Alex Cox & Opinions on N.E.R.D.

Alex Cox

Few filmmakers have embodied the punk aesthetic like Alex Cox. He joins Jim and Greg to discuss the classic LA punk soundtrack to Repo Man, the making of the Sex Pistols biopic Sid and Nancy, and his fruitful collaborations with Joe Strummer. Plus, a review of the new album from Pharrell Williams’s side project N.E.R.D.

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Alex Cox

Repo Man

Filmmaker Alex Cox joins Jim and Greg this week for a lively conversation about his punk rock-infused movies like Repo Man, Sid and Nancy, and Walker. Though originally from Liverpool, Cox first encountered punk rock through the Los Angeles scene of bands like Fear, Suicidal Tendencies, and Black Flag. When he made his debut film Repo Man in 1984, he enlisted all his favorite bands for the soundtrack. The movie was initially a flop, but the popularity of that legendary soundtrack album eventually turned it into a cult classic. Cox followed up that with another definitive punk film – Sid and Nancy, a biopic of the Sex PistolsSid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

Sid and Nancy was the beginning of a long collaboration between Cox and Joe Strummer of The Clash. Strummer appeared in and composed for the spaghetti western homage Straight to Hell and the controversial 1987 film Walker. Alex Cox speaks with Jim and Greg about working with Strummer, enlisting both Iggy Pop and Michael Nesmith of The Monkees to make Repo Man, and the difficulties of making political films in Hollywood.

No_One Ever Really Dies N.E.R.D.

NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES

After a seven year hiatus, N.E.R.D. (the Pharrell Williams/ Neptunes side project) has returned with their fourth album No_One Ever Really Dies. As The Neptunes, Chad Hugo & Pharrell crafted synthy, quirky, poppy hip hop and R&B for the likes of Jay-Z and Kelis in the 1990s and early ‘00s. Then in 1999, they formed N.E.R.D. with Shay Haley. In the time since N.E.R.D.’s last album, 2010’s Nothing, Pharrell Williams has made a name for himself as a solo artist. Most notably, he achieved mainstream success with the smash hit Happy, all while maintaining his signature sense of quirk. Greg says it’s that quirkiness, along with a knack for hooks that attracted him to their sound in the first place. He likes this effort for its weird, buzzy tone and its psychedelic energy. Greg gives it a Buy It. Jim calls N.E.R.D. an experimental garage band. He adds this project has an uneven success rate with its long list of collaborations, including tracks with Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and Ed Sheeran. Jim gives it a Try It.

Jim

The new year has inspired Jim’s pick for this week’s Desert Island Jukebox. Jim celebrated many a New Year’s Eve at the bar Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Recently, he was thinking about the December 31st evening he spent watching the group Human Switchboard perform. Human Switchboard was a band out of the Cleveland, Ohio scene that blended elements of rock, funk and punk to create their own unique sound. Once they moved to New York City in the ‘80s, they played clubs in and around the city back when people used to dance to New Wave music. Jim chose the track (Say No To) Saturday’s Girl and it has him grooving in the new year.

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