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87 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
E112: Paul Morley on Manchester + Tony Wilson + New Order + Faust
In this episode, the legendary Paul Morley joins us to talk about his native Manchester, Joy Division and his epic new biography of Factory Records boss Tony Wilson.Paul recounts his early pop epiphanies and discovery of the UK's music press, culminating in the one & only issue of his 1976 fanzine Out There — not to mention his first reviews for the NME in 1976. The conversation then turns to "Anthony H." Wilson and the formation of Factory, taking in Paul's championing of Joy Division before leading into a discussion of Martin Aston's 1986 audio interview with New Order's Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris.From there we consider the week's featured act Faust, spinning off from pieces about the German enigmas by Ian MacDonald, Andy Gill and David Stubbs, and prompting general thoughts on "Krautrock" from both guest and hosts. After saying goodbye to chief Chieftain Paddy Moloney, and to three veteran RBP writers on soul and R&B (Pete Grendysa, Bob Fisher and Roger St. Pierre), Mark leads us through his personal favourites among the 100+ articles added to the RBP library over the past fortnight, incuding pieces about the Stones' pad in Edith Grove, Lorraine Ellison's volcanic single 'Stay With Me' and Charlie Watts on drummers & drumming. Finally, Jasper talks us out with his thoughts on pieces about Primal Scream's 2000 XTRMNTR and John Sinclair taking The Wire's "Invisible Jukebox" text in 2003.Many thanks to special guest Paul Morley; his book From Manchester with Love: The Life and Opinions of Tony Wilson is published by Faber and available now. Pieces discussed: Paul Morley on Manchester, Joy Division, New Order, Tony Wilson, New Order audio, Faust, Faust IV, Jean-Hervé Peron, David Stubbs' Faustian Pact, Rhythm & Blues, Soul (Style), The Chieftains, Paddy Moloney, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Lorraine Ellison, Iron Butterfly, Patti Smith, 808 State, Dusty Springfield, Charlie Watts, The Sex Pistols, Was (Not Was), Primal Scream and John Sinclair.
80 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
E111: Miles Marshall Lewis on Kendrick Lamar + Wynton Marsalis + Bob Marley
In this episode, we welcome the excellent Miles Marshall Lewis to Zoom in from his native New York City. Co-hosts Barney, Mark & Jasper ask Miles about his formative musical experiences in the South Bronx, including the impact of his parents' superhip record collection. The conversation turns to hip hop, and then to the "mashing" of jazz and rap on the first three Tribe Called Quest albums — which leads circuitously to Kendrick Lamar's jazz-infused 2015 masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, and then to the biography (Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power & Poetry of Kendrick Lamar) that Miles has just published. Jasper asks the author about Kamasi Washington and other guest stars on Butterfly, after which we swing to the opposite end of the jazz spectrum and discuss Tony Scherman's 1996 interview with somewhat divisive traditionalist Wynton Marsalis — the week's new audio offering, from which we hear two clips.From jazz and hip hop we turn to reggae and to the week's featured artist Bob Marley. Prompted by the imminent London premiere of Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up!, we hear the voice of the Jamaican superstar as he speaks to Karl Dallas about 'I Shot the Sheriff', a mere day after the Wailers blew the roof off London's Lyceum theatre on 18th July, 1975.After bidding farewell to Status Quo bassist/cofounder Alan Lancaster and to George "Commander Cody" Frayne IV, the RBP team talk us through the 100+ pieces added to our library over the past two weeks. These include Lillian Roxon writing about L.A. in the aftermath of the 1969 Manson killings (before Manson has been arrested); Ronnie Hawkins in hot water with former charges The Band/Hawks (also 1969), Michael Watts in hot pursuit of Iggy Pop in 1977, Mark Rozzo revisiting "ultimate cult album" Big Star Third in 2006, and — bringing the episode full circle — our special guest on Baz Luhrmann's 2016 hip hop drama The Get Down...Many thanks to special guest Miles Marshall Lewis. Visit his website at mmlunlimited.com and buy his book Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power & Poetry of Kendrick Lamar.Pieces discussed: The Sound in Our Veins: Jazz, Kendrick Lamar, Wynton Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis audio, Bob Marley audio, Bob Marley, Status Quo, Commander Cody, Robert Shelton, Hollywood 1969, Blue Note Records, Ronnie Hawkins, The Band, Iggy Pop, Take That, Big Star, Gorillaz, John Coltrane and The Get Down.
