Dennis Quaid is known for his wide-ranging film and television roles, and now the revered actor is eying a career in the podcast business. Quaid has partnered with Audio Up, a content production studio and podcast network, with the goal to make “entertainment for your ears.”
“We’re really busy around here,” Quaid tells me. “Great time to be in the podcast business, terrible time to be in the movie business.”
Audio Up launched on April 1 with the intent to be the YouTube of podcasts, Quaid explains. He likens the company to being that of a movie studio. Each podcast is completely casted with artist deals negotiated. “We’re melding story and music together,” he says. “We’re basically bringing back the concept album and it’s entertainment for your ears.”
Quaid unveiled his original podcast The Dennissance in tandem with the company’s launch. Guests on the first season included Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Bush, John Carter Cash and Albert Pujols. While early interviews were done in the same room, as Covid-19 arrived Quaid quickly pivoted to Zoom chats. He plans to take the podcast on the road during Season 2 to find interview subjects.
“I’ve had a very lucky life and met quite a few very interesting people that I can draw upon from all this,” he says of finding guests for the podcast. “I approach it like an acting role when I’m interviewing somebody. I love to do research on the character that I’m playing, whether they’re fictional or a real-life person. We don’t put a time limit on the interviews, which gives us time to find out something you didn’t know about that person.”
While interview podcasts like The Dennissance are the base of Audio Up’s network, Quaid says a major component of the company includes scripted storytelling. The success of Bear and a Banjo, a podcast that brought musical storytelling to life, inspired Quaid’s idea for another series called Scripts From a Drawer. Unproduced scripts Quaid and other actors like Billy Bob Thornton had lying around will make their way into the podcast platform. These podcast productions will cast actors, include sound effects and mimic the old radio plays to make “a movie for your ears” Quaid says.
Another scripted music podcast in the making is the humorous Uncle Drank: The Totally Hammered Podcast, set to premiere later this year. The eight-part comedy gives a unique take on the country music industry and will feature an original soundtrack released through Warner Records starring Quaid and Gary Busey. “It’s really going to be the worst humor you can possibly imagine,” Quaid warns.
“I’m writing music for all the scripted podcasts we’re doing. Warner Bros. Records is one of Audio Up’s partners and MGM is one of our partners as well,” he continues. “We have access to all of their movie scripts going back to the 1920s so there’s quite a wealth of stories there.”
While the recently married actor is moving full speed ahead with Audio Up, he has also the taken time to write an empowering new song that will debut tonight as part of the virtual 2020 Concert For Love & Acceptance airing via 유튜브 at 7 p.m. ET.
“I wrote a song called ‘America I Love You Too,’ which is about love and acceptance and uniting,” he says, before reciting the track’s lyrics. “We’re all a shade of black or white or brown/ Rich or poor, gay or straight, or from out of town/ Why can’t we all just get along?”
As Quaid gears up Season 2 production of The Dennissance, he aims to learn the essence of each future guest. While the 2020 United States presidential election and racial equality are current discussions, Quaid hopes Season 2 of The Dennissance will include conversations with Pete Buttigieg, the former 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, and Jim Brown, a former running back and Civil Rights activist.
“The concept for me is I treat it as if I’m going to play them in a movie,” he says of preparing for podcast guests on The Dennissance. “I’m doing my research on them as a character, so my line of questioning is a little different. I’m trying to figure out the essence of them and what makes them tick.”