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'Cry-Baby,' A Score for Broadway

Songwriters David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger wrote the songs for Cry-Baby, a Broadway musical based on John Water's 1990 film of the same name. Fresh Air's rock critic talks with both about their contribution to the show.

12:44

Other segments from the episode on April 14, 2008

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, April 14, 2008: Interview with Michael Klare; Interview with David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger; Commentary on language.

Transcript

DATE April 14, 2008 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Michael Klare, author of "Rising Powers, Shrinking
Planet," on the new international energy order according to oil
TERRY GROSS, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Political and military alliances are getting redrawn, according to who has oil
and gas and who needs it. Michael Klare calls this the new international
energy order. He says in this new order, Russia, once the bruised, battered,
poverty-stricken loser of the Cold War, has emerged as an imperious power
broker of Eurasian energy supplies. The US, not long ago billed as the
world's unchallenged superpower, has become distressingly dependent on foreign
oil suppliers who, in President Bush's words, do not share our interests.
China and India are rising economic giants competing with older powers for
energy resources.

Michael Klare is the author of the new book "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet:
The New Geopolitics of Energy." He's the defense analyst for The Nation and
director of the five-college program in peace and world security studies at
Hampshire College.

Russia is very rich in oil right now and is doing quite well economically
because of it, oil and gas. So is that creating a stronger connection between
the United States and Russia or driving us further apart?

Mr. MICHAEL T. KLARE: Well, this has been a big disappointment for the Bush
administration, Terry. When the Soviet Union broke apart and Boris Yeltsin
was president, American companies saw a great prospect of developing Russian
oil and gas and bringing that to this country, and American companies did
develop contracts for the development of oil and gas projects, especially off
of Russia's far eastern coast, off of Sakhalin Island. But when Vladimir
Putin moved in to replace Boris Yeltsin, he took a much more jaundiced look at
American companies developing these resources.

Nonetheless, President Bush made a strenuous effort in the months after 9/11
to forge an energy partnership with Vladimir Putin. He met with him several
times and forged what was called a US-Russian energy partnership, and there
was talk of close cooperation between the two countries. Sad to say, all of
this has come to naught because Putin has made a very vigorous effort to
repossess all of these assets that were privatized by Yeltsin and bring them
under state control; really to make Gazprom, the state-owned natural gas
monopoly, the central mechanism of control over all of Russia's oil and gas
assets, and American companies had more or less been frozen out of Russian
energy assets. And so none of these endeavors by President Bush have gone
anywhere, and it doesn't look very promising for the future.

European companies have also found a very disappointing prospects. Shell lost
its majority ownership of the Sakhalin II project. BP is finding a very
difficult time. So this hasn't proved very successful endeavor.

GROSS: So as the United States and European countries are being shut out by
Russia, what are some of the countries that Russia is forming alliances with
because of energy?

Mr. KLARE: Well, this is really what I highlight in my book, the changing
landscape of world energy. The older energy powers, mainly the Western
countries--the United States, Europe and Japan--which once dominated the world
energy trade, are now being shoved aside by state-owned companies in the
oil-producing countries: Russia and the Middle Eastern countries and
Venezuela and now the African countries. They're state-owned companies known
as national oil companies, or NOCs, are forming partnerships among them. So
the Russian companies--Gazprom and other state-owned companies--are forming
alliances with state-owned companies in the Middle East, with Iran and, in
some cases, with Chinese companies. There's talk now of a natural gas OPEC
among the natural gas producers. Russia is the world's leading natural gas
producer. Iran is number two. Qatar is number three, and they have been talk
among them to form a OPEC-like cartel of these leading natural gas producers.
This represents a real shift in the world balance of power between the older
energy producers and these new state-controlled oil producing companies.

GROSS: The companies that have nationalized their oil industries and now have
like state-run oil industries, are these countries not only forming energy
alliances with each other, are they forming military alliances with each
other? And if so, what are a couple of the most significant ones?

Mr. KLARE: Yes, they certainly are forming military as well as energy
alliances. Perhaps the most interesting example of this is the Shanghai
Corporation Organization, or SCO. This is an alliance forged by China and
Russia in 1996, and it includes those two countries plus the Central Asian
states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Most of these
countries are energy producers--Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan--and this
has a security dimension--they're all pledged to cooperate with one another in
opposing terrorism and foreign enemies--but it's also designed to cooperate in
energy security, in protecting their energy infrastructure, and it's a vehicle
for supplying weapons to these countries and to cooperate in defending their
very vulnerable pipelines, and it has become increasingly militarized and
anti-American. They've adopted a call for the United States to abandon its
bases in the area and to stay it. This is a very disturbing development.

