Riveting Riffs Logo One  Interview with Hope Juber Part Two
Hope Juber Photo B

 Hope Juber Interview continued from Part One

Just a few days prior to our conversation there was jubilation in the Juber household as one of their two daughters Ilsey appeared on Saturday Night Live, as a background singer for Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson as they performed “Happy Christmas War Is Over.” Ronson and Cyrus also performed the song “Nothing Breaks Like the Heart,” written by Ilsey Juber. A small sampling of other artists for whom Ilsey Juber has written songs includes, Michael Bublé (“Love You Anymore”), several songs for Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson (“Meaning of Life”), Linkin Park (“Talking to Myself”), Beyoncé (“All Night”), as well as songs for Drake, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and a lot of others.

So mom how did you feel, we asked Hope Juber.

“I was crying, laughing and I was nervous. I was excited. It was great!

I have the greatest daughters and I am just so proud of them. They are both amazing women. Let’s start with Ilsey, because you brought that up. She is a songwriter and she has a remarkable career. The trajectory that she is on is incredible. She has been focused on songwriting since she was really tiny.

We knew Ilsey was going to be in music and there are a couple of reasons for that. Laurence and I are both into music. My dad wrote the themes to the Gilligan show and also The Brady Bunch, so there is a history of songwriting in my family and of course (my husband) Laurence is such a great musician.

Hope Juber Photo CThen Hope Juber shares the family secret and magical spell that Ilsey was under since she was born. Well those are our words with a bit of hyperbole thrown in for good measure.

She explains, “When I was pregnant with Ilsey, Laurence was in the studio with George Harrison and I really wanted to meet George Harrison. I have always loved The Beatles and I especially love the guitar, so I wanted to meet George Harrison. We made arrangements for the next day, so I would go in and meet George Harrison, but that night I went into labor. I was no, no, I can’t have this baby! (Ilsey obviously was not going to pass up an opportunity like this!) I have to go to the studio, but it doesn’t work that way. Ilsey was going to come when she was going to come. I went to the hospital and I had the baby.

The next day Laurence went off to work with George Harrison. I was at the hospital holding the baby and the phone rang. It was George Harrison on the phone and he said I just heard that you had the baby and he said as soon as you are able I would like to meet you and the baby. Ilsey was two days old and the first place that she ever went was the recording studio. George came and he lifted her out of the baby carrier and he took her into the studio. It was a big cavernous studio with a wood floor and he started dancing around the studio with the baby (Ilsey). He was talking to her and we just stood back and watched. It was very magical. At the end he came over to me and he said something to me in Sanskrit. He touched her on the forehead. He handed her to me and I said what did you say to her? He said, well I was just dancing and enjoying the energy of this new life and at the end I decided I would like to give her the gift of music, so I did.”

The Beatles connection is a common thread throughout Hope Juber’s life, so we decided to talk about this for a few minutes.

“I always feel like meeting Laurence started when I was seven, because that is when I fell in love with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and I became a big fan of their music. I always loved The Beatles. People who knew me, knew two things at the very least, they knew that I had red hair and that I loved The Beatles. All of a sudden there was magic on TV and it changed everything. It was such an incredible moment. (She laughs as she says) I never recovered. Every time a new album came out I thought it is getting even more amazing. It just kept going that way. I had so much respect for their growth musically and their growth spiritually and how they affected all of the styles. It was incredible to me. It was like living through Beethoven.

In college I wrote a thesis based (entirely) on lyrics by The Beatles. It always meant a lot to me. I was never the girl screaming on the other side of the fence, but I was the one going I love this band, I just love this band. When I graduated from college and I was writing that is when John (Lennon) was killed. I don’t know anybody our age who doesn’t remember that day. It devastated me, as it did most people who loved that band. It was so astounding to have an artist assassinated like that. It affected me. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to eat. I just stopped. My parents started getting really concerned about me, because I went into this existential depression. After a while my mother called me and said I know what will make you feel better, why don’t you go get your hair done? When she said that to me I thought I am having this major existential depression and she wants me to have my hair done. I also know she was my mom, she loved me and she wanted me to feel better. I said okay I will get my hair done. She made an appointment at a salon for me.

I went there and the hairdresser was doing my hair and he said what is going on with you? Why are you so sad? What is happening? I said I have been really depressed since John Lennon was shot. He said I have one more client, so why don’t you go downstairs and walk around the block once and he said when you are done, I will be done and we can go have a cup of coffee. I went downstairs and I started walking around this block. I wasn’t really looking where I was going and I had my head down. It ended up I walked straight into somebody. Bam! It ended up that I was standing on a pair of boots. I looked up and I was standing on Ringo Starr in the middle of the sidewalk and he was there with his soon to be wife Barbara (Bach). I was just stunned, because I was literally standing on Ringo. I said I am just so sorry, I didn’t mean to step on you. I am so sorry about John. I turned to leave and he said hold on a minute. Can I talk to you for a minute? I said sure. I didn’t know him at all. I was so stunned. He talked to me about his relationship with John and about how for him work was the most important thing, because it was a real focus and it how it can really help you. He gave me this pep talk and it was unbelievable. He told me about a new album he was working on and how it was really bringing him through this period of time. I thanked him when he was finished talking and I went home and I thought about it a lot, because it just came out of the blue and it was Ringo Starr,” she says. Hope Juber Photo D

