There’s just something about actors who also pursue their musical interests that prompts public skepticism.
But it’s not something that keeps Jonathan Tiersten up at night.
“I can assuage people’s fears that I am a pretender because I don’t go anywhere without my guitar, and I am always willing to play,” he says. “If you are good, you are good. So if their preconceived notions make them want to watch you — even if it’s just to see you fail — then I look at it as a win-win.”
Tiersten’s outlook and underlying confidence are understandable: While the native New Yorker remains best known for his TV and film work in the 1980s (particularly the 1983 cult horror film Sleepaway Camp), his career as a rock ‘n’ roll musician started right around the same time. Tiersten continued his musical endeavors even after he took a break from acting in the 1990s following a sudden move to Fort Collins, Colo., where he still lives.
“I was a little burned out in New York,” Tiersten recalls. “Maybe it was ADD, but I needed to find some wide-open space to think, mostly. I was living in a world where my only focus was getting famous. New York can be such a wonderful place, but I think my priorities were skewed.”
For about two years, Tiersten’s priorities included owning a bar/live music venue in Fort Collins called The Mountain Tap Tavern. He occasionally included himself on the entertainment schedule, and he filled in whenever other performers canceled.
“I was already a pretty well-known musician in town, so it worked out pretty well,” Tiersten says. “To get better as a live musician, you have to play — that’s the best thing I got out of the bar.”
By the late 2000s, Tiersten had returned to acting, which today he continues to do alongside music. This year looks to be a busy one on both fronts: tour dates with his band Ten Tiers in support of the EP We’ll See (which features a guest appearance by John Magnie of the subdudes), working on a new album by the summer as well as promoting the movie The Perfect House.
Tiersten stars in the horror film, which will be screened in mid-April at the StarFest Entertainment Convention in Denver — and he’s looking forward to being there for some multiple-career exposure.
“I will be performing in the main ballroom as well as participating in a Q&A after the screenings and signing autographs and just generally having a great time,” he says.
— By Chris M. Junior
Jonathan Tiersten on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Feb. 26: Avogadro’s Number — Fort Collins, Colo.
* March 1: Maxwell’s — Hoboken, N.J.
* March 3: The Stone Pony — Asbury Park, N.J.
* March 5: Tin Angel — Philadelphia