While only just 40, is already a veteran with a ton of projects under his belt. The most famous of those is , the band who is touring behind its most recent release, . But before , there was the pioneering stoner rock band . That band broke up in 1995, and Josh quit music altogether. But, it was and his stint as“youth pastor,”that brought him back to his fans. One of those fans is none other than . And, while celebrating Grohl's 40th birthday at, where else, , he linked up with . The trio formed over a turkey leg, and thus was born one of the greatest rock creation myths ever.Go to episode 403
Rob Reiner on This Is Spinal Tap
Up there with in the“Rock Canon”is this band: . Fans first met the heave metal trio in 1984 upon the release of Rob Reiner's mock rockumentary . Now, those aging headbangers are even older—30 years older to be exact. But, This is Spinal Tap remains, without a doubt, the greatest film, ever. This is because, fictional or not, it's the truest. From the arenas to the airplane hangars, all of the clichéd moments of excess and gladhanding, of sexism and machismo and utter stupidity…they all ring very true! There are real“Black”albums and real drummer tragedies. And this authenticity was thanks to its music-loving stars and writers, , and , and their fair leader and fellow writer . The man many of us came to know as“Meathead”in All in the Family plays the fake director Marty DeBergi in the movie. But in real life, he's directed classics like Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and A Few Good Men. His latest, And So It Goes, stars and and is out July 25th. But Rob was kind enough to indulge all of Jim and Greg's burning Spinal Tap questions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hyck_yynhF4&list=UU6GwezQ7oE0-FdVOMwgzFnAGo to episode 451
Our guest this week is writer, comedian and actress . Julie is the creator and star of Hulu's snarky comedy . Klausner hails from and grew up listening to heavy doses of both and . She also attended NYU where she was a first person observer of the exploding rock scene which featured bands like and , and she later wrote a book about her experiences with people in the music industry. Julie has gone on to create and star in Difficult People, a comedy about two best friends pursuing careers in the entertainment industry in NYC with varying degrees of success. Julie talks with Jim and Greg about how she uses music in her show, her surprising love of and tries to convince that musicals are not always Trash Its.Go to episode 621
Low Cut Connie
ers was founded in by lead singer and pianist and drummer and guitarist . They later added musicians James Everhart, Will Donnelly and Larry Scotton to round out their -influenced, signature sound. A key element of their music is the use of a to pound out some raunchy, rock tunes and make people get up and dance. They've released three albums so far: , and . Even is a fan, he put the group's song "" on his summertime playlist alongside artists like and . The band visited our studio a few weeks ago where and asked them about how they first formed, their career ups-and-downs and singer Adam Weiner's experience with the TV show .Go to episode 519
In the annals of there are few bands cited for both their critical acclaim and commerical sales. One is . Its drummer, , joins Jim and Greg to talk about the band's history and recent decision to reunite to release what many believe will be its final album, . Mason is the only member of the band to survive all of its squabbles and play on each studio album. He explains how is a tribute to the Pink Floyd's iconic keyboardist . He also recalls the early dynamics between and and how he feels about the band's legacy with its 15th (and final?) release.
Love Pink Floyd? Check out this dissection ofGo to episode 483
Hal Blaine of The Wrecking Crew
may not be a household name, but if is all about the beat, then the 86-year-old drummer is arguably one of the biggest rock stars alive. It's his stamp you hear on some of the biggest records of the 1960's and early '70s. He recorded with , , , , , and even . That's 38 chart-toppers to be exact, and over 5,000 songs. So if we're comparing successful outputs, that really makes his only rival !
