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Hanging on the Telephone Podcast
51 minutes | 12 days ago
Kurt Cobain 'Heavier Than Heaven' 20th Anniversary Special | Biographer Charles R. Cross talks Nirvana
In this episode, host Rich Tupica chats with author Charles R. Cross about his definitive biography of Kurt Cobain, Heavier Than Heaven. The acclaimed 448-page book, which turns 20 this year, is packed with years of research, making it essential reading for any Nirvana fan seeking facts instead of myths. In this discussion, we not only dig into why and how he wrote the book, but also what it took to present an honest take on a larger-than-life rock star. Check out his other Nirvana-related books, as well: Cobain Unseen and Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain. (The audio of Cobain talking at the start of this episode is from a 1993 Jon Savage interview). Bio:Charles R. Cross graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in creative writing. At the UW, he served as editor of the Daily in 1979, and caused a major ruckus when he left the front page of the newspaper blank. The only type was a small line that read “The White Issue,” in deference to the Beatles’ White Album.After college, Cross served as editor of The Rocket, the Northwest’s music and entertainment magazine, from 1986 through 2000. The Rocket was hailed as “the best regional music magazine in the nation” by the L.A. Reader, and it was the first publication ever to run a story on Nirvana. Cross wrote stories on such seminal Northwest bands as The Wailers, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and hundreds, if not thousands, of lesser-known bands. In addition to The Rocket, Cross’s writing has appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Playboy, Spin, Guitar World, Q, Uncut, and Creem. He has also written for many newspapers and alternative weeklies, including the London Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has lectured and read at universities and colleges around the world, and has frequently been interviewed for film, radio, and television documentaries, including VH1’s "Behind the Music."Cross is the author of seven books, including 2005’s Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (published by Hyperion in the U.S., and Hodder in the U.K.). His 2001 release, Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain (Hyperion/Hodder), was a New York Times bestseller and was called “one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star” by the Los Angeles Times. In 2002, Heavier Than Heaven won the ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding biography. Cross’s other books include the national bestseller Cobain Unseen (Little Brown), Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music (Harmony, 1989); Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell (Harmony, 1992); and Nevermind: The Classic Album (Schirmer, 1998).
52 minutes | a month ago
The Del Shannon "Runaway" special | A chat with Del's family
A Del Shannon tribute! Host Rich Tupica chats with Del Shannon's first wife Shirley Westover and their son Craig Westover about the iconic Del Shannon, real name Charles "Chuck" Westover. This episode is to commemorate the 60th anniversary of "Runaway," Del's 1961 breakthrough hit. From their early days as a budding family in Coopersville, Michigan, to his sudden rise to super stardom, this intimate conversation is a must for true Del fans.
67 minutes | 3 months ago
A conversation with The Replacements biographer Bob Mehr (ep. 12)
Host Rich Tupica chats with the talented music writer Bob Mehr, author of Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements — a New York Times bestseller. The conversation digs back to his early days as a music fan, and how he eventually became a full-time music writer. Of course, we dig into how it was working with members of The Replacements, and how it took years to get that massive project rolling. Mehr, who is also the music critic for The Commercial Appeal [in Memphis] and a longtime correspondent for MOJO magazine, has produced a series of archival releases for the Replacements, including For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986, the acclaimed box set Dead Man’s Pop and the recent deluxe reissue of Pleased to Meet Me. Mehr was nominated for a Grammy for his album notes to Dead Man’s Pop, and has written essays for releases by the Kinks, Warren Zevon, Big Star, the Dixie Chicks, Al Green and many others. A native of Los Angeles, he lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Stick around until the end of the interview to hear about that time Paul Westerberg mailed Mehr one of his teeth.
