Tag Archives: david letterman

Meeting David Letterman… (NYC, 1990)

Did I ever tell you about the time I met David Letterman?

In front of the NBC building in 1990 probably. I had spent a homeless night or two in Manhattan, wandering streets, napping on benches, and soaking in the culture.

I happened around a corner and saw the affable Mr. Letterman waiting for a ride, so of course I went up to say hello. He was talking about baseball as opening day was approaching. He liked with the Dodgers had going that year.

He asked about the bongo drums I was carrying.

I explained that I was a wandering hippie from way out west elsewhere. He really liked the notion of a wandering hippie from Utah with bongos. Years later, he had a recurring character/guest called Manny the hippie who would show up in tie-dye and shaggy blonde hair. I’m only partially convinced I inspired the segment 

While I am not a fan of TV per se, I am a huge fan of the way Mr. Letterman treated guests and bands with dignity and humor, and is clearly an advocate of radical honesty.

I’ve watched clips from the last few weeks and enjoy seeing the love bestowed upon him. But mostly, the music from Tom waits to Bob Dylan to James Brown to Foo Fighters to REM and all points in between –this is perhaps his shows greatest legacy to popular culture.

Conan, Jimmy, Jimmy, Arsenio, and whoever else is out there do not even begin to inspire me (Though Craig Ferguson definitely had his moments) With Mr. Letterman and Jon Stewart both moving on, I am shocked I was not offered one of their jobs, … but I’ll get over it.

Dear Dave,
Thank you Dave.
Your friend, Dave

Hunter Thompson elaborates about Jimmy Carter on David Letterman

… Hunter S. Thompson elaborates on Carter, his famous speech and his alleged mean streak that put him on the same plane as Muhammad Ali and Sonny Barger (the godfather of The Hells Angels).

Tom Waits on David Letterman, Dec. 21, 1983

Tom Waits – Letterman 12-21-83 (via Open Culture)

Waits has made something of a tradition of visiting Letterman’s show, or maybe Letterman has made a tradition of inviting him. Music journalists often slap the word “reclusive” in front of his name, but Waits does make his media appearances, the best of which he makes on Letterman’s show. You’ll find many such segments on Youtube, including ones from 1983,19861987198820022004, and this year. In 1986, Letterman introduced Waits as “probably the only guest we’ve had on this program who was born in the back of a taxi,” which I assume still holds true. Just above, we’ve embedded his 1983 Christmastime sit-down, which Waits’ fans seem to regard with special fondness, and in which Letterman first learns this choice fact. Beyond that, Waits sings two songs and discusses his various unorthodox residences (motel, trailer, car), the use of brake drums as percussive drums on his then-latest album, and how he intervened when a schoolboy was suspended for bringing one of Waits’ records to show-and-tell. In Waits, we have the prime living exemplar of a certain particularly American style of performing and songwriting, and in Letterman, we have the prime living exemplar of a certain particularly American style of simultaneously silly and self-aware humor. What luck for the country that these two can get together as often as they do.

Listen to 21-Year-Old David Letterman’s College Radio Show (1969)

Listen to 21-Year-Old David Letterman’s College Radio Show (1969) (via Open Culture)

REM on David Letterman 1983 Radio Free Europe/ South Central Rain/I’m Sorry

REM on Letterman, 1983

REM on David Letterman 1983 Radio Free Europe/ South Central Rain/I’m Sorry

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X Perform on David Letterman (circa 1983)

My note: Oh man this clip shows why Letterman is/was the best. He *actually* cared about the bands and let the bands actually play. This X album was a huge fave of mine (still is). They perform songs from the great album “More Fun in the New World” produced by Ray Manzarek (The Doors).  Must be from around 1983.

BTW, X reunited with original lineup to play at SXSW in 2014.

PS Saw X on 40th anniversary tour with original line-up in San Francisco in 2015.

Hunter S Thompson – Interview by Letterman (1987)

Hunter S Thompson – Interview by Letterman (1987)