1. In Big Bill Broonzy’s Blues, Brothers Find A Way To Sing Together: Dave and Phil Alvin have made their first full album together in nearly 30 years, a tribute to one of their early influences. “His persona was so big to me,” Phil Alvin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

    Seeking Proof For Why We Feel Terrible After Too Many Drinks: Author Adam Rogers says there are lots of myths about what causes hangovers. His new book,Proof: The Science of Booze, explores these and other scientific mysteries of alcohol’s effect on the body.

    Benjamin Booker Is Raw, Yet Disciplined On Debut Album: The 25-year-old guitarist-singer-songwriter has already served as an opening act on Jack White’s recent tour, and he may be ready for headliner status.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    booze

    blues

    banjamin booker

  1. I don’t think anyone sets out to change the world, and I think if you have that delusion going into journalism you’re going to end up disappointed. All you can do is write what you feel, stick to your conscience, stick to your guns, and sometimes it’s not always popular, but the readers do respond, I will say that.

    — 

    Carl Hiaasen 

    Hiaasen’s latest book, Bad Monkey, is now in paperback 

  2. carl hiaasen

    bad monkey

    journalism

    interview

    fresh air

  1. 
"Everybody said, ‘Oh you must’ve been on drugs when you made those movies.’ No! We weren’t on drugs when we made them. I was on on drugs when I thought them up and I was on drugs when we showed them, but I was never on drugs when we made them, because it was too hard.” 
- John Waters


Waters’ new book is called Carsick. It chronicles his hitchhiking journey across the country. 

Photo by Richard Burbridge, 2008  View in High-Res

    "Everybody said, ‘Oh you must’ve been on drugs when you made those movies.’ No! We weren’t on drugs when we made them. I was on on drugs when I thought them up and I was on drugs when we showed them, but I was never on drugs when we made them, because it was too hard.” 

    - John Waters

    Waters’ new book is called Carsick. It chronicles his hitchhiking journey across the country. 

    Photo by Richard Burbridge, 2008 

  2. john waters

    fresh air

    interview

    drugs

    film

  1. It has been a slow week of reruns, so this happened.  View in High-Res

    It has been a slow week of reruns, so this happened. 

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    questions

    fresh air

    pie chart

    graph

  1. We’re concluding our Emmys series with another one of this year’s nominees, Jon Hamm.  He actually had two nominations this year—for outstanding lead actor in a dramatic series for his performance as Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, and for his work as a producer on the series.  He’s received a total 13 nominations during his career, but has yet to win.  
Hamm spoke to Fresh Air in 2010. In the interview he talks about how the loss of his parents influenced his choice to pursue acting: 

"Had both my parents been around, I probably would have done something completely different with my life. I think all performers come from a place of self-doubt and pain. Ray Romano said once, very accurately and hilariously, that if his dad had spent more time with him he would have been an accountant instead of a comedian. I think that anybody who wants to get on stage or tell jokes or sing songs has some sort of, at a fundamental level, desire to be paid attention to, and I’m no different. But my mother instilled in me an incredible desire to learn and an incredible curiosity about the world and an incredible joy in achieving things. And she also put me in creative-writing classes and acting classes when I was a little kid and encouraged me to do stuff. So that’s probably the biggest influence in what got me here."

    We’re concluding our Emmys series with another one of this year’s nominees, Jon Hamm.  He actually had two nominations this year—for outstanding lead actor in a dramatic series for his performance as Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, and for his work as a producer on the series.  He’s received a total 13 nominations during his career, but has yet to win.  

    Hamm spoke to Fresh Air in 2010. In the interview he talks about how the loss of his parents influenced his choice to pursue acting: 

    "Had both my parents been around, I probably would have done something completely different with my life. I think all performers come from a place of self-doubt and pain. Ray Romano said once, very accurately and hilariously, that if his dad had spent more time with him he would have been an accountant instead of a comedian. I think that anybody who wants to get on stage or tell jokes or sing songs has some sort of, at a fundamental level, desire to be paid attention to, and I’m no different. But my mother instilled in me an incredible desire to learn and an incredible curiosity about the world and an incredible joy in achieving things. And she also put me in creative-writing classes and acting classes when I was a little kid and encouraged me to do stuff. So that’s probably the biggest influence in what got me here."

