John LegendArmchair Expert with Dax Shepard
- 1,365 views
- 13 Jul 2020
John Legend is an American singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and philanthropist. John chats with the armchair expert about skipping multiple grades as a kid and how music saved him. He talks about his claim to fame working on Lauryn Hill’s record in college and he explains why his hair still looks so groomed in quarantine. Dax wonders if having kids has changed John’s career and John talks about why he participated in the R Kelly documentary. Dax and John talk about their histories of cheating and John talks about his creative process.
Welcome, welcome, an armchair expert, John Shepherd. Known joined by Monica Padman.
Oh, hey, Lurve from Sedona, Arizona, where in Sedona, Arizona, the vortex.
They're real motherfuckers. The energy vortexes are real. We delate in the middle of the street in the middle of the night.
Not what I would recommend doing, but we did it.
And it was middle of the desert, though. Let me add middle of the night.
The stars were buang and you could see Jupiter, you could see Saturn and Mars we saw at the end of the night. And also the Milky Way was on full display. It's been incredible, really incredible. We are so excited today to break an upcoming artist. Yeah, this person is so talented. You've never heard of them.
And we are so honored to introduce America to this young chap named John Legend.
John de John Legend. Correct.
So John de Legen, although you're just now hearing him for the first time. He is an EGA, which we will talk about in length, which means he has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.
And he's the only black male to have ever become. And he got he's the youngest got. He's one of only 15.
He got so I believe I'll probably say he's the sexiest.
He's fucking definitely the sexiest. I fell in love with him on Get Lifted 2004 and of course, once again, 2006. And he said just a ton of great music ever since then. He has a new album that is phenomenal. After the interview, I downloaded it and I can't stop listening to it. It's called Bigger Love. Bigger love is out now and you should definitely add it to your cue.
So please enjoy. John Legend. We are supported by rain. Rain, Monica.
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First and foremost, what a handsome son of a gun you are. Just take Armonica. Take it. I know it's too much. And now the proportions, the symmetry. It's a good haircut.
It's hard to have a good haircut in quarantine. That's hard to do. Well, my brothers, my barber.
And I'm his only client. So I did the whole Cohen team look for the first couple months.
And then once tests became more available in L.A., I asked my brother to go get a test. And I know he doesn't have any other clients because he uses on the road with me and stuff. So I was like, of course, you can't see anybody else, but he's on retainer.
What's his name? My brother's Ron. Ron? Yes. He's been cutting my hair, so I've been looking fresh.
Did he recognize, like a niche or was he already a barber? And you were like, let's get on the road together. Where did he go? John's going to need a barber and I want to travel.
You know, he was our neighborhood barber when we were growing up. When we were in high school, all of our friends who were on the football team or a basketball team or went to school with us, they would all call my brother. His nickname is Bumper. And they were like, but we need a haircut. And they would call him. And as soon as I started traveling on the road, he started traveling with me. And he's been, you know, my personal barber ever since.
Well, it's just a seamless fade, as I take it right now. Yeah, I see it.
He's got scars. So when I was reading about you or both Midwesterners. Right. You're an Ohio boy. Yes. I'm from Springfield, Ohio. You're one of four. And then I was seeing that mom and dad both musical, right. Dad play drums. Mom sang and kind of ran the church choir. Yes. Grandma played the organ. Yes. OK. Now, my family wasn't doing that stuff, but I was in a Baptist church every other Sunday when I'd visit my grandparents.
I was thinking when I was learning this about you, how many R and B artists started in the church?
Oh, a huge percentage. It's huge, right? Yeah, because it's so formative for your musical upbringing. And it's so musical. And if you think about all the other places in your life, for a lot of kids where music's been taken away, you look at the schools in and other places where people just don't have access to as much music as they used to. The church is one of those places where you can still be exposed to a lot of music and music, particularly the black church is so central to the experience that R&D singers are always going to come from there.
All of my band members grew up playing in church, so it's very much like a finishing school for musicians. You don't even have to go to school if you've played in church for most of your youth. You're ready to go out there and play?
Well, one thing, as I kind of started panicking because I'm an atheist, obnoxiously outspoken about it, and I thought, oh, I got to be careful because we could lose if there's no church where this incredible breeding ground for all this great arm becomes from.
Yeah, and I'm not religious anymore, but I grew up in it and I couldn't imagine me being a musician without having that upbringing. And so, yeah, like if I'm not taking my daughter to church, I'm like, will she even be able to learn music?
Yeah. Thousand percent. We got to like encourage another option, at least for those that are being raised by hedonistic secular monsters like us. The other thing I was fascinated in is Monaca. Now, this is the part where you're going to really, really get thrilled.
So John was home schooled. Yes. Up till high school. Yes. He had skipped a greater two in that process.
I like that. Which is that begs the question, like mom's just decided that, like, now he's in fifth grade. How did how did how does one move up in homeschooling?
Well, you don't really do it in homes going. But whenever you go back to the general population and your mom is like he's too smart for this.
Great. And then they then they have you take a test. So let me tell you the order of how it happened. I was basically homeschooled through kindergarten. And then by the time I was supposed to go to first grade, my mom was ready to put me into this Christian school in our hometown called Springfield Christian School. And she took me to the school and said, my son is too smart for first grade.
So she had them give me a test to see what grade levels I should be at. And I tested like third and fourth grade level for a lot of the stuff that I was tested on. But of course, they were going to put me in third or fourth grade at the age of like seven.
So they put me in second grade when I was the age of my first grade peers. And then after two years at the Christian school, we couldn't afford it. So they brought me back home. So fourth, fifth and sixth grade, I was at home and then my parents got divorced. And so that kind of fucked up our homeschool situation.
And. They took me to our local public middle school and I was, you know, theoretically supposed to go to seventh grade at that point. Seventh grade would have been a year ahead. But then they had me tested again and they put me in eighth grade.
You're like your God. You're like a lab experiment. Let's test them again. Where's he at?
So I said our eighth grade at the age of 11. I start high school.
I thought, no, no, no. This is a terrible idea. Can I say this is not a great idea? It's a terrible idea. It is cut throat at that age. You can't be around 14 year old boys when you're eleven.
Exactly. I agree. I agree.
So I turned out fine. But I think I definitely think it was a challenge and I wouldn't want to put my kid through that.
Yeah. Did you get fucked with by the older boys? You know, they used to call me Dougie. And.
That was my nickname. The one good thing about it was my older brother Ron was with me and we were in the same grade at that point.
Oh, wow. Is Ron embarrassed? No, he was cool. He was actually you know, he could have been a lot worse about it because you could see him being more jealous and, like, upset that his brother caught up with him in grades and he's two years younger. But he was like, I'm in the right grade, George, just like ridiculously, ridiculously smart.
So my brother was always there with me and he took care of me and made sure nobody mess with me. So I was good. He's always been protective. And what's crazy about me and my brother, you know, there's four of us total. But me and my older brother always been close. And literally the day I was born, we were in the newspaper together because, you know, they have normal birth announcements. But the the newspaper did a story on the fact that my brother was the first sibling that was allowed to come to the hospital, too.
They had a new program at the hospital where the sibling could be there. Oh, when the baby was born and had this new thing. And so they took a picture of my brother and me at the hospital together. So we've been together through everything and starting with the first day when I was born.
That's crazy. So clearly, Mom thought you were God's gift to planet Earth. My mom thought I was cut give to planet Earth, which is a double edged sword. One aspect is like, God bless that woman. She made me think I could do anything. And the weight of that was a little cumbersome. It's definitely a certain amount of pressure.
And especially when your parents get divorced because you feel like you have to hold everybody together. And I think I'm always kind of like the mediator between any argument of any group of friends that I'm a part of because I was a middle child. My parents got divorced and I was always like the star kid. So I felt like I had to be there to, like, fix all the problems and make sure everything was OK. Did music play a role in that?
Well, music was like an escape for me and music had another function for me, because being this, you know, nerdy 12 year old going to high school, the one thing that made me super cool was that I could sing. And if I didn't have that, like my high school years probably been very painful. But I think music was the thing that made made me connect to other people that made me come out of my shell socially. It made me be able to talk to girls when I otherwise would have had no game.
Yeah. Older girls, you know.
