Jake Brennan is the creator and host of DISGRACELAND, an award-winning music and true crime podcast. Brennan is also an author, his book DISGRACELAND: Musicians Getting Away With Murder And Behaving Very Badly, was published in 2019 by Grand Central/Hachette.
DISGRACELAND’s spinoff series titled BADLANDS premiered in May 2021 with Season 1, “HOLLYWOODLAND”, exploring stories of Hollywood’s most legendary stars. Season 2, “SPORTSLAND”, dives into true crime stories from some of the world’s most famous athletes.
In 2019, Jake Brennan co-founded Double Elvis Productions, a music focused audio company that has released the hit podcasts Dead and Gone, which Brennan co-created and co-hosts with popular true crime podcaster, Payne Lindsey, as well as the 27 Club and Blood on the Tracks podcasts, which Brennan hosts and produces as well as the hit show, Dear Young Rocker. In 2021, Double Elvis Productions released the podcast Here Comes The Break, in partnership with Def Jam Recordings and iHeart, breaking new ground in music and artist discovery.
I’ve always found that the best songs are the ones that tell the best stories. Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by rock and roll musicians and their journey to the stage. I was obsessed with their rise to stardom, and I’d read anything I could get my hands on – and then when I would tell my friends these stories, they’d think I was making it up. This list includes podcasts that I enjoy from the most gripping narrators in the world of true crime and music.
Dive into a Halloween party, a murder, and a night that haunts partygoers to this day. Journalist Matthew Shaer reports on one of Seattle’s most unsettling crimes that left everyone in the city baffled – even Grammy award winning Macklemore received a plea to weigh in on the case.
Recommended Episode: Redux
All kinds of conspiracy theories are woven into music history. I’m talking about the illuminati, musicians selling their souls to the devil, and old blues folklore tales of voodoo. Most mysteries can easily be solved with evidence and facts. But what happens when the facts are buried too far into the unknown? Ashley does an awesome job tackling that task in Supernatural.
Recommended Episode: The UNKNOWN: Robert Johnson and the Devil
The Grand Scheme tells the story of Barry Keenan kidnapping then-19-year-old Frank Sinatra Jr. in 1963 to secure a hefty ransom of $240,000 from ol’ Blue Eyes. Host John Stamos has stated that the team behind “Snatching Sinatra” was able to verify 98% of what Keenan recounted.
Recommended Episode: Snatching Sinatra | Chapter 9: The Stunt
Nipsey Hussle’s life and legacy had an impact that reverberated beyond music. Nipsey’s presence in LA encompassed a triad of business, philanthropy and social justice. This four-part series by ESPN gives a full view of the man, the musician, and the light known as Nipsey Hussle.
Recommended Episode: The King of Crenshaw Ep2: Where You From?
Crimetown is literally my all-time favorite podcast. When you think about the mob in America, you think of the sleaze of New York, Chicago, or Detroit — not somewhere like Providence, Rhode Island or New Orleans. This podcast dives deep into everything from secret banks to The Ghost’s pet wolves. Definitely check out season one, where “people don’t get fired, they’re fired at.”
Recommended Episode: Divine Providence
Artists like David Bowie, The Notorious B.I.G., Paul McCartney, and Michael Jackson are all icons – icons so massive that their careers often overshadow the women who directly influenced them. About A Girl is a series about the women whose stories have been eclipsed by the legends of their famous partners – think Angie Bowie, Faith Evans, Linda McCartney, or Brooke Shields. This podcast looks back at music history and gives credit where it’s due to the ladies who helped pave the way for their artistic and romantic partners.
Recommended Episode: Rachel Humphreys & Lou Reed
I had a blast hosting this series for Audiochuck especially since the topic of armored truck robberies is so gripping. These kinds of robberies are supposedly the most difficult and dangerous crimes to pull off – but as you’ll quickly learn on Armored, they happen more often than you think.
Recommended Episode: The Boston Job
I’ve found that sometimes the best part of a song isn’t even the song itself – it’s the story behind it. Featuring everything from People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, to Left of the Middle and FanMail, My 90s Playlist takes a deep dive into the jams of yesteryear. Enjoy a bit of new perspective with your nostalgia.
Recommended Episode: Track 5 “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest
Chatting with Billy Jensen last year for Disgraceland about the Zodiac Killer really opened my eyes to Billy’s unique approach to true crime. His show Unraveled discusses the why behind cold cases – it literally investigates the investigation itself.
Recommended Episode: Twelve Months of Misery
Jim Morrison. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Amy Winehouse. Scandalous, tortured, dramatic, and incredibly talented, the artists in the 27 Club torched a wild path to their early graves and shifted and shaped our culture along the way. 27 Club honors their stories.
Recommended Episode: Amy Winehouse Episode 5