Bullseye with Jesse Thorn-logo

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn


Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world."


Santa Cruz, CA




Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world."




1553 Silverwood Ter. Los Ageles, CA 90026 206-984-4FUN


Bun B

Bun B and his partner Pimp C put Port Arthur, Texas on the map when they founded one of the most influential Southern rap groups of all time. UGK crafted a genre on their own terms. Whether you call it country rap or chopped and screwed music, their influence is undeniable. Bun B talks about his friendship and collaboration with Pimp C. He shares the story behind his verse on UGK's iconic track "Murder." Plus, he gets real about what he wants his grandchildren to remember about him.


Angie Stone

Many of you may know Angie Stone as a soul-singer. But before her singing career took off, Angie was an MC in a rap group called The Sequence, one of the first ever all-women rap groups. Angie Stone joins us for Rap Month to talk about her early years as a rapper. She also gets into how The Sequence was discovered backstage at a Sugar Hill Gang concert. Plus, she talks about having her first hit solo records later on in her career.



Next up on Rap Month is viral rap star CHIKA. CHIKA's never been afraid to keep it real, especially online. The Alabama-born rapper went viral for the first time at 19 years old. Since then, she's been steadily building her career as a rapper. Earlier this summer, she dropped her debut LP: Samson: The Album. On Bullseye, CHIKA stops by to chat about her latest project and her journey to making music.



Rap month continues here at Bullseye. Next up, the trap pioneer Jeezy. On his major label debut in the mid-aughts, he called himself Young Jeezy. And, also "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper." Jeezy, alongside T.I. and Gucci Mane helped bring trap music into the mainstream. Jeezy recently published a book: Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe.



In 2018, the Chicago rapper Saba released the critically acclaimed Care for Me. A frenetic, beautiful album recorded after the loss of his cousin Walter. It brought Saba a lot of attention, and changed his life in ways he couldn't process. Saba joins Bullseye to talk about living up to those expectations, collaborating with No I.D. and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and finding peace in self reflection. Plus, he shares some music gear recommendations!



This September is Rap Month at Bullseye - we're celebrating 50 years of hip-hop with a full month rappers. First up: Rakim! He changed the rap game forever. He's one half of the groundbreaking hip-hop duo, Eric B. and Rakim. And a legendary solo rapper in his own right. On Bullseye, Rakim kicks off Rap Month by looking back at his almost 40 years in hip-hop. He gets into how he met Eric B. and his mentorship with Marley Marl. Plus, how his career has changed now that he's in his 50s.


John Wilson of 'How To' on the movie he wishes he'd made

John Wilson is the host and creator of the HBO series How To with John Wilson. Each episode of the show makes a simple, straightforward promise to the viewer: to teach them how to do something. Then, each episode inevitably veers off course when interviews and found footage take him in different directions. When we asked John about the thing he wishes he'd made, he picked a classic documentary: 2003's Los Angeles Plays Itself.


Soul singer Brenton Wood

It's almost impossible to be in a bad mood after hearing a song by Brenton Wood. His music has a sweetness and lightness with a bounce that conveys coolness. His music has helped define, what these days are called, Lowrider Oldies. Brenton Wood is now in his 80s, and he's absolutely still got it. If you can, you should go see him live. He is currently wrapping up his farewell tour. It's called the Catch You On The Rebound Tour. Brenton Wood joins Bullseye to talk about his career in music and what keeps him performing. Plus, we'll listen to some of his classic tracks from over the years.


David Byrne

Along with fronting the Talking Heads, David Byrne has collaborated with Brian Eno, St. Vincent, Philip Glass, Selena and so many more. He's written books and scored soundtracks. He even wrote and directed his own movie. In this interview from 2021, he talks about his Broadway debut: American Utopia an immersive live show based on his album of the same name. Plus: Stop Making Sense, the legendary concert film just turned 40!


The Hold Steady's Craig Finn on the Song that Changed his Life

The Song That Changed My Life is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite artists about the music that made them who they are today. Craig Finn is the front man of The Hold Steady. The band is unapologetically heavy and often anthemic, but the themes tend to be richer than the 70s bands that might have inspired them. When we asked Craig Finn about the song that changed his life, he took us back to his childhood in Minnesota — the first time he heard "Slip Slidin' Away" by Paul Simon.


Johnny Knoxville

There's an art to the perfect prank. This week, we're joined by Johnny Knoxville, an expert prankster. He's been at the center of the Jackass universe for more than two decades and has performed stunts in all its iterations. His new show is called The Prank Panel. Knoxville reflects on his time making Jackass, and what it's been like to age into the dangerous world of stunt performing. NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike and contains references to bodily harm.


Remembering Paul Reubens

Paul Reubens was the man behind one of the country's most beloved household names. "Pee-wee Herman" was born out of Reubens' time at The Groundlings in the 1970s. But, his stand-up act grew into something so much bigger. His character became a cult figure, spawning a series of films and television shows in his honor. This week on Bullseye, we're looking back at the life and work of Paul Reubens by revisiting our conversation with him back in 2014. He stopped by the show to trace the trajectory of his life and career as Pee-Wee Herman. Plus, we get into the last thing Paul would ever work on as Pee-Wee Herman — the Pee-Wee Herman Radio Hour.