57 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
E110: Jaan Uhelszki onstage with KISS + Buena Vista Social Club + Lindsey Buckingham
In this episode of the Rock's Backpages podcast, Mark Pringle, Martin Colyer and Jasper Murison-Bowie discuss the writing of Creem legend Jaan Uhelszki, who is the featured writer on the week's homepage. Her open letter to Smokey Robinson, interview with Suzi Quatro, appraisal of proto-punk band Death and onstage escapades with KIϟϟ provide the trio with an opportunity to enthuse about her marvellous, stylish prose. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Buena Vista Social Club, they then consider the unusual circumstances that led Ry Cooder and his son Joachim to record with a group of Cuban musicians. Mark and Martin confess their initial scepticism of the project, but admit that it (and various offshoots featuring Rubén González and Manuel Galbán) won them over, while Jasper contemplates its enduring appeal and timeless nature.The three of them then listen to clips from the week's audio interview, which features Lindsey Buckingham in conversation with Bud Scoppa in 2011, on Rumours, Tusk, and his own solo output, before Mark and Jasper pick out their highlights from their additions to the library. Mark's selections include a reader's letter to Robert Shelton regarding folk vs folk rock in 1966 and Burt Bacharach at the Cow Palace in 1971, plus a review of Paul Butterfield's Better Days that prompts Mark and Martin to wax lyrical about guitarist Amos Garrett. Jasper elects to feature a scathing review of the Killers' Sam's Town, an altogether more positive review of Blood Orange's Negro Swan, and a report on German pyrotechnics-enthusiasts Rammstein.Pieces discussed: Smokey Robinson, Suzi Quatro, Death, KIϟϟ, Ry Cooder in Havana, Buena Vista Social Club, Ry and son Joachim, Lindsey Buckingham audio, The Who, Folk rock, Sly Stone, Leonard Cohen, Burt Bacharach, Peter Gabriel, The Smiths, Radiohead, Aretha Franklin, Paul Butterfield's Better Days, Jackson Browne, Paul Mathur, Nirvana, Pulp, The Killers, Blood Orange and Rammstein.
82 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
E109: Simon Reynolds on Melody Maker + Saint Etienne + Heaven 17 + Lee 'Scratch' Perry
In this episode we're thrilled to host Simon Reynolds, beamed in from his adopted Southern California. One of the most outstanding music writers of the past three and a half decades, Simon talks to us about his formative pop years; his own early fanzines Margin and Monitor; and the sea-change he (and others) brought to Melody Maker in the late '80s.Simon's fascinating and passionate Pitchfork piece 'Worth the Wait' (2014) is the springboard for a general discussion of the peak years of the MM, the NME and the general phenomenon of the UK's weekly music press. The conversation turns to what's been lost in the digital/internet era, but also what's been gained.One of Simon's fellow Melody Maker scribes was Bob Stanley, which affords us the excuse to rhapsodise about Bob's neo-retro meta-pop trio Saint Etienne. With their latest album I've Been Trying To Tell You due for imminent release, Simon and Barney reminisce happily about the impact of their glorious 1991 debut Foxbase Alpha.The week's new audio interview — Adam Blake's 1988 conversation with Heaven 17 — takes us even further back in pop time, to the Sheffield group's 40-year-old (and still highly impressive) Penthouse & Pavement album... and to a more general discussion of proto-synthpop and the first edition of the Human League. We hear two clips of (mainly) Martyn Ware speaking: one about the challenges of promoting themselves, the other about their scorn for the Top 40 radio fodder of the day (with particular venom reserved for Messrs. Stock, Aitken & Waterman). There's a brief but related digression on the previous week's audio, Steven Daly's 1990 interview with hitmaker-for-hire Diane Warren.From there it's a not-so-seamless segue to the sad losses of maverick Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, with attendant discussions of dub & roots reggae — and of the central importance of Mr. Watts to everything that was great about peak-period Stones.Mark talks us out with his thoughts on (and quotes from) new library pieces about Dylan at Forest Hills, Bowie at Winterland, Donna Summer and the Smiths, and Jasper concludes matters with remarks on St. Vincent and the wonderful cover of Marvin Gaye's I Want You.Many thanks to special guest Simon Reynolds; find his blog at blissout.blogspot.com.Pieces discussed: Worth the Wait, Saint Etienne, Heaven 17 audio, Diane Warren audio, Lee "Scratch" Perry (Vivien Goldman), Lee "Scratch" Perry (Simon Reynolds), Charlie Watts, Kim Fowley, David Bowie, The Faces, AC/DC, Donna Summer, Bob Dylan, Laura Nyro, The Smiths, St. Vincent, Marvin Gaye and Tessa Violet.
