Hollywood icon Dennis Quaid chats about new podcast

With a resumé of films that includes “Breaking Away,” “The Right Stuff,” “Frequency,” “The Rookie,” “The Parent Trap” and “A Dog’s Journey,” Dennis Quaid has been a Hollywood staple for more than four decades.

Those in the Ridgefield area know that Quaid is also something of a rockstar, fronting the band Dennis Quaid & the Sharks, which plays at the Ridgefield Playhouse year after year.

Now, the Hollywood legend has added podcaster to his impressive list of credits. Quaid recently teamed with Audio Up founder and CEO Jared Gutstadt to release his first podcast interview series appropriately titled, “The Dennissance.”

Keith Loria: Where did you get the idea to do a podcast?

Dennis Quaid: I had not even heard of podcasts until I was asked by iHeart Media’s Jared Gutstadt to host “Bear and a Banjo” a couple of years ago and it turned out to be the No. 2 music podcast. From there, Jared and I decided to start our slate of shows, so we’re sort of like a podcast studio. I have the interview show, which is “The Dennissance,” and we have another slate of reality shows and some comedies. We’re also going to be doing more. It’s a very exciting time.

KL: Who will you be talking to on “The Dennissance” show?

DQ: It’s people who I have known in my life and it’s fun to find out what makes them tick in a different way than you might see in other interviews. I like to have people on who have other interests outside of what we know them for. And they have to be a good talker. It’s a great way to tell stories and let people use their imagination.

KL: What sort of setup do you have? Do you run the podcast from a home studio?

DQ: My home studio is getting there. Right now, it’s a laptop and a phone on a tripod. My first guest was Billy Ray Cyrus, which was done in person, which is a great way to develop chemistry with someone when you’re interviewing them in the same room. Everything else has been done during the lockdown and interviewing guests on Zoom.

KL: Does doing interviews on Zoom make it more challenging because you’re not in the same room?

DQ: I find that if you just let people talk, they do the job for you. But I do like the chemistry of being in the same room with someone.

KL: You have been doing the late-night talk shows for years. Did you ever think that you would be interviewing people yourself?

DQ: I never thought I would be doing that, but as an actor, all the different roles I have played, there is always research going into finding out about the character or meeting the person I am playing and finding out what makes that tick. That’s my favorite part of movie making. I brought that research method to my podcast.

KL: As the show goes on, do you find that you’re getting more comfortable and establishing your own style?

DQ: For sure. At first, there was a tingle of fear down my spine, which makes me think that maybe I should try something like that because it takes me out of my comfort zone. Being the interviewer, it definitely was not my comfort zone but as time goes by, I’m really learning to enjoy it.

KL: How long do the interviews tend to run because I know sometimes things are cut out and edited.

DQ: I’m finding that an hour is about the usual time and it always feels that it went by really fast.

KL: Who are some dream people you would like to have on as future guests?

DQ: I would love to have Bill Clinton on and not talk politics at all. I’ve had a very lucky life and have known so many different kinds of people from so many different walks of life, so there’s no end to the people I would love to talk to.

KL: Do you find yourself influenced by any of the great interviewers of our time — Carson, Leno or anyone like that?

DQ: I remember a show, “The Tomorrow Show,” [hosted by Tom Snyder] and you felt like you were in a lounge after hours talking things over. I like to think it’s like that.

KL: Without picking favorites, who is one of the more interesting guests you’ve had on lately that you think people will enjoy listening to?

DQ: I had Albert Pujols on during the lockdown, and he’s a baseball player from the Angels, and I really got to know about from where he came in the Dominican Republic, and that was very interesting. It was very much an American dream story come true. It was very heartfelt and genuine.

KL: What other guests do you have coming up?

DQ: We just taped a “Parent Trap” reunion, which was the first time all of us had been together in quite a while. I turned the tables on Adam Carolla and I had my good friend Billy Bob Thornton. Also, Tanya Tucker is a really great interview. We’re just going to keep it going.

KL: You mentioned “The Parent Trap”, will you be doing any other movie reunions?

DQ: I would love to. I’m hoping to get Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J together for an “Any Given Sunday” reunion. That would be fantastic.

KL: With summer coming up, this is usually the time you’d be heading out with your band and making a stop at Ridgefield. How have you been scratching your music itch during the stay-at-home time?

DQ: I’ve been focusing on piano, which I learned a bit of when I played Jerry Lee Lewis back in the ’80s. It’s given me time to sit down and play about 4-5 hours a day and really take a master course in it. It’s been really gratifying.