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Best Of: The Life & Music of Janis Joplin / Kathryn Hahn


Support for this podcast and the following message come from NPR sponsor and Y J women's jeans that come in sixty six sizes from double zero to twenty eight not too plus n short too tall visit ny dot com slash NPR and get fifty dollars off your first purchase of fifty dollars or more from whyy Fidel musicianship brash sexuality and natural exuberance locked together to produce America's first female Rockstar Janice never compromised her vision doc unquote Joplin's brief life was ended by a heroin overdose in nineteen seventy when she was only twenty seven her final Album Pearl this club George Warren says Joplin liked to give the impression that her music was just emotion pouring out of her but she worked hard at her singing for years before becoming famous my guest is the author of a new biography of Janice Joplin called Janice her life and Music Holly George Warren writes quote Joplin's coffee she really tried to hide that side of her just like she tried to hide the fact that she was a total bookworm and she wanted people to think she was just this vessel also talk with Kathryn Hahn who's known for her roles and transparent parks and recreation and bad mom's now she starring in the new. Hbo Cast David Cohen Comcast Senior Executive Vice President helped launch their Internet essentials program and believes in the power of bringing the Internet to people without access and she wasn't afraid to cross boundaries musical cultural and sexual as we look back at pivotal moments in nineteen sixties rock history she is thank you enclosing the digital divide and getting people trained and comfortable with the Internet to learn more go to comcast corporation dot com slash Internet essentials. Ns Joplin we talked with Holler George Warren Who's written a new biography of Joplin Japan was an icon of sixties counterculture a Rockstar when rock was aboard an eight years we have been able to connect more than eight million low income Americans to the Internet and begun to make a difference a holding company this piece of my heart recorded in nineteen sixty eight was released posthumously how George Warren is also the author of the road to Woodstock and biographies of Alex Chilton and Gene Autry. She's on the nominating as Mrs Fletcher and Justin Chang reviews the new film the Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Defoe the following message comes from our sponsor usually they're the Monterey pop festival the vibrant Haight Ashbury scene in San Francisco the streets the clubs studios of Gritty New York City Woodstock Maria the rock and Roll Hall of fame and teaches at the State University of New York at New Paltz let's start with a track that was Joplin's commercial breakthrough with her Band Big Brother Holly George Warren Welcome back to fresh air thanks so much for having yeah come the woman that she was in the nineteen sixties when at that point in time there weren't too many women taking center stage not only onstage in the recording studio but even as as far as a point of media attention and Janice created this incredible image ah that went along with her amazing vocal ability her talent and also her live performance which was very very different than most of the women that can summer is that she connected with her audiences by tapping into her deepest feelings and there was this authenticity that came across appointments hurts that I think a lot of women in her audience couldn't express themselves and Janice was not only just singing to them she audience members like they had never been touched before I've talked to people who saw her back in nineteen sixty six sixty seven and they talk about as an in the way that you would imagine she wasn't wearing like sexy clothes she wasn't like revealing a lot of her body like onstage I was able to do through her own Way of manifesting these feelings that she had while seen this these songs and on me again so why do you why do you and so many others consider Janice Joplin the first woman Rockstar and I presume say Rockstar we're eliminating huge Otis Fan until the day she died and she got to see him perform live three nights in a row at the fillmore back in nineteen sixty six and it transformed her because he was a very sexual performer and he was able to emit this heat on stage that Janice herself in the studio and in the Music World do you think that she faced a lot of sexism when she was I see Smith songs in around nineteen sixty three and those kind of lyrics of sexuality of sexual longing sexual betrayal those vary before for people who I've seen her live or on film or video how is her live performance different what made Janice really different is alive perform it does if it was yesterday especially women I think because she was able to express deep down emotions shamed much informed Janice his own songwriting and the songs that she chose to sing the other major influence was Otis redding she was a he so what was it about her that had so much sexual energy in her performances. You can look to two major influences that Janet like rock and roll where we're eliminating girl groups we're talking about like rock rock yes Janice Joplin broke down a lot of barriers has had that I think affected her sexuality and the way she expressed it on stage one was of course the Great Bessie Smith whose lyrics China's new by heart she started out singing bessie Smith songs way before we ever saw her these images of her with big brother and the holding company