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From the Archives: Tuvan Throat Singer Ondar and Producer Ralph Leighton.

Tuvan throat singer Ondar and producer Ralph Leighton. Tuvan throat singing is a biphonic sound in which the performer produces two or three distinct tones at the same time. It originates from Tuva. Leighton co-produced Ondar's debut CD, "Back Tuva Future" (Warner Bros/Reprise) Ondar is featured in the documentary "Genghis Blues." which is currently showing in San Francisco and New York. A wider rollout is set for late August. (Rebroadcast of 3/3/1999)

21:27

Other segments from the episode on July 30, 1999

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, July 30, 1999: Interview with Kongar-ol Ondar and Ralph Leighton; Interview with Matthew Broderick; Commentary on John Jackson.

Transcript

Show: FRESH AIR
Date: JULY 30, 1999
Time: 12:00
Tran: 073002NP.217
Type: FEATURE
Head: Interview with Matthew Broderick
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:20

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

(MUSIC)

GROSS: This is Fresh Air, I'm Terry Gross.

All this archive addition we have an interview with Matthew Broderick, who's starring in the new comedy "Inspector Gadget." He plays a security guard who's blown up all trying to thwart a villain. His body is reworked and refitted with all kinds of gizmos, and he becomes, like, the hardware-store version of a superhero.

In the scene, a scientist, played by Jolie Fisher, is explaining to Broderick how his new body works.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP: "INSPECTOR GADGET")

JOLIE FISHER, ACTRESS: OK. So if you want to operate one of your gadget, you simply say, "go-go gadget,." and, then, you name the device.

MATTHEW BRODERICK, ACTOR: Well, could not say something more official, like -- like, "in the name of justice."

FISHER: Well, you could, but it wouldn't work.

BRODERICK: But "go-go gadget," it sounds so...

FISHER: My father designed the program, and he...

BRODERICK: Oh, it's "go-go gadget." I really like it.

FISHER: Good. I'm glad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GROSS: One of the movies that Matthew Broderick is famous for was the high school comedy "Ferris Buehler's (ph) Day Off." So it was fun to see Broderick play a high school teacher this year in the comedy "Election." He plays the teacher who oversees the school's student government elections. He dislikes the super-achiever who is running unopposed for student president. Here he is convincing the school's star athlete to run against her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP "ELECTIONS")

BRODERICK: You are one of the most popular students at Carver. You're honest, you're straight forward and you don't crack under pressure as we all saw in the amazing fourth quarter against West Side. All the kinds look up to you. Now what does that spell?

Student -- council -- president.

ACTOR: Me? Oh, no -- I don't know anything about that Mr. M (ph). I mean, besides, that's Tracy Fricks (ph) thing. She has always worked so hard at...

BRODERICK: Yeah, I know. She's a real go getter all right.

ACTOR: And she's super nice.

BRODERICK: Yeah, yeah. But one person assured of victory kind of undermines the whole idea of democracy don't you think?

ACTOR: But Mr. M (ph)...

BRODERICK: I mean that would be more like a dictatorship like we studied...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GROSS: Matthew Broderick's other films include "Godzilla," "Glory," and "The Freshman."

I spoke to him in 1995 just after he opened on Broadway in the revival of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- the Frank Lesser (ph) musical about office politics and sex.

It was Broderick's first Broadway musical and he won a Tony for it. Here he is singing on the cast album.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP OF MATTHEW BRODERICK "HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING")

(SINGING, MATTHEW BRODERICK)

You have the cool clear eyes of a sea of wisdom of truth
Yet there's that up-turned chin, and the grin of infectious youth
OH, I believe in you
I believe in you
I hear the sound of good solid judgment whenever you talk
Yet there's the bold brave swing (ph) of a tiger (ph) that quickens your walk
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
I believe in you
I believe in you
And my faith in my fellow man falls apart
I want to feel your hand trusting mine
And take heart
I take heart
To see the cool clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth
Yet there's that slam, bang, shang (ph) reminiscent of gin and vermouth
I believe in you
I believe in you
(CHORUS)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GROSS: There is something very cynical about, you know, the story of how to succeed.