GROSS: At the risk of asking the obvious, what's the most disturbing aspects
of it?

Mr. KLARE: What I find disturbing about this is the degree to which energy,
on a global scale, is taking on a kind of a Cold War element; that the US,
China and Russia are viewing energy as the basis of a global power struggle.
It's not just in Central Asia, it's in the Middle East and in Africa. Just
this year, the United States created the US Africa Command, the first new
overseas regional command to be developed in 25 years since the Central
Command was created in the Middle East; and that command was established after
Russia invaded Afghanistan, and it was created for the purpose of protecting
Middle East oil. Now we have a new Africa Command, and its purpose, I
believe, is to protect African oil against the growing presence in Africa of
the Chinese, and their pursuit of African oil. The military won't say this,
Terry. You know, if you ask them, they'll deny that. But I think if you look
at the history of the formation of this new command, it reflects growing
concern about America's dependence on African oil.

GROSS: So where does Iran figure into the new energy alliances that are being
formed now?

Mr. KLARE: As you know, Terry, the United States is deeply concerned about
Iran's looming military presence in the Persian Gulf. Iran is also a major
energy supplier. It has the second largest reserves of oil and natural gas in
the world, and it is a major supplier of oil to China. And it is majorly
dependent on Russia as a supplier of arms, and Vladimir Putin was recently in
Iran and promised to increase its supply of arms to Iran, and China has been
supplying Iran with missiles and missile technology. So this is an
indication, again, of how these energy relationships are increasingly being
militarized.

GROSS: One of your concerns is that because energy relationships are becoming
increasingly militarized, that an accidental war, an inadvertent war, might
break out. What kind of scenario do you have in mind?

Mr. KLARE: I think very much of the period before World War I, when the
major world powers were jockeying for influence--in some of the same areas of
the world, by the way, in Central Asia, in Africa--for geopolitcal influence.
And they became deeply involved in local conflicts, and again were providing
arms and advisers and deploying troops and got overly involved in these
disputes. And these local conflicts provided the sparks for clashes between
the forces of the opposing sides.

That's what I worry about, that you could have American and Russian or
American and Chinese troops caught up overnight inadvertently in a local
dispute without anybody really planning for this to happen. We have troops in
Kyrgyzstan, we have troops in Georgia within miles of Russian bases, almost in
sighting distance of Russian bases, and both of those countries have the
potential for ethnic wars that could blow up overnight and inadvertently
trigger a shooting match between US and Russian troops. Nobody would plan for
this, but it could happen.

GROSS: My guest is Michael Klare. He's the author of the new book "Rising
Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy," and he's the
defense correspondent for The Nation and director of the five-college program
in peace and world security studies at Hampshire College in Amherst.

Let's take a short break, and then we'll talk some more. This is FRESH AIR.

(Announcements)

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Michael Klare, and he's written
a new book called "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of
Energy." He's a defense correspondent for The Nation and director of the
five-college program in peace and world security studies at Hampshire College
in Amherst, Massachusetts.

We've talked a little bit about the national oil companies, the countries that
have nationalized their oil industries. Now, the United States certainly
hasn't done that. On the other hand, you point out that the United States has
increasingly politicized its energy policy.

Mr. KLARE: Militarized.

GROSS: OK. Give me an example of what you mean.

Mr. KLARE: Well, I talk about the formation of AFRICOM in Africa, the new US
military command for the African continent. We are supplying increasing
amounts of military assistance to Nigeria, to Angola, to equatorial Guinea, to
other oil-producing countries in Africa. And when you look at the
congressional justification for why we're doing it, the Pentagon and the Bush
administration say it's because we're fearful that unrest and insurgency in
Africa will threaten the supply of oil to the United States. An area of
particular concern is the Niger delta region of Nigeria, where there is a very
active insurgency under way. Nigeria is expected to be the leading supplier
of oil in Africa to the United States, possibly the leading supplier of oil
from anywhere in the world to the United States. So the fact that there's an
insurgency there is of great concern, and we're increasingly helping the
Nigerian government to suppress that insurgency.