she started performing was but they were often seagoing out her body parts and talking about her physical appearance in a way that of course you know male singers it wasn't just standing up there singing she was basically emptying out her gods through that amazing voice of hers and touching her did to fame but she was such a restless of spirit as far as a musician goes she wanted to keep it exploring different sounds different kinds of music and it once she was a public figure the press would of course be amazed by her vocals and critics would be talking about what a great singer she rock singers were really not getting that kind of attention from the press also she really had to bus down barriers own and they tried to say she was selling out and going Showbiz and I don't think other artists like Eric Clapton who left and plenty of bands too awards yup any big Mama Lo and behold was living in the bay area performing at a Little Club so Janice and her bandmates went down to see her perform and she does this singing for them and I think that kind of deep connection was very very unique that time she was very sexual onstage but the boys and she kind of was outside that gender role playing at the time that was pretty much dominant in our culture but there's Big Mama Thornton followed by Janice Joplin and both of these recordings were made in nineteen sixty eight when she did that it was really awful in that the boys club of music critics just Kinda raked over the coals for dropping her band and going on was to be able to have control to do what she wanted to do because she loved being in Big Brother and the Holding Company for example the band with whom she catapults authority recording and the Janice Joplin recording back to back so we can hear something of you know what influence Janice Joplin and how she made it her own so he yeah I mean Janice herself she compared singing onstage to having an orgasm she blew some journalist minds when she used that expression that she it was a very sexual experience for her and the world of rock in the late sixties was very much a a male dominated world window original version on of Duke records out of nearby Houston Texas of Hound dog which was very different from Elvis's it was it had a lot was a performer in spite of on her way to stardom or or after she reached it Janice was one of the boys she considered herself it is so poetic that Janice breakthrough song would be written by Big Mama Thornton Ball and chain because as a teenager of course who like many who saw elvis array behind how Janice Joplin I heard that song or how someone in her band I hear that song and how she decided to record it Penn Song Ball and chain they were blown away Janice started writing down the lyrics to the song on a piece of paper they're sitting in the club they went backstage rain and that was a cover of a song that was written by originally recorded by big Mama Thornton so what's the age got to meet Big Mama and literally ask for permission for them to start covering the song and she said sure as long as you don't mess it up and my guest is Holly George Warren author of a new biography of Janice Joplin called Janice we'll talk more after a break and we'll hear from actress Kathryn Hahn got more Heat to it and you know fast forward what ten years later nine hundred sixty six so janice was with big brother and the holding company she stars in the new. Hbo Series Mrs Fletcher This is fresh air weaken the following message comes from our sponsor comcast David Cohen Comcast Senior Holly George Warren author of a new biography of Janice Joplin George Warren writes about how Joplin grew up in segregated Texas but was able to cross musical in some cases grandma man connect more than eight million low income Americans to the Internet and begun to make a difference in closing the digital divide and getting by different sounds I don't think they got that kind of personal attack that Janna Scott one of Joplin's most famous recordings is boil and Your executive vice president helped launch their Internet essentials program and believes in the power of bringing the Internet to people without access eight years we have been left off we were talking about how early in her career Joplin started building an audience in Texas clubs singing folk music bluegrass and blues then she moved troll and sexual boundaries and become an icon of the counterculture she was there at pivotal moments in sixty s rock history the Monterey pop festival the vibrant hate so it was big Mama Thornton followed by Janice Joplin and be brethren holding company all that recorded in nineteen sixty eight now and They did dave gets the drummer used to say they big brother is the song so I thought it would be interesting to hear the big The people trained and comfortable with the Internet to learn more go to comcast corporation dot com slash Internet essentials let's get back to my interview with DOT COM west she goes to San Francisco and becomes part of Big Brother and the holding company the band how do they all get together opening round under thing at little open mic nights and tiny little folk clubs so she did that for about three years things started to take it us on Ed Sullivan Show Janice loved Elvis loved hound dog but then she went to the length and we don't even know how she did it but somehow she found big Mama had been out there to San Francisco so in January nineteen sixty three a week after the week that Janice twenty years old she hitchhiked to San Francisco the film no one what does single aging this band of musicians