BRODERICK: Uh, huh.

GROSS: But you know what really shines through everything I thought, was your affection, and I would have to say all of the performers' affection for the material. There was just this -- this kind of like love for the material, for the whole Broadway style I thought -- that seemed to go into show.

BRODERICK: That's right.

GROSS: You know, there was just real pleasure.

BRODERICK: Yeah, well we do really love it. And the more you work on it the -- it's a just really beautifully constructed thing. I love all the songs and all the dialog that Ed Burrows wrote. It's just very funny and it remains funny.

GROSS: Is there a different energy that you feel in a musical than you feel in a drama or comedy? You have done dramas and comedy's on Broadway before.

BRODERICK: Well, there is a little bit. Somebody once said that you know, that the book scenes which are -- you know -- the scenes that aren't songs in a musical, are really -- can be thought of as part of the music also. So that there's meant to be kind of -- there is more of a rhythm to things. You know whereas in a straight play or a comedy you can sort of take your own timing. A musical seems to all -- you know -- people get more and more excited until they are so frantic that the only way they can express it is to sing.

GROSS: Right.

BRODERICK: So you have to -- everything has to build up so that these songs don't come out of nowhere. So, it's a little bit more of a rigid form in a way.

You know, some of the Neil Simon comedy's I've done are a little bit more --duo can let them drift in different directions, which is fun, but they don't always have these bookmarks that you have to get to, you know, these songs.

GROSS: I know that you work with your father, the late James Broderick. I think your first professional role was in a play with him?

BRODERICK: Yeah. It was not a paying role but it was -- yeah. I did a Horton Foote (ph) play with him when I was 17 and -- at the HB Studio, here in New York.

GROSS: So, he played your father.

BRODERICK: He played my father. And we were both southern, and I was a sort of bad son, a bad seed, or whatever.

GROSS: What was it like to be getting your start in playing with your father on stage?

BRODERICK: Well, it was -- it wasn't all that easy for some reason. I guess...

GROSS: I can imagine. I mean people can't learn to drive often from their father.

BRODERICK: Yeah. And I tried that one too I remember. My father tried to teach me to drive and he would make me so angry and nervous that I remember once winding up on a grassy median between two roads, just in the middle of the field...

(LAUGHTER)

.... with him, you know, yelling at me.

(LAUGHTER)

BRODERICK: So, so...

GROSS: You don't want this to happen on stage?

BRODERICK: No. I remember the job was then given to my sister and I learned very easily. Yeah, there is something about -- he was a great help to me when I was doing other -- when I was doing plays in high school, he would be, you know, come and watch and give me great advice. But when I was actually working with him, it was not easy. And he would -- you know a lot of the scenes were him being mad at me. And he would yell at me with this southern accent and which -- it was hard to take seriously for some reason. It just felt like dad being a ham.

GROSS: So, he would yell at you in character?

BRODERICK: Yeah. You know in the scene.

GROSS: Right and...

BRODERICK: "Brother, you're not taking care of business the way you oughta" -- you know, whatever and...

(LAUGHTER)

And I would just think, dad, you know, you're making a fool out of yourself or whatever. It was kind of hard. And I think my total lack of experience too. But it was a big -- you know, it was a big step. Once I did that one I could -- the next one was all the easier.

GROSS: How did show business look to you watching your father when you were a kid?

BRODERICK: Thrilling? I loved being around the theater and I didn't even know if I wanted to be an actor. I really kind of didn't want to be an actor, but I did think I would like to be -- do something in the theater like run lights, or paint scenes or anything because I just like the atmosphere, you know, for some reason. And I loved being in the dressing room and watching him, you know, put on his makeup and stuff.

It was a little bit like when you're a kid and you watch your father shave -- it had that kind of romance. You know, I thought it was the great.

GROSS: You grew up on Greenwich Village.

BRODERICK: Uh, huh.

GROSS: Did you ever want a more suburban family life or a more traditional family life than the one you had?

BRODERICK: No, I had friends who were in the suburbs, so I used to love going there because they would have a big backyard or field you know, and you could throw balls around and stuff. And I did like that.