GROSS: I want to talk to you about Venezuela a little bit.

Mr. KLARE: Sure. Oh, sure.

GROSS: I think it's hard for people in the United States to think about how
powerful Venezuela has become, largely because of its oil. And Venezuela is
one of the countries that has a national oil company, it's mostly state-run.
So how is oil affecting Venezuela's power?

Mr. KLARE: Venezuela's power stems from both its oil--remember, Venezuela is
still one of the major suppliers of oil to the United States, despite all of
the bad language that gets hurled back and forth between our two countries,
Venezuela still provides us with about one and a half million barrels of oil a
day, and we rely on that. But it's also the money. The high price of oil has
given Hugo Chavez billions of dollars that he can use to influence politics in
Latin America and in his own country. He's used it for social programs that
has given him great popularity in his country. And he's also supported social
programs throughout Latin America that has equaled or exceeded the kind of aid
that the United States provides. So he looks very appealing to many people in
Latin America at a time when the United States does not look very appealing.
So it's both the oil and the money that oil provides.

GROSS: Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez hates President Bush, has said incredibly
insulting things about him. So where do you see the relationship headed now
between the United States and Venezuela, and how does that affect our future
using their oil?

Mr. KLARE: The fact is that both the US and Venezuela are mutually dependent
on each other; that's the odd fact. It's like a dysfunctional marriage, and
neither one of us can afford to sever that relationship. It would be
devastating for Venezuela, and it would be devastating for the United States.
Maybe less for us than for them, but even so, given the high price of oil
today and the need for every single barrel of oil that we can get our hands
on, neither of us wants to break that relationship. So I would imagine,
especially if there's a Democratic president in a year from now, that efforts
will be made to get some marriage counseling.

GROSS: Five years after the United States invaded Iraq, I'm wondering what
you think now in terms of how much oil figured into the motivation behind the
invasion.

Mr. KLARE: Well, I've always said, Terry, that the invasion of Iraq was not
about Iraq's oil, per se, as some people have claimed; instead, that it was
consistent with the Carter doctrine of 1980, which says that it is in
America's vital interests to dominate the Persian Gulf region and protect the
flow of oil from the entire region in order to make sure that the United
States and its allies have access to that area's oil, which is two-thirds of
the world's oil, and that Saddam Hussein posed a serious threat to control of
the entire area.

And this is exactly what Dick Cheney said at the time, before the invasion,
that, armed with weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein would pose a
threat to the free flow of oil and therefore had to be removed. And I think
that George Bush believes that that's what he accomplished in Iraq.

GROSS: So how do you think the war five years after it started is affecting
the free flow of oil in the region?

Mr. KLARE: I would say that it's mixed results. From that perspective
alone, it's mixed results. You have eliminated one of the regimes that posed
a potential threat. On the other hand, you've created a black hole of
instability and chaos that could potentially create threats of ethnic warfare
and religious warfare that could spread to the other countries in the form of
sabotage to oil facilities. So I think the results are mixed.

GROSS: The US Navy is establishing a command-and-control facility on top of
an offshore Iraqi oil platform in the Persian Gulf. What's the purpose of
this?

Mr. KLARE: This facility is to protect the loading facilities. This is in
Basra, and just recently, as you know, the government of Prime Minister
al-Maliki attempted to clear the port area of militias and other hostile
elements. Basra is the main port for the export of Iraqi oil, and there's
been a lot of criminal and militia activity that has severely disrupted the
export of Iraqi oil; and so this command-and-control facility you're referring
to is part of an effort by the US and the Iraqi government to protect future
exports of Iraqi oil against sabotage, theft, corruption and all of the rest.
Americans may not be aware that a lot of the losses of Iraqi oil is not to
insurgency but to theft and corruption.

GROSS: There was an article recently in The New York Times that at least
one-third of the fuel from Iraq's largest refinery's being reverted to the
black market. This is according to the American military officials. Tankers
are being hijacked, drivers bribed, papers forged, meters manipulated and some
of the money's going to insurgents.

Mr. KLARE: That's right. The current situation in Iraq is one in which the
insurgency has been, to some degree, contained, but the degree of lawlessness
and corruption is so great, and the oil industry, of course, is the only
source of wealth in this country; there is no other source of wealth. So
there's tremendous fighting between the different factions over who will
control the revenues generated by oil and who controls the flow from the
refineries to the gas stations and all of that. Some of it is very violent.
And that's what the fighting in Basra was really all about.