  2. jon hamm

    mad men

    acting

    interview

    fresh air

  1. Edie Falco, star of Nurse Jackie, was nominated this year for outstanding actress in a comedy series. She won for Nurse Jackie in 2010 and three times for her role as Carmela Soprano on The Sopranos. She joined us this spring to talk about addiction, parenting, and her big break.
Here’s Falco on her Sopranos audition: 

"I went in, and I just did exactly what this character should be in my mind, from my estimation — also knowing that there was no way I’d get cast because I was not the stereotypical Italian-American-looking actress, and I knew who was. There’s something very powerful about going in to just do it for the heck of it.
You know, there’s a huge lesson in there. The pain in life is contingent upon one’s expectations for the most part. … So I was calm and relaxed. … I think I got a call that day or the next day. … It was a monstrous sum of money for me at the time, and all I thought was, “I cannot believe I can pay off my student loans with one check.” … I broke out in a sweat at the size of that relief.”
View in High-Res

    Edie Falco, star of Nurse Jackie, was nominated this year for outstanding actress in a comedy series. She won for Nurse Jackie in 2010 and three times for her role as Carmela Soprano on The Sopranos. She joined us this spring to talk about addiction, parenting, and her big break.

    Here’s Falco on her Sopranos audition: 

    "I went in, and I just did exactly what this character should be in my mind, from my estimation — also knowing that there was no way I’d get cast because I was not the stereotypical Italian-American-looking actress, and I knew who was. There’s something very powerful about going in to just do it for the heck of it.

    You know, there’s a huge lesson in there. The pain in life is contingent upon one’s expectations for the most part. … So I was calm and relaxed. … I think I got a call that day or the next day. … It was a monstrous sum of money for me at the time, and all I thought was, “I cannot believe I can pay off my student loans with one check.” … I broke out in a sweat at the size of that relief.”

  2. edie falco

    the sopranos

    nurse jackie

    interview

    fresh air

  1. The “So Did the Fat Lady” episode of Louie — which generated a lot of buzz — just earned Louis C.K an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series.
Louie, who is also overweight, rejects Vanessa (Sarah Baker) when she asks him out because of her appearance. Vanessa then schools Louie about what it’s like “to be the fat girl,” and society’s double standards about weight.
Here’s what Louis C.K. said about that scene in our recent interview:

"I’ve been several weights in my life and I know what it feels like to feel like you’re on the outside looking in [on] the real party in life… In school you’re confronted with kids saying stuff to you. I was heavy for parts of my school life, or awkward… At least in high school kids make fun of you. After high school, you’re just alone. There’s just no people. You just get left alone. I know what it feels like to feel that way. I’m certainly not as heavy as some people but I’ve been heavy and I went bald at like 24, so I’ve always thought about it."
View in High-Res

    The “So Did the Fat Lady” episode of Louie — which generated a lot of buzz — just earned Louis C.K an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series.

    Louie, who is also overweight, rejects Vanessa (Sarah Baker) when she asks him out because of her appearance. Vanessa then schools Louie about what it’s like “to be the fat girl,” and society’s double standards about weight.

    Here’s what Louis C.K. said about that scene in our recent interview:

    "I’ve been several weights in my life and I know what it feels like to feel like you’re on the outside looking in [on] the real party in life… In school you’re confronted with kids saying stuff to you. I was heavy for parts of my school life, or awkward… At least in high school kids make fun of you. After high school, you’re just alone. There’s just no people. You just get left alone. I know what it feels like to feel that way. I’m certainly not as heavy as some people but I’ve been heavy and I went bald at like 24, so I’ve always thought about it."