108 minutes | 3 months ago
A conversation with Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, R.E.M. & Big Star (ep. 11 )
On this episode, host Rich Tupica chats with Ken Stringfellow, co-founder of one of the most critically acclaimed power-pop bands of the '90s-2000s, the Posies. Alongside his bandmate Jon Auer, the pair have released a stack of brilliant albums together, some of which were recently re-issued by Omnivore Recordings. Beyond that, he's also spent time playing with R.E.M., Big Star, and dozens of other outfits. Here, (from his home in France) Stringfellow talks about his life as a touring musician, the upcoming Posies record, and what it was like gigging with the likes of Peter Buck and Alex Chilton. Listen on to hear some amazing memories that span the globe, including that one time he jammed with Neil Young. (Photo by White Light Photography)
37 minutes | 5 months ago
A conversation with Rain Phoenix (ep. 10 )
Host Rich Tupica chats with musician and activist Rain Phoenix about her life as not only a songwriter, but also what it's been like running her indie label/podcast LaunchLeft during 2020. Her imprint is home to a roster of emerging talent as well as Rain's own debut solo LP, River. Over the past couple of years, she's also issued some long-shelved Aleka's Attic recordings. Of course, Aleka's Attic is the progressive-folk band she and her brother River Phoenix fronted during the late '80s and early 1990s. In this conversation, Rain talks about that and her upcoming LaunchLeft projects. (photo by Brian Bowen Smith)
59 minutes | 5 months ago
A conversation with 'BIG STAR: Nothing Can Hurt Me' filmmakers Drew DeNicola & Danielle McCarthy Boles (ep. 9 )
Host (and Chris Bell biographer) Rich Tupica chats with Danielle McCarthy Boles and Drew DeNicola, two of the filmmakers behind Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, the amazing documentary that gave further exposure to the 1970s cult rock band, Big Star. It was a long journey getting the film made, and we dig into many of the hurdles that popped up along the way. In this hour-long episode, we chat about Chris Bell, Alex Chilton and their short-lived songwriting partnership that birthed the highly-influential #1 Record LP back in 1972. We also talk about the influence their producer John Fry (owner of Ardent Studios) had on the band. Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures) is the definitive documentary about the beloved band. Together less than four years (during its initial run as a band), Big Star flirted with mainstream success but never achieved it. Nonetheless, they produced a body of work of seminal importance to pop and alternative music, influencing major artists like R.E.M., The Replacements, Elliot Smith, Beck, The Flaming Lips and countless others. If you STILL haven't watched the film, stream it ... or buy the DVD and get the A+ special features. Listen on to find out more about this brilliant rock doc.
33 minutes | 6 months ago
A conversation with author Steve Miller about True Crime writing (ep. 8)
Interested in becoming a true crime writer? Host Rich Tupica chats with award winning reporter and author Steve Miller about his long career in true crime writing and investigative journalism. Listen on to hear some of his valuable book writing tips. Aside from countless bylines at various newspapers across the country, he's also penned these acclaimed true crime books:A Slaying in the Suburbs: The Tara Grant Murder (2009, Penguin/Berkley)Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender (2011, Penguin/Berkley)Nobody's Women: The Crimes and Victims of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Serial Killer (2012, Penguin/Berkley)Murder in Grosse Pointe Park: Privilege, Adultery, and the Killing of Jane Bashara (2015, Penguin/Berkley)So, check out all of Steve's books (Note: he's also written some terrific music titles), and listen to this full episode to hear how real, fact-based reporting is done.
59 minutes | 6 months ago
A conversation with John Davis of Superdrag & Lees of Memory (ep. 7)
Host Rich Tupica chats with the prolific John Davis of Superdrag and Lees of Memory. From 1996, when he hit big with "Sucked Out" to his current records with Lees of Memory, his vast discography is both dynamic and faultless. Just listen to the pop majesty of "Lonely Everywhere" ... that's all the proof you need. Beyond that, the conversation digs back to the '90s Knoxville music scene and his earliest days as a budding DIY musician. Oh, and minutes are devoted to both Big Star and Wu-Tang Clan, as well — hear how both groups continue to inspire John to this day.
