funk

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Anna Faris & Otis Brown III

| 1 comment
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Anna Faris
Guests: 
Otis Brown III
Guests: 
Davy Rothbart

Do you live in Los Angeles? Know someone who does? Come see Bullseye with Jesse Thorn LIVE on Wednesday, October 15th at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Featuring conversation with Dan Harmon (Community, Harmontown), music from Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek, Watkins Family Hour), comedy from Steve Agee (New Girl, The Sarah Silverman Program) and more! Get your tickets now!

Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Anna Faris Embraces the Darker Side of Funny

Anna Faris made her name doing broad comedy in the blockbuster Scary Movie series in the early aughts. The series was hugely commercially successful, but wasn't well liked by critics. Faris says she learned a specific skill -- how to portray a one-dimensional character.

Her comic and dramatic performances since then have been anything but one-note. Faris went on to produce and star in The House Bunny and appear everything from rom-coms like What's Your Number? and Just Friends, to dramas Lost in Translation and Brokeback Mountain. She's also got a taste for darker comedic work, as we've seen in Observe and Report and her CBS sitcom, Mom.

On Mom, Faris plays a recovering alcoholic and single mom who's taken in her own mother, played by Allison Janney. The show begins its second season on September 29.

She'll talk to Jesse about the conventions of comedic roles for women, having fun with the grotesque in Observe and Report, and what it was like to go to her 20th high school reunion (as a movie star, married to movie star Chris Pratt).

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

Back to School with Davy Rothbart & FOUND Magazine

FOUND Magazine Point Guard Davy Rothbart is back to share more pieces of found ephemera; this time a ransom note, an application to join a secret society, and a collection of very unfortunate teacher course evaluations from one of the nation’s most respected universities.

Rothbart is the author of My Heart is an Idiot, available now in paperback.

If you're in New York City, you can check out the world premiere of the stage production of Found: A New Musical. The show runs through November 9, 2014.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

Otis Brown III on Modern Jazz Aesthetics, Telling Stories with Percussion, and Love for Shania Twain

Otis Brown III has spent his entire life surrounded by musical talent. His father was a jazz band instructor who played with James Brown and Al Green. His mother was a choir director in addition to being a classically trained pianist.

His godfather was the famous soul and funk drummer Bernard Purdie, though Brown didn’t quite realize the significance of that until later. He was classmates with innovative musicians like Bilal and Robert Glasper. And though Brown pictured himself teaching music in the classroom, rather than gigging around town, the jazz icon Donald Byrd convinced him to try his hand at being a professional musician.

Brown found his calling as a drummer, and has performed and recorded with a number of jazz greats, from Herbie Hancock to Esperanza Spalding. Now he's released his debut album, The Thought of You, on Blue Note/Revive Records.

He talks to us about his career thus far, using the drum as a diverse storytelling tool and why he considers himself a closeted Shania Twain fan.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

The Outshot: Go Deep with David Rees

Think you know how to flip a coin? Open a door? You don't know till David Rees has showed you how. It's Deep with David Rees.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band, Mark Frauenfelder

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Charlie Wilson
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder


Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: "Good Dog" and Super Durak

Mark Frauenfelder, founder of BoingBoing and host of the Gweek podcast joins us to weigh on his latest obsessions in the form of geeky pop culture. This time, it's Graham Chaffee's Good Dog and the virtual version of Russian card game Super Durak, for iOs.

Chaffee's book, out this week, is a tour through a stray dog's life as he weighs a life of independence against the security of being a house pet, exploring the psychology of dogs in a vein similar to White Fang. Frauenfelder also suggests downloading the Super Durak app for a card game with a unique twist -- there are no winners.

Click here to share these recommendations with your friends.