called Big Brother and the holding company they called there's their music free crock because it was lots of feedback and super end started a career so called career sleeping and basements and living off five dollars a day or whatever singing bessie Smith songs and some original Ashbury scene in San Francisco Woodstock Joplin's brief life was ended by a heroin overdose in nineteen seventy when she was twenty seven when we just before she went to San Francisco to give it a try and just completely changed her head around performing and singing with munity that family of Big Brother and the Holding Company who really gave her the underpinnings to work out her these warring electric Guitars Bass and drums and just the whole ballroom vibe of that was going on in San Francisco in the summer of sixty six hi to play every part perfectly every time Janice on the other hand she had that perfectionists mindset when it came to her music she wanted to be started singing again on the circuit and Houston with Guy Clark townes Van Zandt and then Chet Holmes who had stayed in San Francisco was man out electric guitars etc and they decided they wanted a female singer in the band now Janice had never ever performed with electric instrument how's that she had started writing in folk clubs in the bay area and and North beach she first met your mccallion Jerry Garcia they were doing the same thing mm-hmm Dan she was also a restless soul when it came to her music she didn't WanNa stay with just one style when sound of music and also be -sition ship to climb the ladder you know she was very ambitious from the beginning big brother was kind of this cool you know bad turn as far as some self destructive habits that she picked up all their so she ended up back in Texas for a year in nineteen sixty five the best singer she wanted to be perfect she was the first one in the recording studio and the last one to leave she worked really hard to be as good as she possibly could trying to talk her out of leaving big brother and the holding company and just going Solo and big brother and the holding company just they'd all just moved in together they were I was for her to figure out what to do Janice had two sides one was she loved having that after the Monterey pop festival when she was on screen and people could really see she is a star everyone in the music industry who she worked with well interestingly Terry a lot of people don't realize that the time she joined big brother and the holding company was in June nineteen sixty six that was actually the third time she places like the avalon ballroom the fillmore which was so different from anything she had ever done before musically a really difficult decision for her as what happy with the arrangement they had and she seemed to like know that the bound wasn't up to her standards musically but she didn't WanNa leave them can you talk about how finally did almost for good in nineteen seventy right about the time she had put together a new band which became called was like being a solo artist at that point time in her career again she was still very much a focal point of media articles about her all the time in her personal life when she was out on the road constantly backed up by what became known as cosmic Blues Band Jan US started turning to heroin as a way to just kind of numb herself from all the pressures and the fear of what eighteen sixty nine and she kick heroin before going back to it she tried to kick heroin a few times she four five months until tragically she relapsed again while recording Pearl in Los Angeles got a very strong dose very pure period when she's recording with the cosmic blues band and she separated from the ban that she knew so well that she was so close to be brother and the holding company what's happening announced that she could make her voice I guess I just thought she just kind of started singing chooses full-blown singer and it just came out that way but what I've realized working on the book and doing all the research and listening to tons of music is how she worked with her voice how she would purposefully evolve and change freaky you know hanging out improvisational band but they were not it was all about feel with them they were not these precise musicians that so she wanted to sing with more nuance and and she liked jazz she likes Broadway show tunes You know she wanted to try lots of soul music stop unfortunately it was heroin was pretty prevalent. no-one really realized the time and so she gradually got addicted to heroin ourself overdosed died October fourth nineteen seventy how does Janis Joplin's music sound different to you now outing the way she was the Banshee Wail that she developed with Big Brother and the holding company that really was not sustainable that was going to record voice your style and how she could sound so different depending on what the songs were what was and you know also just tax mm-hmm and she had developed this whole you know hard-drinking blues mom image that she had so this was a secret vice of hers that she picked she was fascinated by the recording process she loved it and then again I realized that she was a real scholar of music she worked hard to find worked just like she tried to hide the fact that she was a total bookworm and read books all the time I mean when I read the letters that she wrote to her parents that's a highly George Warren's new biography of Janice Joplin is called Janice her life and music working on this to become the singer that she was Holly George Warren thank you so much for talking with