Paul Feig

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Paul Feig has his hand in a lot of exciting projects –including comedy favorite The Office – and his music picks are just as diverse. He celebrates the "bottled anarchy" of an Australian rock band, his Scottish heritage and the Godfather of Soul. He also picks what he calls “one of the greatest rock live songs ever recorded.” Paul is the current co-executive producer of The Office, creator of the cult comedy classic, Freaks and Geeks and author of the just released sci-fi novel for kids, Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut.


For more:






1.) AC/DC - For Those About to Rock


2.) Gipsy Kings - Moorea


3.) James Brown - Cold Sweat


4.) Stand Easy - Western Thunder / Braes of Melinish


5.) Peter Frampton - Do You Feel Like We Do






Liza Richardson: This is Liza Richardson from KCRW and I am here with Paul Feig, co-executive producer of The Office, creator of the cult comedy classic “Freaks and Geeks” AND the author of a sci-fi book for kids. We will be talking about music that has inspired him over the years as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project.


Paul Feig: It’s an honor to be here with you. I’m always so excited to be in the KCRW studios. It’s my favorite radio station in the world.


Liza Richardson: So, what did you bring today.


Paul Feig: My musical tastes tend to be a little embarrassing sometimes, but I figured to be the guest DJ, if you willl, I felt like I had to bring songs that meant a lot to me in my life. It’s that weird thing with music where you discover a song and you love it so much that you play it to death. To me, the test of whether it is great or not is whether it can survive that intense period so I cant’ believe I’m actually saying this on KCRW -- I’m now going to play an AC/DC song for you.


Song: AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)


Paul Feig: I really like AC/DC. I’m from Detroit originally. Born in ’62 and was in high school through the ‘70s and college in the ‘80s. I was always sort of afraid of Led Zeppelin, even though I loved them, because they were so mystical and there was something scary about them a little bit, like they might come and sacrifice your cat or something. Whereas AC/DC would crack me up because Angus Young, the lead gutiraist, dresses like a school boy and wears a tie and a little jacket and shorts and runs around the stage and he still does it today, and they’re in his late ‘50s.


There is something so aesthetically fantastic about that to me because they’re playing this crazy rock ‘n’ roll music but, rock in some ways is such a kid’s form of art because it’s this injection of energy you get, where this bottled anarchy comes into your life. There is something so freeing and great about it, they’re just going nuts. And then you go see them and he’s dressed like a kid but he’s out of control and then the rest of them are sort of cool. For me, it’s sort of like a primer into rock ‘n’ roll. And this song, “For Those About to Rock,” I just like it because it’s such an anthem-y song. Its got cannons in it and it’s just so corny and great.


Liza Richardson: That was for “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” by AC/DC the choice of our Guest DJ Paul Feig, and what else did you bring today.


Paul Feig: I really love gipsy music and I love the Gipsy Kings. It’s “Moorea.” I love really showy music where the musicians surprise you with their talent and their ability to take over an instrument. And there’s sort of a circular quality to some music that I love where it’s almost like a round, where the chord progression going around and around and around and the musicians add on over the top of it. For me, “Moorea” is one of the greatest examples of that. It’s just this free flowing circular thing and its so beautiful and moving.


Song: Gipsy Kings’ Moorea


Liza Richardson: “Moorea” by the Gipsy Kings, the choice of our guest DJ today Paul Feig. Paul, what’s up next?


Paul Feig: What I love about James Brown, who has always been one of my favorite musicians, artists of all time is that he writes this amazing music –conducts and composes this amazing music -- that let’s these musicians just improvise on top of it and it’s fun and all this – and then he literally, I think, takes no time in writing any lyrics. It’s just literally whatever comes out of his mouth while he’s in the recording studio. There will be a little set of lyrics that he’ll hit but otherwise it’s just a lot of talking to the band, “take a solo” Maceo, what kind of horn is that? Is it a black horn?” In some ways it’s the ultimate party song. A song you almost can’t not get up and dance to.