But I loved -- I grew up in the Village. You know it was -- I loved it. I loved Washington Square Park, which was a little different back then. And I liked it and I had really good friends, and we used to -- we found a lot to do. I was very happy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GROSS: We will hear more of our 1995 interview with Matthew Broderick after a short break. This FRESH AIR.

(BREAK)

GROSS: Back with Matthew Broderick.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GROSS: One of your early roles was in "Torch Song Trilogy" and you were -- you were in at the start when it was off, off Broadway. And you played a gay teenager who is adopted by the main character, the Harvey Fire...

BRODERICK: Firestein...

GROSS: .... Firestein character. Were you advised against playing a gay role that early in your career, that everybody would assume you were gay, and you would be type cast?

BRODERICK: Yeah, I was a little bit. I had an agent you said, you know, I don't think this is advisable just because it's your first thing. And what I -- and he incidentally -- like was probably gay which also is an interesting thing about the world. But anyway, I was so desperate to -- you know I would like to say I was brave and moral and all these things which maybe I was, but I was also just desperate to work.

And I also loved the play. I thought it was really funny and a great role. So, it never occurred to me to listen to him. I just saw him in the role.

And now of course I think it's, you know, it's fine. I don't think people think about that risk too much any more.

GROSS: You were discovered in that play.

BRODERICK: Yeah, I know. It worked out. It was this tiny, rotten little theater you know, and the play was over four long. And nobody was coming. And it was going to close before its run was over.

And a critic -- I think Mel Gusaw (ph) from the Times happened to come and wrote this rave. And that made all the other critics come and before you knew it we had kind of a little hit. And then we moved to, you know, the redesigned and made beautiful this theater downtown which is right near my house. And we all moved there.

And then of course later it went to Broadway without me but it just was this -- it was very fortunate because when I got the job it seemed like a kind of nothing little job and it -- once I was in it, it turned into this big deal. I might not have gotten the job if it had been known that it was going to be such a thing, you know.

GROSS: So, did anyone assume you were gay and therefore couldn't play straight roles after seeing you in the play?

BRODERICK: No. I mean maybe people assumed I was gay. I don't know, but I have never -- you know I got the Neil Simon job basically from that which was a straight teenager. No, no I -- that never seemed to be a problem. I got -- I would get some fan mail that assumed I was gay I remember. But I never seemed like stuck -- I never got offered only gay parts. In fact I don't think I got offered any other gay parts.

GROSS: Did you get a lot of letters, you know, Dear Matthew, tell us if you're straight or gay?

BRODERICK: I just remember one that was from a man who said -- oh, no it was from who I had met backstage and his son wrote me this long and praising letter which was -- he didn't speak English that well so I can't describe how strange it was. But I remember it said at some point "Matt, I have gay and my father is too. Are you as well? If not perhaps you would enjoy my sister's sexy looks."

(LAUGHTER)

And it had...

(LAUGHTER)

.... it had a picture of this boy and his sister standing in the Mediterranean up to their knees. And he just looked like this kind of chubby rich boy. And next to him was this sort of scrawny like, like Diane Arvest's (ph)-like sister, you know, holding a soda or something. And I thought wow, I wonder what he life is like with a gay father and brother and they're offering her to the straight ones.

(LAUGHTER)

It was very weird.

GROSS: Did you write back?

BRODERICK: No, but I kept the letter for along time.

(LAUGHTER)

But I don't have it anymore.

GROSS: I think for years in movies you were playing younger than you were in real life.

BRODERICK: Right.

GROSS: In "War Games" and "Ferris Bueller (ph)." How old were you in -- when you made those films?

BRODERICK: When I made "War Games" I was 20, but I was playing a 17-year-old which as percentage is much younger. And then when I did "Ferris Bueller" and I was in high school, 18 or something, it was like -- I think I was 23.

Yeah, that's right.

GROSS: Are you afraid you're going to get stuck in teenage films?

