Jason Schwartzman starts off his set with a dedication to his dog then delves into the music that inspires him both as an actor and a musician (particularly his solo project Coconut Records) with Morning Becomes Eclectic host Nic Harcourt. His love for quirky lyrics is clear – whether he’s reveling in an artist who can use the word “catamaran” in a track or celebrating the “sibling” duo who genre hop with each album. He also shares a song that played a huge role in helping him learn to play guitar.
Jason is currently working on the next Coconut Records album.
For more: http://www.youngbabyrecords.com
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Tracklist1. Harry Nilsson "Me and My Arrow" To the Point! (RCA)
2. Paul & Linda McCartney "Ram On", Ram (Capitol)
3. Jonathan Richman "That Summer Feeling", I, Jonathan (Rounder)
4. Ween "Baby Bitch", Chocolate & Cheese [Explicit] (Rhino/Elektra)
5. Wreckless Eric, “Whole Wide World” From the Album Music From The Motion Picture Stranger Than Fiction
Nic Harcourt: Hi, this is Nic Harcourt, Music Director at KCRW and I'm here with actor, Jason Schwartzman, who also is a musician, used to play drums in Phantom Planet. Put out a solo record last year under the name Coconut Records. We're here to talk about the music that has inspired HIM over the years. So, Jason, first of all, thanks for coming.
Jason Schwartzman: Thanks for having me.
Nic Harcourt: Down to the basement.
Jason Schwartzman: This is great, this is great.
Nic Harcourt: You know, you've picked some songs for us to listen to, why don't we just pick one to start with off of that list. If you were going to pick one to play right now, which one would it be?
Jason Schwartzman: Why don't we just start it off with… I really love, "Me and My Arrow," by Harry Nillson. Harry Nillson is one of my favorite recording artists ever because his voice is just so beautiful. And I love the playfulness of his records.
He's just one of my favorite songwriters. But I guess I love this song -- really this is a shout out to my dog. Because, in this song, the main character has a dog named Arrow. And it's about he and his dog and I named my dog Arrow.
Nic Harcourt: After…
Jason Schwartzman: After this song.
Fade to Me and My Arrow by Harry Nilsson
Nic Harcourt: Why don't we pick another track…
Jason Schwartzman: Great.
Nic Harcourt: And, now, let's think about that word inspiration. There's something off here that has inspired you.
Jason Schwartzman: Yes, the next song that I'll play is called "Ram On" by Paul McCartney. The record just makes me smile. And I love good melodies over good chords with, you know, I just like it, it's pretty simple. It's just been inspiring to me lately because the kind of music that I feel like I'm drawn to right now seems to be made by a person where he's having fun, or they are writing about things that are just very personal to them and that sound a little bit playful with weird noises and sounds. And also, this record "Ram" is really great because songs tend to be -- not in a medley form, is not the right way of putting it -- but a song will start and then will all of a sudden stop completely and then a different song will come in and then it will go back to that which is in a different rhythm. And it's kind of like a collage.
Song: Ram On by Paul McCartney
Nic Harcourt: Paul McCartney and "Ram On," from the album "Ram," as selected by our guest, it's Jason Schwartzman. And we're talking about music and you talk about Paul McCartney as being a big influence on you and I guess the melodies being a real key part of that for you. What else on this list of songs would you describe as something that has had an impact on you.
Jason Schwartzman: Well, this song, "That Summer Feeling" by Jonathan Richmond. I'd say that Jonathan Richmond is, he is totally, like, alone. There's no one like him. I think he occupies his own slot in the world of music. And I saw him play recently and it was, again, a kind of a great evening because it was filled with joy. I felt like a lot of the time. Like he was really funny. And people could laugh sometimes in the middle of certain songs and he would stop and laugh too. And he would tell a story about the song in the middle of the song. And I think that lyrically he is just a great songwriter and he has this great line, I mean, he sings the line, "Catamaran."
Nic Harcourt: I never heard that in a song.
Jason Schwartzman: Yeah, how many people can do that?
Nic Harcourt: Does he rhyme it?
Jason Schwartzman: He goes (sings) And the catamaran makes you flop down on it. I mean, that's just great, it makes me happy. There's just a great mood.
Song: That Summer Feeling by Jonathan Richmond
Nic Harcourt: It's Jonathan Richmond and a song called, "That Summer Feeling." It's selected by Jason Schwartzman. And I'm wondering, as we're looking at these songs, and listening to bits and pieces of them. When you're making a movie, do you listen to stuff to get into character? Do you try to find any music that might pertain to the character as you're sort of like in your trailer getting ready to go out?
Jason Schwartzman: Sure, completely. Nothing but music really can just take me right to a place. I can hear a song on the radio and go, oh my god, I know exactly -- you know, I have a story for every song. It is like someone once said, it's a bookmark in your life, like you can hear something and just flip to that page…that’s a really good way of putting it
Nic Harcourt: You're right there
Jason Schwartzman: Totally right there.
Nic Harcourt: Let's pick another song to talk about now, off of our list here. What would be the next one you'll play?
Jason Schwartzman: Ok, well, I'm gonna go with a song called “Baby Bitch”….
Nic Harcourt: Mmmm….
Jason Schwartzman: ….. by Ween, and this song is just -- I love the hell out of it. I can't describe it too much, I just love the chorus cause he says "baby baby baby bitch" you know? There's more to come but I just love that part. But I'll say that I always love Ween because they change their style, like, they made a country record. They just seem to follow whatever their interests are and make the kind of music that they want to make and seem to do it just very naturally - whatever they’re interested in they don't seem to get in the way of it, they just go with it. And to me that's playful and awesome. And so I just love this song, “Baby Bitch,” by Ween.
Song: Ween’s Baby Bitch
Nic Harcourt: We're talking with Jason Schwartzman and he's picking some songs for us here, and we're down to our last song, Jason.
Jason Schwartzman: Oh my god, well I'm gonna go with a song called “The Whole Wide World,” by Reckless Eric.
Nic Harcourt: Now I know this song pretty well, I like this song.
Jason Schwartzman: Great, do you have a story about it? Let's hear YOUR story.
Nic Harcourt: (laughs) No, I realized I soon as I said that I was giving you an out.
Jason Schwartzman: (laughs) Really fascinating, oooh. Well my experience with this is that, at this time, I was teaching myself how to play guitar by listening to records and this one was one of the first ones. I just started playing it, and I figured it out and I felt like "oh right." And I guess it was just a great song combined with, like, I was learning how to play guitar and I just sat in my room for hours and hours just played along with this. And it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. And it’s got everything I love in it, which is, like, that it just starts out with just one instrument and then the bass goes doo-to-doo, and then the drums click click, like everything just builds. By the end there's clapping in it and I just love the song. It's so beautiful and it's so romantic -- like he's just saying ‘I'll go, I'll search the whole wide world to find out where they hide you’…I dunno, I dunno how to talk about this shhh -shtuff.
Nic Harcourt: Sshhtuff….
Jason Schwartzman: It just means a lot to me.
Song: Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric
Nic Harcourt: Jason, thanks so much for joining us…
Jason Schwartzman: This was awesome, was it alright?
Nic Harcourt: It's been fun, it's great.
Jason Schwartzman: Ok good.
Nic Harcourt: This is KCRW.com
Jason Schwartzman: Thanks for clicking on this!