Jules Mark Shear
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Jules Mark Shear


Band Pop Adult Contemporary


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"review of MORE"

Jules Mark Shear is living proof that talented musicians who prefer to
remain on the fringes of pop music can maintain a successful career without
kowtowing to the winds of mainstream fad and fashion. On his latest release,
More, Shear delivers a collection of songs that are as fresh, vibrant and
punky as his first release over twenty years ago.

Jules Mark Shear started his career as simply Jules Shear with a L.A.
country-rock group, Funky Kings. His second band, Jules and the Polar Bears,
garnered critical acclaim but little financial success. In 1983 Shear
released his first solo album, Watch Dog, produced by Todd Rundgren. It,
too, failed to dent the pop charts. However Shear¹s songwriting skills
proved to be more commercially viable. He¹s penned hits for Cyndi Lauper,
The Bangles, and Mathew Sweet. In 1986 Iain Mathews recorded an entire album
of Shear¹s material entitled Walking a Changing Line for Windham Hill
records. Shear is also responsible for conceiving the MTV series, Unplugged.
He even hosted its first thirteen episodes.

Shear¹s guitar technique, or lack of it, supplies some insight into his
musical roots. He plays left-handed with the right-handed guitar upside down
tuned to an open-G tuning. He uses his thumb to fret the highest notes as
well as bar the upper strings. To call his method unique may be an
understatement. But Shear has always made music his own way and his guitar
method merely reflects his individualistic bent.

More showcases Shear¹s songwriting talents. Sure, he sings all the leads and
plays guitar, but the songs are the stars here. The overall sound of the CD
returns to rock basics with only drums, bass, and guitar accompanying
Shear¹s vocals. But his songs don¹t need any additional polishing to sound
complete. Some, like ³More,² have been in Shear¹s repertoire for years (I
have a live recording of Shear performing this song in 1994), but most are
recent compositions. My favorite, ³Table and Chairs,² would be right at home
on any compilation of great early-80¹s punk or power-pop singles.

Although punk music may be so dead that it¹s making a comeback, (i.e. Green
Day,) More fully embraces the best Do-it-Yourself ethos of early punk. All
it takes is will, forbearance, and some degree of talent to create
artistically successful music. As to whether More proves to be commercially
successful, well, that¹s up to you.

- Vintage Guitar Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Jules Mark Shear Bio

“I’m howling at the moon and the moon is howling back…”sings Jules Shear on his rockin’ new album, More, which will be released on Funzalo Records in July 2008. On More, Jules worked with producer/engineer extraordinaire, Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole, Dinosaur Jr.). Joined by legendary producer Paul Kolderie (Spacehog, Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo) on bass, Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione, and Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The Lemonheads, Dirty Vegas) on guitar, More is a meatier, more aggressive album for Shear, incorporating his gift for lyrics and melody, with an edgier sound. The title track, More, is an undeniably sexy song, while songs like Comin’ Back, The Tide Had Turned and Table and Chairs contain those Jules Shear hooks that he is so famous for. From beginning to end, Jules Shear’s new album will leave you wanting exactly what the titles says….MORE!
For those not familiar with Jules Mark Shear, or who may have ‘heard the name’, Jules is singer/songwriter from Philly, PA. He has recorded almost twenty albums, and written hit songs for the likes of Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles. He also conceived the idea for and hosted the first 13 episodes of the MTV series Unplugged.
Shear's uncanny ability to avoid repeating himself is all the more remarkable in light of the longevity of his recording career. His career started in the 80’s in Los Angeles, where he started out in the country-rock combo Funky Kings. They recorded one album and then Jules moved on to form Jules and the Polar Bears.
In 1983, he released his first solo album, the critically acclaimed Watch Dog (produced by Todd Rundgren) which sled to a series of consistently impressive releases including The Eternal Return, the stripped down Demo-Itis, the primarily acoustic album, The Third Party, and the very ambitious The Great Puzzle and Healing Bones. In 1997, Shear recorded a project entitled Between Us. This album was a set of original duets with an eclectic assortment of vocal partners, including Rosanne Cash, Paula Cole, and Margot Timmins of Cowboy Junkies. He also collaborated on Raisins In The Sun, with legendary producer Jim Dickinson and acclaimed songwriter, Chuck Prophet, a project that was compared by Entertainment Weekly to The Traveling Wilburys.
Shear's varied catalogue and captivating live performances have won him a devoted fan base that includes numerous fellow artists, many of whom have recorded his compositions. The group includes Cyndi Lauper (who scored a Top Five hit with his "All Through the Night"), The Bangles (who had a hit with his "If She Knew What She Wants"), Alison Moyet (whose cover of Shear's "Whispering Your Name" was a U.K. smash), The Band, Roger McGuinn, 10,000 Maniacs, Curtis Stigers and Jeremy Toback. Fairport Convention co-founder Iain Matthews even recorded an entire album of Shear compositions, 1988's Walking a Changing Line. Shear was the subject of a song by 'Til Tuesday, "J For Jules", after the end of his relationship with that band's singer, Aimee Mann. He also co-wrote the title track of that album, Everything's Different Now, with Matthew Sweet.
"As I get older, I care more about the timeless aspect of making records, and less about making my records sound 'current' or 'competitive' I'm still always looking for that same thrill I got when I was a kid, when I'd hear something great on the radio and be completely blown away by it. I try to keep in touch with that feeling and let the rest of it fall by the wayside. At this point, I kind of realize that I'm not gonna end up on the cover of Rolling Stone, and that I've got a deeper reason for doing this.”

"I'm not interested in getting that one big hit and then being able to retire; I still want to be making records when I'm an old guy," concludes Shear, "My feeling is that if you keep doing good work, good things will happen.…… nothing bad has ever happened to me as a result of putting out a record. So I feel like I'm ahead of the game."