  2. Louis CK

    louie

    emmy

    comedy

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Originally Jesse Pinkman was supposed to be killed off Breaking Bad during the show’s first season. Aaron Paul says he didn’t learn that until series creator Vince Gilligan called him over one day during lunch.
"He goes, ‘Originally Jesse was supposed to die at the end of this season,’ … and instantly my heart dropped and slowed down a bit," Paul says. "And he said, ‘We don’t think we’re going to do that anymore.’ "
Gilligan told Paul that he loved the chemistry between Walt and Jesse.
"He decided to change the whole dynamic of their relationship and really the whole dynamic of the show," says Paul. "But the entire second season, the entire third season, I thought that Jesse could be a goner at any moment because there’s many things that this character could screw up on, and he could definitely meet his deathbed at any moment."
Other cast members, including Bryan Cranston, would joke around on set with Paul about his character’s potential demise.
"Bryan would come up and give me a hug and say, ‘I’m not going to say anything but it was such a pleasure working with you. It’s been an amazing past year-and-a-half, and you have a huge career ahead of you,’ " he says. "They would always joke around about it. They’ve kind of slowed down about it, but who knows — this kid could die at any second."

Hear the interview with Aaron Paul  View in High-Res

    Originally Jesse Pinkman was supposed to be killed off Breaking Bad during the show’s first season. Aaron Paul says he didn’t learn that until series creator Vince Gilligan called him over one day during lunch.

    "He goes, ‘Originally Jesse was supposed to die at the end of this season,’ … and instantly my heart dropped and slowed down a bit," Paul says. "And he said, ‘We don’t think we’re going to do that anymore.’ "

    Gilligan told Paul that he loved the chemistry between Walt and Jesse.

    "He decided to change the whole dynamic of their relationship and really the whole dynamic of the show," says Paul. "But the entire second season, the entire third season, I thought that Jesse could be a goner at any moment because there’s many things that this character could screw up on, and he could definitely meet his deathbed at any moment."

    Other cast members, including Bryan Cranston, would joke around on set with Paul about his character’s potential demise.

    "Bryan would come up and give me a hug and say, ‘I’m not going to say anything but it was such a pleasure working with you. It’s been an amazing past year-and-a-half, and you have a huge career ahead of you,’ " he says. "They would always joke around about it. They’ve kind of slowed down about it, but who knows — this kid could die at any second."

    Hear the interview with Aaron Paul 

  2. aaron paul

    breaking bad

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Sarah Silverman says that most comics’ sense of humor comes from self-loathing. For her, that wasn’t really the case:  

"I think my comedy came more from humiliation… I was a chronic bed-wetter. I had this deep, dark secret. If I had to go to sleepover parties I would just pinch myself awake all night.
The…thing that made me feel the most Jewish, because we weren’t religious in any way, was that I was so friggin’ hairy compared to these Carol Reed, L.L. Bean blonde Aryans that I lived with. So there was that. You want to be funny before anyone is funny on your behalf.” 


Silverman just won an Emmy for best writing for a variety special, her HBO special, We Are Miracles. 

    Sarah Silverman says that most comics’ sense of humor comes from self-loathing. For her, that wasn’t really the case:  

    "I think my comedy came more from humiliation… I was a chronic bed-wetter. I had this deep, dark secret. If I had to go to sleepover parties I would just pinch myself awake all night.

    The…thing that made me feel the most Jewish, because we weren’t religious in any way, was that I was so friggin’ hairy compared to these Carol Reed, L.L. Bean blonde Aryans that I lived with. So there was that. You want to be funny before anyone is funny on your behalf.” 

    Silverman just won an Emmy for best writing for a variety special, her HBO special, We Are Miracles

  2. sarah silverman

    comedy

    fresh air

    terry gross

    we are miracles

  1. Last night Breaking Bad won its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series.  Its star, Bryan Cranston, won his fifth Emmy. Fresh Air spoke to Cranston while he was on Broadway playing President Johnson in All the Way. In the interview, he tells Terry about his short-lived stand-up career: 

"I did it for about nine months in 1981, I believe it was. I did it solely for the purpose of overcoming fear, because I looked at that and I said to myself, "Oh, my God, that’s got to be the scariest thing to do." There’s a microphone and a light on you, and that’s it. It’s all you, and so I wanted to do that. I got into the idea of going from club to club. I was never paid for it, nor should I have been, because I never rose above the level of mediocrity. But it was a great, great experience, very humbling. My respect and admiration for those who do it for a living, like Jerry [Seinfeld], was just enormous."