Charlie Wilson: Creating Funk Jams with the Gap Band, Overcoming Addiction, and Recovering a Career

From his years as the frontman of the funk-R&B group the Gap Band, to singing hooks for rappers like Snoop Dogg and Kanye West, to his solo career recording R&B hits in his airy tenor, Charlie Wilson has been all about music. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a Pentecostal preacher and a music minister mother. Wilson spent his early years singing for his father's congregation and formed the Gap Band with his brothers, Ronnie and Robert, as a teenager.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, the Gap Band took their signature funk and R&B sound and made chart-topping hits like "Burn Rubber on Me", "Outstanding", "You Dropped a Bomb on Me", and "Party Train". The band's management was rocky in the mid 1980s, and Wilson's life took a downturn. A few years later, he was addicted to drugs and living on the streets. But a love for music and sense of pride helped right the course, and he retooled his career into Grammy-nominated solo work.
Wilson talks to us about crafting the now-classic sounds of the Gap Band, encounters with Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone, and why he returned to music after years of isolation and addiction.

Charlie Wilson's newest record is Love, Charlie. He'll receive BET's Lifetime Achievement Award on June 30th.

Embed or share this interview with Charlie Wilson by clicking here.


Comedy: Al Madrigal Meets the "Cholo Soccer Dad"

There's a very specific kind of subculture you might encounter in East Los Angeles. Al Madrigal explains his encounter with it in this clip from his new stand up special, Why Is the Rabbit Crying?.

Al Madrigal is a stand up comic. You can catch him on the road in selected cities this summer and fall, and on TV as The Daily Show's Latino Correspondent.

The Outshot: "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton" by The Mountain Goats

Jesse explores a song about two high school friends, a death metal band, and dreams. It's "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton".

The Mountain Goats are on tour this summer. You can find those dates on their website.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Share your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forums.

Embed or share The Outshot on "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton"

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Nile Rodgers, Mark Frauenfelder

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Nile Rodgers
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: The Hunter by Richard Stark and Every Noise At Once

BoingBoing founder and editor Mark Frauenfelder joins us to share a few of his all-time favorite pop culture picks. His first recommendation is The Hunter, a dark 1962 novel reminiscent of antihero-driven television shows like Breaking Bad. Next, you'll need something to soothe your senses – how about some new music? Check out Every Noise At Once, a website that introduces listeners to obscure genres from Arab soul to zouk.

Disco Pioneer Nile Rodgers on Producing Hits, The Legacy of Disco, and the "Deep Hidden Meaning"

You might not recognize Nile Rodgers, who began his music career as part of the purposely faceless band Chic -- but you'd definitely know his music if you heard it. He founded Chic with bassist Bernard Edwards, launched a string of hits including "Le Freak" and "Good Times", and went on to become a songwriting and producing superstar with a tried-and-true formula.

The anthem "We are Family"? That's one of his, too. He was behind Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out", David Bowie's "Let's Dance", and Madonna's "Like a Virgin". He continues to make and perform music, both with Chic and as a producer. This month, you can hear him on Daft Punk's new album Random Access Memories, contributing a signature guitar sound to the single "Get Lucky".

Back in 2011, Rodgers spoke with us about a beatnik childhood, decades of writing hits (including the gay anthem "I'm Coming Out" for Diana Ross), and the legacy of disco.

His memoir is Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.

(This interview originally aired in November 2011.)

Nichols and May Examine Doctors

Who are Mike Nichols and Elaine May? You might know them both for their film and theater work (among many other things, Nichols directed The Graduate and May helmed The Heartbreak Kid). But first, they performed as a improvisational comedy duo in the early 1960s on TV and on bestselling comedy albums, often fixed on skewering relationships. Case in point: a classic comedy sketch from 1962's Nichols and May Examine Doctors, in which a workplace fling becomes a matter of life or death.

Nichols and May Examine Doctors was recently reissued as a CD and digital download.

The Outshot: Bill Cunningham New York

Jesse examines the often superficial fashion world and finds a stunningly sincere and emotional portrait of a man. The man is New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, and the portrait is Richard Press's biographical documentary Bill Cunningham New York.

(This segment originally aired in April 2012.)

