Cover art for podcast Above The Basement - Boston Music and Conversation

Above The Basement - Boston Music and Conversation

211 EpisodesProduced by Chuck Clough and Ronnie HirschbergWebsite

Above the Basement offers casual and candid discussions with musicians, artists, producers and others from Boston and beyond. Conversations will inform and entertain listeners with experiences from those shaping Boston's music community and for whom music is a passion. You will hear their stories, h… read more


Episode 186 - JJ Gonson

I saw my first show at Once Ballroom in Somerville a few years ago, entering the building, wondering if I just walked into a bar mitzvah, or as JJ Gonson first thought when she saw the room for the first time, a high school prom.

But on the raised stage I saw the band, Dada. That was only the first time among many. Mostly I was there for the infamous Boston Emissions Rock and Roll Rumble, where the place transformed into a community of music fans and bands who supported each other and the music for which Boston is famous.

JJ Gonson saw the room not as a ballroom, but as an opportunity to share her love of music with the world. That may sound a bit cheesy, but JJ is all about the music.

Starting off as a rock photographer, (she is responsible for the Elliott Smith self-titled album cover as well as his Roman Candle album), she eventually began to manage Elliott’s band Heatmiser and then Elliott himself before he left us all too soon.

ONCE was to become a catering company but soon morphed into one of the great, unique independent venues in Boston. COVID hit hard, unfortunately, and ONCE had to close. But the community JJ worked so hard to pull together through music, well, pulled together to raise money to try and keep ONCE alive. And while the venue did eventually have to close, she was able to go virtual with the ONCE Virtual Venue to give musicians the ability to continue playing for people.

It also gave JJ the opportunity to search for another location, which she found at Boynton Yards. I’ll let her talk about that. But JJ continues to fight for venues, Boston music, and the musicians that make up this amazing city, through her incredible work with Save Our Stages and the National Independent Venue Association.

Suffice it to say that we are all fortunate to have our friend JJ Gonson on our side.

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