This week: Our first ever All-Music Episode! Willie Nelson gets lost in the haze of memory…Patton Oswalt on public radio’s music problem…TV on the Radio, on request…James Mercer tells a Cold War secret… America’s #1 hit writer Lamont Dozier remembers a miss…A Wild retro soundtrack…Henry Rollins on etiquette and a memorable get together…And we get back – to the Beatles’ rooftop concert. Plus, sound/silliness from Billy Bragg, Wanda Jackson, and Cass McCombs.
Icebreaker: Wanda Jackson
Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly (and incidentally Elvis’s ex-girlfriend), calls it like she sings it. Her Jack White-produced comeback album The Party Ain’t Over hit stores last year.
Music legend… classic songwriter… outlaw… folk hero…Willie Nelson makes it tough to choose your adjectives. He penned mega-hits for Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison, broke open the Nashville scene with his “Outlaw country” music, and became an activist for a slew of sociopolitical causes. He had a busy 2011: he released a Ray Charles tribute album and played a touring schedule that made us tired just looking at it. Back in March 2011, when Billy Bob Thornton’s bio-doc about Willie closed the Film Festival at SXSW, Willie told Brendan about growing up in his native Texas, his Crazy start…and then he promptly forgot both.
Comedy superstar Patton Oswalt claims his work ethic’s keeping him afloat, and it shows. After voicing the gourmet rat in Pixar’s “Ratatouille,” Oswalt starred in the dark crit-hit “Big Fan”, penned the essay collection “Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland,” and held a recurring role in “United States of Tara” (among other gigs.) Back in December, when his film “Young Adult” (from “Tara”-alum Diablo Cody and her “Juno” collaborator Jason Reitman) opened, he talked to Brendan about butt-kickin’ music outros.
TV on the Radio
Patton asked for it, and we aim to please….Brooklyn band TV on the Radio has melded pop, soul and art-rock into one of the most prominent sounds of the last decade. Their 2008 release “Dear Science” was named Album of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine and a slew of others, and last year’s “Nine Types of Light” added more impressive love songs to the mix. As the band readied for its fall 2011 tour launch, frontmen Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone told Rico about their Cosby opera, Letterman gig, Bowie fatigue, and flamingo milk.
Interlude: Billy Bragg
Radical British rocker Billy Bragg gets us in the mood for classical with an impromptu Beethoven performance. Take a listen to our full interview about his collaboration with Ludwig here.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s Liszt List
One of the leading pianists today, Frenchman Jean-Yves Thibaudet crisscrosses the planet performing incredibly diabolical (and delightful) pieces. He also lends his talents to film scores requiring his particular touch, like “Atonement” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”. Earlier this year, he joined the L.A. Philharmonic at Disney Concert Hall for several performances of Liszt – one of music’s first “rock stars.” He told us – in the form of a Liszt List – why the 19th century pianist deserves the title.
Etiquette with Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins is, if you’ll excuse the oxymoron, punk rock royalty. The former lead singer of the seminal punk-band Black Flag has since gone on to become a radio DJ, performer, writer and photographer — the latest example of the latter being his recent book Occupants. He can now add etiquette expert to his resume. Back in November 2011, Henry answered vexing etiquette questions from our listeners… and described Chris Rock’s handshake at length.
BONUS AUDIO: CLASH MEETS CASH MEETS ROLLINS
During our fall 2011 taping with Henry, he told an unbelievable story about a backstage encounter between himself, Joe Strummer of the Clash, and Johnny Cash. As if that image isn’t jaw-dropping enough, Tom Petty, mega-producer Rick Rubin, and June Carter popped in, too. The tale was, alas, too epic for our radio show’s time constraints…but it SCREAMS to be heard, so we’re posting it here as a web special. Enjoy! (Cue Henry, answering the question: “What’s the most memorable get-together you’ve been to?”)
Dinner Party Soundtrack: Wild Flag’s Janet Weiss
On the heels of its much touted fall debut, grrl-power supergroup Wild Flag stormed the US and Europe on a hell-raising tour. Drummer Janet Weiss, who’s also played with Sleater-Kinney, Bright Eyes, and Stephen Malkmus, took a break to recommend four killer songs for your next dinner party (or potluck).
Icebreaker II: Cass McCombs
Mellow rocker Cass McCombs plays socio-meteorologist with this tiny lesson on cloud conformity.
The Ultimate Hit-Man Lamont Dozier
One of our favorite guests, ever, was Motown songwriting legend Lamont Dozier. Along with the Holland Brothers, he wrote so many classic chart-toppers that…well, let’s just say if oldies stations removed his tunes from their playlists, they’d mostly be broadcasting static. He tells Rico about his fondest hits…and a puzzling “miss.”
James Mercer of The Shins
If you were a college student in the late Nineties/early aughts chances are you made out with James Mercer…singing in the background. His band, The Shins, created a unique blend of smart, charming pop that lent itself to mix tapes, day trips and shared headphones. After a Grammy nomination in 2007, the band went on hiatus. Mercer got married, had two children and released an album with his other band Broken Bells. But now they’re back, and their March LP Port of Morrow just received a ton of critical love. James told Brendan about listlessness, cold war secrets and how the song he wrote that changed others people’s lives changed his.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: With The Beatles…On the Rooftop
As the son of Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, writer/director Michael Lindsay-Hogg rubbed shoulders with Hollywood and Broadway elites from an early age. He went on to direct some of history’s most influential music videos — including The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and the Beatles’ 1970 documentary Let it Be. In this excerpt from his memoir Luck and Circumstance, he tells the tale of how he got the Fab Four up on the roof… barely.
Other Music in this week’s show:
The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”
Willie Nelson – “This Cold Cold War with You”
TV On The Radio – “Will Do”
TV On The Radio – “New Cannonball Blues”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet – Liszt: “Totentanz”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet – Liszt: “Isoldes Liebestod”
Franz Liszt – “Piano Concerto No. 2”
Black Flag – “TV Party”
The Flamingos – “I Only Have Eyes For You”
Elyse – “Houses”
Sam Cooke – “Bring It On Home To Me”
Wild Flag – “Racehorse”
The Four Tops – “I’m in a Different World”
The Shins – “Simple Song”
The Shins – “September”
The Shins – “Australia”
Guns ‘N’ Roses – “Welcome To The Jungle”
The Beatles – “Get Back” (live)