Embed and Share The Outshot: Bill Cunningham New York

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: RJ Smith on James Brown, Comedy from Cameron Esposito, Mark Frauenfelder

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
RJ Smith
Guests: 
Cameron Esposito
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder


All-Time Favorites with Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder

Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder joins us this week to share some all-time favorites: a great dungeon crawler for iOS called The Sword of Fargoal and Chandler Burr's The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession, a fascinating book exploring the science of scent.

(Embed or Share Mark Frauenfelder's Recommendations)

R.J. Smith profiles the Godfather of Soul, James Brown

R.J. Smith is a former senior editor at Los Angeles Magazine and a music journalist who's written for the Village Voice and Spin. For his latest project, he took on the task of profiling the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Smith's extensive biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, follows the musician from his childhood, raised in a whorehouse, wearing burlap sack underwear, to stardom, and then to reinvention.

James Brown was a hugely influential musician and performer, known for hits like "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine)," and he was one of the driving forces behind the creation and popularity of funk music. But he was also much more than that -- a tenacious businessman who ran his finances into the ground, a man of messy and confusing political alliances, and a hardliner on drug abuse (who eventually fell to his own drug addictions).

Why didn’t Brown’s politics fit neatly into a particular mindset? And why, unlike nearly all of his black contemporaries, did he endorse Nixon? What drew crowds of screaming fans to his performances? And how did he survive the rise of disco? Smith's book delves into Brown's storied and complicated life and music career of six decades, as well as his effects on pop music, politics, and race relations in 20th century America. This interview previously aired July 24, 2012.

(Embed or Share RJ Smith on James Brown)

Comedy from Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is a standup comic who's been featured on this show and performed at TBS' Just for Laughs Chicago, South by Southwest, and the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festivals. She recently moved to Los Angeles right in time for the 4th Annual MaxFunCon, and joined us to perform a set musing on her childhood appearance. This segment previously aired July 24, 2012.

(Embed or Share Comedy from Cameron Esposito)

The Outshot: Cheers

Why not go where everybody goes your name? This week, Jesse recommends that you revisit Cheers. This segment previously aired July 24, 2012.

Do you have a piece of pop culture that keeps you coming back? Share your own Outshot on our forums.

(Embed or Share The Outshot on Cheers)

Subscribe to Bullseye in iTunes or via the RSS feed!

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: R.J. Smith on James Brown, Cameron Esposito, The Low Times

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
R.J. Smith
Guests: 
Cameron Esposito
Guests: 
Maggie Serota
Guests: 
Daniel Ralston


Summer Music with Daniel Ralston and Maggie Serota of The Low Times

For summer music recommendations, we’re joined by our rock music correspondents Daniel Ralston and Maggie Serota of the Low Times podcast. They recommend Henrietta by Yeasayer and Life by Summer Camp.

(Embed or Share The Low Times’ Music Recommendations)

R.J. Smith profiles the Godfather of Soul, James Brown

R.J. Smith is a former senior editor at Los Angeles Magazine and a music journalist who's written for the Village Voice and Spin. For his latest project, he took on the task of profiling the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Smith's extensive biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, follows the musician from his childhood, raised in a whorehouse, wearing burlap sack underwear, to stardom, and then to reinvention.

James Brown was a hugely influential musician and performer, known for hits like "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine)," and he was one of the driving forces behind the creation and popularity of funk music. But he was also much more than that -- a tenacious businessman who ran his finances into the ground, a man of messy and confusing political alliances, and a hardliner on drug abuse (who eventually fell to his own drug addictions).

Why didn’t Brown’s politics fit neatly into a particular mindset? And why, unlike nearly all of his black contemporaries, did he endorse Nixon? What drew crowds of screaming fans to his performances? And how did he survive the rise of disco? Smith's book delves into Brown's storied and complicated life and music career of six decades, as well as his effects on pop music, politics, and race relations in 20th century America.

