Peter Berg

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Director/Actor Peter Berg admits to DJ Liza Richardson that he uses music to hide from pressures on set and stay focused. He talks about the singer who makes him feel like he can “move mountains,” his favorite hip-hop song, his first rock and roll “man crush”, and two bands he loves from Texas, where his show Friday Night Lights is filmed.

 Peter’s latest film
Hancock, starring Will Smith, is in theaters on July 2. 
To recieve updates when new sets are posted:



1. White Stripes "You Don't Know What Love Is"

You Don't Know What Love Is [You Just Do As You're Told] (Warner Bros)

2. The Replacements "Here Comes a Regular" 

Tim (Warner Bros)

3. Explosions in the Sky "Your Hand in Mine" 

The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (Temporary Residence)

4. Jay Z "I Just Wanna Love You"

 The Dynasty [Explicit] (Roc-A-Fella)

5. Ghostland Observatory "The Band Marches On" Robotique Majestique (Trashy Moped Recordings)

Liza Richardson: Hi, I’m Liza Richardson from KCRW, and I am here with director and actor Peter Berg. We’re going to talk about the music that has inspired him over the years. Pete thanks for coming down to KCRW.

Peter Berg: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Liza Richardson: How would you say music in general has affected your work?

Peter Berg: When you’re working on a film and you’re trying to shoot a scene, you get all caught up in the technology, or the stuff that really has very little to do with what the experience is actually going to be for an audience when they watch it. And I find that if I can put headphones on and listen to music and push out all of that interference, all that distraction, and remember the emotion or the energy that we want to try and convey and that’s really what’s important anyway. So, instead of talking to a bunch of technicians about a crane or a lighting grid, to let people figure that out and try to stay focused on what the attitude of the scene is. There’s no better way to get to it, obviously, than music.

Liza Richardson: So the first song you’ve picked today is a White Stripes song. What about them?

Peter Berg: Right. Well, I just think Jack White is the greatest rock star working today, for me. Just super-inspiring, so confident, funny, really musically talented. I saw them play at the Greek last year, and he played twelve instruments, including a xylophone, and made THAT look good. I consistently love everything they do, and it always puts me in a pretty dynamic mood. Jack White kind of makes you feel like you could move mountains.

 Break into song: “You Don’t Know What Love Is” by the White Stripes

 Liza Richardson: That is the White Stripes and “You Don’t Know What Love Is” the choice of my guest today, Pete Berg. And, what do you have next?

Peter Berg: Well, I went to college in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the ‘80s. It was a real exciting time, musically. Prince was just beginning to take off. It was right around “Purple Rain” coming out.  And Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were playing with The Time, and there was a lot of good funk music. There was also all this rock and there was a band called Husker Du, that was kind of a speed metal band. But my favorite band, by far, was The Replacements, who many say were the first great grunge band before Nirvana and Pearl Jam and were the tip of the spear of that whole movement led by Paul Westerberg, who was definitely my first man crush when I was in college. I just thought he was “it,” you know. Great song writer, reckless, they’d have to stop their shows because they were so drunk they couldn’t remember the words, and it somehow would work for them. And they did a lot of really hard kind of power punk anthems, but this is probably my favorite of their songs which is a slower, meditative song called “Here Comes a Regular”

 Fade to song Replacement’s “Here Comes a Regular”

 Liza Richardson: Pete, when you wake up in the morning and your mind is clear, what do you listen to?

 Peter Berg: Well, I can tell you what I listened to today, for example.

 Liza Richardson: Ok.

 Peter Berg: My new band that I’m pretty crazy about is this band from Texas called Ghost land Observatory and that band is hot. They just did a show in Austin with just two guys -- a singer and a guy who plays like a computer-synthesizer-drum machine -- which normally I wouldn’t stand but this sounds very organic. And in the middle of the song they brought out the University of Texas marching band, the entire band, like 400 of them, and it was one of the more inspiring things I’ve seen.

 Fade to song “Band Marches On” by Ghost Land Observatory

 Liza Richardson: Next up on your playlist, what is it?

 Peter Berg: This is a band we found when we were making the movie “Friday Night Lights”. A band from Midland, Texas that’s just three guitars and a drum and just the most emotional, hypnotic, powerful, intense music I’ve heard in a long time. I just saw Explosions in the Sky at the Wiltern. And they did one song. It was an hour and a half long and it worked. They just come out and they take care of business. This is a song that will always hold a lot of personal connection to me because it reminds me of all the time I spent in Texas working on Friday Night Lights.

 Fade to song “Your Hand in My Hand” by Explosions in The Sky 

 Liza Richardson: So that’s Explosions in the Sky, “Your Hand in My Hand” and it’s the choice for our guest for today, Peter Berg. So, let’s see, we’ve got one more choice for you. What else did you bring?

 Peter Berg: I went and saw Jay Z’s show at the Hollywood Bowl. I like rap and I like Jay Z, but I honestly had never seen him play. I seriously underestimated what an incredible talent he is. He played with a full orchestra and he had such incredible confidence and poise and was just an utter rockstar. And I was overwhelmed with how much I liked him and how much I am now a fan. The two highlights of the night were “99 Problems,” which is a great song, but it was actually, for me, this song which is Jay Z singing “I Just Wanna Love You”.

 Fade to song: “I Just Wanna Love You”by  Jay Z. 

 Liza Richardson: So Peter, thank you so much for coming by KCRW.

 Peter Berg : Thanks for having me.