Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein comprise the Detroit indie-pop outfit Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. Their newest album, “The Speed of Things” came out this October and they’re touring to support it. Their dinner party playlist is designed to stimulate chatter – and cleanliness.
Joshua Epstein: Hi, I am Joshua Epstein and with me is Daniel Zott, and we are Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. We have a record called “The Speed of Things” coming out October 8th.
Daniel Zott: And in celebration, here is our dinner party soundtrack.
Jimmy Buffet, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”
Joshua Epstein: Even though Jimmy Buffet has a good career selling chips and flip flops . he once upon a time made music. He has a song called “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.
The low point in my music career revolves around Cheeseburger in Paradise. I used to do cover shows to pay the bills between tours. There was a time I was playing the lunch hour at a Mongolian Barbeque and the manager came over and said,”Can you learn some Jimmy Buffet? Can you do Cheeseburger in paradise?”
I got to the part there is the breakdown when he says “I like mine with lettuce and tomato”. And I just broke down crying because it was the most embarrassing and humiliating moment of my life. This was like in the middle of a performance.
Joshua Epstein: I think for a dinner party, the most important thing is facilitating an easy conversation. Having a personal anecdote that you can easily draw upon is a nice thing, and being able to reveal the most uncomfortable moments of your life endears you to people, thereby bringing you closer.
Leonard Cohen, “Lover, Lover, Lover”
Daniel Zott: Speaking of a troubadour let’s move on to another troubadour. For the second song we are going to play Leonard Cohen called “Lover, Lover, Lover, Lover.”
Joshua Epstein: Leonard Cohen is one of the most cutting artists. He can say like four words and it just breaks your heart.It’s also just a catchy chorus and you can let it go and not really have to notice it, which is kind of nice when you are having a dinner party.
Joshua Epstein: Sometimes it seems like he is writing a love song, but you never know whether he is talking to God or not. It seems like he’s talking to God a lot in his writing.
Daniel Zott: So maybe by playing the song we are saying the prayer for dinner, “Let’s bless the food,” in a way.
John Lennon, “Cleanup Time”
Daniel Zott: The worst time after a meal is cleaning up. My dad to motivate us would always but on a song by John Lennon called “Clean Up Time.” So I think that would be a song I’d put on at the end of the night just as a subliminal message to all my guests, “Hey, maybe you want to help me clean up.” Which probably isn’t appropriate when you are hosting a dinner party.
Joshua Epstein: Subliminally, now when I want you to clean up the van I’m just going to put on “Clean Up Time.”
Daniel Zott: There you go. I’ll probably have a knee-jerk reaction and start cleaning things up.
Daniel Zott: It is so ridiculous to me. I always wondered what was he thinking? Was he really that inspiring? Like, maybe he was trying to motivate his kids so he wrote a song?
Joshua Epstein: I think he was trying to get off heroin, to be honest.
Daniel Zott: Wow, that’s heavier. I never thought of it in that way.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., “War Zone”
Joshua Epstein: I don’t like to play any music I have made at a dinner party but if you wanted to listen to it on the ride home I don’t think we would be opposed at all. You could put on “War Zone” from our record, I think that’s a great soundtrack for driving home.
You don’t have to necessarily deal with life-or-death situations all the time, and I think it’s kind of interesting to take a character and put them into that kind of situation, to see how the character reacts.