BRODERICK: Yeah, I was. I was -- you know -- also because "Ferris Bueller" was this big success and I think that -- there is always a desire to -- for people who have a similar script or whatever, to think we will have a success if we use the same formula. So, you get -- they lead to the same role coming over and over again, more or less. So, I was a little bit afraid of that.

And I sort of consciously tried to play older things which I did which was a bit of struggle, because a lot of them will turn out not to be very successful or whatever. It's been a bit of a struggle, you know, to let the parts age along with me.

GROSS: I enjoyed you in "The Freshman," where you're...

BRODERICK: OH, thank you.

GROSS: .... a film school student and you're studying "The Godfather" in class and of course they meet Marlin Brando who has got something, some godfather left. Got stuff of his own happening on the side.

Was it fun to work with Brando? Did his films mean a lot to you when you were coming of age?

BRODERICK: OH, yeah, definitely. I mean I thought of him as the best actor in the world. And I still do. So, I remember being sent -- I liked the script too. Andy Bergman (ph) wrote it. And I said, well who is playing -- I don't remember if I said -- anyway I found out that the role was being played by Brando and like everyone else I was skeptical. I remember going in for a meeting with the director, writer and producer. And I said is Brando really -- is this real? Is he really going to do this because I don't he had worked in a long time. And I remember they had a wallet filled with photographs of them with Brando, you know, in Tahiti. And they said here we are shaking his hand, here he is saying...

(LAUGHTER)

.... he really is coming.

And I said, wow, that's fantastic. So, I joined right on, you know, just for the opportunity to meet him.

GROSS: Is he really quirky in how he does scenes?

BRODERICK: He -- I guess -- we rehearsed more than I would have thought. He kind of liked to rehearse a little bit. And he would, he would work on the -- he would change some of the dialogue a little bit when he rehearsed. And I just remember him when I would act opposite of him, that he was just the most lively thing in the world. He would -- he is so interesting to watch and he's so involved in you that you have only to pay a little bit of attention to him and you will be fine it seemed to me.

I mean it's a little bit like -- I remember in soccer with the good players would -- if they would pass you the ball it goes right to where your feet are. So, you end up having an easier time and looking better. And he seemed to be one of those actors, that just makes your job much easier because he's so -- he's passing you such good stuff.

GROSS: I want to thank you a lot for talking with us.

BRODERICK: Thank you.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GROSS: Matthew Broderick, recorded in 1995. He is staring in the new film "Inspector Gadget."

(MUSIC)

GROSS: Coming up old and new recordings by blues performer John Jackson. This is FRESH AIR.

(MUSIC)

GROSS: Guitarist John Jackson is one of the most popular traditional blues performers in the Washington, D.C. area. You can hear his music on a new CD and a new collection of his recordings from the '60s.

Jackson is now 75 and music commentator Milo Miles says he doesn't fit lithe modern stereotypes of old blues players. He plays lot of material besides country, ragtime and pop. And he's genial, not tormented. But his rediscovery during the '60s blues revival sounds like the typical romantic tail.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

(GUITAR AND SINGING, JOHN JACKSON)

Railroad Bill, he bent (ph) and will
He's never worked and he never will
Let him ride
Railroad Bill

MILES: An incident in the 1940s convinced John Jackson that grave digging was safer than guitar playing. He had been performing at a party when he was attacked by a drunk, and a bloody fight broke out. But Jackson came from a musical family in Virginia and had been picking out tunes since he was a child.

So by 1964 he had started playing again just for fun. One fateful day he was giving a lesson to a fellow that worked at a gas station when Dr. Charles Purdue (ph) the president of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington drove in to fill up his tank.

He got a tank full of John Jackson instead, and within a year Jackson was riding high on the blues revival. He did keep digging graves though.

If you compare Jackson's old and new recordings, you can hear that his relaxed baritone voice has grown just a whit frail in 30 years. But he's otherwise unchanged from the start.

This is Jimmy Rogers (ph) number from "Country Blues and Ditties," Jackson's collection of vintage or wholly (ph) sides (ph).

