Actor Jake Gyllenhaal was heavily influenced by his parents’ musical tastes and repaid the favor with a Guest DJ set dedicated entirely to family – from the folk song that his dad sang him to sleep to the live track that makes him sob on set. He also puts his performer hat on, with a host of great imitations – including a few of Director Jim Sheridan, who directed him in the new film “Brothers.”
For more: www.brothersfilm.com/Tracks
1.) Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - The River (Live)
2.) Burl Ives - The Fox
3.) Danny Kaye - Inchworm
4.) Saint-Saëns - Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
5.) Loudon Wainwright III - A Father and a Son
Liza Richardson: Hi, I’m Liza Richardson from KCRW, and I am here with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. We will be playing excerpts of songs that have inspired him over the years as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. How’s it going, Jake?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Good
LR: What did you bring to play today?
JG: I brought a few songs that have inspired me in different ways. Some in the car, some on set -- a movie set, and some in bed.
LR: Those are the categories. Which one of these do you listen to on the set?
JG: Actually, I just did this movie with Jim Sheridan called “Brothers” and randomly he picked this song “The River,” by Bruce Springsteen. He picked the live version. During rehearsals he would play it, and then he would play it on set too to get us in the mood of the scene, or he would play it in the middle of the scene. And so there’s this scene in the film where my brother has died and I am with his wife. We don’t get along very well, but as the movie has progressed we’ve started to get along better. We’re sitting together in front of a fire and we end up kissing at the end of the scene, which makes the movie very complex, and Jim decided to play this song, play “The River.”
Song: “The River (live)” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
JG: And what he did after that was he kept the music rolling and Natalie Portman, who plays my brother’s wife in the movie, she leaves the scene. Jim kept the film rolling on and on and on and I just kept listening to this song and by the end of this take, I just start to cry and cry, I couldn’t stop crying. I think a lot of it has to do with, it’s connection to my family, listening to Bruce Springsteen when I was a kid with my dad. My first concert I ever went to was the Born in the USA tour concert and I remember being with my father. I just think the story between father and son and the complications between those two positions in a family has always been a huge thing in my life. That’s also the heart of the movie I was making with Jim Sheridan.
LR: So that’s “The River,” it’s the choice of our guest DJ, Jake Gyllenhaal, and it’s by Bruce Springsteen. So what’s the next thing?
JG: I would pick “The Fox” and this version is by Burl Ives. My father used to sing this to me -- and I love Burl Ives just as a character, just as a musician -- and when I was a little kid we were robbed outside of our house. We were driving home, we pulled up and we were robbed and ever since I was always really nervous about falling asleep, you know, naturally, and so my dad would sing this to me before I’d go to bed.
Song: “The Fox” by Burl Ives
JG: My father, has this guild guitar, which he still has, beautiful kind of mahogany color, and again it comes back to my father who was a big musical influence on me when I was a kid and continues to be. There are songs that I remember listening to in the car with my dad, you know, coming back from baseball or even just him throwing me in the car and being like, ‘You gotta hear this song! You gotta hear this song!’ He’s very animated with his hands and *starts to imitate his father’s voice* he wants me to hear this one part right here!
LR: So that’s “The Fox,” an excerpt from “The Fox,” it’s by Burl Ives, the choice of our Guest DJ, Jake Gyllenhaal
JG: So I would say “Inchworm,” would be my next choice because Danny Kaye was and is still a HUGE influence on me as an actor and a performer. I just watched him so much when I was a kid and he had this love of entertaining, I think I’ve heard also about him this real love of children and caring for them, and you can tell that it in this song
Song: “Inchworm” by Danny Kaye
JG: Just like, wonderful, wonderful movies, “Five Pennies,” and “The Court Jester,” and then “Hans Christian Anderson,” which this song is from. My mother was a big Danny Kaye fan and would always play me these movies. She is, in fact, the person who always calls me up and is like, *imitating his mother’s voice* ‘You should redo “The Court Jester!’
LR: So that’s “Inchworm,” a part of it anyway, it’s by Danny Kaye, it’s the choice of our guest DJ, Jake Gyllenhaal. So Jake, what’s next?!
JG: Are you on pins and needles?
LR: I am, I can’t wait to find out.
6:41 “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,” by Saint-Saëns
JG: This is “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,” by Saint-Saëns, it’s the Philadelphia Orchestra with Sarah Chang. I just imagine the finger work of this soloist and people who play fretless instruments always boggle me. I’m always am amazed like, ‘That has no frets?!’ *laughs* And this in particular, I’m taken so many places with this song. It really broke me out as a kid into the emotions and the intensity of classical music. This is another one of those things where I just remember being in the car and this is something that my father played me, and he’s *imitates his father’s voice* ‘Listen how the violin just dances on top of all the orchestra and then when the orchestra comes in…!’ You know, it’s so intense this song
Song: “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,” by Saint-Saëns
LR: That is “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,” by Saint-Saëns and it is the choice of our guest DJ, Jake Gyllenhaal. I believe you have one more.
JG: My last one is called “A Father and A Son,” by Loudon Wainwright III. Although it’s called “A Father and A Son,” it was actually played for me by my mother first. Loudon Wainwright is extraordinary. Rufus is a friend of mine and I think he’s extraordinary.
LR: He’s amazing
JG: - as is Martha. Alice, too.
LR: I don’t know her.
JG: She has this beautiful song that’s on her MySpace page. She actually was my sister’s nanny. This song somehow encompasses, I guess, what I was saying about family. At the very end, Loudon Wainwright says “Maybe its hate, probably its love.” Man, *chuckles*, that sort of says it. And I think, somehow, the fact that he’s the patriarch of this family that is so kind of extraordinary is something to look up to, something to admire. They are, I know at least publically, they have complications and are open about it and it’s wonderful because we all try and pretend like everything’s ok, or that things are perfect or try to make them the way they’re ‘supposed to be,’ quote unquote, and I think this song is really about him being as honest as he can about his relationship with his son and just loving him deeply.
Song: “A Father and A Son,” by Loudon Wainwright III
JG: Jim Sheridan would always liken everything back to his family. He’d say to me one day, *imitates Jim Sheridan* ‘Jake! You know, you’re playing my brother in this movie so I’m gonna hate ya today. You know, this scene reminded me about my brother and I’m gonna hate ya today!’
I believe there are few things in life that you can guarantee are important and family is one of them. That’s what “Brothers” is about, that’s what a lot of these songs are about for me, and that’s what hopefully my life will be about. So, there ya go, 5 songs, man!
LR: Awesome! So that was “Father and Son,” it was by Loudon Wainwright III and it’s the choice of our guest DJ, Jake Gyllenhaal. Thank you! That was fantastic!
JG: Thank you, that was really fun.
LR: Thank you for joining us on KCRW.com. For a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to KCRW.com/GuestDJProject