4 May 2019

Waxing lyrical: 'Broken Record'

From The Podcast Hour, 12:47 pm on 4 May 2019
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Photo: Supplied/Pushkin Industries

Back when music only came on vinyl, an album's liner notes gave music lovers all this extra information: lyrics, images...a bit of a backstory. So in the days of streaming and digital music has something valuable been lost?

'Broken Record' bills itself as 'liner notes for the digital age' and in it the writer and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell teams up with the legendary producer Rick Rubin and former New York Times' media editor Bruce Headlam for long form interviews with famous musicians about their life in music, and their craft.

The very first episode of the show was with Rick Rubin himself talking about his experiences producing acts like The Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, and Run-D.M.C. Since then guests have included David Byrne and Nile Rodgers, and there's a funny one with the comedian Dave Hill about his love of that well known musical genre- Norwegian Black Metal!

We share excerpts from two Broken Record episodes. The first features the DJ and drummer Ahmir Khalib Thompson (better known as Questlove or ?stlove) who became famous for his work with the influential hip hop group The Roots. He tells Rick Rubin how he developed his signature 'drunk' drumming style and reflects on DJing at White House parties for Barack Obama, supporting Bruce Springsteen, and his regular TV gig as part of the studio band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The second comes from a conversation between Malcolm Gladwell and fellow presenter Rick Rubin recorded after Tom Petty's death in 2017 which reflects on Rubin's work producing several Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' albums (including 'Wildflowers') in the early Nineties.

Broken Record is produced by Justin Richmond and Jason Gambrell and edited by Julia Barton for Pushkin Industries.