us while this has been so much fun thank you Terry what's really struck me as I dove into genesis music was all the different styles and different like what's happened horribly in recent times with fennel and things like that it was much more pure than she had ever used before and sh- her tolerance was down she was came just a matter of time before she finally did leave the band so she gets a new band the cosmic Blues Ben and so during the sick or NB there are a lot of things that she wanted to do that she was worried that big brother and the holding company either couldn't or wouldn't want to do so it be learned so much about the Real Janice that we didn't know about from just her persona on the image that she created she would write her parents with these why why in Philadelphia I'm terry gross with fresh air weekends today the life and music well it's all about feeling it was way more than that for her she really tried to hide that side of hers she didn't want people to know how hard she records to analyze the records and that was a big surprise for me to learn how much work she put into it and how long she spent in the psychological thriller the Lighthouse Willem Defoe and Robert Patterns nucle- what she could do just you know things like being able to hit like three notes at once you know just her technical prowess I've learned about and it was a massive rock star she was hitchhiking around in Brazil for awhile totally cleaned up really love the feeling of being clean and back to her old self again they should look at rip shins of what it's like you know over dubbing or double tracking her vocals or what the mixing process was like she was getting all technical on all that kind of stuff sadly she relapsed when she got back to California and then finally she quit in the spring of nineteen seventy and she stayed off of it for about 'til Boogie band and she she she got off heroin for awhile actually by going to Brazil for Carnival and I mean it's so hard to it just didn't wasn't just a natural talent that she had she worked really hard to become that good of a singer but you know it sounds like a journalist asked her about it was like one who made his filmmaking debut with a supernatural horror drama the witch film critic Justin Chang has this review the premise of the lighthouse Zain played to nineteenth century seaman stationed at a lighthouse off the coast of Maine it's the second feature written and directed by the thirty six year old Robert Egger Insane for two hours this is a brash and swaggering entertainment a blisteringly funny horror movie soaked in rain rum and testosterone anywhere near the lighthouse beacon saddling him instead with menial tasks like keeping the furnaces burning and emptying chamber pots the tension comes to ahead in one scene in which from played by Pattinson is being harangued about his duties by Thomas played by defoe what do you call that temper and horrible flatulence the sound of which is nearly as distracting as the loud fog horn blasts we keep hearing in the distance Thomas can have his odd Sir i Martin swept twice a lion dog coast of Maine the movie was actually filmed at Cape Fortune in Nova Scotia it's the eighteen ninety s and for the next four weeks this lonely outpost Addison eggers shoots to actors in stunning screen filling close ups letting US study the sculpted lines of patent since face and count it's also an exquisite piece of old fashioned film craft gorgeous shot in black and white in a nearly square aspect ratio that evokes the look of Hollywood is Golden Age even after two viewings I'm still not entirely sure what if anything the whole experience adds up to but I can't say I ever wanted to tear three hair in defoe's mangy beard defoe in particular seems to be having the time of his life as Thomas across the old seadogs with wild is a fast to travel to the frigid north construct a perfect replica of a nineteenth century New England Lighthouse and film Robert Pattinson and Willem dafoe slowly going woman's of tenderness especially when he has booze and his belly and a tall tale on his tongue but he is mostly overbearing and cruel he bars e from from going on the writings of nineteenth century authors like Herman Melville and Sarah Orne Jewett for inspiration as you can tell from the antiquated formality of the dialogue I already says how dare you contradict me a dog now look here I never intended to be no housewife nor slave and taking the next minute they're at each other's throats there's a homo erotic dimension to their close quarters intimacy at times you're not sure if they're going to destroy each other or we'll be home for a veteran lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake played by Defoe and his young apprentice a former lumberjack named lethem winslow played by or imagery of HP lovecraft Thomasson Ephraim's relationship is full of tempestuous ups and downs one minute they're drunk singing and carousing only fifteen trauma about a puritan family exiled from their community was similarly meticulous in its research of seventeenth century New England language and architecture even more than the which the lighthouse is a claustrophobic study of souls in isolation like the shining and other cabin fever classics it's regrets and failures it's an astonishing spectacle if also at times a maddeningly indulgent one toward the end eggers seems eggers was a production and costume designer before he became a filmmaker and he brings to each movie and obsessive attention to period detail the witch his in these moments the lighthouse becomes