Of course the idea of a session musician is something we're familiar with today, but many listeners can probably still remember their own revelation that their favorite acts might not have played their own songs. You expect that of , but ? ? Many of their songs were actually recorded by Hal Blaine and – a loose organization of studio players whose members included , , and more. There was an unspoken pact to keep their hit-making machine a secret, but as time has gone on, they've gotten their due. Hal Blaine was inducted into the in 2000, and last month saw the release of , a new documentary directed by , son of crew guitarist .Go to episode 488
is one of the most prolific keyboardists in , and his iconic organ solos on songs like "" make him the understated driving force of since its inception in 1976. Aside from his success with the Heartbreakers, he's found a fruitful career as a sideman and session musician for artists like , , and others. Also, he released his first and only solo album in 2014, . Tench joins and for a candid and funny conversation about his experiences in the music business, the genesis of the Heartbreakers and much more. He also gives an exclusive live performance of a track off his solo record.Go to episode 602
She & Him
This week's guests are , the“she”being and the“him”being , known to fans as . The two met during the making of the movie“The Go-Getter”and quickly learned they were successful collaborators. 's first album , is a collection of songs written by Zooey, as well as a couple of covers. explains that she's most influenced by classic songwriting, much of which pre-dates . You can hear the , and influence on the duo's music as they perform their songs "" and "" as well as two bonus tracks.
Zooey and Matt's visit to the show prompted Jim and Greg to think about other Hollywood crossover attempts — both hits and misses. Here are some other :
And many more…Go to episode 142
Many people know from his many books, his TV show "," and his successful restaurant . But, you may not know that he's a die-hard fan. In 2007 Bourdain chronicled his past in the Spin essay“Eat to the Beat,”and when he was in town on a book tour, and invited him into the studio to talk turkey (and rock).
Anthony, or Tony as he likes to be called, explained to Jim and Greg that there are a lot of connections between members of the food world and the music world, the first of which is simply the hours. Both subcultures are nocturnal pleasure-seekers who often frequent the same greasy spoons and the same dive bars. But on a more cerebral level, music geeks and foodies are both obsessed, both opinionated, and both hate . Tony explains that when he's serving up grub to guests he prefers the tunes of , , and even .
During this episode we also hear from other music-loving chefs from around the country including:
- of in
- of in
- of and in
- of in
- of in
Peter Guralnick on Sam Phillips & Sun Studios
has written extensively about n music for decades including a two-part biography on , the biography Searching for and an acclaimed trilogy on American music. Now he's back with a comprehensive look at called The Man Who Invented : How One Man Discoverd , , , and and How His Tiny Label of , Revolutionized the World. If , or are new names to you, Peter wants to take you back to 1950s and 60s for what many historians call the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Sun was home to black and white artists of the era who were merging genres like country, gospel, and R&B in ways unthinkable at the time. And that kind of freedom of spirit and enthusiasm, in addition to the idea that everybody has a song to sing, were the tenants of the Sun sound, even more than sonic hallmarks like "."Go to episode 523
One day in February , and disembarked a flight from to . He went straight to a studio to work with the on what would eventually become . That was followed by an all-night session with the for . And after that, he rejoined the Beatles and jutted on over to to record live. Just“a day in the life,”eh? Those legendary recordings are just beginning of Johns tremendous list of credits which includes , the , the , , the and more recently and . He relays this life spent recording in a new book called Sound Man. And he is as candid in his conversation with and , as he is in print. The aforementioned ? Johns remarks that “puked”all over it. Of , Johns admits he initially refused to bring him into a session with due to his drug-addled personality. And he talks about parting ways with the Eagles after they wanted to go in a more direction—something Johns says the band wouldn't know if they fell over it.
For more behind-the-booth conversations, check out Jim and Greg's interviews in the Footnotes section with , , , , , , and of course, .Go to episode 528
She & Him
This week's guests are . The“she”is actress and the“him”is musician , known to fans as . The two met during the making of the movie“The Go-Getter,”and quickly learned they were successful collaborators. They visited the show in after the release of their first album . The record is a collection of songs written by Zooey, as well as a couple of covers. Zooey explains that she's most influenced by classic songwriting, much of which pre-dates . You can hear the , and influence on the duo's music as they perform their songs "" and "" as well as two bonus tracks.Go to episode 196
Last week fans of movies and criticism in general felt a big loss. died at age 70 after a long battle with cancer. and remember their friend and colleague and talk about how Ebert and his partner provided them inspiration for their own show. Jim worked with Ebert at the , and Greg worked with Siskel at the . And whether it was in print, on TV or via Twitter, Roger Ebert was full of Sound Opinions. In 2006, the three critics sat down to talk music movies and Ebert's own rock ‘n’ roll past, which includes a remarkable meeting with the . This ended up being one of Ebert's last recorded interviews before losing his ability to speak.