I think music was that thing for me that just helped me navigate a lot of social circumstances where otherwise I'd have been hopeless. Yeah. How did you get girls?
I mean, that's a huge age. I do like that first. I didn't start getting good into, like, my junior year, OK? It took a while. People had to get to know me. I had to get a little older, go through puberty.
A girl like talent. But you got to be really talented to be two years younger than most girls in high school. Want a guy older than them? Yes, a guy their age is like the minimum. A thousand percent. A guy two years younger is like, what the hell? Get away now.
That's it. That's a nonstarter for. I think a lot of girls. OK, so you did great in high school and then you got into Harvard, you got a scholarship to Georgetown, yet you chose to go to University of Pennsylvania. Why was that? Well, it's also an Ivy League school, very highly regarded. So it was no job.
Yeah. Sluman or any. But they also gave me a better scholarship offer than Harvard, and we needed every cent we could get. And Philadelphia was a little closer because I was driving back and forth from school. So it just felt like it made more sense financially for us. And and just lifestyle wise. And it ended up being way better for me musically, because I end up in Philadelphia and anybody who knows anything about what was going. In Philadelphia at that moment, this is in the mid to late 90s.
Everything, you know, we call neo soul or soulful hip hop. So much of it was happening in Philadelphia at that moment. So the roots were there. They were doing these open mikes. You know, Eric, about do would come to town, D'Angelo would come to town, Common would come to town. And then all these homegrown talents like Joe Scott and Bilbao and The Roots and Music Soulchild.
Don't you dare leave out Hall and Oates, Hall and Oates, Gamble and House, of course, from Philadelphia, Teddy Pendergrass. So, so much music has come from Philly. There's a whole thing called The Sound of Philadelphia. And there's a studio we used to record at called Sigma. And all of those elements of being in Philadelphia were really important to my musical career. And I don't think I would have had anything like that in Boston. So kicking can over Harvard was a good choice for me to become the musician that I am as well.
Yes, although you could have invented Facebook, we just don't know. We really do. You know, I could be interviewing you for a whole year for a reason.
Yes. Now, you met Lauren Hill while you were in college. Yes.
So I was during the day. Of course, I was going to school, but on the weekends, I was playing at a church in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scranton is now famous for being the fictional home of the office, of course. Oh, yes.
Joe Biden's from there as well. But at the time, I would just go up there every weekend and play for this church. And that was how I helped pay my bills in school. I got a little salary from the church and would lead the choir there and play the piano there. And one of the choir members was a woman named Tara Michelle, and she had grown up in North Jersey in the same area that Lauryn Hill grew up.
And she was like, my friend Lauren's working on her album.
Do you want to go to the studio and check it out? I want her to meet you. And Lauren had already had huge success with the score with the Fuji's, and everyone was anticipating her going solo. And so I'm like, yeah, of course I'll go until I go to visit the studio. Lauren's working on a song with a few musicians and producers with her.
And during one of their breaks, my friend Tara was like, Lauren, you got to hear my friend Johnny play the piano and saying, oh, my gosh, does that make you terrified?
Or are you like, let's do it.
I was ready. I was like, let me sit down and go home and do it. And so I sat down and played are a Stevie Wonder song and an original song of mine. And she was like, why don't you work on this song that we're doing right now? So I played piano on Everything is Everything. Track 13 on The Miseducation, Lauryn Hill.
This one is a worry. And this is like my claim to fame. And by the way, I audition for her touring band, so I would have dropped out of school if she hired me for the touring band. But she didn't. So I got my degree, went back to his senior year of school and my whole claim to fame was I'm on track, their dean of the album that everyone's listening to a school. So it's pretty cool.
That is great. And it's kind of becomes a theme in your life over the years. You get introduced to people at different times and you you fit in. I wonder if you're aware of your strategy or how you approach things, because I was thinking you end up meeting Connew, which becomes pivotal as well. I would've probably been trying to big dog or something. I would have thought that I would have fucked the Lauren thing of Lauren Hill. I would've been like, I'm going to try to make love to her.
My focus. Her was right there. I would have fucked the whole thing up. Are you just deferential to people when you meet them? Are you slope? Why did you come in kind of calm? What's your angle?
I am a good collaborator and I think I start out with humility when I enter into a collaborative situation. Obviously now when I'm writing with co writers, usually they're more junior than me.
They're they're like excited that they get to write with me. Yeah, but I still approach it with humility. I go in there thinking, you know, they may have a better idea than I might have. Let's work together and see what we're going to come up with together. So I approach the Lauren Hill situation like that. When I worked with Konya, we were both kind of at a similar place in our lives. So it wasn't like he was way up here and I was down here.
He was an up and coming producer and I was an up and coming artist. And I didn't even know he was trying to rap, too.
But soon I found that out and we were both trying to get a record deal. We were just, you know, we figured we could help each other out. And I met him through my college roommate, a guy named Darvon Harris, and demanded Konya cousins. So my college roommate, we were living together in New York as well. And he was like, you know, my cousin just moved here. He's working with Jay-Z on the song.
And he was on the blueprint, which I was about to come out. It hadn't come out yet. And he was, you know, on the cusp of becoming a really sought after producer, but not yet. And so he was like, you guys should write together. And so we started writing together. You know what's great about that approach is unlike a job, let's say you're a surgeon, right? Or you're a engineer.
Doesn't actually require inspiration. But when you're an artist's inspirations, like, I don't know what percentage is of it.
Right. But you've got everything. Yeah. You've got your skill set. But that doesn't mean shit. You might have a Ferrari, but the inspirations, the gas. It could sit there. Right. So elaboration this young person might provide that or you might provide that. Yeah, exactly.
And that's why I think you have to be a really generous and open collaborator when you're working on art, because the idea can come from anybody and you try to keep interesting, like cool collaborators around you and be open, that they may have a better idea than you may have and that you together is better than either view separately.
Yeah. It's also worth saying, though, that you it seems so far have a pattern of just saying, yeah, well, while I say that to like, come meet my cousin who just moved here from Chicago.
I feel like I don't know, man.
I'd rather go eat a hot meal. Yeah. Like most people would be like.
Sure, sure. Sure. And then not follow up. This is the result of following up or saying yes. Staying you. Yes.
Yeah. And that's one of the things I always tell my managers when it comes to them booking sessions with me, with writers. I'm like, there's almost no one I won't write with as long as, you know, at a certain you know, of course, there's a minimum lag and.
Right. Like me anytime soon, you want them to, you know, have a couple of credits or whatever.
But I usually just say yes, because who knows? Like, I truly don't know what's going to happen in that room. And sometimes they may not even give me that many ideas. But just one little seed thing that they give me spurs me to write the whole rest of the song. And it works. We have to be open to ideas. And I think saying no, a lot just means you sealing off inspiration.
Yeah. Okay, so you graduate from Penn. Here's another similarity. I don't want to brag, but he's magna cum laude from Penn. Isn't that incredible? Really incredible. I am summa about. Well, I know you're satisfied. I'm not quite as good of a school as you and I went out after you neutralize it all. It's about the same power.
Wow. Oh, yeah.
Deduct a little bit of a black guy who is counting at this point. Everyone's doing great.
You graduate. That's impressive. Your majors in English and then specifically African-American literature. Yeah. And I thought normally I wouldn't even bring that up. But I thought in this time right now that we're kind of really attempting to educate ourselves. If you have to give us three, because you would know well, let's three books that people should check out that would really help understand the perspective experience.
Well, that's right. You're saying it's interesting because when you're studying English, you you do a lot of fiction. So reading Toni Morrison is like she's one of the gods of fiction writing and she's also from Ohio, which makes me very proud. So definitely read Toni Morrison. But I also think right now, I think it's good to read some nonfiction as well, to try to understand the history and the context around the conversations that we're having now. I was just tweeting about real estate and the history of discrimination against black and brown people in real estate.
So reading the color of law would be really helpful if you want to understand that issue. And, you know, some realtors were beefing with me that I called out the practice of steering and not showing black people certain properties because you don't want them in certain neighborhoods. And they felt like I was being out of pocket by saying that, of course, I wasn't saying all of them were doing it, but it's a significant enough issue that it needs to be dealt with.