We are not done yet folks! Juber continues, “A couple of days later my dad called and he said there is a new show coming on NBC and I would like you to come down and be a writer on this show. I had said no to my dad a few times for shows that he was working on, because I really wanted to do it on my own and I had even changed my name. I didn’t want to do it, because of my dad or my brother. I was going to say no (this time), but all of a sudden I had this flash of talking to Ringo and when he said work is the thing that can really pull you through. I said maybe this is the thing that I need and maybe I should do that. I agreed with my dad and I started writing on the Brady Brides.

I went to Paramount and I worked on the Brady Brides. Our soundstage was right next to the Mork & Mindy soundstage. I ended up in a relationship with Robin Williams from Mork & Mindy. He was going to New York to do The World According to Garp and he wanted me to come to New York with him. I couldn’t because we were filming. He said if you go on hiatus call my house and get the address of where I am going to be and then come there. We went on hiatus and I called his house and this woman named Charlie with a very thick English accent answered the phone. She said Robin told me that you would be calling and to let you know where he is staying. I will let him know you are coming.

I went to New York to be with Robin and one night he was doing an interview. He said I am going to send you to a club to wait for me. I got in the car and I went to the club. I heard that someone was talking to Paul McCartney’s guitar player. I thought that was pretty cool. I didn’t know the members of Wings, but I thought it was a good thing. I was talking at the bar with this woman who said she is a singer and she had some musician friends she was working with and did I want to meet them. I said sure. These three guys walked towards me and Laurence was in the middle. It was like one of these crazy movie moments where everything else got all fuzzy and fell away and there was just Laurence and me. There was this instant electricity. I forgot all about waiting for Robin and I left with Laurence. We went out for dinner and we went back to his apartment where there was this big Wings poster. I had not put the two things together that he was the guitarist they were talking about. I said wait a minute that’s you. He said yes I was in that band Wings.

We started talking and he started telling me about this old girlfriend that he had and that she was staying in LA, while she was doing an album. He also told me whose house she was staying at. I said no she’s not at his house. He said what do you mean? I said she is at Robin’s house, because I talked to her right before I came to New York. I was on the phone with Laurence’s old girlfriend.

Then he started telling me about this album he had been working on with Ringo, so that album Ringo was telling me about, Laurence was playing guitar on it. It was so crazy. Laurence started talking about marriage the night that we met. He knew. In April it will be thirty-eight years ago that I met Laurence. He said the moment that he saw me at the club he knew we were getting married. He said there was not a doubt in his mind that we were getting married.

It is so crazy, because my dad when he was writing in LA he went to New York for a week and he ended up meeting my mother. He decided to stay another week. He fell madly in love with her immediately. When I was in New York with Laurence I decided to stay another week, because when we met it was obviously something very special. I called home and my mother answered the phone, so I told her I was going to stay in New York for another week. My mom yelled to my dad, she is going to stay another week in New York I heard my dad yell back to her; she’s going to marry him. My mother said what him? She didn’t say anything about a him. If she is staying another week in New York she met a him and she is going to marry him, my dad said. It is so crazy. That is how I met Laurence.

I think the most important thing to take away from this story is if your mom wants you to get your hair done, do it,” she says.

Hope Juber adds, “I seem to somehow be tangentially connected to The Beatles and that whole cosmic swirl. On my side I have this very Americana, Pop, Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, while on Laurence’s side it is very English. We live at the nexus of Pop culture over here (she laughs lightly).

Never one to follow the usual paths whether in her personal life or creative collaborations, Hope Juber met Marcella (Marcy) Detroit, one of the three members of the singing group The Nasty Housewives (don’t forget to put “the” in front or you will not like the results) at the gym.

She tells the story, “That is my key secret to finding partners, people to work with, friends and everything. Go to the gym. I met pretty well everyone that I work with at the gym. Marcy and I were on exercise machines next to each other and it was right before the 2016 election. I looked over at her and she was shaking her head with her head in her hand and I said are you okay? She said no. I am not. I can’t stand him and she was referring to our current president. We bonded over our mutual hatred of the orange one and we started talking about different things and I found out that she is a songwriter (Editor’s Note: Marcella Detroit has enjoyed an outstanding music career. Google her. The other member of the trio is Roberta Freeman has also experienced a stellar music career).

I had an idea for a parody of a song that I thought would be fun to do. She came over to work on it and it turned into an original song. That is how The Nasty Housewives started. That album came together so quickly. We liked nasty, because of that nasty woman thing and then since I had The Housewives (more about this in a moment) it just seemed to make sense to go with The Nasty Housewives.

The Nasty Housewives has some of its roots in a band that Hope Juber had earlier in her career and it was simply called The Housewives.

