We’re taking a look at the career of Nile Rodgers, the genius guitarist, songwriter and producer behind Chic as well as hits from by Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, David Bowie, INXS and Daft Punk, all of whom are featured on this episode. And that’s not even to mention the hits he wrote and/or produced for Madonna, Duran Duran, the B-52s, Bryan Ferry, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and more. Nile Rodgers is a titan of music and an interesting character, and this episode is lots of fun.
We’re doing something different on this episode of “Music Raygun.” Instead of talking about pop music, we’ll listen to some classic TV themes. From which TV shows, you ask? Here are some hints: a working-class sitcom from the ‘70s, a working-class sitcom from the ‘80s, a British sci-fi show from the ‘60s, a children’s show from the ‘70s, and more. But hey, you ask, don’t you cover any pop-culture shows from more recently than the 1980s? Hahahahaha, what the heck podcast do you think you’re listening to?
Back in January 2017, your hosts recorded what’s now the show’s lost pilot episode. (Paul accidentally destroyed the file trying to teach himself audio editing.) The subject of that episode: What was the first boy band? And that discussion came from Paul and Kirk having the same debate with their co-workers many months earlier. Now, finally, it’s our long-awaited boy bands episode. This ‘90s-heavy episode takes you from Menudo to One Direction, with most of the big names in between, and some you might’ve forgotten you remember.
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. Your thumbs’ll slap and your fingers will pop 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? This topic was all 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.