Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Heidecker And Wood, Inspired By The '80s


Tim Heidecker has mostly his name on a strange and obscure show called "Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!" It's a comedy sketch show that takes '70s and '80s TV tropes to outrageous extremes. Heidecker makes music with Davin Wood, under the name Heidecker and Wood. Their songs also draw heavily on the '70s and '80s aesthetic. But sometimes they feel less than satire than heartfelt tribute.


HEIDECKER AND WOOD: (Singing) This is life, this is life one of these days, this is life...

MARTIN: There's just a lot of truth in that song to me. Just so much truth. So, I heard that immediately it just felt like a really good theme song to a television song, from, like, circa 1979, maybe 1982.

TIM HEIDECKER: "The Fall Guy" maybe?

MARTIN: "Fall Guy." Actually, what came to mind for me was "Bosom Buddies."

HEIDECKER: OK. Well, there is a little Billy Joel in there.

MARTIN: Yeah. And that little key change.

HEIDECKER: Yeah. You know, Billy Joel and Steely Dan and all these bands that I think an artist that kind of get made fun of these days. But we love and hate that music, I think. When we write songs and think about songs, that's usually where we start.

MARTIN: So, how does something like that come together? Do you come up with a lyric first or you think of a particular chord progression?

HEIDECKER: You're asking for the recipe for the...

MARTIN: I am. I'm asking for the secret sauce.

DAVIN WOOD: It depends but, you know, I think that one starts with that general (humming). That kind of groove. And then the lyrics are usually the last thing, because in that particular song, if you really listen, it's pretty much total nonsense. It's just words that sound good together. And that's where I think a lot of songs are anyway. But they try to bury it into making it seem like these guys are having some big thoughts.


MARTIN: So, I think we do need to talk a little more about "Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!" The title gives you a little bit of a clue to the, I don't know, absurd nature, I guess that's fair, that the show kind of embodies. We have a bit of a sketch from the show, and I'll just set this up a little bit. We see a guy in the woods.


HEIDECKER: (as character) Somebody help me.

MARTIN: He's been hurt and he's calling for help. And the shot cuts to our hero, played by Zach Galifinakis. And let's pick up the tape from there.


ZACH GALIFINAKIS: (as character) It's time to (unintelligible). (Singing) (unintelligible) Oh, if you're hurt, here, give you a snug, snuggler...

MARTIN: He's a snuggler. So, what does he look like in this scene, Tim? Can you describe this?

HEIDECKER: Well, he looks like Zach Galifinakis - we can all picture that. And he's wearing very, very short shorts and a polo shirt. And I remember Zach coming in for that and show him the shorts we had picked out, and he just kind of looked at me for a second, like, OK, whatever, let's do it.


GALIFINAKIS: (as character) I am the snuggler.

MARTIN: So, among several collaborators on this album is Aimee Mann, which was kind of surprising to me. For those who don't know, she was big in the '80s. She was part of 'Til Tuesday, then she had a big solo career. She kind of seems like a somewhat odd addition. How did that collaboration happen?

WOOD: Well, we're pals. So, this record, it was very much like a little bit of a family affair and it was simply a question of a little phone call to her saying can you stop by this afternoon. And she said, yeah, you know, is there an ice coffee in it for me?

MARTIN: So, let's listen to this song featuring Aimee Mann. This one's called "Next Ten Years."


AIMEE MANN: (Singing) Living out on a farm out by your parents' house. We can leave it behind and start again...

MARTIN: So, I know there's a healthy dose in irony in everything you do, but this is a sincerely lovely song.

HEIDECKER: Well, thank you. Yeah, but you know what, I figured out what's funny about it. And it took me a while, and I think Aimee pointed it out. She said if you listen to the song, it's this couple and they're talking about their marriage and talking about their future. But as the song goes along, they get more and more drunk. And as they get more and more drunk, things get better and better.


MANN: (Singing) We're moved on to our hotel room as we order out some and wine...

MARTIN: Davin, what's your favorite song on the album?

WOOD: "Coming Home" I'm a particular fan of.


WOOD: (Singing) Well, it's only been a week but it feels like a year. And every time we speak, my thoughts seem so clear...

WOOD: I think on this record - the first one sort of got characterized as really walking a fine line between, well, is this supposed to be funny or sincere? And I think this is, you know, it is a little bit closer to sincerity. There are just some songs like that that are - it's just a poignant number there. It's not meant to be funny.


HEIDECKER: I agree with Davin. I mean, I wrote a wonderful, beautiful, poignant song. It's a very important song.

MARTIN: Tim Heidecker and Davin Wood of the band Heidecker and Wood. Their new album is called "Some Things Never Stay the Same." They talked to us from our studios at NPR West in Culver City, California. Hey, you guys, thanks so much for talking with us.

HEIDECKER: Thank you.

WOOD: Thank you for having us.


WOOD: (Singing) A time, a time. I'm coming home, taking the next train. I'm coming home. Boarding the next plane. I'm coming home. Nothing can take me away, I'm coming home. I'm coming home.

MARTIN: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.