bemand of Lespecial

Born in the woods of Connecticut and raised in the wilds of Boston, lespecial has established themselves as an aggressive death funk trio. Luke Bemand, the bassist for lespecial, talks about how the band was first created, the making of the lespecial's latest album - Omnisquid, and living in Allston rat city. 

S1 Episode 6: Gear and Gadgets

Vin Pugliese of The Hornitz and Pink Talking Fish

Mr. Vin Pugliese - a talented lighting designer, engineer, artist and juggler - shares his experiences with building video domes, mapping 3D projections, touring with The Hornitz, and cruising down the Charles in his motorboat. Stephen gets a chance to geek out about synthesizers.

S1 Episode 5: The Mad Mauritian

Chris Narainen of Lord Almighty, Proplydz and Jazz First

Welcome to our metal episode. You'll hear first hand from drummer Chris Narainen of Lord Almighty, Proplydz and Jazz First about what it's like to be a financier-turned-rockstar from the exotic island of Mauritius. We'll also give you an update about our start-up podcast endeavors, Stephen's solo project Psychic Spies, and Michelle's wedding plans.

S1 Episode 4: The Supernatural Gig

Andy Vernon of Slave Dog

Stephen and Michelle go home for the holidays and interview an old friend: Andy Vernon. Andy talks about playing with Slave Dog, growing up with the guitar, playing Nirvana and Green Day, and recounts an especially strange convention one night at the Holiday Inn.

S1 Episode 3: Craft Beer Banter

Forrest Chess of The Indobox and Normal Instruments

Ever wonder what it’s like to manage a band? Forrest Chess is a seasoned manager, booking agent, production manager and craft beer connoisseur. Hear his views about the underground music industry in this third episode of our Rock House Podcast.

S1 Episode 2: Scranton Made


Mike Carter can really shred a guitar – but can he cast some pod? Find out in this second episode of the Rock House where we interview Mike about growing up in Scranton, playing with The Indobox, and performing with the Disco Biscuits at the House of Blue in Boston.

S1 Episode 1: Viking Drumming


Jules Jenssen is a viking band leader, drummer, DJ and friend. Our very first episode features music from Ross Jenssen: Jules' new heavy futuristic instrumental project featuring powerful electric bass and drums.