First, and ask to rate music movies. He calls the greatest ever made. In fact, he thinks it's just one of the best movies ever made. He also recommends and . One movie he did love was 's film . In Roger's original review, he took to task for being kind of a jerk. He reconsidered the movie years later.
One of Jim and Greg's favorite movies was actually written by Roger Ebert himself, . He and followed that up with a Sex Pistols movie entitled . The movie never came to fruition, but it provided memorable experiences meeting and .Go to episode 385
For the most part we think that artistry and commercials don't mix, but in the case of , it worked out. A TV commercial featuring his 1972 track "," made the English a household name. It was success Drake couldn‘t enjoy in his lifetime. He died at age 26 of an overdose on anti-depressants after only releasing three albums. But the small catalog lives large today, with Drake’s work influencing , , and many more. He's remembered on the new tribute album , produced by the man who discovered him, . In addition to working with , and the , Joe Boyd produced Nick's first two albums, in and in . and talk to him about Nick Drake's own influences, his style and his legacy.Go to episode 387
The Grateful Dead
celebrated its 50th anniversary in July with a series of farewell shows at in . We're using that as an opportunity to reexamine the legacy of the controversial band. The Dead formed in the in the s and featured a core membership of guitarists and , keyboardist , bassist , drummers and , with important contributions from lyricist . Though it was the prototypical "," The Dead's sound was much more eclectic and harder to pin down than that sometimes derisive term indicates, incorporating , , , , early , and more.
The Dead built a community of devoted fans who would travel with the band from town to town, some of whom would tape the performances and share the recordings, which the band encouraged. Though contend the true essence of the band was experienced in its experimental live shows, Jim has little patience for the erratic performances and instead prefers the band's early studio recordings. Greg argues that The Dead was a consistently great live band during its peak in the s, before drugs took their toll and the surprise 1987 chart hit "" altered the fanbase. Garcia, who died in 1995, was an irreplaceable musical genius, and the band leaves behind a legacy of experimentation, eclecticism, and an unparalleled musical community.
Jim's Grateful Dead Picks
Greg's Grateful Dead Picks
Remembering Tom Petty
Through four decades of success, entertained audiences around the world. and now pay tribute to a man who defined . Petty died at age 66 after suffering cardiac arrest in his Malibu home. Throughout the show, Jim and Greg play excerpts from an exclusive Sound Opinions interview with Tom Petty from 2003.
In the interview, Tom Petty discusses meeting as a child in and falling in love with . He also reminisces about hanging out with and , his idols and future bandmates in . Jim and Greg make a case for Petty's underrated songwriting abilities and share some of their favorite of his songs. Plus, we hear from recent Sound Opinions guest, founding keyboardist for about hearing "" for the very first time.Go to episode 619
Recently Jim and Greg began an exploration of one of the great watershed years in : . First up was the birth of the album as art. Now, they look at the growth of the live music business and the industry, for better or worse, growing up. There's no better example of this maturation than the . For 3 days in June, thousands of music fans descended on to see , , and the spectacular debuts of and . They worked for free, with ticket proceeds going to charity, but the capitalist machine was not far behind. As Jim and Greg discuss with writer , managers, promoters and label executives took notice of the festival's popularity and media attention, leading to new signings and savvy marketing plans. In terms of sound, the Monterey performers encapsulated the diversity of the . Rock, funk, jazz, country-it was all up for grabs. And artists like introduced a southern sound to white audiences, paving the way for landmark recordings like 's .Go to episode 325
Remembering Chuck Berry
Born in in 1926, began his professional music career fairly late in life. In fact, his breakthrough hit, 1955's was recorded when Berry was 28 years old.
says that Berry helped craft the very identity of , often name checking the burgeoning genre in his lyrics. Berry's songwriting on tracks like and deftly expressed the angst and rebelliousness of youth culture; and his guitar-led sound influenced rock outfits for generations to come. According to Jim, the Berry attitude:“sly, sarcastic, risque… conspiratiorial”is an element of his persona that has served as a template for rockers, as well. notes that in addition to teen anthems, Chuck Berry's catalogue also contains sophisticated lyrics, like those found in 1959's , a song about a father estranged from his 6 year old daughter, Marie.
