"I don't like music," Bob Mankoff said at the beginning of our taping on Soundcheck. "Which is probably not a good place to start."
The longtime cartoon editor of The New Yorker did, however, come up with three songs for his Pick Three playlist -- even though he never listens to music while he draws. "I don't have anything on when I get ideas," he told Soundcheck host John Schaefer. "I just want to be in my own head. Music is very intrusive to me. I can't get any ideas when I have music [on]."
Mankoff recently published an illustrated memoir called How About Never – Is Never Good For You? My Life In Cartoons. The title takes its name from his famous 1993 cartoon (which hung on host John Schaefer's wall for years). He shares his three musical picks with us -- but don't blame us if you don't like his choices. As he told us, "I have terrible taste in music. I like the absolute worst things."
Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” (from Slow Train Coming, 1979)
"I love the message behind this song. 'You gotta serve somebody.' We're in a hierarchy. I know that from being at Conde Nast. In the end, there's somebody that you're gonna have to serve, no matter where you are. Every once in awhile, everybody's gotta eat s---. And maybe sometimes it's a double-decker sandwich as well."
Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" (from I'm Your Man, 1988)
"This is a good song. This song relates to me like the Dylan song in a way. 'Everybody knows that the dice are loaded...' -- it's trying to get to a gritty reality about life. Maybe it's an exaggeration, but Flash Boys is all about this. The game is somewhat rigged."
The Tornados' "Telstar" (1962)
"Telstar was the first communications satellite. I was in college at the time. It enabled you to watch TV live from Europe or vice versa. Somehow this song became a number one song -- this very tinny song, which I guess is supposed to sound like it's coming from the satellite itself up there."