Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser

Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser

Update: 2024-06-042
Share

Digest

This episode of Broken Record features a conversation with Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser, the comedic actor and writer behind the memoir "What a Fool Believes." The book chronicles the highs and lows of Michael's career, his struggles with addiction, and his lifelong insecurities. The two discuss how they met at a party and began recording their conversations, which eventually turned into the memoir. They also talk about the challenges of writing a book together, the importance of being open about one's struggles, and the unexpected moments that shape our lives. McDonald shares stories about his early career, his time with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, and his experiences working with Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. Reiser talks about his own writing process and how he was inspired by McDonald's honesty and willingness to share his story. The episode ends with a discussion about the importance of being grateful and the realization that we are all still learning and growing throughout our lives. The hosts, Jessica St. Clair and Dame Casey Wilson, then promote their audiobook, "The Art of Small Talk." They highlight the book's unique approach to conversation, emphasizing the importance of going shallow to go deep. They also mention the book's accessibility, noting that it can be purchased at Pushkin.fm/smalltalk or wherever audiobooks are sold.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the podcast and its hosts, Jessica St. Clair and Dame Casey Wilson, who are actors, comedians, and podcasters. They also mention their audiobook, "The Art of Small Talk," which is a soon-to-be Nobel Prize-winning audiobook that will surely change the course of history.

00:02:38
Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser: An Unlikely Pairing

This Chapter begins with Justin Richmond introducing the episode's guests, Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser, and discussing how their unlikely pairing came about. They discuss how they met at a party and began recording their conversations, which eventually turned into the memoir "What a Fool Believes." They also talk about the challenges of writing a book together, the importance of being open about one's struggles, and the unexpected moments that shape our lives.

00:28:09
Michael McDonald's Musical Journey

This Chapter focuses on Michael McDonald's musical journey, including his time with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, and his experiences working with Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. He shares stories about his early career, his struggles with addiction, and his lifelong insecurities. He also discusses the importance of being grateful and the realization that we are all still learning and growing throughout our lives.

00:44:46
The Making of "What a Fool Believes"

This Chapter delves into the process of writing "What a Fool Believes." Paul Reiser shares a story about how the song "What a Fool Believes" came about, and how he and Michael McDonald wrote it together. They also discuss the importance of being open about one's struggles and the realization that we are all still learning and growing throughout our lives.

00:55:15
The Importance of Being Grateful

This Chapter focuses on the importance of being grateful and the realization that we are all still learning and growing throughout our lives. Michael McDonald shares his thoughts on the importance of being grateful and how he has learned to be more forgiving and humble over time. Paul Reiser also shares his thoughts on how he has learned from Michael's outlook on life.

01:08:24
The Art of Small Talk

This Chapter features a commercial for the hosts' audiobook, "The Art of Small Talk." They highlight the book's unique approach to conversation, emphasizing the importance of going shallow to go deep. They also mention the book's accessibility, noting that it can be purchased at Pushkin.fm/smalltalk or wherever audiobooks are sold.

Keywords

Michael McDonald
Michael McDonald is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He is known for his distinctive husky baritone voice and his work with the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and as a solo artist. He has won four Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Paul Reiser
Paul Reiser is an American actor, comedian, and writer. He is known for his roles in the television series "Mad About You" and "The Kominsky Method." He has also written several books, including the New York Times best-selling memoir "Couplehood." He has won two Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

What a Fool Believes
"What a Fool Believes" is a song written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. It was originally recorded by the Doobie Brothers and released in 1979. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Memoir
A memoir is a non-fiction account of the author's own life. It is typically written in the first person and focuses on a specific period or theme in the author's life. Memoirs can be about anything from childhood memories to career achievements to personal struggles.

Addiction
Addiction is a chronic disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is a complex disease that involves changes in the brain's structure and function. Addiction can affect people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Doobie Brothers
The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band formed in 1970. They are known for their blend of rock, pop, and soul music. The band has sold over 48 million albums worldwide and has won four Grammy Awards.

Steely Dan
Steely Dan is an American jazz-rock band formed in 1972. They are known for their sophisticated arrangements, complex harmonies, and cynical lyrics. The band has won eight Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones is an American record producer, composer, arranger, conductor, and musician. He is one of the most successful and influential figures in the history of popular music. He has won 28 Grammy Awards, more than any other person in history.