a scathing takedown of the bitterly thwarted male ego a story of two men drowning together in their lusts I swept the Pittsburgh grinding dabbled on wiped on Washington state some kind of purdon molested me come now warwick proper like this time and you'll be sworn it ten times more after that Robert Eggers who wrote the script with his brother Max Eggers drew times he reviewed the new movie the Lighthouse coming up we hear from actress Kathryn Hahn the stars and the new HBO series Mrs Fletcher About a divorced mother often let his characters go even after their conflict seems to have exhausted it's dramatic potential he seems even more reluctant to abandon the magnificent fall into a sweaty embrace as formidable and acting partner as defoe is patents and more than holds its own in this ferocious battle of wills from his recent past meanwhile the Forbidden Lighthouse Tower glares down at him from above taunting him like an Olympian flame forever out of reach who has a confusing sexual reawakening after her son leaves home for college this is fresh air weaken the following message comes from our sponsor comcast my eyes from the screen the lighthouse hooks you from its opening shot of a boat cutting across icy waters bound for a lighthouse station on a rocky island off the she drives him to college and becomes an empty Nester just before the trip after gassing up the car she goes to his bedroom where he's been sleeping off a hangover prison he's built for them the lighthouse may be a little too in love with its own virtuosity but you can hardly blame it at a time when our movies are overrun eight years we have been able to connect more than eight million low income Americans to the Internet and begun to make a difference in he holds us at every step of e from psychological breakdown showing us his growing dislike for Thomas and his determination to bury some ugly truths David Cohen Comcast Senior Executive Vice President helped launch their Internet essentials program and believes in the power of bringing the Internet to people without access with stale derivative visions it's unrepentant madness feels like both a bomb and a Beacon Justin Chang is a film critic for the L. A. I think there are things that you might say to a girl that could scare her with without you even realizing it after dropping off her son Eve returns alone to a big empty house kind of by accident she finds porn on the Internet including lesbian closing the digital divide and in getting people trained and comfortable with the Internet to learn more go to comcast corporation dot com slash Internet essentials really is that is that you have to be nice to women I Guess Kathryn Hahn Stars in the new HBO series Mrs Fletcher which is adapted from the bestselling novel by Tom Ferrara who created the series Hana what I'm saying yes always remember especially now you know in in this day and age in life and a shock to hear from behind the closed door that he's having sex with a girl and he's giving her crude derogatory sexual commands and calling her the B word movie full of bad weather guilty secrets and violent hallucinations their visions of octopuses and mermaids writhing in the surf that recall the grotesque whore did you spend a lot of time thinking about how a woman like Eve would raise could end up having a teenage son who's such a Broa- beer-drinking ogling girls and porn and is surprised by how a rousing it is the series alternates between her story and her son story he's unprepared for social life in college a slot on the drive to college she tries to talk with him about how not to treat women I guess what I'm trying to say is I gandalf for her kind of discovery it's the most private taboo thing the most reckless kind of leap where women's students he's meeting demand respect in her series about consent and no meaning no Kathryn Hahn welcome to fresh air the more it pushed him away and that was heartbreaking to me I think I think a lot of people can find that unfortunately really he didn't have the greatest examples male examples and I think that any time in which he could have had a lot more attention I know you're not a virgin right you know and I know there's porn movies and you know all these things about that she could possibly take and also the most deeply deeply private and the avenues that she was what she was able to see in that you know the glow of that job in eight roy these logs more ramshackle in any shanty boys Campbell ever seen acquaintance thing was all fancy housekeeper yes I mean I think it's despite her best her best deepest intentions I mean there's not to put it all in this divorce that she went through but relatable I mean she really that's that's her worst nightmare of course she doesn't think he's a horrible person but she can also kind of see it it's just like layers of denial roles Kinda guy treating them as sex objects in to try to think like how how does that happen when she's when the mother is like nothing like that of women directors and writers and we had this amazing intimacy coordinator that was what made it attractive to me it was finding a one and she she wasn't really sure if an how she should extend that Solo sexual life with Internet porn into the real world and if she does because she is known for her roles in the TV series transparent as Rabbi Raquel and in parks and recreation as Jennifer Barkley and aggressive political operative hunts thoughts on the eve of no pun intended on the eve of whatever the scene was and would make sure that we were aware of the what was on the page starred in the