And if you read The Color of law and also New York Newsday did a really big xpos a about a certain area in Long Island where they were doing that. That helps you understand part of what's happening in this country, because so much of what's happening is due to years of segregation. So the idea that there are black neighborhoods, that there are ghettos, that there are hoods, the fact that that even exists in our parlance, in the way we even think about society, is government policy.
It was redlining. It was banks refusing to lend to certain people. And it was realtors refusing to show property in certain neighborhoods to black and brown people. And so when you look at the wealth gap that is still persistent. Now, most Americans wealth is their home. And so if you're discriminated against in the home buying process and you're not able to accumulate wealth from your home, then that literally almost completely explains the wealth gap right now. And so I think it's important if we're going to talk about these issues now, we need to understand the context of how we got there.
And that's why when people talk about reparations. A lot of their talk isn't even about slavery. It's about this home value we were denied for decades because of government policy and realtors actions and banks actions.
Yeah, I think for a lot of folks, it was just easier and more convenient for them to go like, oh, slavery ended. Problem solved. Yeah, they had a really well, you know, through some fault of their own and some not fault of their own. They don't learn about reconstruction. They don't learn about redlined. They don't learn about Jim Crow. They don't learn about the industrial prison complex. They don't they don't realize how much stuff.
To your point, it's happening right now. It makes me immediately think that brilliant Chris Rock joke where he's like in his neighborhood, it's, you know, huge mansions in his neighborhood. Mary J. Blige lives there. And I forget what athlete and then him and he's like, so Mary J. Blige is one of the best singers of all time. This guy, the best point guard of all time. Me best comedian of all time.
My neighbors, an average dentist like average. Well, you want to live in the neighborhood to be black. You'd better be one of the best at something. Well, a lot of white people start with a cushion, like their family has a nest. They they have a home. They have land. They have all these things. And I think they just think that this is a normal part of life. But that was also a government policy, too.
There were literally laws that gave people free land or gave them interest free loans and they intentionally excluded black people from it. Yeah, it was explicit. It was intentional. It wasn't just an accident of fate and bad luck. So I just want people to understand all those things when they're talking about the current situation, because the current situation is steeped in all this years of history and and discrimination and segregation and how it plays out in our schools. That's why our schools are segregated because of this same residential segregation.
That's why the police can target certain areas because they know all the black and brown people live, because they forced them to live in that area. And so all these things are related to each other. And so we have to understand the foundations if we're ever going to dismantle these systems that have been so oppressive.
Yeah, if you don't ask the question and you're just observing present day as a human, you're just seeing the results of all this. Yeah. So you're not seeing causality at all. That's kind of hard to track down. And people should take a minute to do that.
Yeah. OK. Those were three. I don't even know if I gave you three. I said OK. Toni Morrison's whole body of work is great. I love the bluest eye Song of Solomon Beloved. So that's three right there. But I say color of law. I would say in the new Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I would say Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. These are all good books. I just was reading a book called The Chokehold by a former prosecutor is a black prosecutor who's come out from the other side and is basically saying we should dismantle the prison jail system policing system because he's seeing how the metaphorically are a chokehold on the black community.
So I think that was an interesting book as well.
Yeah, I was just I happen to be like Mid-State filming last week and the town I was in was a town of one of the California state prisons. And it was enormous. And I was driving by it. And I got to say, of course, I know I think the number, something around like six million Americans are incarcerated or whatever. I'm aware of the scale of it, but I don't ever see prisons. I live in Los Angeles and I got a vacation to places that don't have prison.
So I was looking at this fuckin. Monolith, monstrosity in L. I mean, it hit me in a way that I'm embarrassed to say it hit me like. So wait. That's just a cement box that we're keeping people in.
We put a shitload of people in the cement box.
And that's that. That's our best solution. Yeah. Are you kidding me? It really hit me. And I was. Yeah. Embarrassed. I don't think about it more.
And it's interesting, the physical strategy around where we put prisons because we separate them from the cities. So your distance from your family or distance from most of the people in the state, so they never even see it. So one of my friends uses the verb we disappear people because they were basically out of sight and out of mind. And so you're able to go about your daily life in L.A. and I am, too, without even thinking about it now.
And then these small towns, their entire economy is built around the fact that a prison is there. So they have a stake in us incarcerating as many people as possible because that means jobs. That means more for their economy.
And what's interesting, in a lot of states, they get those prisoners counted toward their population so they get more federal money so they get more representation, more federal money.
Even though those prisoners often don't get a right to vote as part of that. And so it's a weird incentive structure for the smaller community, like Lankester or whatever these towns are in California or all around the country that how's the prisons? And there's a whole economy built around it and an incentive structure to keep it in place for jobs and to support this infrastructure in this area. Meanwhile, the state and local governments are spending tons of money on prisons and jails.
Families are being destroyed. Families are being separated. And prisons are effective at reforming people. Now, now people get out worse. When you look at it as a system, right. As a system, we had this guy on. He said it so simply and it's so accurate. Whatever result you're currently looking at is the result of a perfectly designed system to create that result. Systems work. They work. They're working at all times. And it's not broken.
It's not broken.
That's the fucking result of this system. It's perfectly designed to create this outcome. And you're right, when you incentivize incarceration for a community, I'm not hating on the community that wants the money, Bubba. But let's think of incentives that are productive and drive the narrative forward.
Yeah. And like we've been talking about with the defund the police movement, all of these systems cost a lot of money and they are a choice. So whenever you spend it on one thing, you have a finite amount of tax money and you have to balance the budget every year. If your state. So anytime you're spending on one thing, you're necessarily precluding that same money from being spent on something else. And so every time we make that choice, we're more policing, more jails, more prisons.
It means we can't spend it on health care. We can't spend it on schools. We can't spend it on pre-K. For all these young people, which is proven to reduce their likelihood to commit crime, increases their income prediction. You know, all these positive outcomes come from pre-K. Are we spending the money on it? No, we can't afford it, but we can afford more police. So when people are talking about defund the police, what they're saying is not that there won't be zero police ever.
They're saying Lisburn way less money on this.
So we can spend it on that while prevention worth. You know, here. Yeah. These are the, quote, cure. Yes. And it's a I'm sympathetic to them as well.
It's too much. Also, when people hear defund, they think. Right. They get scared. I'm scared. Wait no more. I don't want to get mugged. Blah, blah, blah. What you don't recognize is the amount of calls that they're responding to the police that are for a mental health issue, that they are not in any way trained or equipped to deal with, nor should they be asked to. Now, you know, you free up some money from the police department.
We can actually we have a response team that specializes in the mental health disorders that homeless folks are dealing with.
You know, people on the scene. It is now increasingly absurd that our entire emergency response system is to people, either an ambulance fire department or someone to put handcuffs on you. That's the only tool. Yes. Yes.
And and like you said before, prevention. Let's think about all of these other things we could spend them on as ways of making the overall number of social problems go down before we even get to that point.
Yes, it helps people if they're dealing with addiction issues, helps people if they're dealing with mental health issues, but also helps people early on in life. So they have a great start. So there they have hope for their future. They believe they can go out and get a job and contribute to society. People don't want to be running from the law all the time. People don't want to wreak havoc on society. Most people actually just want to be happy, take care of their family, live a safe, healthy, productive life.
And if we put more people in a position to do that, then we won't need as. Police anywhere. And so when people say they envision a future without police, what they're really saying is they envision a future where we reduce the number of societal problems down so much that we won't need so many police.
Yes, I was saying this to a buddy yesterday. I was like, OK, so the LAPD like a six billion dollar budget. I think somewhere around there, I imagine you love two billion off and you put it into the school system in literally Los Angeles had the best school system in the world. Yeah. You really think the graduation rates not going to change? You really think the college admissions isn't good? I mean, how could you think that that that wouldn't be possible?
Yeah. And like you said about homelessness, like L.A. has a huge homelessness problem. So what would you want to send a cop to lock these guys up and move them off the street just because, you know, it doesn't look cool? No. You want to actually provide housing for them? How about we find a way to help these folks?
Some of them are veterans that have PTSD and have mental health issues. How about we help them and find a place for them to live? Do we need police to do that? And let's have a pie in the sky. Real lofty goal. Like, let's give people purpose. People with purpose are fulfilled, you know. Yeah. Have motivation.
Want to. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. We figured it out. We figured it out. So we figure us three figured it out. Yeah.