To learn more about 's life and legacy, Greg and Jim spoke with , a writer and author of The History of Rock & Roll Volume 1: 1920 - 1963. Ed also wrote the seminal rock criticism book The hosts also sat down with drummer . Steven played with Chuck Berry at a 2011 Chicago concert that made headlines when the then-84 year old rock legend had to be rushed to the hospital mid-show. Steven shares his memories of sharing the stage with Berry that night.Go to episode 591
Today is of our appreciation of . During this episode, Dylan plugs in. and discuss how and why Dylan went electric in , and get a first-hand account of his famous, or infamous, at the from , and man . Al performed with Dylan onstage at Newport, and he explains to Jim and Greg that there has been a lot of misinformation when it comes to the“boos.”He also lent his signature playing to tracks like "," which really changed the game in .
In the second half of Jim and Greg's discussion with Al Kooper, they focus on the masterful double album , which turns 45 this year. Al shares memories from the recording sessions in where he, Dylan and were joined by player, and , guitarist , guitarist and bassist , and . Al recalls being truly impressed with the musicians, and describes the vibe as much more refined than during the chaotic sessions of . He compares to a finely manicured lawn. To go out, Jim and Greg play their two favorite tracks from the album. Jim goes with "," which illustrates Dylan's sense of music history and also his great use of humor. Greg plays "" which he describes as the quintessential song from the quintessential Dylan album.
Check out Part 1 and Part 3 of our Dylan appreciation.Go to episode 283
classic album dissections
The Ramones & the Sex Pistols God Save the Queen
Jim and Greg have mastered the art of the album dissection. This week they try their hand at by . This was the originators' third album, released in April of . Jim and Greg picked this album because of how revolutionary it was at the time. This was the era of , and . Now that radio playlists are full of songs by bands like and , it's easy to forget a time before punk music. But, until four high schoolers from merged their love of Brill-Building pop and with a big dose of speed and attitude, the sound as we know it didn't exist.
, born , sang vocals, , born , played guitar, , born , played bass and , born , played drums. The four began to record after recently releasing two other albums and touring the US and Europe. Today, Tommy Ramone is the only living member of that original group. Tommy co-produced and wrote many of the songs, and Jim and Greg invited him on to talk about making the album.
It was a treat to get a first-hand account of recording from Tommy Ramone. He revealed a number of interesting facts, some of which surprised even our hosts. Here are some of the noteworthy points:
- Johnny is known for being a speed demon. Tommy credits this with his desire to be a baseball player and his love of the fastball.
- Joey is the band's original drummer, and Tommy acted as their manager. Tommy took over on drums in order to keep up with Johnny's pace. He had never played drums before, and sometimes outpaced the studio's click track.
- was the label executive behind the band. Despite the fact that their sound wasn't popular, he believed in The Ramones enough to boost their recording budget up to a whopping $25,000.
- The Ramones heard by during the recording of this album. Despite not having nearly the same amount of money to work with, Tommy explains that there was definitely a sense of competition. The feeling wa — they ripped us off, and now we want to sound better.
- The Ramones were famous for being anti-guitar solo. But, there is one on the track "." Tommy reveals that this was actually him playing guitar, and assures Jim and Greg that Johnny wasn't miffed by the choice. Tommy was inspired by the guitar solo in "" by .
- A number of the songs on begin with Dee Dee counting off. The band encouraged their bassist to do this, despite the fact that those counts had nothing to do with the actual speed of the song.