Ray Charles
Ray Charles was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. He was a pioneer of soul music and is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of popular music. He won 12 Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Art of Small Talk
"The Art of Small Talk" is an audiobook written by Jessica St. Clair and Dame Casey Wilson. It is a guide to navigating social interactions and making meaningful connections through conversation. The book emphasizes the importance of going shallow to go deep, suggesting that genuine connections can be formed through seemingly superficial conversations.

Q&A

  • How did Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser meet?

    They met at a party where Michael was hired to play piano and sing. Paul lived next door and they got to talking about their shared musical interests. Paul invited Michael and his guitar player to jam at his studio, and they became friends.

  • What is "What a Fool Believes" about?

    The book chronicles the highs and lows of Michael McDonald's career, his struggles with addiction, and his lifelong insecurities. It's a personal story about finding your way in life and overcoming challenges.

  • What was Michael McDonald's experience like working with Quincy Jones?

    Michael had a chance to record a solo album with Quincy Jones, but it didn't go smoothly due to miscommunication. He still considers it a missed opportunity, but is grateful for the chance he did get to work with Quincy.

  • What is the significance of the story about Ray Charles?

    It highlights Michael's struggles with responsibility and his desire to please those he admires. It also shows how even successful people can face unexpected challenges and difficult situations.

  • What is the main takeaway from the conversation?

    The conversation emphasizes the importance of being open about one's struggles, the unexpected moments that shape our lives, and the realization that we are all still learning and growing throughout our lives.

  • What is the role of Paul Reiser in the book?

    Paul Reiser is not just a co-author, but also a key figure in the story. He provides a unique perspective on Michael McDonald's life and career, and his genuine interest in Michael's story is evident throughout the book.

  • What is the significance of the story about Michael McDonald's first band?

    It shows how even early experiences can shape our future. It also highlights the importance of perseverance and the fact that not every opportunity will be a success.

  • What is the significance of the story about Michael McDonald's time with Steely Dan?

    It shows how Michael's musical journey was shaped by his experiences with different bands and artists. It also highlights the importance of taking risks and pursuing your passions.

  • What is the significance of the story about Michael McDonald's time with Warner Bros. Records?

    It shows how the music industry has changed over time and how artists have had to adapt to new trends and technologies. It also highlights the importance of finding the right people to work with and the value of creative collaboration.

  • What is the main message of "The Art of Small Talk"?

    The audiobook emphasizes the importance of going shallow to go deep in conversation, suggesting that genuine connections can be formed through seemingly superficial conversations.

Show Notes

Michael McDonald’s husky baritone is one of the most instantly recognizable voices from the ‘70s and ‘80s. As a member of The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and a hitmaking solo artist, Michael McDonald’s career is one for the books.


Enter Paul Reiser—the comedic actor and writer behind New York Times best-selling books, popular movies and TV shows. Before the start of the pandemic, Paul met Mike McDonald at a party and the two became fast friends. Listening to Michael’s incredible stories, Paul found himself trying to piece together the arc of Michael’s career. They began recording their conversations and soon they had over 600 pages of stories that they eventually turned into the memoir, What A Fool Believes. The book chronicles the highs and lows of Michael’s career, his struggles with addiction, and his lifelong insecurities.


On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser about their unlikely working relationship. Michael also talks about why his proposed Quincy Jones-produced solo album never materialized. And he remembers the time one of his childhood heroes—Ray Charles—chewed him out while wearing a bathrobe.


You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Michael McDonald songs HERE.


And you can grab your copy of this fantastic memoir HERE.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Comments 
loading
In Channel
Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian

2024-07-0901:07:58

Camila Cabello

Camila Cabello

2024-06-2558:49

John Leventhal

John Leventhal

2024-06-1801:06:44

RAYE

RAYE

2024-06-1152:42

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz

2024-05-2801:13:54

DJ Premier

DJ Premier

2024-05-2101:03:01

Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae

2024-05-1401:05:10

Heart's Ann Wilson

Heart's Ann Wilson

2024-05-0758:38

Heart's Nancy Wilson

Heart's Nancy Wilson

2024-04-3055:38

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson

2024-04-1649:16

Stewart Copeland

Stewart Copeland

2024-04-0901:07:45

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

2024-04-0201:12:52

Natalia Lafourcade

Natalia Lafourcade

2024-03-1956:17

Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon

2024-03-1248:20

Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins

2024-03-0244:29

loading

Table of contents

00:00
00:00
1.0x

0.5x

0.8x

1.0x

1.25x

1.5x

2.0x

3.0x

Sleep Timer

Off

End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser

Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser

Pushkin Industries