KCRW, the Los Angeles branch of NPR, has a program called the Guest DJ Project, which is specifically designed for celebrities to prove how much cooler they are than you. (See: DJ Tilda Swinton.) And Clark Gregg is no exception. For the program, the guest gets to choose five songs that have inspired or influenced them. Gregg chose to gave us his autobiography through song.
1. Parliament-Funkadelic - Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)
We start with a wee baby Clark, when he was a self-proclaimed “Soul Train devotee.” The first time he heard this song, he says, “It so changed my world, and took me into a land of funk, I was never the same.”
2.The Specials - Concrete Jungle
Gregg’s next big musical influence came in college, of course, when he discovered ska.
But there was this specific ska invasion, the second wave ska invasion, and The Specials. The fact that it was kind of political, outraged really kind of lo-fi produced by Elvis Costello, another hero of mine, and that album, you could dance to. And we did.Oh Clark Gregg, you bad boy you.
And, in fact, I danced so much that I dropped out of that college and moved to New York City so that I could live on the lower Eastside and starve and go see any of those bands, but especially the ska bands with my crew of rude boys in our shark skin thrift shop suits.
3. Public Enemy - Caught, Can We Get A Witness
During that time in New York, Gregg says he started listening to “hardcore reggae,” and discovered Chuck D and Public Enemy.
Suddenly, we went from our shark skin suits to Puma’s with really fat laces and kind of b-boys, we were all of a sudden.
Moving ahead to his time in Los Angeles, Gregg says someone handed him a copy of OK Computer and it once again changed his life.
This particular Radiohead track, “Go to Sleep”, to me is a movie. It kind of got my mind thinking in cinematic ways.
5. Frank Ocean - We All Try
And finally, just to show us how cool and hip he is:
[The album] just feels like a window into his soul that really kind of captures the depth of what’s going on in my life now.