Fly with your Shadow

Jim White (episode 20)

July 30, 2021

Jim White ( is a fascinating character who has lived an almost unbelievable life up to this point. It’s his music that got my attention and has brought him the most renown and acclaim, but he didn’t come seriously to music until later in life. Before a rather serendipitous start to that career, he was a professional model, professional surfer, New York University film student, and a New York City taxi driver.

During those early years, Jim was deeply depressed and suicidal and struggling with some dark demons in his soul. Eventually, as you’ll hear in our interview, Jim retreated to his sister’s house in Florida where he withdrew from society almost entirely, but started writing his way through his depression by creating the dark, strange, almost mythological songs that he’s become known for.

An early tape of those songs found its way into the hands of David Byrne, the legendary former leader of Talking Heads. Byrne is one of the most influential artists of his generation, and he guided Jim to a record deal, which he signed before ever performing on stage.

Those magical coincidences kind of follow Jim around. His career has received major boosts when his music was included in several the hugely successful show Breaking Bad, and the subsequent film El Camino, which were headed up by Jim’s former classmate Vince Gilligan, who got his big break working on another big TV series, The X Files.

Jim White has now released 8 full-length albums of his own, as well as a couple of EPs and numerous collaborations with other artists. His 2004 album Drill a Hole in that Substrate and Tell Me what you See includes contributions from Suzie Ungerleider, who appeared on episode 16 of this show. He’s currently producing an album for Ben de la Cour, who was my guest on episode 5.

I’ve got a lot of great stuff left over from this interview that I’ll share on the August 1 episode of my other show, Tell the Band to Go Home, which you can find at

For music credits and more info, visit

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