GROSS: About oil?

Mr. KLARE: About control over the black market trade. Who's going to
control it? Is the Iraqi government going to control it? Is this militia
going to control it? Is Sadr's militia going to control it? It's really
inter-warlord corruption.

GROSS: Michael Klare will be back in the second half of the show. His new
book is called "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of
Energy." I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

(Announcements)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross back with Michael Klare. His new
book is about how political and military alliances are getting redrawn
according to who has oil and who needs it. He calls this the new
international energy order. His new book is called "Rising Powers, Shrinking
Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy." Klare is the defense correspondent
for The Nation and the director of the five-college program in peace and world
security studies at Hampshire College in Amherst.

Now let me bring up China here. China has been so much in the news now
because of the Olympics and the crackdown on Tibet. So China has a huge
population; it really needs a lot of energy. What about China as an energy
supplier? Does it have much energy resources within its own country?

Mr. KLARE: Well, this is the great challenge, for the entire planet. China
does have one source of energy in abundance, and that's coal. China is the
world's leading user of coal, and it intends to use much more coal in the
future. By the year 2030, it's expected that China will use half of the
world's coal. And unfortunately, China intends to use, you know, kind of
primitive--by modern standards, primitive--coal-burning facilities to generate
electricity. And if this continues to be the case, we are all hostage on the
planet to China's coal use because this will be the leading source of
greenhouse gas-producing carbon dioxide emissions, and there will be no hope
of averting the worse global climate change disasters. So we have all got to
work with China. This is really a catastrophic phenomenon. We have got to
work with China to either abandon its reliance on coal or to adopt more
modern, less, you know, carbon dioxide-emitting coal facilities.

GROSS: You literally think that the United States should be doing some kind
of joint project with China to develop alternative energy. What are the odds
of something like that actually happening?

Mr. KLARE: Well, you know, we used to think, Terry, of national security
meaning, you know, building up nuclear weapons for a possible war with China.
We have to think of our national security as working with China not to burn
coal at the rate they're doing, because our survival on the planet is at risk
from this. And if we grasp this reality, yes, I think that we will understand
the necessity of cooperating with China in developing energy alternatives.
It's a matter of survival.

GROSS: You know, we've been talking about energy and how it's realigning
political and military connections around the world. Gas has risen about 80
percent at the pumps in the past year and, you know, the oil companies have
recently made huge profits. What's the correlation between the rise in gas
prices and the profits at the energy companies? Is it the profits that's
behind the rise in prices? Is it something else?

Mr. KLARE: The rise in gasoline prices, Terry, are really a combination of
factors. Partly, it's simply the fact that the production of oil is not
keeping pace with worldwide demand; but on top of that, you have the fact that
the private oil companies, which no longer produce much of the world's oil in
comparison to the state-owned oil companies, now are mainly in the business of
selling oil, of refining it, distributing it and marketing it; and they're the
beneficiaries of the rising price of crude oil. They take the profit off of
the rising price of crude, they then double that in the refining and
distribution and marketing part of the process, and they get all of the profit
from that.

GROSS: You know, your book is called "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet," and
one of the main points of the book is that there's a greater and greater
demand for oil and gas as huge countries like India and China become more and
more industrialized and there's more demand for cars and automobiles; and at
the same time, energy supplies are shrinking. So what kind of recipe is that
creating?

Mr. KLARE: Well, I think this is what's really behind the rising prices we
see at the pump, for example, because all of a sudden you have hundreds of
millions of new consumers in China and India who are buying their first car
and they're buying gasoline-powered cars, so there's a huge increase in
demand. Well, that's half the equation, Terry.

The other half is the fact that the oil companies are searching for new oil
fields to satisfy all of this demand, and they're not finding any. We're just
not finding giant new oil fields like the ones that we found in the 1940s and
'50s and '60s, like the mammoth Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia that still
produces a very large supply of world demand. We're not finding these new oil
fields. So the world supply is not keeping pace with demand, and that's
pushing up the price of oil. And this appears to be the trend for as far as
we can see into the future, which means these higher prices are likely to
persist indefinitely.

GROSS: Well, Michael Klare, thank you so much for talking with us.

Mr. KLARE: It's been my pleasure, Terry, always.