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OK. So that was good and that was good for our souls and our spirituality. But now I'm gonna I'm gonna regress because I've interviewed a bunch of musicians at this point, with the exception of Van Horn. You're my got another eye. Oh, you guys are fuckin thriving, right?
Oh, shit, pal. I'm you. Van Horn.
So I was so into you and Van Horn at the exact same time. And I just want to tell you one or two little tidbits of how you've been involved in my life. Cause I know you're interested in me and you're you me. I did this movie in Illinois.
I drove there from L.A. and I listened to your first album, Get Lifted, the whole ride on repeat. And then every day I worked at Joliet Prison and I would pull into the prison in the little dock where they look under your car and everything. And then I got to talk to state prison guards. Right. So I got to say, eight mornings in a row I showed up and this dude was he just wasn't super excited to see me and he didn't want to deal with these fuckin actors at the prison.
But unlike day nine of this, I'm just inside with the windows up, other search and under the car, and I'm listening to you to get lifted. And the dude knocks on my window. I wrote down he goes, what you know about John Legend?
And I go as gay. I know every word and every verse. And he goes, All right, man. All right. And then that dude and I got along so well for the next six weeks at this prison. But it was this, like, beautiful moment. And then I also I had a romance to that album and then I'll talk to my wife this morning. We're both just talking to how much we loved you. Because I was doing the same romance.
It was it was that you're gonna like this. You're gonna like this. So I'm telling her, like, I'm really excited. I'm going to interview John Legend. She's like. And we just kind of sat there for men.
Like we were remembering that those first two albums and I go, we both had love affairs, right to that album, not with each other. And she's like, oh yeah, I had one, too.
And I was like, it's the best.
That's interesting. It's the best once again for me was the Real Love Affair P.D.A. I must have listened to P.D.A on repeat, making out three hours as well.
See, that album once again was the more romantic album. The first album had a little bit of everything because it had some cheating songs and had ordinary people stay with you, you know, had had a range. But once again, it was more like romantic. I always imagined, like sipping wine in the south of France to once again, Aha, you know, something like that. And so that was the vibe for the second album. And it's always interesting when I meet fans that say once again is their favorite album.
I feel like a special connection with them because. Huh, the easy answers is they get lifted because, you know, it was my first album and introduced a lot of people to me and it got a lot of awards and did well and all the good stuff. But when I meet fans that love once again, it's like I feel a special bond with them.
Oh, I'm still listening to I'd dance with my daughters all the time to that album. I mean, I want to kiss you underneath the stars.
I gave her heels just thinking, oh, my God, maybe we'll go too far, John.
I don't know. We just don't know. Okay.
So now I have a horrendous history of cheating. Oh, fucking deplorable. No girls like me at all in elementary school. I got to junior high. My brother gave me a different haircut. I started skateboarding. Alison, all these older girls started liking me and I and I couldn't ever say no. I if I had a girl, I'd any attention, any approval from a beautiful girl. I had to have it at all costs. Yeah.
And there's all these great cheating songs on your album. I was like, I see another fisherman at sea. So I'm assuming it wasn't a total character in your music. So you must have some history with cheating. And I am curious. Have you thought for yourself, what is the causality of that?
Well, I think yes, I did have a history of it, definitely in my 20s. I think what happened for me personally is you go through a lot of your life like your teens were when I was like two years younger than everybody kid in high school and college. And so I just didn't get a lot of girls when I was younger.
And when I started to get that attention, like I loved it, it just. Yeah, part of it, I escaped. Technically cheating by kind of keeping my relationship. ill-Defined But it was really cheating.
You can try to get off on technicalities. Yeah, it's Your Honor, if you read the agreement, you'll see you'll you'll find that I am not in breach of this contract.
It depends on what the definition is, is and. I undoubtedly was dishonest and selfish and just enjoyed this new attention that I was getting. And it was happening before I was famous, but when I was kind of on my way, you know, I was on the road with Connew. I was, you know, just getting more attention and more opportunities to see lots of different girls. And, you know, I took advantage of that at that time.
But then at a certain point, you just realize like you're happy, you're being honest, you're happy, you're being faithful and being in love with one person. And at a certain point, I just decided that that person was Chrissie and I was just decided I wasn't going to mess with anybody else anymore. And it's so much easier later. Yeah, your whole life is lighter. Like when you're able to be honest with the person and like you are hiding text.
It's a big energy sock. Right. Yeah, it really does. And in you, your mind is freer. Like, everything is better. So obviously, people have to get to that place and you have to realize that the person you're with is the person that they're ready to do that for. But once you figure that out, it's so freeing.
Yeah. Yeah. And so I guess I then learned today that you had been with Chrissy. You've known her for a long time, longer than, you know when you got married. And then you write that beautiful song. All of me. Mm hmm. You say it's about her.
It was a long courtship. So was it. It was Lucy Goosey. And then you just kept circling back to like, no, no, this is it.
Well, it was only loose for a little while. We've talked about it before, but we had sex the first night and yeah, you know, we hit it off the first night and we were both seeing other people at the time. And so there was a kind of a looseness at the very beginning. But we fell in love not long after. That was probably like the summer of 07 where we were like full on, like in love with each other and start dating other people.
And not long after that.
Now I get a million tweets and Instagram messages and you us for our generally together in these tweets, like for relationship goals.
Oh, yeah, of course. Cause I've seen you guys listed as relationships. Yeah. Like a John Kazinsky and Emily I think I see a few times and Char there's a few couples like that.
We're gonna put Jay-Z and Beyonce in like another. That's all. They're royalty. That's that's different now. Do you feel the pressure that I feel the pressure that a little bit when there's people that look up to our relationship and I am honest about my background and I think I could blow this whole thing up. That's certainly something I've done. Wow. Now the whole world's watching. There's a stress about that for me.
I'm not stressed about I feel like it almost makes it even less likely that I would do anything to fuck it up because I'm like Chrissie has like an army. So me and Twitter followers, like if I were to do anything like big career suicide, it'd be terrible. It gives it gives you another reason to not fuck it up. Well, what I always say is like a Eilidh get busted immediately, too. There's no question who Americans are going to side with.
Exactly. Going with Kristin. And I'm I'm dead. I am persona non grata. It's like I never existed.
I'm not suicidal. I'm not trying to do that. Okay.
This is really, really incredible. And I don't even care about awards. But I got to say, I'm I'm blown away by this.
So, you know, Jon's an E got. Not only is Jon ego. Jon is one of only fifteen. He gots in the world. I am curious when you've got me other three or four, we like to fucking pick up an Emmy.
Like was it you didn't cross your mind. Like, I got to go close this thing out because I'd respect it if you did.
It was discussed that some people might not know, OK.
Right. And E got is an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. It's almost impossible.
Can't well. Only fifteen people have ever known the whole time of life. Yeah. OK. So tell me about Weich. When it occurs to you, like, oh shit. I got three of these.
Well, so I have a production company and two of my awards have come as a producer, the Emmy and the Tony. And so when we were getting close and we had won the Tony because we produced a play on Broadway called Jitney, it was a revival of an August Wilson play.
And we were like, oh, shit. Like we could have an ego.
And you can't like you can't say, well, let's go get the guy. You just have to, like, try to do really good projects and then hope, you know, they get awards and then NBC reach out to us and said, we're thinking of doing our next live musical as Jesus Christ Superstar and I. Literally wasn't thing about the whole anything. When they asked me to do it, because when I figured a lot of these musicals have not gone so well.
Oh, yeah, they are hit or miss. I had no expectation that I as an actor would get nominated for an Emmy because, like, why would I?
But, you know, you get offered Jesus Christ superstar. It's a pretty big role. It's Jesus Christ. Most people I've heard of.
And they allowed us to be producers as well and help with, you know, casting the rest of the cast and helping with the music and all the things that needed to happen. So we were like, let's do it. We rehearse and rehearse and do the show. And it went so well. Like all the critics said, it was great. The fans loved it. It was like truly very successful, more than we could have dreamed. And then people were like logit talking about, oh, you guys are gonna get some Emmy nomination.
And then a lot of the press became around. Oh, John, I get the guy and I got to get it. On the same day as two literal legends, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. And we all got it at the same moment because we were producers on Jesus Christ Superstar.