films bad MOMS and private life in Mrs Fletcher Han plays Eve Fletcher a divorced mother of a teenage son in the first episode thousand bitches and you know that's that's what it is so I I guess what I'm trying to say is I think one of the most important things for you to all our intimacy coordinator Claire Warden what she did was she would take all of us anyone that was performing in the scene on the director she would have conversations with can even donald ban on what I'd done because I tell you I scrubbed his here place twice old so you did nothing with us sort and I say you're swab and again and responsibility to watch a lot of you get into character it didn't feel like I had to watch a lot of porn the porn for her was almost kind of like this so you Fletcher your characters having a very exciting solo sex life her the Internet finally and interest God I mean that sounds terribly thrilling I think I do you feel like the most the most satisfying work I've done has trouble with and then she would be able to so that when we walked in together that we all knew that each other's needs and requests and concerns were heard with two and a challenge to try to find is this woman in her completely private bubble and we were surrounded by an incredible group or she will ask us who we want in the room and make sure that it's just that amount of people depending on what the scene is so I don't know it seems you know when I was a young actor I thought that having kids would be I was terrified to have kids and you thought it would on the page to be filmed make sure that we were all okay with that walk through the steps make sure that our boundaries are personal boundaries were in place for what what we were computer screen so it wasn't about anything salacious or to show anything for anyone else's pleasure it it was for her own and so that was a beautiful thing is to me and I don't know if you would agree with this that you're kind of part of the first generation of women who came of age with women screenwriters and directors and I mean more than and then you could just get to the business of the scene so much quicker is the crew in on this discussion too or just the actor recently transition and the children and the ex spouse or all trying to figure out how to recalculate little hesitant at first to be frank because I thought it was going to be a voice in the way in between the director and the actor like another voice and it was not that at all finding this porn and especially this lesbian porn very arousing and how did you prepare for that part of the role did you feel like well it was yours I think it's more of an age thing that it can it's the most satisfying is psych post forty is just never anticipated that so that's terribly exciting juiciest part of it has been post kids and not that that is even a choice for everybody known even has to have children but it's just it's it's one or two that you had a cohort and you've worked with some of them you've worked with Nicole hull of senior temer Jenkins to name a few in her complete privacy what doesn't intimacy coordinator do onset that's interesting trae because I'd never worked with one before and I was been with women for sure that the most the most complicated and messy ear husband is Jewish So how much did you have to learn how much did you feel like you needed to know about Judaism in order to in terms of his sexual development he went right to the Internet and I think she kind of lost him or lost that connection on the way despite her best intention I think the harder she went towards him I've been with these women and it also is terribly exciting to me that it's old older women you know what I mean that it's not just women that are doc who this person is and what their relationship with them as and of course each person in the family is dealing with a lot of their own problems anxiety stresses she has such beautiful I contact arresting eye contact and what you just feel so held and so seen insecurities sexual issues you play a rabbi that comes into the family's life no you actually went to Catholic school yes is this your player rabbi or played a rabbi in transparent which is the series about a family in which one of the parents is a trans woman who has this is a person and as a guide and I I knew that I couldn't learn intellectually learn everything that there was to know but I knew just else I've been able to get have been offered through women and it's not lost on me that it's like the most fertile chapter of my life this is above and beyond like the nudity writers or whatever that we would have already been signed but she would take us all and make sure that we were aware of what was what was you're so somewhat so untouchable and you're just a a person who gets mad at people and gets pissed at people and and I'm wondering if if you agree with that that you're part of the generation one of the first or maybe I that had a cohort of women writers and direct and so that was I think my way into Raquel and just stillness which I don't have myself and your character doesn't have stillness I wouldn't say your character hit still using a radical about it and I think why I also love the hot priest in fleabag so much which I feel so bad he keeps being called the hot priest but else and I think that was so that was what was so interesting about Raquel to me and so that she was so crazy what she th they're not in those discussions but what she will do is she will she will just make sure that the monitors are

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