EP 508: Lenny Kravitz Reveals How He Found His Voice

Grammy-wining musician Lenny Kravitz shares how his parents' biracial marriage and very different personalities fostered what he calls his "gemini soul," how his mom, actress Roxy Roker from TV's The Jeffersons, inspired the artist in him, and how he and his dad still found connection through music even as their relationship deteriorated. He recalls the rock concert that changed his life, the first song he ever wrote, and sneaking out of his parents' house every night to explore LA’s thriving music scene when he was in high school.  Lenny discusses his early music career, why he turned down lucrative record deals even though he was living out of his car, and how he originally crafted a perso

EP 507: Peter Frampton Comes Alive!

Rock legend Peter Frampton talks about the making of that seminal rock album Frampton Comes Alive! and the story of his famous guitar that he nicknamed "The Phoenix."  He recalls learning to play guitar by ear when he was a boy, growing up with another future rock legend David Bowie, and what it was like to be in high school during the day and perform in a rock band at night.  He tells the story of the time he barely escaped Noriega’s Panama with his life, how he took the the news of the death of his former bandmate Steve Marriot, and how his recent diagnosis with a debilitating muscle disease has put an end to his touring days, but not to his writing and recording.  Plus Peter shares memori

EP 506: John Cleese on Creativity

As the actor and writer behind Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and films like A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese is among the most creative minds in entertainment.  He opens up about his writing process, why he often finds inspiration in the most unlikely of places, and how you can foster creativity in whatever you do.  He explains why overconfidence is the enemy of creativity, where he gets his particular disdain for pompous politicians and feckless authority figures, and why he says that people in charge are always uncomfortable around comedians.  John reveals how he and the Pythons came up with that classic "Dead Parrot" sketch, the curmudgeonly hotel manager who served as the real life inspir

EP 505: Tim Robbins on Defeating Tyranny with Satire

Oscar-winning actor/writer/director/producer Tim Robbins shares how he originally developed his latest project Bobo Supreme as a movie with the director Adam McKay, but he was inspired to adapt his screenplay for an auditory medium when the pandemic shut down film production. He reveals how he managed to record with 35 different actors in 35 different locations simultaneously during quarantine, and how it has given him a renewed appreciation for the radio dramas of Orson Welles and his Mercury Radio Theater. We talk about taking down tyrants through satire, comedy as a welcome break from our toxic addiction to doom scrolling, and how Tim’s career in Hollywood has given him some insight into

EP 504: 99% Invisible's Roman Mars on How People, Politics, and Pandemics Impact Design

99% Invisible host Roman Mars discusses his new book why it’s taken him a decade to finally write a 99% Invisible book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, all of the thought that this design fan put into the look of his first book, and some of the secret publishing considerations that determine everything from how many units get returned to whether a book gets sold by Costco. We talk about the baseball player who became synonymous with stairs to nowhere and other architectural elements that have outlasted their usefulness, how the lost art of neon tube bending is making a comeback, and how residents, local governments, and more affect the look and c

EP 503: H.R. McMaster Looks at America's Greatest Challenges to Come

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster served in the US Army for 34 years and then as National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump. He discusses what it was like to take over that job in the chaotic period following the firing of his predecessor Michael Flynn, how studying LBJ's mistakes during the War in Vietnam made him even more determined to provide the current Commander-in-Chief with straight-forward, unvarnished policy advice, and why he believes that some others in the White House might not have had the same lofty motivations. He talks about the value of empathy in national security and some of the biggest challenges America faces from an emboldened China that is taking advantage o

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