Wow. Amazing. So there were 12 before that day and we were 13, 14 and 15.
You guys kind of devalued the whole thing. It's like you flooded you flooded the market with it.
Okay, so now you're album. I downloaded this morning. Thank you. Well, the album is called Bigger Love and. And I will say you as it get lifted once again. Van, I feel like a lot of my fans that felt like the next few albums weren't enough like that. A lot of them are saying that this is giving them that get lifted once.
Oh, good, good, good, good. So I feel like you will like this album more than you've liked my my last couple. I'm guessing, by the way, I've liked all of it, but I'm not. Yeah. Yeah. You're so fucking talented. But, you know, as you can tell, if I liked your first two albums and I loved Van Horn, I just like the sexy stuff. I just. I love the sexy stuff.
I was read listening to it this morning, to be honest. And I was thinking, you know, sometimes stuff doesn't age, you know, as our times change. I was like, is some of this sexy stuff kind of like tip? And I'm like, no, it's perfect, it's sexy. And it's not demeaning in any way. It's not rapey. You know, a lot of that music now is is a little rap.
It doesn't hold up quite. Yeah. And yours is not bearded to rapee through time. Well, I think you're gonna like bigger love a lot. I think it's actually probably the most sensual album I've done. There's definitely some good if you're inclined to make any Korona babies.
I think it's a good sound, good sound shock for that moment in your life. But it's also got a lot of those elements you loved about get lifted, some of the hip hop inflections and interpolations. And it's really soulful.
I think you're gonna dig executive produced by Raphael Saadiq, actually. So that's a nice bonus to have him in my life and be able to work with him on this.
You've collaborated with so many people. The other person I worship is Jay-Z. We we brought him up. I'm sure on another day I run into you. I want to hear about that. But I'm a huge Jay-Z fan myself. It's not possible that a human can do what he does. It just it's not. It's like he's so good. He's so good. Yeah. You watch a documentary about him and I would show him. Oh. Oh.
And he'd just sit there for, I don't know, 12 minutes. Listen. And they write a whole song in his head. I'm ready to get into the booth.
And then he throws down those things in. The fucking references are so eclectic and it's seamless.
He is phenomenal. I remember seeing the documentary, but also seeing him on 60 Minutes and like other shows where he just let people in on his creative process. And it's stunning. And he's just so good at it and he's been so good for so long.
Yeah, OK. And then then the other thing I wanted to say is like, you've got this amazing gift, which is you could be a technically perfect singer. Right. But if you're gifted with some tone, this tone of yours that's just so beautiful and you can't really train for that.
Right. It's just that's your vows or Kenya.
And there are things you can do. Like, I still take vocal coaching.
Part of my vocal coaching is around stamina and making sure I can be better on tour. But I've gotten better at singing, I think over the years, too, as far as just sustaining my breath and sustaining the tone. But my tone. You know, that's the one thing that you have. It's pretty much what you have. You know, God gave it to you or or whatever you believe about who gave it to you. You have it.
And it's the thing that it's hard to replicate. It's hard to teach. You can teach people how to make the most of their tone. But tone is tone. And, you know, as a coach on the voice, literally, that's the thing I'm listening for the most. Is this tone special? Is it does it give me chills as it moved me? Is it interesting? Is it raspy? Is it cool in any ways?
Does it have a fingerprint? Because my wife. Nile Fight loves musical theater, and I'm like, I don't really love it. Everyone sounds like a computer could sing. It's like, yeah, the notes, I get it. They're getting hit perfectly, all that stuff. But whereas the fingerprint. Yeah. You need that character.
The best artists and the best singers are the ones that have the character and a voice.
OK, so with all that said, who did you call back and go like. OK. I was on your album. Now it's time to head over my way. Did you work with any artists on this? Oh, well, I did that once. So Janay Iko, I was on her last album and she is now on mine. And it's one of the better songs on the album. And a lot of people's favorite is called You Move, I Move.
And then there's some artists I never worked with before. They're on the album. One's name is Rapsody. She's a rapper from North Carolina. She made a beautiful album last year called Eve and I just loved it.
Is it mind blowing for you that you can fall in love with an album and you're in a position in life, Ringo? All right. Not only did I love that, I'm gonna get myself involved in that. Like, I'm going to share that now. I would have fuckin like the money, right? All the other stuff that you thought was gonna be awesome. It's great. Whatever. But isn't that the fuckin magic that you can interact with people you love?
The making of the music is still the most fun part of my career. And when I get to do it with really interesting, talented people, it's just it's magical. And when we do something and it comes out right and, you know, we do a lot of ideas that don't come out great.
Like, I wrote 50 songs for this album and some of them aren't that good. And, you know, they're fine, but they're not that good. But when you get it right and you work with somebody really cool that you can share that joy with. Yeah, it's really exciting.
And sometimes I listen to albums and said I really want to work with that artist and was able to make it happen. I remember I listen to the Alabama Shakes album, Sound and Color, a lot of sound and color. A few years ago and I was like, who produced this thing?
And I end up calling Blake Mills up who produced the whole thing and asked him to produce my next album. And we worked together on my next album, Darkness and Life. And so, you know, I think that's a cool thing. And you're right, it's a nice privilege to be able to have that. When you listen to music and you love something, you can just call the person up and say, let's do some more of that.
Yeah. And so we had Rhapsody on this album. We have Gary Clark Junior on this album, and we have coffee on this album as well. She's a new Jamaican reggae dancehall artist who just became the first female and the youngest Grammy Award winner for Best Reggae Album. Wow, that's great.
What is your creative process? You said Jay-Z can spit out a whole song in 30 seconds, I guess. And when we had Gweneth on and she said one time Chris Martin ran to the piano and, you know, I know that's on every time, but have you had that experience?
Oh, yeah. So a lot of my songs come very quickly, or at least the bulk of it comes very quickly.
I may need to spend more time like tweaking the lyrics or something.
But a lot of it comes really quickly. So what usually happens is I'm usually in the room with one or two other people and maybe that person plays a guitar.
That person is a producer of that kind of makes tracks. Maybe that person is just another lyricist or what we call a top line writer.
The top line is basically the line that the vocalist sings in a song is composed of the top line and all the music around it, the chord progression and, you know, the structure of the song.
So there's usually two or three of us in the room, me and another top line writer or me and another musician that will help me with the accompaniment. And we just sit there and we start jamming a lot of times. And with all of me, it was just me and Toby Gad in the room. He's a producer and musician and he also writes lyrics as well. But I, I wrote more the lyric and we just sat in a room and I had an idea to write this song about my wife, soon to be wife at the time.
And my manager suggested I listen to She's Always A Woman by Billy Joel, which is a really good song as well. But she said you should write something in that vein, you know, that kind of song about Chrissie. And I was like, Yeah, let's try that today with Toby, because Toby is the kind of writer that I felt like we could do that together.
You know, he had written some really cool songs in the past.
And so we sat down at the piano and just started playing things. And then at one point I started saying, all of me loves all of you. Feels like it could be a good title and, you know, lyrical concept.
And I was trying to find the music around that line that made the most sense and eventually playing around on the piano long enough to meet all of you.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You don't know that's gonna be a bum, bum, bum, bum, bum.
And you just keep working on it till you figure it out. So a lot of my songs start as scatting because I don't know what that bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum bum is yet. But I know musically that's what I want. Sound like and eventually I'll figure out what it should say. And so almost every song is basically music leading to scat. Maybe having an original kind of hook concept. But then building a song around that before I know what the rest the lyrics are.
And then finally the lyrics come.
Isn't it so cool that you created that song out of something so personal? And then people hear it and that becomes their song with their partner and that's the song at their wedding and that has its own life. And then some. It's like the infectious quality of music. Y'all got beautiful. I think it's got to be the highest art. Like people you don't couples don't have movies. They don't have any. They don't have books.
They got music. That's what couples have families have. Well, I listen to Fleetwood Mac and I'm like, oh, my mom's in a good mood cleaning when I'm a kid. That's when they abzan.
That's such a gift. Do you give the world and I it's probably a lot to take in, but it really is.
Well, I'm grateful that I'm able to do it. And like I said, it gives me so much joy to be able to do it when it's right. It's just a magical feeling. And we had a lot of those feelings of magic making this album. And so I'm just happy it's out now and people can enjoy the things that we put so much joy into.
