L.A. Reid & Springsteen’s Protest

LA Reid

Producer, songwriter, and record executive L.A. Reid has crafted hits for more than four decades. He joins Jim and Greg for a candid conversation about the major label system and working with Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and more.

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Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in Greensboro in protest of North Carolina’s new bathroom law, which dictates that transgender people use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. Bryan Adams also called off a concert because of a similar law in Mississippi. Jimmy Buffett is going on with a pair of North Carolina gigs for the sake of his fans, but says he’ll reconsider playing in the state in the future. Jim argues that The Boss is unfairly penalizing his fans and would make more of an impact by speaking out from the stage and leading a march to the Statehouse. Greg counters that Springsteen’s cancelation has led to far more media coverage and awareness of the issue.

Steve Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week, but took the opportunity to blast the Hall during and after the ceremony. He criticized the lack of transparency in the nominating process and its exclusion of women, as well as calling the whole induction process unpleasant. Jim and Greg have never had kind words to say about the Hall of Fame, pointing out that while Miller’s criticisms aren’t new, nothing seems to have improved.

L.A. Reid

lareidcoachella

TLC, Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Outkast, Usher, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Kanye West...you name the pop star, and chances are he or she has worked with this week’s guest, Antonio L.A. Reid. While he began as a drummer in the R&B group The Deele, it’s really behind-the-scenes that L.A. has made the most awesome noise—first, as a songwriter/producer with Babyface in the 1980s and 1990s, then as a record exec at LaFace, Arista, Island Def Jam and now Epic Records.

L.A. shares his insights into what makes a great pop song, great (melody, hooks, emotion and the ability to sound good, even with a pillow over it) and some of his biggest professional triumphs (signing the Beast Rihanna, coaching Kanye West) and failures ( Lady Gaga...the one that got away). He’s also not afraid to get candid about music industry sacred cows, whether it’s Michael Jackson or major labels themselves.

Jim

Jim delivers a Desert Island Jukebox twofer this week, naming both a song and a film he can’t live without. After having recently seen the Jonathan Demme-directed Ricki and the Flash, starring Meryl Streep, Jim is gaga over the movie and Streep’s musical performance. Already a huge fan of Tom Petty’s original song American Girl, he finds that Streep’s character Ricki Rendazzo brings new meaning to the song. Originally released as the second single off Petty’s debut album, the song is about a young girl questioning her future, but when sung by an aging rocker, it’s about not letting go of one’s youth. For Jim, the track is a triumph for all parties involved: Petty, Demme, Streep, and the listener.

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