Photo: Andreas Laszlo Konwrath via Variety  View in High-Res

    Last night Breaking Bad won its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series.  Its star, Bryan Cranston, won his fifth Emmy. Fresh Air spoke to Cranston while he was on Broadway playing President Johnson in All the Way. In the interview, he tells Terry about his short-lived stand-up career: 

    "I did it for about nine months in 1981, I believe it was. I did it solely for the purpose of overcoming fear, because I looked at that and I said to myself, "Oh, my God, that’s got to be the scariest thing to do." There’s a microphone and a light on you, and that’s it. It’s all you, and so I wanted to do that. I got into the idea of going from club to club. I was never paid for it, nor should I have been, because I never rose above the level of mediocrity. But it was a great, great experience, very humbling. My respect and admiration for those who do it for a living, like Jerry [Seinfeld], was just enormous."

    Photo: Andreas Laszlo Konwrath via Variety 

  2. breaking bad

    bryan cranston

    emmys

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Happy 60th Birthday to Elvis Costello. Here’s a 1989 interview from the Fresh Air archives. He brought his guitar to the studio! 

  2. elvis costello

    fresh air

    interview

    music

  1. An essay from Lena Dunham's fortcoming memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, was released today in The New Yorker. It’s about growing up with various therapists. 
It opens: 

"I am eight, and I am afraid of everything. The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn’t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep."


Read the essay or hear Fresh Air’s most recent interview with Dunham. 

Photo of Little Lena found on Pinterest 

    An essay from Lena Dunham's fortcoming memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, was released today in The New Yorker. It’s about growing up with various therapists. 

    It opens: 

    "I am eight, and I am afraid of everything. The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn’t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep."

    Read the essay or hear Fresh Air’s most recent interview with Dunham

    Photo of Little Lena found on Pinterest 

  2. lena dunham

    therapy

    fresh air

    interview

    new yorker

  1. 
"Starting in 1970 with Even Dwarfs Started Small – an anarchic tale of rebellion by a group of little people — Werner Herzog unleashed a torrent of ten films, including Nosferatu and Fitzcarraldo, that remain the heart of his achievement.


All those movies, and six later ones, are included in the tremendous new boxed-set, Herzog: The Collection.  Some of them are great, others are good, and a couple are truly terrible.  Yet every single one has something going on.  Herzog has never been limited by anybody else’s idea of propriety, good sense, or artistic neatness.  He pushes us into unsettling mental spaces that make the strange familiar and the familiar strange.”
- John Powers, reviewing Herzog: The Collection 


How the “I believe in Werner Herzog” grafiti started  View in High-Res

    "Starting in 1970 with Even Dwarfs Started Small – an anarchic tale of rebellion by a group of little people — Werner Herzog unleashed a torrent of ten films, including Nosferatu and Fitzcarraldo, that remain the heart of his achievement.

    All those movies, and six later ones, are included in the tremendous new boxed-set, Herzog: The Collection.  Some of them are great, others are good, and a couple are truly terrible.  Yet every single one has something going on.  Herzog has never been limited by anybody else’s idea of propriety, good sense, or artistic neatness.  He pushes us into unsettling mental spaces that make the strange familiar and the familiar strange.”