So you've had different levels of productivity. I curious, like sometimes you go five years between albums, sometimes you'll go just I don't know what your last album was. 13 for bigger love. Yeah.
So Darkness and Light came out in twenty sixteen. OK. And then I did a Christmas album. Twenty eighteen and a deluxe version of that in twenty nineteen. So even when it's kind of like a gap, I'm never stopping because I'm like doing something. So there was a gap between evolver which was okay and love in the future, which was 2013. But I did a album with The Roots in 2010. So that kind of was in that gap as well.
So even when it looks like there's a long gap, I'm never stopping. Yeah. OK.
Because I was gonna wonder, is comfort an enemy of creative inspiration? Yeah.
But I never would have stopped early. Like, I'm about to take three weeks off just to chill with my family. But when I come back, we'll be back to work. We've got to do the voice and then I'll probably start writing more songs in the fall. So I never stop, really.
OK, how has having kids reshaped your identity or do you feel like the things you cared about before have been rightsized?
Well, it obviously takes over as a as a major priority. And you want to spend more time at home. You want to be more present for them. You want to make sure you're a big part of their lives. You want to help your partner, who also is working and doing all these amazing things in her own career.
It also makes you think think about the future a lot more as far as like the kind of world you want your kids to live in. And so I don't like when people say, well, now that I have a daughter, I'm more of a feminist, now that I have this idea of life. But you do think more about the world that they're going to enter. And so I think that's meaningful. And then you take certain jobs, you know, that maybe you might have not have been as excited to take otherwise.
Like taking the voice means I get to be home more. Right. It means I don't have to tour as much and I make as much money just being in L.A., going to Universal Studios and coaching new artists on The Voice. And so that is a choice that I, you know, I might have made if I was single and no kids. But it is made a lot more like a slam dunk.
Oh, for me now, time is. Time is is is so much more a part of every decision than it was six years ago. Exactly. I didn't get the last thing I just want to say was like a good on you, which is I can't say I'm shocked or disappointed in any one. I'm certainly not. But I was very proud to see you in the R. Kelly documentary because that comes with a great risk that I don't know if people know the history of.
And I think it just relevant to say this country has a really bad history of defaming black artists, black leaders. I mean, you know, the FBI was following Martin Luther King and recording him at all times.
So there is there is an appropriate level of the black community protecting its own and being suspect of accusations. That is, you know, there's a very good reason for that. Absolutely.
And we're always of two minds because, you know, we don't want to see sexual abuse happen, but we also don't want to see people being falsely accused and people being caught up in a criminal justice system that was built to contain and destroy us. So when an issue like this is presented, you just have to weigh those concerns. And for me, it was abundantly clear that these women were telling a really credible story. There was a huge volume of these women that had been put in abusive situations by this man and.
And I had very close friends who had been activists in Chicago who deal with rape victims, young black girls in Chicago. And that's the whole thrust of their foundation. Their organization is to deal with those young girls. And too long we've protected these boys and men at the expense of our girls, at the expense of our women.
And what I believed was these women were telling the truth and they had a right to have their story told and that anything I could do to help them would try to do.
Man, I'm I'm I'm more in love with you than I was before we. So, you know, sometimes they say don't meet your heroes, but sometimes it goes well. They're so wonderful. I'm so excited about bigger love. I added it this morning on Apple. Maybe you'll fire up my 13 year old relationship.
Maybe we will. We might bang twice this week because on a baby album. Come on, let's go.
Well, they won't be mine. I have a vasectomy. But regardless. All right. All right.
OK, John. Thanks so much for your time. Wish you tons of light on Umberger love. And great. Thank you so much.
Stay tuned for more armchair experts if you dare.
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Yeah, everything's bubbling to the surface. Yes.
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And now my favorite part of the show, the fact check with my soulmate, Monica Padman. So we were just discussing the fact that you felt a little sleepy, so of course, you were like, I have Koven.
Well, well, well, to be Kristen, Kristen hit me with a text. I was like, I, I have a fever. I think I have covered my. What's your fever.
A hundred. I mean, it's not even a fever. Well, you can just like take a nap and wake up and be a hundred.
I know, but listen, listen, listen. The last time to be vigilant, it is because 20 to 40 percent of people are asymptomatic. So if you have even a little bit of a symptom, sure. You should get this thing checked out.
Well, what happened is when I went to work on Wednesday, they test me every day on set. Now, every day. Well, that's untrue.
I got tested on Wednesday and then I work Thursday as well. But then I got the results last night. Yeah. And I was negative. Yeah.
I kind of wanted to be positive. I was like a mixed reply. Well, hold on a second. Don't get mad at me. Don't get mad.
Don't get mad at me. You're not mad. But let me tell you why.
I was like, if I got it. Stop thinking about it. That's nice. I'll have to like quarantine, which blows. And it would fuck up Phoenix. And I couldn't chew. I guess for two weeks or something. At least you're right. I didn't want it. I didn't want to. And it's inconvenient. I was I was listening to Foushee. Yeah. He was talking about this and he was saying, like, people should not say, I want it because there is this period of time, if you have it, where you're giving it to people.
Well, not if I would have got that positive. If that would have been positive. Yeah. I would've just fuckin held up at a nice hotel for time.
I know. But do you know that if you are positive, you would have had it for like four or five days? Well, we don't know. Well, that is what they're saying. They're saying there's a period of time before you show up positive or it's in your body and you are passing it. And he was saying, you know, he he's been chasing viruses for 40 years and this is over time. Zane what? Yeah.
He had a few. I think we've all got a few. I asked one or two and he said this is the most insane one because of that element. And because of just the crazy range of 20 to 40. People don't experience anything and then people are dying. Yeah, that's crazy. Is crazy. Guys, please wear masks. I'm gonna say it on here. Please do it. Just do it. Just do it. Because it's not polite.
It doesn't mean you're bleeding progressive. It means you don't want to injure someone. Exactly.
That's all it means, literally.
It is really easy to just think of it in terms of yourself. We're all self-centered and narcissistic. We start looking out of our own eyeballs.
So we are thinking of ourselves, or at least I am. I'll disown it. That I am. And yeah, quite often I'm like, I don't care if I get it. Oh, I'll be fine. I'm very optimistic. I'd be fine. And then I'm like, yes, that what it's about. Yeah. It's not just not what it's about.
And for me, in a weird way, it's still about me. Because if I gave it to someone. Yeah, I would feel very, very bad. So I don't want to feel that.
Well, look, unless you're being reckless, you're very safe.
If you got it somehow and you pass it, you shouldn't have seen you catch a cold, you catch cold.
But in this case, it is different because you you can be doing everything to not get it and spread it, but you're doing everything.
So if you were to get it, you shouldn't be hard on yourself. You did everything right. And then it's a virus. No, I'm fine getting it. I just don't want to give it. Give it. Yeah. Which is the whole. The whole issue.
Yeah. I have an opposite take on that for gay sex that could potentially give it. The Russians say it's OK, you can guess.
I think he's too already said it. So you said it. Jonathan Legend Ma motherfucker.
Man, you are really GFP kid loony. Where is where you swoony.
Yeah. Cor, yeah. Yeah. You already swoon when you even think about him, huh. Voices. Voices heard his voice and his music is so romantic and sensual.
Sexual qe fikile puke hewish well not puke he p peek p boo inducing. Yeah. Do we need to remind people what it means. Well quiver. Yeah. Yeah.
I was really bowled over with how so many things a so smart but beyond that there's a lot as well. He's a Doogie Howser. He's a Ronan Farrow type. Yeah. He's a Douglas Howser. And now is he crazy smart. There are a lot of crazy smart people that aren't good at communicating or laying out their ideas. So that'll be appealing to people. That's like. Yeah. Unfortunately, in fact, it's almost inversely related. Quite often it can be smart as people are the worst at explaining shit or getting people to buy an emotionally camp.
And the way he he rolled out defund the police. Like the way he walked through it was like anyone listening. This should be in favor of what he's saying.
Yeah. And he just. I've not heard it done perfectly. Up until that point, everyone I've heard doing on the news. There it is. They planted a couple of landmines along the way. I was like I'd be triggering to me. I think you're also maybe more willing to hear it, not you, us, or probably more willing to hear it from someone in his position who we like already, who is already bringing us something that we like.