(Embed or Share RJ Smith on James Brown)

Comedy from Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is a standup comic who's been featured on this show and performed at TBS' Just for Laughs Chicago, South by Southwest, and the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festivals. She recently moved to Los Angeles right in time for the 4th Annual MaxFunCon, and joined us to perform a set musing on her childhood appearance.

(Embed or Share Comedy from Cameron Esposito)

The Outshot: Cheers

Why not go where everybody goes your name? This week, Jesse recommends that you revisit Cheers.

Do you have a piece of pop culture that keeps you coming back? Share your own Outshot on our forums.

(Embed or Share The Outshot on Cheers)

Subscribe to Bullseye in iTunes or via the RSS feed!

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bootsy Collins, Legendary Funk Bassist: Interview on The Sound of Young America

| 5 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bootsy Collins

Bootsy Collins is a legend in the world of funk. He's a bassist who came to his instrument by happenstance and fell in love. He was only in his teens when he was discovered and hired by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, to be part of his backing band known as The J.B.'s. Bootsy went on to play with another notoriously inventive and pioneering funk artist, George Clinton, as part of Funkadelic and Parliament.

He continued the funk with Bootsy's Rubber Band and a number of other musical collaborations. He recently released a new album, Tha Funk Capitol Of The World, and he currently teaches bass at his own Funk University.

Bootsy talks to us about being on the forefront of funk, playing with James Brown, doing LSD on stage, quitting and/or being fired from the JB's, joining up with the Parliament-Funkadelic collective, and his own amazing solo career.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Chuck Brown, Godfather of Go-Go Music: "The Song That Changed My Life" on The Sound of Young America

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chuck Brown

Known as The Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown created a new take on funk music in the 1970s with strong dance beats and an infectious spirit. His early hits as a guitarist and singer included "I Need Some Money" and "Bustin' Loose". He's a local legend in Washington, D.C., where go-go originated.

His new 3-disc CD/DVD set We Got This includes his first Grammy nominated song, "Love", recorded with Jill Scott and Marcus Miller.

He spoke to us about a song he considers very influential -- "Mister Magic" by the jazz-funk musician Grover Washington.

The Song That Changed My Life, by Chuck Brown

Grover Washington, "Mister Magic"

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Fela Kuti Re-Issues from Knitting Factory

| 0 comments

Another segment from The Grid: a little piece I wrote recommending Knitting Factory's re-issues of some of Fela Kuti's amazing mid-70s albums. Some cool archival footage in there of Fela, too.

Betty Davis: Raw & Uncut

| 0 comments

A few years ago, I interviewed Betty Davis. In the 1970s, Davis was the wife of Miles Davis and a talented and accomplished musician in her own right. Her funk records were a bit short on vocal melody, but jam-packed with amazing grooves and raw themes. Her band featured the best funk players in the world. She was also spectacularly good looking and prone to wearing wild stage outfits.

In the late 70s, she disappeared from the music scene, and was very nearly never heard from again. At one point, a fan tracked her down so she could get the tens of thousands of dollars in royalties that she was owed by ASCAP/BMI, but she hadn't spoken publicly, much less recorded, in 20 years.

Her discography was re-released by Light in the Attic Records in 2007. She did an interview with our friend Oliver Wang for the liner notes, but that was about it. I'm a huge fan, and the people at Light in the Attic love public radio, so after weeks of concerted effort, we got her to agree to an interview with The Sound. The conditions: she wouldn't go to a studio and I wouldn't call her directly.

Our interview with Ms. Davis is one of our most popular - I think because Ms. Davis has so many fans desperate for a scrap of information about her life and career.The final interview, I think, came out pretty well. It has lots of her great music livening things up, and lots and lots of interview editing.

Since folks always ask me about this interview, I thought I'd share with you the raw audio of our conversation. Understand that the amount of editing that went into this show is very atypical - all TSOYA interviews don't sound like this in raw form. Just this one. Undoubtedly the most difficult interview of my life.

This raw interview runs 38 minutes. I won't even begin to estimate what portion of that is awkward silence.


Download MP3

Syndicate content