Rick Rubin’s love of music led him to help popularize hip-hop, rejuvenate artists’ careers, and leave his mark on literally thousands of popular songs. But there was a point in his youth where Rick put music aside and focused on something else: Comedy. Rick talks with Marc about being a self-described hardcore comedy nerd and how that informs his process with the artists he produces. They also talk about Johnny Cash, Rick’s love of pro wrestling, and his interviews with Paul on “McCartney 3, 2, 1.”
Comedian Rick Ingraham is a Comedy Store institution. But he’s also the last of a system that was in place going back to the ‘70s, where young comics were baptized and raised in the rites and rituals of the Store. Rick and Marc compare their early careers trying to break into the business and become a club regular. Rick also recalls some of his memorable moments in the different eras of the Store, from when he was touring with Andrew Dice Clay to when he was breaking up fights between Joe Rogan and Carlos Mencia.
LCD Soundsystem is one of the hippest, most beloved bands of the early 21st century, but its frontman says he’s spent a lifetime being uncool and no fun. James Murphy talks with Marc about the personal and global tragedies that precipitated the founding of the band, the character traits he had to come to terms with in order to lead the band, and what he’s still trying to figure out about the band today. They also talk about his aborted collaboration with David Bowie and what that taught James about himself.
John Swab could have been a real world version of the characters from his films who are casualties of addiction and criminality. But his desire to create art and his natural talents won out and set him on the road to recovery. John tells Marc how he channeled his experiences into his films Run with the Hunted and Body Brokers while remaining a true independent filmmaker. They also talk about John’s life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the influence of Larry Clark, and their shared love of Sam Peckinpah.
There are Hollywood tough guys and then there's Danny Trejo. No need to front when you've lived a life of crime, drugs, and prison as explicitly as Danny has. But as his new memoir highlights, Danny went from being a criminal and a drug addict to a ubiquitous actor and an inspirational force in his community. Danny and Marc talk about family secrets, toxic masculinity, Charles Manson, and tacos. And Danny's son Gilbert joins in to explain how their personal struggles became intertwined.
There’s a reason Steven Soderbergh’s movies are always so unlike whatever movies he’s made before. He tells Marc his goal is to take things that have worked in other contexts and turn them into something that doesn’t feel like anything else. They talk about how this pertains to Steven’s movies like No Sudden Move, Behind the Candelabra and the Ocean’s Trilogy. They also discuss making movies on the iPhone, why his retirement didn’t stick, and how Contagion holds up against the real thing.
The pandemic forced a lot of changes on all of us, but for Quentin Tarantino, he was already undergoing a huge change right as the pandemic started: He became a first-time father. Now with the release of his first novel, the famed director talks with Marc about the shifting perspectives and priorities that come with getting older. They also talk about the death of Old Hollywood, the Manson family, and why he wouldn’t use the name Tarantino if he had to start all over again. Plus, Tom Scharpling finally gives Marc what he wants in Get to Know Tom.
If he hadn't been getting laughs as a high school basketball coach, Erik Griffin may never have gone back to comedy. He tells Marc the story of his comedy beginnings, his self-imposed exile, and his stand-up revival that got him back in the game. Erik and Marc also discuss the current environment at The Comedy Store, as everyone tries to find their footing in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Ellen Burstyn doesn’t stop working. She’s an Emmy, Oscar, and Tony winner with iconic performances in everything from The Last Picture Show and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore to The Exorcist and Requiem for a Dream, but as Ellen tells Marc, stopping acting just isn’t in the cards. They talk about the sea changes in Hollywood, her collaborations with dynamic creators like Martin Scorsese and Jackie Gleason, and her lead role in the new movie Queen Bees. Plus, Tom Scharpling is back so you can Get To Know Tom.
David Hidalgo has been making music and touring the world with his bandmates in Los Lobos for almost 50 years. From their start playing in schools, in restaurants and at weddings to their crossover into the LA music scene, David tells Marc how Los Lobos became a quintessential American rock band, with influences and techniques as diverse as Los Angeles itself. They also talk about the new Los Lobos album, Native Sons, which pays tribute to other LA-based artists. Plus, Tom Scharpling stops by so you can get to know him better.