63 minutes | 6 months ago
A conversation with Jody Stephens of Big Star (ep. 6)
Host Rich Tupica (who wrote "There Was A Light the Cosmic History of Chris Bell & the Rise of Big Star," a 469-page oral history book) chats with Jody Stephens, Big Star's legendary drummer. Today, Jody holds a longtime management position at Ardent Studios in Memphis, the same studio where Big Star recorded all of their acclaimed albums back in the 1970s. He is also playing in his current band, Those Pretty Wrongs. On this episode, we go beyond Big Star and delve in to Jody's own life story. Though, there are plenty of Alex Chilton, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel stories, as well. We also talk up The Posies. Fans of R.E.M. might want to stick around for his memories of when they arrived at Ardent Studios to record their Green album.
37 minutes | 7 months ago
A conversation with David Gordon of FUNKILLER (ep. 5)
After a decade of work in Gainesville, Fla., FUNKILLER finally released his entrancingly lush sophomore album Tropical Depression, out now via LaunchLeft (streaming now, vinyl pre-order is up, too).FUNKILLER is led by reclusive singer/songwriter David Gordon, who’s been championed by the likes of Wayne Coyne and Moon Unit Zappa, and his forthcoming album is a hypnotic blend of moody pop, neo-soul and ethereal rock ‘n’ roll. Guests on the LP include Rain Phoenix (Aleka’s Attic, Venus And The Moon, LaunchLeft) and Dave Lebleu (Mercury Program).Listen to this episode to hear what inspires David to write, record ... and why it took over a decade to release his brand new LP.
48 minutes | 8 months ago
A conversation with The Angel ... talks 'Words Like Daggers', film scores & more (ep. 4)
Host Rich Tupica talks with The Angel about her new single on LaunchLeft, "Words Like Daggers" (featuring Jhelisa). The cinematic new music video for the track (directed by Mark Pellington, Sergio Pinheiro and Sweeten) is streamed here. In this episode, The Angel talks about her long career in the music, film and television industries, including work with The Pharcyde and many others. A Brooklyn native, she has established a unique voice as a woman in a male dominated industry, combining her skills as a record producer, recording artist (The Angel, 60 Channels), remixer and composer. Critically acclaimed for pioneering an eclectic sound, The Angel has had the opportunity to incorporate many diverse flavors into her records as well as TV and film compositions, since relocating to Los Angeles from her adoptive city of London. It was signing to record label, Delicious Vinyl, that brought The Angel to Los Angeles in the nineties. Her distinctive blend of hip hop, dub, jazz, soul and later drum ‘n bass into her recordings, led to her groundbreaking remixes for The Pharcyde, Blue Note’s Donald Byrd and productions for Grammy nominee, Mystic to name a few. And to this day, she is known for blending musical genres with a healthy dose of irreverence, using both traditional and more contemporary instrumentation. Featured on the cover of the LA Weekly, The Angel was described as “fiercely independent”… thinking outside the box creatively, while establishing herself as a trendsetter within the mainstream.
29 minutes | 9 months ago
A conversation with Simone Istwa (ep. 3)
Singer/songwriter Simone Istwa chats with host Rich Tupica about her childhood growing up with her musical parents — T Bone Burnett and Sam Phillips — and her life as an uncompromising artist. She also recently released the single "Driving," which is a part of the dynamic Launched Artists Digital Singles Series via Rain Phoenix's LaunchLeft imprint.Beyond that, the LA-based musician also cut a striking rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic "Bird On A Wire," out now on The Great (Original Series Soundtrack). (Photo: Sophie Day)
66 minutes | 9 months ago
A conversation with Paul Collins of The Nerves & The Beat (ep. 2)
Power-pop legend Paul Collins chats with host Rich Tupica about his time in The Nerves, The Breakaways, and The Beat. Paul also dishes on his new self-penned bio, "I Don't Fit In," out now on HoZac Books.
80 minutes | 9 months ago
A conversation with Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound (ep. 1)
Musician Greg Cartwright talks with host Rich Tupica about growing up in Memphis and much more. If you're a fan of Reigning Sound, The Oblivians or The Compulsive Gamblers, listen to this to hear what inspires Greg to keep writing new songs. Also, is there a new Reigning Sound album in the works? Listen to find out.
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