(GUITAR AND MUSIC, JOHN JACKSON)

Come on around the water tank
Where it ain't (OFF MIKE) all the time
I'm a thousand miles away from home
Sleeping in the rain
Walked down to the pressman (ph)
I asked him for a ride across
He said, if you got money
I see that you (OFF MIKE)
Haven't got a nickel
Not a nickel can I show
Get off, get off
You railroad bum
Send the (OFF MIKE)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MILES: And this is a Jimmy Rogers number from the new "Front Porch Blues."

(GUITAR AND SINGING, JOHN JACKSON)

Things (ph) I've been through
Sometimes I wish I were dead
The way I've been treated
Sometimes I wish I were dead
I don't have no place to leave my worries at

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MILES: Of course Jimmy Roger, the old yodeling brakeman was the original country music super star. But John Jackson draws music from diverse sources. He's an excellent example of how the record player can be as much of a teacher as family and fellow musicians even back in the 1930s.

Jackson plays in the bright tones and highly syncopated style known as Piedmont blues which has always been more cosmopolitan than the dark intense Delta blues.

But if Jackson's fluent and transient technique on guitar and banjo is the highlight of his vintage records, his new album adds particularly poignant notes of mortality. "Front Porch Blues" includes a cover of the eminent Piedmont picker, Reverend Gary Davis's masterpiece, "Death Don't Have no Mercy."

Jackson also does a couple numbers learned from his mother that sound more cheerful but that include grim sentiments like this, from "The Devil Wore A Hickory Shoe."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

(GUITAR AND SINGING, JOHN JACKSON)

Oh, the devil he was
The devil he was
He could reach (ph) he could reach (ph)
The devil he was
The devil he was
He could reach you, he could reach you
The devil he was
The hickory shoe
The devil he was
The hickory shoe
And if you don't watch, going to slip it on you
All of my friends, all of my friends
Have been taken away
The (OFF MIKE) went down
I went down
The battle to pray, the battle to pray
I went down, I went down to the battle to pray
Battle to pray
I went down to the battle to pray
But then (ph) got weak and stayed all day
All of my friends, all of my friends
Have been taken away
The devil he was...

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MILES: Jackson delivers all these sentiments in his typical, good-natured professional manner. But as Bob Dylan once said about "ole blues" you can hear real death in these songs, not heavy metal horror comics, or teen angel day dreams.

John Jackson can tell a ragtime joke like just because and make you think about the end of your days the next.

He manages to make profound music without a life of suffering or a mean disposition. Despite his wonderfully casual air, his blues has majesty.

GROSS: Milo Miles is music editor of Rock.com. The vintage John Jackson collections "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," and "Country Blues and Ditties," are available on our Hooley (ph) records. His new album "Front Porch Blues," is on Alligator Records.

(MUSIC)

GROSS: FRESH AIR's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our engineer is Bob Perdick. Dorothy Miller is our administrative assistant., Roberta Sherock (ph) directs the show. Our theme music was composed by Joe Forester (ph) and performed by the Microscopic Septet.

I'm Terry Gross.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

(GUITAR AND SINGING, JOHN JACKSON)

... and no sooner (ph)
But you have to look (OFF MIKE)
Dittie watt dada
Little dittie watt dada
Can't (OFF MIKE) dittie watt dada man (ph)
Me and my girl had a falling out
I didn't know what it was all about
It's a dittie watt dada
It was a dittie watt dada
And bad tempered dittie watt dada man
Me and my girl went down to the boat
She can't swim
She juste have to float
Here at the dittie watt dada
At the dittie watt dada
And bad tempered dittie watt dada man
Ditte watt dada
And no setta (ph)...

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This is NPR National Public Radio.

TO PURCHASE AN AUDIOTAPE OF THIS PIECE, PLEASE CALL 877-21FRESH
Dateline: Terry Gross
Guest: Matthew Broderick
High: All this archive addition we have an interview with Matthew Broderick, who's starring in the new comedy "Inspector Gadget." He plays a security guard who's blown up all trying to thwart a villain. His body is reworked and refitted with all kinds of gizmos, and he becomes, like, the hardware-store version of a superhero.
Spec: Movie Industry; Media; Entertainment

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 1999 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 1999 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Interview with Matthew Broderick
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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