    - John Powers, reviewing Herzog: The Collection 

    How the “I believe in Werner Herzog” grafiti started 

  2. werner herzog

    film

    john powers

    review

    fresh air

  1. Phil Balboni, the CEO of the online international news company GlobalPost, spoke to Fresh Air today about the hostage and brutal execution of journalist James Foley (above). Foley was covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria at the time of his kidnapping. Balboni tells Terry Gross about the communication he had with Foley’s captors: 

“The original demand from the captors was November of 2013. At that moment we’d never had a communication from Jim, and we’d never had an official “proof of life,” as it’s called. During that communication with the kidnappers, they offered us the opportunity to get proof of life, and the Foleys drafted a series of questions that only Jim could answer. They were extremely difficult — obscure family events that only Jim could know. When those proof-of-life questions came back answered correctly, perfectly, it was a hair-raising moment for all of us because we knew definitively, with certainty, that we were dealing with the people who were holding Jim.”
View in High-Res

    Phil Balboni, the CEO of the online international news company GlobalPost, spoke to Fresh Air today about the hostage and brutal execution of journalist James Foley (above). Foley was covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria at the time of his kidnapping. Balboni tells Terry Gross about the communication he had with Foley’s captors: 

    The original demand from the captors was November of 2013. At that moment we’d never had a communication from Jim, and we’d never had an official “proof of life,” as it’s called. During that communication with the kidnappers, they offered us the opportunity to get proof of life, and the Foleys drafted a series of questions that only Jim could answer. They were extremely difficult — obscure family events that only Jim could know. When those proof-of-life questions came back answered correctly, perfectly, it was a hair-raising moment for all of us because we knew definitively, with certainty, that we were dealing with the people who were holding Jim.”

  2. james foley

    globalpost

    fresh air

    interview

    philip balboni

  1. FXX is going to have a 12-day Simpsons marathon, playing all 552 episodes.  In appreciation of the series, we’ve compiled several of our Simpsons interviews into one show. 

Since The Simpsons began, Fresh Air’s Terry Gross has interviewed many people who have had a hand creating the show – from Matt Groening in 1989 and 2003 to  two of the writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss in 1992. Gross also talked with actors who do the voices, including Nancy Cartwright, who plays Bart, in 2007; Julie Kavner, the voice of Marge in 1994; Hank Azaria, the voice of Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and others in 2004.

Here, Simpsons creator Matt Groening tells Terry about how they occasionally got in trouble with the Fox network: 

"At the beginning, virtually anything we did would get somebody upset and now it seems like the people who are eager to be offended — and this country is full of people who are eager to be offended. They’ve given up on our show. We got into trouble a few years ago for — Homer is watching an anti-drinking commercial and it said, "Warning! Beer causes rectal cancer." And Homer responds by saying, "Mmm beer." Fox didn’t want us to do that because beer advertisers are a big part of the Fox empire and it turns out the writer was able to track down the actual fact where some studies show that indeed it does — or did or has a tendency to [cause cancer] — so we were able to keep it in."


Photo: Courtesy of Fox  View in High-Res

    FXX is going to have a 12-day Simpsons marathon, playing all 552 episodes.  In appreciation of the series, we’ve compiled several of our Simpsons interviews into one show. 

    Since The Simpsons began, Fresh Air’s Terry Gross has interviewed many people who have had a hand creating the show – from Matt Groening in 1989 and 2003 to  two of the writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss in 1992. Gross also talked with actors who do the voices, including Nancy Cartwright, who plays Bart, in 2007; Julie Kavner, the voice of Marge in 1994; Hank Azaria, the voice of Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and others in 2004.

    Here, Simpsons creator Matt Groening tells Terry about how they occasionally got in trouble with the Fox network: 

    "At the beginning, virtually anything we did would get somebody upset and now it seems like the people who are eager to be offended — and this country is full of people who are eager to be offended. They’ve given up on our show. We got into trouble a few years ago for — Homer is watching an anti-drinking commercial and it said, "Warning! Beer causes rectal cancer." And Homer responds by saying, "Mmm beer." Fox didn’t want us to do that because beer advertisers are a big part of the Fox empire and it turns out the writer was able to track down the actual fact where some studies show that indeed it does — or did or has a tendency to [cause cancer] — so we were able to keep it in."

    Photo: Courtesy of Fox 

  2. the simpsons

    fresh air

    interview