From cult comedies to big screen roles, Actress Lizzy Caplan always grabs your attention, with edgy performances and her trademark wit. For her Guest DJ set, she tells us one of her most romantic musical moments and delves into some of her favorite driving songs, as well as a dedication to her mother. Lizzy is starring in the movie Save the Date and the upcoming Showtime series Masters of Sex.
1. The Band - The Weight
2. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Ballad of Jim Jones
3. Paul Simon - The Boy In The Bubble
4. Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
5. Joe Cocker - I Think It's Going to Rain Today
Chris Muckley: Hi I'm Chris Muckley and I'd like to welcome Lizzy Caplan to the KCRW studios. Lizzy is a gifted actress who you have seen in many movies and TV shows including Mean Girls, Bachelorette, Party Down, New Girl and True Blood, just to name a few. Hi Lizzy.
Lizzy Caplan: Hello
CM: And we're so happy to have you here.
Lizzy: It's very nice in your lovely basement. You treat people right, here.
CM: Today, as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project, we would like to shift the focus on to you and discover the songs that have inspired you over the years. So, without further ado tell us about your first song.
LC: If I had to pick a song that's my favorite song in the world it would probably be this. It would have to be this. It brings me back to childhood stuff, sure, but it's one of those songs that I've had so many kind of strange experiences with, like these kind of magical moments. I was with this boy once, and we had just started hanging out, and we were going on a date to the movies and he was asking me what my favorite song was and I said "I guess it's 'The Weight' by The Band”. And we pulled up to the movie theater and it just started raining - like downpour, crazy rain - and we stayed in the car for a second and "The Weight" came on the radio. And we totally were late for the movie 'cause we just sat there and listened to the whole thing, and the rain was super romantic, and I was like, clearly, this is the man I will marry because this is the most romantic thing that has ever happened.
CM: Are you still in contact with him?
LC: No, I think it ended a week and a half later, probably.
Song: The Band -- The Weight
LC: The lyrics, I think, are pretty personal actually, so they don't make a lot of sense to me. Like, I think I read that all the people that they talk about in this song are actual people that the band knew. It's just that, when you hear a singer of a song that you love talking about his life in this cryptic enough way that it makes sense for a song, you can just imagine who these people are and what do they do when they hang out with each other and I'm going to hang out with my friends and then maybe one day they'll write a song and it'll be about me and de da de da de.
CM: So it's kind of about personal relationships and making the people in the song maybe be related to the people in your life or transferring that.
LC: Yes, I have a definite goal to at some point have somebody write a song that has something to do with me. Because that's the other joy of driving around in your car listening to music…you can just pretend every song's about you. And THAT is narcissism.
CM: That was "The Weight", by The Band. Okay tell us about your next song.
LC: We will be listening to "The Ballad of Jim Jones" by The Brian Jonestown Massacre and, for me, I'm not a huge fan of going to see live shows. I prefer to just kind of drive around in my car and listen to music and pretend like I'm in a movie, which I think is a fairly common way to do it. This song for me, whenever it comes up on my shuffle or whatever, it transports me to the movie that I want to write in my brain but then I think about that movie “Dig”, about the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I think they made it pretty clear that they don't do soundtracks or anything so…it remains fully in my brain, but it's a really good song to drive around to.
Song: Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Ballad of Jim Jones
CM: And that was "The Ballad of Jim Jones" by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, as chosen by our guest DJ, Lizzy Caplan.
CM: Tell us about your next song.
LC: My next song is "The Boy in The Bubble" by Paul Simon and this song is super important to me and to my family. This was my mother's favorite song, who passed away when I was a kid. We play it in all sort of important moments in our family and it just really reminds us of her so it's a bittersweet thing, but I'm just really happy that my mom's favorite song happened to be an amazing song.
Song: Paul Simon – The Boy in the Bubble
CM: That was "The Boy in The Bubble" from Paul Simon. The next one -- I'm really excited about your next song because I love the Elephant 6 Collective, so tell me about that one.
LC: Well, that whole "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" album remains one of my all time favorite records. It's just perfect. That album it was very difficult to try to pick which song because I'm just such a huge Neutral Milk Hotel fan and so I went "Holland 1945" because it's a Holocaust song that you can dance to.
Song: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945”
LC: The whole album has Holocaust themes in it. This one is the easiest to kind of figure out. It's about Anne Frank, on top of I think another couple personal things. But it is dark, man. This is like a really, really dark song about Anne Frank and The Holocaust and everybody dying around her and her family dying, and yet you kind of want to jump up and down when you listen to it. Maybe that's just the Jew in me that can now enjoy dancing to a song about a completely horrific thing.
CM: It's "Holland 1945" from Neutral Milk Hotel. And for your last pick, I see that you chose some Joe Cocker. Tell us about "I think It's Going to Rain Today".
LC: This song, I used to listen to the Bette Midler version of it, which was on the "Beaches" soundtrack. I'm sure you know that. You probably have that tape yourself.
CM: I've seen the movie, I'll admit it.
LC K: Of course, I mean come on.
The Bette Midler version of this song is actually completely heartbreaking and really, really sad and, when I was a kid, during a dark period in my life, I remember listening to that on my little boom box, the Bette Midler version, and just crying, crying, but it was a very cathartic, beautiful song. And then, when I heard the Joe Cocker version, it's such a more uplifting version of it and so when I listen to this version of "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" I get happy instead of sad.
Song: Joe Cocker -- "I Think It's Going To Rain Today"
CM: Was there a reason that The Bette Midler song, that her version of it, made you sad? Was it a period in your life or just the emotion that it evoked?
LC: It was, well, beyond the fact that Beaches was a very sad movie, it wasn't actually about Beaches. It was just like some terrible, kind of personal crisis going on in my young life that happened to coincide with me owning that tape and a boombox. And so I think it was less about the song, even though it is a very sad song, and more about where I was at. And now the different version of it, the Joe Cocker version of it, I think it's maybe with the gospel singers or something, it just makes you want to enjoy life instead of curl up in your childhood bedroom and write terrible poetry in your diary.
CM: Do you do that?
LC K: I DID it, when I was a kid, I mean I'm a girl!
CM: "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" by Joe Cocker as picked by our Guest DJ, Lizzy Caplan, here at KCRW.COM
LC K: I really want to do this again, with at least, I've got to put like a girl on here ya know, something. This is crazy, it's such a limited list.
CM: Alright, so maybe all girl bands next time, and all hip-hop the next time.
LC: Great, so I'll see you next week, same place. Perfect.
CM: Sounds good. Lizzy, thank you so much for joining us today at KCRW.COM.
LC: Thank You.
CM: For a complete track listing and to find these songs on-line go to KCRW.COM/GuestDJProject and subscribe to the podcast through i-tunes.