GROSS: Michael Klare is the author of the new book "Rising Powers, Shrinking
Planet."

Coming up, David Javerbaum of "The Daily Show" and Adam Schlesinger of
Fountains of Wayne talk about writing the songs for the new Broadway
adaptation of the John Waters movie "Cry-Baby." This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

(Announcements)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Interview: Songwriters David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger on
creating the Broadway adaptation of "Cry-Baby"
TERRY GROSS, host:

The duo that adapted John Waters' film "Hairspray" into a hit Broadway musical
wrote the book for an adaptation of another Waters film, "Cry-Baby." It opens
next week. In the movie, Johnny Depp had one of his first starring roles as a
juvenile delinquent in 1954 named Cry-Baby Walker, who falls in love with a
high society girl. Comic cultural clashes ensue.

Our guests wrote the songs for the new show "Cry-Baby." It's the first time
they've worked together. David Javerbaum has won eight Emmys as a writer for
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." He's currently the show's executive
producer. Adam Schlesinger is the co-leader of the pop-rock band Fountains of
Wayne, perhaps best known for their 2003 hit single "Stacy's Mom." He was
nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for the title tune of the 1990
movie "That Thing You Do," and wrote some of the songs for the film "Music &
Lyrics."

Before we hear the interview they recorded with FRESH AIR's rock critic, Ken
Tucker, let's hear one of their songs from "Cry-Baby."

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JAMES SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) The stars up above
Shine their light on our love
And the night, just like us,
Is still young
And it's long and it's slow,
And I need to know,
Girl, can I kiss you with tongue?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) It's moist, and it's pink
It's a muscle...

(End of soundbite)

KEN TUCKER reporting:

David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger, welcome to FRESH AIR.

Mr. DAVID JAVERBAUM: Thank you.

Mr. ADAM SCHLESINGER: Thank you.

TUCKER: So, going into this project, were there things that you said to
yourself, based on the shows that you'd seen, things you really wanted to make
sure got into your show, or things you wanted very specifically to avoid?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Well, there's a certain well-known show about somebody in a
leather jacket in the '50s that does fairly well, I'm told. And we were very
aware of that show. You know, we just wanted to make sure that we were taking
a totally different tone, you know...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Yeah.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: ...to similar material. And one thing we ask, like, `Is this
something that would be in "Grease"?' And if the answer is...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: What's "Grease"?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: You lost me.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: So if the answer was yes, then we wouldn't want to do it.
Not because "Grease" is bad, but because it's been done, and we don't want to
done that. We just want to do something that's completely different.

TUCKER: So the big "You're the Cry-Baby That I Want," that song got scrapped?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Oh, yes. Yes.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Yeah.

TUCKER: Yeah. When we think of '50s rock, where this period is set in this
show, I think we think of Elvis and Little Richard and Chuck Berry, but you
also had to write songs for the kind of people that your female lead, Allison,
hung out with, kind of bland pop music that, at the time, was epitomized by
singers like Pat Boone or Connie Francis or somewhat more interesting harmony
groups like The Four Freshmen. In "Cry-Baby," that music is performed by the
squarest characters, this four-part harmony group. They call themselves The
Whiffles.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Yeah.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yes.

TUCKER: There's a song I really like that's kind of their manifesto called
"Squeaky Clean." Could you describe that song?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: "Squeaky Clean" is, as you said, is their manifesto. It's a
song that they're singing at a talent show, and the best way to describe it,
the first verse is "Squeaky clean, that's what they call us, our thoughts are
pure and our grooving is flawless. We're well-bred, wall-mannered and, well,
just nice. And when you rub our hair, it sounds like mice." Squeak! And it's
just, you know, it's something--I wanted to write something--we wanted to
write something that they could say and be proud of unironically, and that we
would find funny ironically. And that's a common thing that we tried to do,
and it's fun to do it if you can do it. It's tricky.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: I mean, actually, the opening number of our show is split
into two halves: one half for the squares and then one half for the drapes,
who come onstage and kind of take over. I mean, I think that's a very
different way to open the show from what people might be expecting if they
think it's, you know, a sequel to "Hairspray" or a prequel to "Hairspray" or
something; because, you know, "Hairspray" starts with like a big high energy
thing. We actually open our show with the squarest possible song, where
they're singing about this anti-polio picnic that they're having and, you
know, all the squares are gathered around to get their polio shots and they're
just...