- Tommy struggles to name his favorite tune on the album, but includes "" as one of the best. Jim and Greg agree that the sunny, pop track is a great one, made even better by the fact that the actual Rockaway Beach was not a very sunny place. Juxtapose the sound of the song with the idea of trash in the sand and a syringe in your foot.
Jim and Greg also struggle to pick just one song to highlight from . Each one is great, and only clocks out at around two minutes. But, Greg was inspired by something Tommy said during their interview. He explained that the Ramones were ahead of their time, and were perhaps too dark and too subversive for mainstream culture. The song that best exemplifies this is "." While showed one kind of family life, The Ramones wanted to show another, more realistic one. The Ramones were fans of 's film , and celebrated the idea of being different and freaky in this song.
Jim's song choice also celebrates that freak spirit. "," only has a few words, but it's a definitely an anthem. The term punk previously had a negative connotation. In this song, the Ramones reclaim the word and give a big finger to anyone who judges them (or Sheena). Musically, the song is also quintessentially , quintessentially American, quintessentially Ramones. Jim explains that if he had to choose one track to shoot into outer space and represent what rock music is, he'd choose "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker."Go to episode 64Live at Folsom Prison available on iTunes
Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison
has been regarded as one of the greatest live recordings in history and marks a point of redemption in 's long career. As explains, he was considered by many to be a has-been. But, in 1968 producer took Cash up on his long-time idea of recording at a prison. The singer had previously played shows in prisons, but had not recorded. It's a fitting location for the“man in black,”since he had flirted with trouble and had spent some time in jail. He also went through a divorce, developed a drug problem, and seemed to be all but finished in the music industry. But one of Folsom's guest vocalists, , played a huge role in helping Johnny Cash get his life back on track. Cash won the at the 2nd annual for Folsom Prison, and it helped make him a huge star again.
The location of the recording was a key factor to the album's success. was not a friendly place. As describes, it was an ugly, smelly, scary“dungeon”where law-abiding citizens would not feel very comfortable. But Cash wanted to record an album there because he showed empathy toward the prisoners, and the performer's cool demeanor brought out an energy and excitement in the audience that hadn‘t been heard in live recordings before. In addition to June Carter, Cash’s band at Folsom consisted of the Tennessee Three, and the Statler Brothers.
Jim and Greg pick out the key songs on to wrap up the dissection. Greg goes with "". It was written by from the perspective of a convict on Death Row who is counting down the minutes of his life. You can hear the crowd's enthusiastic response throughout the song.
Jim discusses "", the last song on the album. It was written by , a former inmate at Folsom. The Reverend Gresset introduced Cash to the song the night prior to the performance, and it moved Cash so much so that he decided to make it his closing song.
Throughout Johnny Cash's entire career, he walked a line between sinfulness and redeeming grace. At Folsom Prison highlights Cash's artistic intentions, not to preach at the prisoners of Folsom, but to relate to their situations. He was singing as one of them, a sinner, who would rather hang out with prisoners than "some of the 'saints‘ he’d met."
Forty years later the album is still inspiring artists such as , , and .Go to episode 141At Folsom Prison available on iTunes
Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison
's turns 45 this month, and and celebrate its birthday by revisiting their . Considered one of the greatest live recordings in history, marks a turning point in 's long career. As Greg explains, by the late sixties Cash was considered a has-been. He'd been through a divorce, developed a drug problem, and was releasing albums of questionable taste. But in , took the "" up on his long-time idea of recording at a prison. It's a fitting location, Jim notes, for an artist who'd spent time in the slammer himself. captures Cash's moment of redemption. Backed by and and joined onstage by , Cash sang about the prison experience in songs like "," "," and "." At Folsom Prison swept the that year, cementing Cash's comeback.Go to episode 392
Затем наступила тишина. Мгновение спустя, словно в дешевом фильме ужасов, свет в ванной начал медленно гаснуть. Затем ярко вспыхнул и выключился. Сьюзан Флетчер оказалась в полной темноте.
Сьюзан Флетчер нетерпеливо мерила шагами туалетную комнату шифровалки и медленно считала от одного до пятидесяти.