How Rashida Jones Found Her Inner Music Nerd

Aug 23, 2012
Originally published on August 24, 2012 7:06 am

This summer, All Things Considered has asked listeners and guests to share a personal memory: the memory of one song discovered through their parents' record collection.

Rashida Jones stars in the new film Celeste and Jesse Forever. She's also the daughter of superstar music producer Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. Jones says her father is a "record collection all unto himself," but she had something else in mind when NPR's Audie Cornish asked her about the song she most remembers from when she was growing up.

"My mom, I remember as a kid, came home with Steely Dan, and "Hey Nineteen" was her favorite song," Jones says. "We had a lot of jazz growing up, and soul, R&B, classical ... ['Hey Nineteen'] was the first time I had heard something that was like this '70s bluesy rock, that was really lyrical.

"It kind of opened me up to being a music nerd," Jones says. "Those guys are music nerds, and that's what's so great about them. They like complex rhythms, and they're interested in the mathematics of music."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This summer, we've asked you and some of our guests here on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED to share a personal memory, a story behind one song discovered through Mom and Dad's record collection. Today, we hear from a child of Hollywood royalty.

RASHIDA JONES: Hi. My name is Rashida Jones.

CORNISH: The actress, Rashida Jones, is the star and co-writer of the new film, "Celeste and Jesse Forever." She's also the daughter of actress Peggy Lipton and superstar music producer Quincy Jones.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: Jazz and R&B defined her father's record collection, but Rashida Jones had a different song in mind when she came into our studio.

JONES: I am going to talk about actually a record that my mom introduced me to because my dad is a record collection all unto himself. I feel like that would be the obvious choice. So my mom - I remember as a kid - came home with Steely Dan and "Hey Nineteen" was her favorite song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY NINETEEN")

JONES: It was kind of the first time - you know, we had a lot of jazz growing up and soul, R&B, classical. It's the first time I had heard something that was like this '70s bluesy rock that was really lyrical. And it kind of opened me up to being like a music nerd because those guys are music nerds and that's what's so great about them, that they're - you know, they like complex rhythms and they're interested in the - you know, like the mathematics of music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY NINETEEN")

STEELY DAN: (Singing) Sweet things from Boston, so young and willing. Moved down to Scarsdale. Where the hell am I? Hey, nineteen.

JONES: And I still - I just went to a Steely Dan concert about a year ago. They're still one of my favorite bands.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY NINETEEN")

DAN: No, we can't talk at all. Please, take me along when you slide on down.

CORNISH: Looking back now, what did that interest say about your mom to you? You know, what about it taught you something about her?

JONES: Well, my mom did a lot of aerobics in the '80s and she's actually in the Jane Fonda workout video. So there was a lot of, like, upbeat - like Madonna was really popular. And it was sort of the thing that bonded my parents because my dad was kind of working on jazz and he was working on his own - these, like, really cool compilations with Ashford and Simpson, Patty Austin, James Ingram, all these people. And it was kind of like her version of soul, so I felt like it was her wanting to be a part of that, but also distinguish herself musically.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY NINETEEN")

DAN: (Singing) The Cuervo Gold, the fine Colombian make tonight a wonderful thing. Say it again.

CORNISH: Rashida Jones, thank you for sharing the memory with us.

JONES: Thank you. Very cool.

CORNISH: Actress and screenwriter Rashida Jones for our series, Mom and Dad's Record Collection.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY NINETEEN")

DAN: (Singing) ...a wonderful thing. The Cuervo Gold, the fine Colombian make tonight a wonderful thing. No, we can't dance together. No, we can't talk at all.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.