Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanzaa, wonderful solstice and cool Yule to everyone. We know a lot of people say they hate Christmas music, and to them we ask: Are you listening to the right Christmas music? We hope you’ll find something to like in our holiday playlist, which includes Grace Jones, The Ramones, Kurtis Blow, Kaela Kimura and more. There’s also a holiday treat from the worst boy band of all time. And Paul and Kirk reflect on a year without George Michael in the world.
For the first time on “Music Raygun,” our guest is the topic. Charlene deGuzman is a musician, dancer, comedian, writer and advice columnist. She and Paul look back at her time as a member of Stomp, as Hannah Montana’s drummer, as the creator of a YouTube video that’s been seen more than 51 million times, and as maker of many more wonderful things. Her upcoming film is “Unlovable,” which she wrote with Sarah Adina Smith and Mark Duplass, and stars in with John Hawkes and Melissa Leo.
For the second time on “Music Raygun,” our topic for this episode is no topic at all. It’s our first sequel episode as we bring you another grab bag of videos. We’re looking at an assortment of our favorite clips that more or less defy categorization. That means Elvis, Chakha Khan, Captain Beefheart and Anita O’Day all in one podcast. And that’s just to name a few of the wild artists we visit in this episode. Wesley Snipes is in there somewhere too. It’s a pod-boy bouillabaisse.
We’re joined by special guest Isabel Nelson, a friend of the show and, like Kirk, a trained dancer. That’s why the focus of this episode is dance. Isabel and Kirk are here to speak intelligently about the art form, with thoughtful comments rooted in their education and experience. Paul’s here too, to say his dumb opinions based on nothing. We’re talking about Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, Boogaloo Shrimp and many others. It’s an especially visual episode, so be sure to check out the featured playlist for yourself.
It’s the most frightening episode of the show yet. Kirk and Paul are celebrating Halloween with the very spookiest and ookiest music clips they could find on YouTube. Some of them are Halloween-themed videos. One’s just something that terrified Kirk for no explainable reason when he was a kid. There’s also another visit with the great Bev and Bob. Listen to this eerie episode to get you in that Halloween mood, but don’t be surprised if by the end of it your hair has turned bone white.
Michael Jackson was so huge in the 1980s that his success affected everyone in the music industry, not excluding the other Jacksons, i.e., Michael’s siblings. Everyone was so desperate for a piece of what Michael had that anyone related to him got a record deal. That’s what this episode is about: what Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Randy, Rebbie, La Toya and even Janet were doing at the height of their brother’s fame. Some of it’s bad, some of it’s weird, and some of it’s surprisingly great.
We’ve done a “grab bag” episode in the past where we said the theme was no theme. It was kind of random videos that didn’t fit any topic. We’re doing another assortment show this time, but it’s sort of the opposite, because instead of no theme, it’s all the themes. We’re going back to themes we’ve done in the first 15 episodes of the show, and picking new videos that didn’t quite make the cut for whatever reason the first time around. Call them Music Raygun B-sides.
Kirk had his time to shine with the disco episode, but this one is all Paul’s doing. It’s finally time to talk about punk. Cretins hop, Pistols curse, and GG Allin does, well, the things that GG Allin did before he passed on. Knowing that Kirk doesn’t actually like punk music, Paul made sure to load this episode up with interesting archival material, including a fantastic old interview with John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil, and a look at that infamous “battle of the bands” episode of “CHiPs.”
What do we like? We like the cars that go boom, or at least the girls who sing about them. We also like Biz Markie, BDP, Heavy D, and Public E, so we're taking a look at a very specific time period in rap history: 1988 and 1989. Kirk was in college, getting drunk at parties and dancing to Salt-N-Pepa records. Paul was practically a toddler, and never got to watch "The Arsenio Hall Show," because it was on past his bedtime. So they have different perspectives.
Kirk takes the wheel as “Music Raygun” goes back in time to the 1970s, when everything was bright and shiny on the outside, but sort of washed out and profoundly bleak beneath the surface. That's right: It's our disco episode. There’s Travolta, “Dance Fever” and, of course, a “Soul Train” line. That’s all to be expected. Less expected is… Ethel Merman? And don’t worry; we also sit through “Disco Duck.” Yeah. We do that. For you. All this, plus a fish saves the city of Pittsburgh.