Even if you don’t recognize the names of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, you know their work. Because they’re responsible for dozens of the biggest pop hits of the last 30-plus years. Original members of The Time (as in Morris Day and the Time), Jam and Lewis are also the answer to the question, “Why is Prince’s egomania responsible for Janet Jackson’s entire music career?” And, as a human Prince encyclopedia, Kirk of course has a comprehensive knowledge of all things Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Last April, we gave you our first “Rebel Girls” episode of the podcast, so this year we wanted to make it an annual tradition. Here’s a bunch more badass woman in rock music, including Lunachicks, Liliput (nee Kleenex), Luscious Jackson, Screaming Females, Daddy Issues and more. We'll watch Regis and Kathie Lee try to get to the bottom of the New York hardcore scene in the mid-'80s. Wendy O. Williams drops in because she’s the patron saint of all true rebel girls. And who’s covering Debby Boone?
We went back to the bag for Music Raygun No. 30. The grab bag, that is. We’ve got a real rando-crando mix of artists, songs and videos for you in this episode, including Bad Manners, BadBadNotGood, Beefheart, Blossom (Dearie, that is) and other names that don’t start with the letter B. We also traveled through time to watch some ‘60s TV shows. And we figured out why the Little River Band’s is the music you hear when you die. So go ahead and grab our bag. (Sorry.)
When last we looked at hip-hop through the years, they were 1988-89. This time, they’re 1992-93. Kirk was finishing college. Paul was in elementary school. But they both have vivid memories of listening to hip-hop at the time. Gangsta rap got attention for the right and wrong reasons. Meanwhile, the Native Tongues sound carried on in A Tribe Called Quest and newcomers like Digable Planets. So here’s a heavy dose of nostalgia for the early ‘90s. We miss you, Golden Age of Hip-Hop. W.R.O.Y.
How can two Joes Bag o’ Doughnuts like us hope to reckon with the fact of a living deity like Madonna? By admitting from the start that we only scratch the surface of the surface of this episode’s topic. But we’ll track the lion’s share of Madonna’s career from when she first popped in 1983 to her album “Music” in 2000. And we pick a few of the mind-melting number of iconic moments she packed into the 17 years in between. It’s Madonna Ciccone on “Music Raygun.”
We’re kicking off Year Two of this podcast by returning to the theme of our first episode. Sort of. That episode was about Prince. This episode is about Prince’s hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kirk has more Prince-associated artists to talk about. Paul looks at the big alt/punk bands that came from the Twin Cities in the ‘80s, plus some classic Minneapolis artists. It’s another episode of us being on different sides of the same coin. All that, plus we introduce a brand new segment to the show!
We’re wrapping up the first year of our podcast with a second helping of Music Raygun B-sides. That means looking back to past episode themes for bonus clips that we left out (or didn’t know about) the first time around. There’s a clip each from our episodes about the Jackson dynasty, Halloween, dance, Charlene deGuzman, the holidays, "Bad," Los Angeles and funk. Plus two from even older episodes. But you’ll just have to listen to find out which ones. Catch you on the flip side. Get it?
Music Raygun is finally focusing on the funk. Typical to their tastes, Paul leans toward the early funk years of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, while Kirk prefers the vibe of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. There are some favorites and some lesser-known acts. And the mix shows you how funk has influenced other musical genres, from rock to R&B to hip-hop and beyond, since its invention. That’s the kind of funk that we like. And then you make the ugly face. That’s funky.
Kirk and Paul already paid tribute to their respective hometowns of Cleveland and Providence, so now it’s time to acknowledge their shared current home: Los Angeles. All the clips in this episode feature bands from LA. But Kirk and Paul skew hard to their different favored genres. Kirk brings rap, R&B and funk to the table. Paul prefers garage rock, punk and power pop. And Angelyne makes an appearance, naturally. It’s a schizophrenic good time. Just like Los Angeles itself! We love/hate you, Butt Town.
Happy New Year, raygunners! In celebration of 2018’s dawn, this episode is something a little different. Kirk and Paul watch just one video. Well, two videos. It’s one music video, plus a short “making of” segment about it. And it’s Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” the Martin Scorsese-directed long-form music video that turned 30 a few months ago. “Bad” is 18 minutes of MJ at his most extra, at least up until that point. It’s equal parts genuinely cool and deeply corny. So there’s a lot to talk about.