74 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
E108: Richard Williams on Laura Nyro + Beach Boys audio interviews
In this episode — the first we've recorded in our London office for over 18 pandemic months — we persuaded long-time RBP contributor Richard Williams (far left) to make his second appearance on "the show", principally so we could pick his brains on two of his favourite musical subjects. We start with a conversation about Laura Nyro, of whom both he and co-host Barney are besotted devotees (fellow co-hosts Mark & Martin can't get past the voice), then move on to the Beach Boys of 1970's Sunflower & 1971's Surf's Up. Richard is particularly fascinating on the role on the latter masterpiece of manager/co-writer Jack Rieley... and at least Martin likes the Beach Boys!The BBs discussion provides the perfect cue for three clips from the week's new audio interviews: John Tobler's conversations with Mike Love (1976) & Bruce Johnston (1980), both of which prompt further thoughts on the quintessential California band & the doomed "Brian Wilson Is Back!" campaigns of the mid-'70s. We then segue into the work of a quintessential California writer, Deanne Stillman, and her featured RBP pieces about Surf culture & Tom Wolfe's 1965 Phil Spector profile "The Tycoon of Teen".After paying our respects to Texan country-folk icon Nanci Griffith – with quotes from interviews conducted with her in 1988 & 2012 — Mark talks us through his favourite new additions to the RBP library, including interviews with John Lennon, Sid Vicious & Nancy Spungen & Madonna producer Pat Leonard, while Barney rounds things off with remarks on a 2007 interview with Raymond "Gilbert" O'Sullivan.Many thanks to special guest Richard Williams; find his blog at thebluemoment.com.The Rock's Backpages podcast is proud to be part of the Pantheon podcast network.Pieces discussed: Laura Nyro by Richard Williams, Laura Nyro by Ian MacDonald, Laura Nyro by Rob Steen, Mike Love audio, Bruce Johnston audio, Surf culture, Phil Spector, Nanci Griffith by Adam Sweeting, Nanci Griffith by David Burke, Paper Lace, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, Bow Wow Wow, Pat Leonard, Sandy Bull, Hair, John Lennon, Buck Owens and Gilbert O'Sullivan.
70 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
E107: David Bates on making hits + Julian Cope audio + Dusty Hill R.I.P.