Song: James Brown’s Cold Sweat


Paul Feig: Where I grew up we had a great mix of R&B and Motown and all that. There was such a big mix of both African American community and the blue collar community that I live in. Especially when you go Downtown, they would have a farm city week or something. It was a great mix of the two communities coming together. When you would walk around, you would hear things playing over different loudspeakers, different food sections, there were different parts of the fair that were all over the place. I think that was the first time I heard James Brown, not the standard songs we always heard but these jams that have long breaks in them, everyone gets a solo. I actually heard it in a real party atmosphere the first time and it has always stayed with me.


Liza Richardson: So that was “Cold Sweat” by James Brown, the choice of our Guest DJ today, Paul Feig. You've got two more choices.


Paul Feig: Yes. Two left. Two left! My wife is learning Italian and she has this Italian tutor that she uses named Laura. We had a dinner party at our house one night and she brought her husband and I said, ‘Oh, so what do you do?’ And he said, ‘I'm in a band.’ And I was like, oh, ok, a million people are in bands. So I was like ‘what kind of music do you play.’ And he said, ‘We do kind of a Celtic Rock and it's headed up by this guy that plays bag pipes.’ And I was like, that sounds interesting…


Song 6:51- 7:10


Paul Feig: I'm of Scottish heritage. My mother's side -- my father is from Eastern Europe -- but my mom's side is Scotland and England. When I first met my wife she was a talent manager at the time and so we went to the Edinburgh Festival for the first time. I had always know that I had Scottish heritage, but the minute I got off the plane in Edinburgh -- we landed, I stepped out, I just felt the craziest connection to the land than I’d ever felt anywhere. Just the air, the sights, the scenery, and everything it just almost overwhelmed me. We had a friend who was a comedian who was playing there and after we would hear him play we would go to the local bars where everyone was hanging out and there would always be some Celtic musicians sitting around playing folk music and it was just the most amazing thing. It was this English, Scottish, Irish version of hearing a James Brown song, where it's just this indigenous thing that comes out and it's just a party and everyone is playing and it's got all this energy. So when he played me the first track from their CD, it is the greatest mix of a rock song but with this amazing bag pipe player over the top of it and he writes the songs. And the minute he played it for me, I just had this connection to it and I would just play it over and over again. It's called " Western Thunder / Braes of Melinish " dot com- no it's not dot com.


Song: Stand Easy’s Western Thunder / Braes of Melinish


Liza Richardson: That was- go ahead you say it this time.


Paul Feig: Okay that was "Western Thunder/…" I like to use the back slash because I'm an internet guy…"Braes of Melinish " by Stand Easy.


Liza Richardson: Cool,okay so you've got one more -- a guilty pleasure of mine.


Paul Feig: Oh good. Oh great I am so happy. I've always loved this song, but one time trying to figure out why I love it so much and realized it's a movie. It has perfect dramatic structure. The song is "Do You Feel Like We Do," the live version by Peter Frampton, which we have all heard a million times, and it's super long, but I just think it's the greatest song because listen to it now thinking of it in a three act structure. You've got a beginning, the first act, which sets it all up and it's kind of lays out and there's the lyrics and there's the song and it's all straight forward but setting up your premise.


Paul Feig: Then you got your second act, which is when they go into the solos and it starts out with the keyboard, the fender Rhodes, playing the solo and then he plays a little bit of guitar and then he brings out that…I forget the name of the mouth effect.


Liza Richardson: The vocoder.


Paul Feig: Vocoder. Yes. And that's got this great second act structure of kind of, you know, a second act, generally, there's complications but you're moving forward and you're kind of going at one direction and you go another direction. You're finding out a little bit more information as you go along and that's what the whole second part of that song is.


Paul Feig: When he gets to the point where he goes off the vocoder there's something that is pulling back his guitar. It's both cool and unsatisfying because it's muted almost like a mute on a trumpet, so when he goes back to the straight guitar coming out of an amp in the third act, it's this cathartic experience because it's back and it's jamming and it's fast and it's great. It's like the perfect third act because it is a big action packed third act and it just rocks. And a lot of times when I hear the audience, I think, Did anyone know like when he started playing that, that they were present for one of the greatest rock live songs ever recorded.


Song "Do You Feel Like I Do" Live by Peter Frampton


Liza Richardson: Paul Feig, thank you so much for being here.


Paul Feig: Thank you Liza. I had so much fun and once again it's a huge honor to be here.