Mr. JAVERBAUM: It's not low energy, but it's not rockabilly yet.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Yeah.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: I mean, it's very sort of big Hollywood movie opening, but
the tone of it is odd in that we're celebrating an anti-polio picnic and then
somebody comes out with an iron lung and laments that he didn't get a polio
shot. So it's a little bit askew, and hopefully that will be a signal to the
audience that we're playing around with them a little bit.

TUCKER: Yeah, and I should mention you use the term drapes, which I wasn't
familiar with until I saw the movie. And I guess John Waters has explained
that that's a kind of Baltimore term for hoods or hoodlums.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: That's right.

TUCKER: Yeah.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Frankly, we'd never heard of that term either before this
project, but that is correct.

TUCKER: But it's a good word, because you can rhyme a lot with it, I guess.
I would think.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: I don't actually think we rhyme drapes anywhere in the show.

TUCKER: Oh, OK.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: I don't. You're right...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: I knew we forgot something.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: I don't think we did. But I, you know, looking back, maybe
we should've had a song about grapes, and that clearly would have...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Or crepes.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Or crepes. That would've been fun.

TUCKER: John Waters is listed in the credits as creative consultant, and I
always take that as code for `never set foot in the theater before opening
night.' Am I wrong?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: You're wrong, Ken.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: You're wrong, Ken. You're absolutely wrong.

TUCKER: Good. Tell me how wrong I am.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: He's been involved sporadically throughout the entire
process, more so as we've gotten closer and closer to this point. He is
really among the smartest people I've ever met. The notes that he gives,
like, he's not proprietary, he's not trying to recreate the movie, he
recognizes it's a different form, and his notes are just so smart and focused
that we pretty much always take them. But he doesn't force them on us. I
mean, he's a real gentleman and, you know, it's been a pleasure to work with
him and to get to know him.

TUCKER: And did he ever say, `That could be a little racier, that could be a
little more John Waters-y.'

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Well, he never says anything should be more John Waters-y.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: But he does say that things should be racier, or things
should be campier--or, well, he doesn't use the word campy, either.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: No.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: But he, you know, he's very focused on whether the tone of
a scene is right, whether the tone of a character is right, and those are the
kind of notes he gives more often than not. You know, he doesn't micromanage,
and he doesn't tell anybody that, you know, a line should be this instead of
this or a melody should be this instead of this, he just, if it feels wrong to
him in general, that's what he'll say.

TUCKER: My guests are David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger. They've written
the music for the new Broadway show "Cry-Baby."

Two songs in the show in particular seem to me to be kind of polar opposites
stylistically. One is a kind of rockin' party song that's sort of an homage
to Eddie Cochran that's called "Baby, Baby, Baby," and then in parenthesis in
my playbill it says "(Baby, Baby, Baby)."

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Yeah, that's a typo.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, that's a typo.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: It's supposed to be five "Baby"s, then parentheses, then
two "Baby"s.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: And we apologize. We're furious about that.

TUCKER: And what I really like is that it consists almost entirely of that
one word. It's almost a sort of an anti-Broadway show tune in that it's very
kind of Ramones-y, almost. You know, it's very kind of punk rock, sort of.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Well, I mean, one of the things that we talked about when
we first started working on this show is, you know, rockabilly music is not
exactly the most musically complex genre, shall we say; and so we said, `How
are we going to do this? We have to write a whole show with rockabilly
songs.' It's like a genre where, you know, if you use a third chord you're
almost breaking the rules sometimes.' And so, you know, that's a song where we
actually are playing with the fact that some of those songs are just so
incredibly simple and...

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, we embraced it. We just embraced it on that one. And
I think the essence of rock 'n' roll is the word baby. I think that's pretty
much it.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Although for a little while in the '70s, it was actually
changed to "mama."

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yes. It was mama, that's right.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Then they got back to baby.

(Soundbite of "Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby (Baby, Baby)")

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby,
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby,
Come on! Get up here, Allison!

Ms. ELIZABETH STANLEY: (As Allison) But I don't know the words!

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby, baby

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, baby, baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby, baby, baby

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, be my baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) My bay-bay-baby

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, baby, baby, baby
Baby, baby, baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby, baby, baby, baby,
Baby, baby, baby

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby, baby, baby, baby,
Baby, baby, baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Well, baby, baby,
My baby, baby

Mr. SNYDER and Ms. STANLEY: (As Cry-Baby and Allison, singing in unison)
Baby, baby, baby,
Baby, baby, baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby! Baby! Baby!
Baby! Baby! Baby!