In this episode, Barney, Mark & Jasper invite legendary A&R man David Bates to tell them about his long & distinguished career in music — particularly the years he spent working at Phonogram with the likes of Tears For Fears, Def Leppard & Robert Plant.David reminisces about hearing the Beatles on the radio in 1962, and how that took him eventually to DJ'ing & to working at Richard Branson's first Virgin megastore in the '70s. A clip from our 1990 Was (Not Was) audio interview prompts recall of the droll duo & of David Geffen, after which our guest talks about the "torturous" process of overseeing Tears For Fears' eye-wateringly expensive Seeds Of Love album. He also recalls reuniting Robert Plant with Led Zep bandmate Jimmy Page for 1994's live No Quarter album.From there we segue into the week's new audio interview, which features Julian Cope — frontman with David's first major Phonogram signing the Teardrop Explodes — talking to a roomful of French music journalists about 1991's Peggy Suicide album. Two clips from this highly entertaining press conference prompt memories of the inimitable "Saint Julian" from our guest, who also joins in with the RBP team's tribute to ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, God rest his beard.Mark concludes the episode with quotes from his favourite library additions over the past fortnight, including pieces about Joe South and Earth, Wind & Fire, and Barney & Jasper respond with remarks on interviews with Seth Lakeman and Christina Aguilera.Many thanks to special guest David Bates; find his playlists at dbfinestkind.com.Pieces discussed: David Bates on life as an A&R man, Was (Not Was) audio, Tears for Fears' Seeds of Love, Julian Cope, Julian Cope audio, John Sinclair, Dusty Hill, Record shops and Hammond B3s, Earth, Wind and Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe South, Television, Chuck E. Weiss, Seth Lakeman, Christina Aguilera and Arctic Monkeys.
67 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
E106: Jennifer Otter Bickerdike on Nico + Jackson Browne + Britney Spears
In this week's podcast, Mark and Jasper are joined by the excellent Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike to talk about her new Nico book, You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone: The Biography of Nico. Jennifer shares the story of where the idea for the book came from and contemplates comparisons of Nico with Marianne Faithfull. The three of them also consider her remarkable music from Chelsea Girl to Camera Obscura and her time in the Velvet Underground that led to long-lasting collaboration with John Cale.They then listen to two excerpts from the week's audio interview with Jackson Browne, in which he reminisces about cheap rents in Los Angeles and learning the piano, plus why he often doesn't write political songs. Following the sad news of rapper Biz Markie's death, the trio pay tribute to his infectious humour and joyful singing.Talk then turns to what's new in the library, with Mark highlighting pieces about Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry and M People's Mercury Prize success among others and Jasper selecting David Kamp's oral history of the Brill Building and an early Britney Spears review, which sparks discussion of Jennifer's upcoming book Being Britney: Pieces of a Modern Icon and the horrors of Britney's guardianship. Many thanks to special guest Jennifer Otter Bickerdike. You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone: The Biography of Nico is published by Faber and available now. Visit Jennifer's website at jenniferotterbickerdike.com.Pieces discussed: Nico by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, Nico by Peter Jones, Nico by Clinton Walker, Nico by Geoffrey Cannon, Jackson Browne audio, Cold Chillin' Records/Biz Markie, Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, John Lennon, Sex Pistols, Radiohead, Young Bob Dylan, The Tremeloes, Blondie, M People, Lyrics not poetry, Britney Spears, The Brill Building, Grime, Lavine Hudson and Women music journalists in America 1920–1960.
61 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
E105: Nelson George on the Death of R&B + Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis audio
In the new episode of the RBP podcast, hosts Barney, Mark & Jasper welcome the great Nelson George into "the cupboard", all the way from his native Brooklyn. Nelson talks about his long and distinguished career, from interning at Billboard via his Village Voice column to his recently-published collection The Nelson George Mixtape, Vol. 1. His hosts ask him specifically about his essential 1988 book The Death of Rhythm & Blues, as well as about hip hop & the Average White Band.The conversation then turns to the week's new audio interview(s) with Nelson favourites Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis — and to the Minneapolis duo's peerless productions of Janet Jackson, Alexander O'Neal and the S.O.S. Band. Mark then talks us through new library pieces about Lee Dorsey, Television's Richard Lloyd and Public Enemy, while Barney highlights Sheila Weller's Vanity Fair retrospective on Haight-Ashbury and Jasper quotes from Mal Peachey's 2004 Independent appreciation of Eric Dolphy's jazz classic Out to Lunch.Many thanks to special guest Nelson George. Visit his website at http://www.nelsongeorge.net/bio for details of his books and other work.Pieces discussed: Nelson George, The Death of Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop America, Bruce Springsteen, Arthur Lee, Average White Band, Jimmy Jam audio, Terry Lewis audio, The Who, Byrds, Miles Davis, Germaine Greer, Richard Lloyd, Public Enemy, Lee Dorsey, Suede, Summer of Love, Eric Dolphy and Run the Jewels.