Music. Which is is I generally like I don't know, the celebrities like have to have a voice on everything. But I also think there is a responsibility because people will hear you. Mm hmm. In a different way than maybe they'll hear the news anchor or whatever. Yeah. Well, he did a great job. He did good. He's walked me through the ideal fantasy with me. Well, does he sing to you on that date or would you feel uncomfortable, someone singing directly at your face?
Oh, that's a good question. I don't think he needs to be staring at me while he sings, but he can be singing and playing piano. Then I'll be there at half.
And you'd be like either behind or three quarters. You could see him, but he couldn't look at you.
I want to be behi because I want to see his face and stuff. So maybe to the side, I'll be sitting by him on the piano bench. Oh, okay.
But I know these guys. I know he'll be focused. I won't be looking at me.
He could certainly look at you. He's got the skills. I know. But he won't because he knows me. Okay.
All right. Here, you'll ask him not to do that.
So maybe some light sing in a couple songs. How many songs before you wanna get under the couch?
Listen, he's happily married. You're not saying that you're gonna break up his marriage. You're just lying down in this fantasy where you're dating John Leshem.
Just the fact that in the fantasy you're dating or we've already stepped out of reality because you're not dating m.b he's married. Correct.
But it's fantasy. Okay. How many songs before we lay down and just hold each other.
Do you play when you get through.
No, I don't. I don't think I could get through the first song. You might start molesting him. Know why. To say in that way. Well I didn't. You did. I won't deny. Right.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It's a superpower. Oh. I guess we could play this game with me and Rhiana. Okay. Right. Because he's one of my fantasies. Yeah. What do I want her to sing. Yeah.
Probably you would. Yeah. Yeah. I'd have. For how long.
What I would like is like she sings we chat for fifteen. Yeah. She sings again. Oh well more chatting. Some kissing. Sure. And then sing again. Let's take a little break from kissing. Okay. Like where would think the pump is primed. You wanna just blast through to the finish line. But you're not because you want this to last forever. Because it's your wife's only giving you one night. Oh yeah. This is part of your fantasy.
Yes. Yes. So I'm problem to stretch it out quite a bit. Might even go into the bathroom and jerk off. Oh.
To make sure that I can laugh. Okay. I'm sorry. Wait till I was a little much.
I don't need to. Well I would do. Want to give you a peek behind the male curtain. Well, I'll speak for myself. And I did certainly some of my friends, you know. So someone like of Rihanna's caliber. A very high likelihood that you're going to spray everywhere before I did for you.
Give her any pleasure. Oh, my God. So you're gonna go into the bathroom.
You have a tug, tug, tug. Come back. Got one more song refractory period. And then maybe let's start rolling room. This is why women are scared of men.
Why wouldn't you want the man to to do something that would ensure that the experience last long?
And I know that any moment. They stare at you and they can't control their body and they spray every way. That's so flattering, isn't it? It's dangerous. It's a bit dangerous for a woman like that.
No, no, no, no, no. What? No one is doing this on the street. You're on a date with me. You're on a date with Rihanna. She's singing to you. You're you're conversing for 15 minutes between songs. And it's very romantic. And then the tensions building. I know. And then you just as a as a boy, you go.
We're in the Red Shirts, not off. I'm just saying, AJ, simply, okay, this idea is what is dangerous. What not you are not on a date, but in life that just you walking around.
No, I don't think walking or no walking around, no one's going to spray on a date with an eleven.
And things are heading that direction. So I'm being very specific about the context round. Seeing the guys walking down the street need to duck into alleys and spray. That's not what's hap. OK. And I don't condone that. I don't condone spraying in an alley or walking on the street. Yeah. No.
All right. Maybe to come and go. No. Come and go. I guess is what they're for here. Your injury spray.
Grab a Diet Coke. But in this scenario, you guys are definitely gone. If I have one night with Rihanna, I really want to do a good job. I understand that. And she fucking deserves that. Yes. Talented as she is. She could have been with anybody that night. She picked. Me to sing, too. She did. I got to deliver. Yeah, yeah. So three times singing thrice times, singing one time tickle, tickle and roller.
Wow, what an evening. Well, you win an ever hop. You don't need to. You don't need you and John Legend. You don't need to hop into the bathroom. Tickle, tickle. Because who cares about spray. Now done. That's right. You won't be rendered useless after that moment.
No, I can go on and on. Yeah. Lucky John really in the fantasy.
I want to like walk in on him singing. I don't want it to be for me.
Hold on. Hold on, hold on.
I can paint any even better for you. OK. Go on. Go on. You walk in. You're not even early. He just lost track of time because he thought of a song about something crucial from his childhood. And he was pointed out on the piano and he was sobbing. Here's coming. Try and sing. Yeah. You would fuckin spray. Yeah, I would spray.
I would. And you'd spray. I wouldn't even duck into the come and go. I'm a spray right there. He's so classy.
I feel so sad that this that we're talking sexually about is that even you would like.
So it's just like real brass. A little. We're talking about all of our spray.
I know, but but but we're not being super detailed about the consistency. Hold on.
Hold him back up. Back up, back up. Listen to his first two albums. He's a very sexual man in a great way and a healthy, great way.
But he's also very classy. I know he is. You think classy people aren't sexy?
No, that's the opposite of what I'm saying. He's sexy and class. And I think what we're doing is low, actual and not classy.
Agree to disagree like that. Hollow notes. These are they're from Philly and they are on Wikipedia. It says this. And I don't know if it's true or not, but it says at the time an elevator. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. They met an elevator. Wow. At the time they met, each was heading his own musical group. Hall with the temp's Stones and Oates with the Masters. They were there for a band competition when gunfire rang out between two rival gangs.
Yep. And in trying to escape, they ran to the same service elevator. Yeah, that's real impressive. I knew that. No, I know you know everything about that. Yeah, I guess it's on Amazon. Yeah.
They took an elevator together and Daryl Hall. He got this nickname in college, Blue Eyed Soul, because he would go to these predominantly black soul acapella contests and he would crush.
Wow. Wow. Yeah. He's a really cool musician. Nay's.
Yeah. Okay. It says on further discovering that they were interested in the same music and that both were attending Philadelphia's Temple University. They started spending time together on a regular basis and eventually shared a number of apartments in the city. One of the apartments they shared had a Hall and Oates on the mailbox, which became the duo's name. It would take them another two years to form a musical duo, and three years after that, they signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut album.
Most number one hits of any do duet of all time, but the number one duet of all time. They were like thirty eight or thirty nine, top 10 hits or something. So the most successful of all time duets.
And they were kind of late. They were older. Yeah. They were like in their thirties when they broke instead of their 20s. Yeah. They knew themselves by then. Yeah.
They had kind of done that Beatles 10000 hours thing. Hi Malcolm. I know you're listening.
We know you love our show percentage of R&D that came from the church.
Mm hmm. I did not expect to actually find a real dad. Yeah, but Vibe magazine did the article. And according to that, in 85 to 90 percent of your RB singers come out at the church.
Yeah. Wow. Whalley I know. So now I'm really conflicted because as you know, I'm not a churchgoer, but boy, what a great breeding ground for amazing music.
But for taking away church, I'm not at all.
But I just I do think the country has become slowly, more and more secular every year. That's the. Yeah. Trajectory of Western civilization. So sure, Europe's ahead of us in that. And some places are nearly all atheist. Yeah, it scares me that that would be a huge loss. There's a there's a million things that I think are of great value in religion. Me too. There's a lot of things that would be lost that would be really sad.
That's why I think there should be a plan to replace the things we all love about it, the community, the music.
There's a lot of things, but I don't know if we need a guy in the sky with a beard for all that to work. Well, I don't think we do just have a love of humanity in each other.
I would like. That seems hard to achieve. Yeah, we can try. Well, I will say this. OK, so some of the arm cherries naturally, because certainly many of them are religious. And thank you for always bearing with my take on it. They want us to have a religious person.
All right. So then Gaga, Kristen's mom, Laurie. Yeah. She sent me a video, as she often does. Yeah. Of a woman who was a surgeon who died for 30 minutes. Okay. And she went to heaven. OK. And then came back. And this video is her explaining the story. It's like a 30 minute video. And it was riveting. And I really liked this woman. Now, I definitely believe she went to heaven in her mind.
