For a long time, the most favored shows of the podcasting medium have been focused on the art of comedy. It is easy to understand why: Comedy is such an honest art form, where oftentimes the barriers of social conduct is broken down for the sake of something more authentic, heartfelt, and with any luck, humorous. With shows like WTF with Marc Maron and The Nerdist, guests are offered an open space to be themselves and converse without veiling their fears and insecurities, and not be hurdled with unremarkable questions in order to merely plug a show or a product. This fairly new and lovely medium is allowing listeners a chance to peep into the lives and psyches of their favorite performers, while also offering the guests and hosts themselves both insight and catharsis.
It is a beautiful thing, and it is even more heartening that these podcasts are gradually opening up to different kinds of performers too, including musicians. Music, like comedy, is an incredibly daring and honest art form. A lot goes into putting your love and fears and insights into words and into composition, and it is always a treat to glimpse at the genius behind those notes. There’s less talk in music than there is in a standard comedy performance, but they both demand courage, and they both demand honesty.
January has seen a great variety of musicians open up on podcasts like WTF and The Nerdist, and it is an absolute joy to hear these musicians speak their minds and reveal their flaws or simply wonder at the amazing feats they have achieved without really understanding how it all happened.
Before the start of the New Year, Marc Maron sat down with John Popper and Chan Kinchla of the legendary, yet under-appreciated Blues Traveler. The episode, like the conversation itself, flows very naturally from beginning to end, as the duo discuss their upbringings and inspirations, and then go on to chat about topics that are both titillating and motivating. It is an episode that is definitely worth the listen.
On The Nerdist side of things was a beautiful conversation between Chris Hardwick and Tom Morello, and as is custom with the podcast, the two initially shared their love for all things nerdy, only as a segue to more serious discussions about racism, music making, and the drive to bring change to a demoralizing world with good music. You can listen to the entire conversation between The Talking Dead host and the former member of Audioslave by clicking here.
The most impassioned of the three episodes, however, is a very recent one on WTF with Marc Maron featuring the always-charming Dave Grohl. Grohl sits down with Maron to talk about the history of the legendary Sound City and his need to tell its story. He also goes into detail about his life both before and after Nirvana, and one of the best beautiful sections of the interview is Grohl’s enlivened account of meeting and performing with Paul McCartney during the Sound City sessions. It is certainly an interview that is worth your ears.