Smokey Robinson

There's no other way to put it, Smokey Robinson is a legend. The Motown great and former frontman of The Miracles is responsible for some of the greatest pop hits of the 20th century – "You've really got ahold of me," "Tears of a clown," "I Second That Emotion," "Crusin'" and many others. In 1960, The Miracles released "Shop Around." The song became a huge success. It became Motown's first million-selling hit record. Robinson eventually became Motown Records vice president and helped turn the label into a household name. Smokey Robinson is now 83. He's still recording. He is still writing. Earlier this year, he released Gasms. We'll talk with the Motown legend about his time with The Miracles, his solo career, his songwriting process and his brand new erotic concept album.


Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler

Geezer Butler is patient zero for heavy metal bass riffs. He played bass for Black Sabbath. One of the greatest rock bands of all time and true pioneers in the heavy metal genre. Along with playing bass, Butler was also a songwriter for the group. He wrote or co-wrote so many of Sabbath's greatest tunes: Iron Man, Paranoid, The Wizard, After Forever. Butler recently released a memoir. It's called Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath―And Beyond. Geezer Butler joins Bullseye to talk about his new memoir. He also looks back and shares some stories from his time in Black Sabbath. Plus, he'll get into what it was like to write songs for Ozzy Osborne to sing.


Boots Riley

Boots Riley is known nowadays for his work as a writer, but he's been making waves as an artist for years. In his early 20s, he was the frontman and founder of the Coup, a fiercely political hip-hop group from the Bay Area. But in recent years, Boots has made his way over to film-making. In 2018, he wrote and directed his first ever feature film: Sorry To Bother You. If you saw it, you know it is hilarious and scary and insightful and generally very bonkers. And then Boots had another idea. His new show I'm A Virgo takes the word bonkers to new heights, literally. It's a story about a 13-ft-tall giant, a Black teenager living in the Bay Area. But the show's not about his super powers. It's about how he sees himself, and the little personal things about him — like his star sign. I'm a Virgo is a great show, but this isn't an interview about I'm a Virgo. Boots Riley is a writer. And his union, the Writers Guild of America, has been on strike since May. On Bullseye, we'll talk about what is at stake in the dispute between the WGA and the studio heads - represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Plus, we'll get into his early career as a rapper and his roots in activism.


'This Fool' creator and star Chris Estrada

Chris Estrada is a stand-up comedian and co-creator of the TV comedy, This Fool. Estrada also stars as the show's main character: Julio. Julio lives in South Central Los Angeles, where Chris grew up, but the show isn't autobiographical. Julio works at a local nonprofit that helps former gang members adjust to life on the outside. The show follows the misadventures of Julio and his cousin Luis who has finished up a lengthy prison sentence. The show is funny, human, unexpected and at times, surprisingly sweet. We talk with Chris about co-creating This Fool, his love of hardcore punk music and his late start as a stand-up comedian. The latest season of This Fool comes out July 26th on Hulu. A version of this interview originally aired in September of 2022.


Christine Baranski

Christine Baranski is an actor with an impressive resume. She attended Juilliard and went on to perform on Broadway. She's also an Emmy award winning actor, who's starred on shows like The Good Fight and The Good Wife. You'll soon be able to watch Christine Baranski in the animated sitcom Praise Petey. The show premieres July 21 on Freeform. When she joined us on Bullseye last year, she reflected on her time portraying Diane on The Good Fight. Plus, she talked about being one of the early graduates of Juilliard, and her long-time collaborated relationship with Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim.


Kool & the Gang's Robert "Kool" Bell

Kool & the Gang have made some of the biggest hits of all time. We're talking about some of the greatest party songs ever: "Get Down On It," "Celebration," "Ladies Night." But, we're also talking about a lot more than just dance floor fillers. Kool & the Gang hit the music scene in the mid-60s and took off running. By the time they started recording in 1968, they were one of the baddest bands in the country. Now, it's been a half-century since Kool & the Gang started making music, and they're still at it. They have a new album dropping on July 14th called People Just Wanna Have Fun. On Bullseye, Robert "Kool" Bell stops by to chat about the new album and his long career with Kool & the Gang. Plus, the stories behind the group's hit songs and what motivates them to keep recording after more than 50 years.



It's a strange thing, to be famous, right? Like, really really famous. Famous like Khalid, the singer. He deals with it in stride, though: making brilliant music that tries to touch the heart of every fan at his shows. He's sold millions of albums. Billions of plays on streaming apps. He plays to huge crowds. Madison Square Garden. MGM Grand Garden. He's currently on a stadium tour with Ed Sheeran. When we spoke a few years back he had just released Free Spirit. He talked with Jesse about growing up an army brat, and acclimating to that fame. Plus, we know Khalid can sing, but can he rap? We'll get him to freestyle some bars. A version of this interview was released in April of 2019.


Nick Kroll talks Human Resources, Big Mouth and more

Nick Kroll is a comedian, actor and writer. Nick starred on the FX show The League, created the sketch comedy series Kroll Show. And if you watched VH1 in the early 2000s, you probably saw him making jokes about pop culture on Best Week Ever. But lately, Nick's focused more on the animation world. In 2017, he co-created the show Big Mouth on Netflix. It was an instant hit. And last year, Nick launched a new show in the same universe called Human Resources. The show centers around those same monsters from Big Mouth. But, it takes a look at their workplaces, along with the adult feelings they represent. Its second season just hit Netflix. Nick Kroll joined us to talk about his work on Big Mouth and Human Resources. Plus, why he's traded in his on-screen roles for voice acting gigs and a seat behind the scenes. He also gets into the lessons he's learned since becoming a father.