I'm of the opinion, some chemical stuff very similar to shrooms. Oddly enough, your body releases VMT. So I definitely think she went to have a now. I don't know that I don't think she really went to heaven, but I definitely know she went to heaven and I'm fine with that. Maybe we should have her on. She's pretty fascinating. Was she religious before? Yes.
She said she had always been really wrestling with this by fabricated nature of your either scientific or your religious and that those two things don't overlap.
Yes. And I've often been felt sympathetic to. Yeah. What do scientists do? Because you really you can't use creationism. You can't say the world's 7000 years old. None of these things jibe with any theories of physics, any theories of biology, any theories of evolution. Yeah. So what a thing for them to grapple with. Yeah, I'm sympathetic to it. But for her, she said, you know, I had four kids. I'm performing surgeries all the time.
And Jesus was something that was like eighth on my list to do. Like I need I should, I need to check it, you know, like a chore.
Like pray. Yeah. Like check in. And it's just one more demand on her, huh? I was like, oh, that makes sense. I never even thought about that. Yeah, probably religious people often feel like shit.
I gotta make more time for that. Yeah. Like I got to make time for a. Yeah. So I could relate to it through this experience. She was like, no, for me it's got to be number one. I got to be checking now. Wow. You interesting.
You're a really interesting story. All right. Well let's look into it. Okay, great. Well, really quick lessons theorizes for a second.
Like, if we interviewed her and she started telling us what God looked like, like how many minutes of hearing what God look like before we be like, okay, yeah, we got it. Because we just don't believe she really looked at her. Okay. So I think I would prefer to have someone on who's like a religious scholar.
Like a theologian. Yes. Because I'm in your camp. Yes, I believe that she believes that. But I don't believe that. Right. There's no like coming together on that.
Well, I compare it and this is a little bit what people that are religious don't understand about. My take is for me. It's like hearing about someone's dream for a half hour. Like the dream, although exciting and maybe revealing some truth to you. It didn't happen. And I have a hard time hearing a story about your thing that didn't happen. Yeah, I just bail out at some point. Yeah. So you're still tell me about this dream.
It didn't happen.
I mean, I'm never gonna be and I don't think this would be the point of our episode at all. But I'm never going to be convinced that there is a heaven because this woman had that story. Right.
But weirdly enough, and I know this, where you and I differ a little bit, I believe for her there's a heaven and I believe she has a god. I don't. But that doesn't make sense here, because then if you believe it is a thing that exists and that all it requires is belief, what I believe this is based in anthropology, which is I don't believe in witchcraft.
I had a professor who didn't believe in witchcraft, but she went to sub-Saharan Africa to do her fieldwork. And someone put a spell on her and she almost died. And then a shaman exercised the spirit that had been put in her body. And she recovered. And she was like, look, I don't know what to tell you.
I don't believe in that. But when I was there and immersed in that culture, I don't know what to say to you. But I was somehow fell very ill from this PEX.
Someone put on her. Right. So what am I going to say?
I got to say that she in her life was possessed by a spirit. Now, I don't believe I could be possessed by spirits and I believe in them. But she was possessed by a spirit. So, you know, I'm saying. I know it seems weird.
No, no, I don't believe it for me, but I believe it for her.
So, yeah, I disagree. I feel that that story makes me feel like. Yeah. There's a possibility. Mm hmm. That that could happen to me. Mm hmm. So with heaven, which I do not believe in. I don't believe that some people who believe in heaven go to heaven. And the people who don't believe in heaven don't. I don't believe that. That doesn't jive any real sense. Right. So if I believed that she went to heaven for real, then I would acknowledge, oh, there is one.
OK, here's my other example.
OK. So I work with all these Filipinos in Detroit. Mm hmm. They were straight from the Philippines. Most of them had been in the U.S. for like five or six years. All of them believe in ghosts. Not only did they believe in ghosts. They all had these really detailed experiences with ghost. Right. A couple of them had had them together.
And they're telling the exact same story. Right.
I believe them. Yeah, I believe they had that experience. Yeah. I don't believe in ghosts. Right. So in that weird way. But I do believe they interacted with Ghost somehow. For them. I don't think they're lying. I don't think the whole thing they explain they were driving. They hit a ghost. And then the blood, even though they're gone, 80 was running down the windshield instead of coming up the windshield from the wind, like, I believe all that happened to them.
And I don't believe in ghosts. But if you believe that happened to them, which I do, too, I don't think people are lying about these experiences. Are you saying you think chemically something happened to them that made them see that? Or do you think they interacted with a ghost?
I think if you believe in ghosts, you'll interact with ghosts.
That's what I saw. That means you you believe they're real to the people that believe in them, you know.
I know it's weird, but that I'm not there's a there's a really neat compartment in my head and it works for me. Like, I really believe Edward has had multiple experience with ghosts.
That's my friend, one Filipino shirt. So do I. Yeah, I know Linda and I. And I don't believe in ghosts, but who am I to say I can trust my culture and my point of view more than Edwards culture and Edward's point of view? That's cultural relativity like that's his real life experience on planet Earth. I'm not one to say there's not goes what the cause that would be telling him he didn't have that experience. So what I can do is say, dude, I believe you.
You had that experience. And then if he goes to you, if you have any experience with goes, I go. No one believing goes. And we're we're done.
You know, I believe people who've had those paranormal experiences as well. And when I hear those, I don't think, well, that won't happen to me because I don't believe in them. I think, oh, there there could be something going on that I don't know. I'm not ruling out that I won't have an experience like that. Right. And I had an experience like that. I've told you about it where three of us were in Camp Dearborne.
We saw the sky. Was this red energy thing that changed shapes. And it looked like he was on a bike for a minute. And then he shot across his field at like the speed of light. We're like, what the fuck is that?
Now, I have no explanation for what we saw and we all saw the same thing. But my explanation is not that I saw a ghost, right. I don't know what the fuck I saw. Right. I don't believe in ghosts. Right, right. Right, right.
And no one knows what that was. Yeah. So the person that believes that was a ghost is is equally entitled to that conclusion, as I am, that it wasn't a ghost. Because no one knows what it was.
Yeah. OK. So the Chris Rock joke about the dentist. Well, he was hanging around his house in Alpine, New Jersey, and the people he listed were himself, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy. There we go.
What an era. I know you think he. I don't think he lied. I don't knows. I don't know. I think it's true. Might be. They all live in Alpine, New Jersey, or have homes there.
I guess that's interesting. I thought the super rich people went to Westchester.
I've never heard of Alpine, which must be gorgeous of there. All of them there. It must be OK. John talks a little bit about counting the prisoners as part of that local population to get the federal money. Exactly. So I guess more states are moving towards counting the prisoners as residents of their home communities as opposed to where the states are moving towards.
That's something interesting. Yeah.
Yeah, well, that would definitely be incentivize people building a prison in their community. Yeah.
Oh, and you see, the LAPD has a six billion dollar budget. Two billion. Wow. I'm glad I corrected that. I've been saying that a lot. Where did I hear that?
Maybe you're confusing the amount of people.
I have no idea. Two billion. Two billion. Yeah.
Cause even if you counted, like L.A. County sheriffs and all the stuff still wouldn't get up to six billion, I don't think CHP. Yeah. Oh, no. OK, well, I don't know where I heard that.
Now I'm embarrassed, embarrassed to 300 percent fuck up.
But that's OK. We could stay. Yeah, we fix it. OK to Bailey. No, no, no, no. I love you. I love you. I hope you flesh out this like fantasy a little bit.
I want to hear more. E.
Oh, you know, what are we eating together for dinner, you mean. Yeah.
You and John, you in jail. You know, he's so romantic and stuff that I everything in the fantasy is like you're in a song, babe. Yeah, I'm in his song. So there's like steak for dinner.
Oh, red wine, red wine and some asparagus.
Oh, the fresh rich greens and some kale or some spinach. Yeah. Just a real clean meal. Well, steak isn't necessarily clean, but it's decadent.
You can get a nice like a filet for you maybe. Yeah. You know, like a butterfly.
Love a butterfly. Hot dog. All right.
I love you. Love you.