Clanking chains. Creaking door. Spiderweb. Boo. It’s Halloween. This time of year gives us an excuse to do what rock and roll was invented for: worshipping Satan. And that’s what we’re doing on this episode of “Music Raygun.” There’s a visit from the god of hellfire to bring us fire. Lou Reed tears the flesh from off of his own skull. The Beach Boys sing a Charles Manson song. And perhaps the most terrifying thing of all: Simon and Garfunkel. It’s the spookiest podcast of the year.
We’re gonna add some bottom so that the dancers just won’t hide. Get your thumb slapping and your finger popping because it’s time to take a deep dive into bass guitars and bass guitar players. We’re talking Verdine, Bernard, the Ox, Flea, Bootsy, Thunder Thumbs and more. There are Stingrays everywhere you look. And the question on absolutely every bass guitar player’s lips: What would River Phoenix think? All of that and so much more on this funky episode of “Music Raygun.” It’s on the one, baby.
On this episode of “Music Raygun,” we’re talking about off-brand picks! What does that mean? Well, the topic what Kirk’s idea. Because even though he has a self-described “narrow” enjoyment of music, there’s still plenty of stuff he likes that people may be surprised to learn he knows and enjoys. Meanwhile, Paul’s tastes are broader in general, so his picks for this episode go pretty far afield of the show’s normal scope. Basically what that means is things get a bit weirder than usual in this one.
This episode has been a long time coming. Paul and Kirk talked about having new jack swing as a topic back when they first conceived of “Music Raygun.” Why did it take so long to get here? Because this is the most important music in Kirk’s life. And he needed a lot of time to marinate in exactly what he wanted to say about it. So steel yourself, because not every music podcast out there is treating Guy, Today and even Basic Black with this much reverence.
For the first time on “Music Raygun,” Paul and Kirk have chosen to focus on the work of one particular music video director. In this case, it’s Polish filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczynski. While his isn’t exactly a household name, Rybcynzski’s avant-garde influence was essential to developing music video as an art form during the golden age of MTV in the ‘80s. That’s why he was one of the first winners of the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. And, hey, the music ain’t bad either.
“Music Raygun” B-sides episodes are when we look back to past episode themes for new videos that we left out, forgot or didn’t know about the first time around. So our third B-sides podcast serves up bonus clips from the following previous episodes: “Funk,” “Minneapolis,” “Madonna,” “Hip-Hop 1992-93,” “Rebel Girls II,” “Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis,” “Slow Jams,” “Dance II,” “Detroit,” “Music Videos 1995-97” and “Quincy Jones.” If you have a B-side suggestion for a future episode, go ahead and email it to us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our topic for this episode is someone who’s been around for so long, is such a multi-hyphenate and has worked with so many other legends that he’s worth many artists in one package. He’s a composer, a writer, a band leader, an arranger and conductor, and a producer working in jazz, pop, TV and film scores, soul and R&B. He has 27 Grammys and 79 nominations. And he also made Rashida Jones. This episode is given to scratching the surface of the genius of Quincy Jones.
Kirk’s on vacation, so pinch-hitter-in-chief Katie Willert is back in the “studio” to fill in for the Kragman. She and Paul are taking it easy for the Los Angeles summer heat wave, eschewing a themed episode entirely. Which means it’s time for another “Music Raygun” grab bag episode. Paul goes weirdly nostalgic for this one, digging up a bunch of vintage clips while Katie keeps things ever-so-slightly more current. But other than that, be prepared to follow your hosts wherever the wind and their fancy takes them.
For the first time since the second episode, we’re focusing strictly on music videos from a specific era. In this case, 1995-97. Given the age gap between Paul and Kirk, and their musical tastes, they experienced those years very differently from each other. But that only means this is an especially interesting and eclectic episode. So what were you doing in the mid to late ‘90s? Maybe you’re in for some reminiscing. Or maybe you’ll hear some tunes from 20-plus years ago that are new to you.
Here’s a new entry in the show’s series profiling music from different cities, states and regions of the USA. This time it’s a long look at Detroit, Michigan, aka Detroit Rock City, aka the Motor City, aka Motown. Detroit is a storied music metropolis that’s generated countless legendary artists. But Paul and Kirk avoid those mythical names to focus on the somewhat lesser-known singers and bands to emerge from the city of the straits. That doesn’t mean this episode doesn’t kick ass, though. Oh, it kicks ass.