Mr. SNYDER: (As Cry-Baby, singing) Baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby! Baby!

Mr. SNYDER: (Singing) Baby

Mr. SNYDER and Ms. STANLEY: (As Cry-Baby and Allison, singing in unison)
My baby, my baby, my baby

Ms. STANLEY: (As Allison, singing) Baby!

(End of soundbite)

TUCKER: The other song, which I think is kind of the opposite, is the one
that's sung by Harriet Harris. You know, in a show that doesn't have many big
names in its cast, I think Harriet Harris might be known to many of our
listeners as Frasier's agent, Bebe, in the TV show "Frasier." She plays the
grandmother of your female lead, the self-proclaimed conservative
Episcopalian. And she has this big solo number called "I Did Something Wrong
Once," which she lets loose with her own set of reasons about why people don't
get her, to use Cry-Baby's terminology. Was that a challenge to write that
kind of real--that struck me as, in a way, the most traditional sort of
Broadway show-stopper.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, that is a traditional kind of 11:00 number. No, it
wasn't. I mean, with that lyric I was just trying to give voice to somebody
who reluctantly admitting to having made one mistake in her life; and, you
know, the journey of the song, so to speak, is to go from not admitting it to
admitting it and preparing to rectify it, and still having only admitted to
one mistake in your life. And it's, you know, it's written in a very--yeah,
it's much more literate and complicated lyrically than "Baby, Baby, Baby,
Baby, Baby (Baby, Baby)," as is pretty much every song in the world.

I want to hasten to add that, you know, we're talking about these songs that
we wrote like a great while ago. These are just like silly songs in a
Broadway show. I'm getting very self-conscious right now, without being
like...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: `Then I created my second masterwork.'

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I'm--yeah--we ain't Lennon and McCartney
here talking about "The White Album." You know, I...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: I think part of it, actually, is you can't be precious
about your work in this situation. You can't think, `Oh, this is my art, this
is my art,' because just, you know, every day, you're just cutting things and
changing things and slashing things out. So, I mean, you know, you just kind
of do it and it works; and if it doesn't work, you do something else.

TUCKER: And you've also written stuff for people as they enter the theater
and as they leave the theater, kind of advice to them and little slogans.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: That was Adam's awesome idea for the overture and the--what's
it called after the overture, on the show, the underture?

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Exit music.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: The aperture?

TUCKER: Some of the things were, you know, remind me--they were things like,
you know, `Unwrap your lozenges' in the beginning...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Well, actually, the way it started is because there are
actually legal requirements of announcements that have to be made before a
Broadway show starts, you know, about turning off your cell phone and that
kind of thing. And I just said, well, you know, it's such a bummer to have to
have some voice come on. Can't we just have the band sing that stuff? And so
that developed into this whole thing of having the band kind of shouting
instructions at the audience as they enter and exit.

And, you know, I would hope that, as we go, we can actually keep changing that
as we go, maybe mix it up.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, but I mean, that's just part of like this sense of play
that we try to bring to this, like, `We don't care.' Like, that's really a
funny idea, let's just do it. And we were lucky enough to be allowed to do
those kind of things.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Yeah. We're always pitching ideas that sort of play with
the idea of a Broadway show in general, and some of them work, and some of
them we just go too far. I mean, I had this idea that I wanted to put the
bows after the first song. That one obviously didn't fly.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Next show, Adam. (Unintelligible)...

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Next show I'm going to do that.

TUCKER: Well, I want to thank you very much.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Thank you.

Mr. SCHLESINGER: Thank you.

GROSS: David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger wrote the songs for the new
Broadway musical "Cry-Baby." It opens next week. Javerbaum is the executive
producer of "The Daily Show," Schlesinger is the co-leader of the band
Fountains of Wayne. They spoke with FRESH AIR's rock critic, Ken Tucker,
who's also editor at large for Entertainment Weekly.

Here's another song from "Cry-Baby."

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Group: (Singing in unison) Nothing bad, no
Nothing bad's ever going to happen again, no, no, no
Nothing bad
Nothing bad's ever, ever, ever
Going to happen again

Oh, yeah!

(Soundbite of applause)

(End of soundbite)
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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