“I liked the band The Waitresses in 1978. I thought it was such an unusual name for a band, so I thought if I had a band what would I call it? I (decided on) The Housewives, because nobody had ever done anything like that before. I started writing this list of song titles. I thought a band called The Housewives should do a song called “Ironing Board,” or a song called “Be My Babysitter,” and “Call a Repair Man.” I had all of these ideas for songs. I didn’t have a band called The Housewives till I met Laurence and we got married. I was cast into that role all of a sudden, because I gave birth to Nico nine months exactly after our wedding night. I was immediately a new mother and I was all of a sudden surrounded by baby stuff and a house. I thought I can start writing these songs. Hope Juber Photo E

I told Laurence I have this idea and I asked him if he would be interested in helping me with the music. We started writing songs together. All of a sudden they just started coming out. Sometimes I would do the lyrics and he would do the music and sometimes I would come up with the melody and I would just sing it to him. It would go back and forth like that. The Housewives We did a lot of television spots. We were on the Home Show and Oprah and all of those kinds of shows. I fell into it with no training whatsoever and it wasn’t anything that I even thought I had the talent to do until I was actually doing it.

Sometimes when you open that channel it just starts to flow through you. I was waking up in the middle of the night and almost seeing lyrics in the air. Sometimes I didn’t write them, I just discovered them. They were just there. Other times if I was in the shower or something the whole song would just fall into my head,” says Juber.

Hope Juber talks about her relationship with Laurence, “It is not always a good idea to work with your spouse, but for Laurence and me it turned out to be the best idea. I produce all of his albums. I have a respect for creativity and I think sometimes artists who are beginning to create something need to feel like they have the complete freedom to try anything. Sometimes if the door they walk through isn’t the right door it doesn’t work, but you have to go through that door to get to the next one. If you get shut down you never go any further and with Laurence’s guitar playing I can see ways of letting him feel safe to try anything and getting him to places as a producer is one of the joys of my life. He is such an incredible guitarist and I am so fortunate to be able to work with him. We have three hours of covers of The Beatles. That is very special to me, because I was able to hand Paul McCartney an album of Beatles’ songs that I produced. What an incredible moment right?

I am always very conscious of the emotional communication in every song. It is one thing to move your fingers really fast, but it is another thing to move people. You have to be saying something and even if it is just instrumental you have to be saying something. There are ways to say things when it shuts people down and if you say that was no good, all of a sudden somebody feels judged, but if you say it like this, when you get to that place instead of going to this kind of fill, why don’t you go to this kind of fill and see where that goes. That is a positive and it is a construction. It doesn’t negate anything that they have already done. It allows them to try other things and that is when you get the magic.

I am so lucky, because Laurence and I are almost thirty-eight years into this relationship and it just gets better and better. All marriages take work, but when it works and it works great, there is nothing better. I don’t ever take it for granted.”

Hope Juber also wants you to know that Laurence and her are incredibly proud of their other daughter Nico, “My daughter Nico has two kids of her own. She is an advertising executive, but she also runs a nonprofit organization for young cancer survivors. She was diagnosed when she was nineteen with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and she almost died. She went through chemo and radiation. She was extraordinarily brave and she got through it. When she was done with her treatment she decided there were very few resources for young people who have gone through those kinds of experiences. Having their whole lives ahead of them there were very few resources for them to go to for things like the ramifications of chemo or insurance things or how it affects fertility. She wanted to form a nonprofit that would be a resource center for young people who have gone through this, one that they could turn to and one that would support them. She runs a support group. She is extremely creative. She writes beautifully and she has a great voice. Nico and Ilsey would sing together sometimes, but Ilsey was the one who was really focused on music and Nico was a lot more academic and she could do many, many things. She has been running that foundation for a while and I am really proud of her. She is one of the busiest women that I know.”

As our conversation comes to a close Hope Juber becomes reflective, “Sometimes I feel like I went from being my dad’s daughter, to being Laurence’s wife to being Ilsey’s mom (she laughs lightly), which is great because it has been a remarkable series of creations. For me when I hear Nico doing her nine to five job with benefits I don’t know where she came from. For us she is the one with the regular job. None of us have ever dealt with that. We have always been slightly on the edges of...there is no stability there, because you don’t know what you are going to be doing next. I am used to that. It is funny how for some people their comfort zone becomes being on shaky ground.”

 Please take time to visit the website for Hope Juber and take time to read her stories. They are really good!   Return to Our Front Page

Top Photo: Hope and Laurence Juber; Middle Photo: L - R Sherwood Schwartz, Hope Juber, Lloyd Schwartz ; Bottom Photo:  Ilsey, Hope and Nico

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This interview by Joe Montague  published January 9th, 2019 is protected by copyright © and is the property of Riveting Riffs Magazine All Rights Reserved.  All photos and artwork are the the property of Hope Juber and all  are protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved. This interview may not be reproduced in print or on the internet or through any other means without the written permission of Riveting Riffs Magazine, All Rights Reserved