65 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
E104: Vivien Goldman's Punky Reggae Party + 'Launderette' + Joe Strummer audio
In this episode, hosts Barney Hoskyns, Mark Pringle & Jasper Murison-Bowie welcome the one & only Vivien Goldman to join them live & direct from her beloved Jamaica — and to talk about her life as a writer about postpunk, reggae, dub & her other "outernationalist" passions.The "Punk Professor" reminisces about her days on Sounds & the UK's other "inkies", and her fight to make women's voices heard in the '70s music press: her 1977 challenging of George Benson's ingrained male chauvinism; her championing of the Raincoats & other "she-punks" of the period; and her own 1981 indie classic 'Launderette'. She brings her musical odyssey up to date by trailing Next Is Now, the new album she's just finished with producer Youth.After we hear clips from Adam Sweeting's 1988 audio interview with Joe Strummer, Vivien pitches in with her memories of the Clash man — and of the Ladbroke Grove "punky reggae" scene of which she was herself a key part. Mark then talks us through his library highlights from the past fortnight, including a 1966 Melody Maker interview with a young David Bowie; Penny Valentine's Disc review of 'River Deep — Mountain High' from the same year; and Harold Bronson's 1972 Rolling Stone retrospective on Animals/Yardbirds producer Mickie Most. Barney mentions more recent pieces about Britpop, Roy Harper & Willie Nelson, and Jasper wraps things up with a nod to Gary Lucas' memoir of introducing a young Vin Diesel to cult "mixmaster" Arthur Russell.Many thanks to special guest Vivien Goldman; visit her website at viviengoldman.com.Pieces discussed: Vivien Goldman vs. George Benson, Raincoats, Punk Renaissance Woman Vivien Goldman, Joe Strummer audio, David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Robert Wyatt, River Deep – Mountain High, Sly and the Family Stone, Mickie Most, Blondie, Wanda Jackson, Britpop, Roy Harper, Willie and the Weed Factory, Labelle and Vin Diesel meets Arthur Russell.
72 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
E103: David Kamp on Rock Snobbery + 1971 + Sly Stone + Doors audio
In the new episode of the RBP podcast, hosts Mark Pringle, Martin Colyer & Barney Hoskyns invite David Kamp to reminisce about The Rock Snob's Dictionary, already 15 years old but still wonderfully droll and still very on-the-money about people like, well, Mark, Martin & Barney. We ask David to explain the origins of Rock Snobbery and to revisit his epic Vanity Fair pieces about Sly Stone and the unlikely friendship 'twixt country icon Johnny Cash & producer Rick Rubin.The week's overaching theme of 1971 — inspired by Asif Kapadia's new Apple TV series — leads to discussion of Sly's dark masterpiece (and rock-snob staple) There's A Riot Goin' On, and then on to the Doors' redemptive swansong L.A. Woman, released three months before Jim Morrison's death in Paris. Clips from John Tobler's 1983 audio interview with surviving trio Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger & John Densmore prompt discussion of the Doors' legacy & status in the rock pantheon, after which Mark & Barney talk us through their highlights among the new articles in the RBP Library. These include great pieces on Bob Dylan, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Rough Trade, Some Bizzare's Stevo, the Stones' Keith Richards, plus a lovely 2008 conversation between Simply Red's Mick Hucknall and the mighty Bobby "Blue" Bland.Many thanks to special guest David Kamp; visit his website at davidkamp.com.Pieces discussed: The Rock Snob's Dictionary: An Introduction, Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin, Sly Stone's High Power, The Doors, The Doors audio, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Van der Graaf Generator, Stevo, Sylvester, Bob Dylan, Scott Walker, Johnny Cash, Rough Trade, Keith Richards, Mick Hucknall meets Bobby "Blue" Bland and Jen Cloher.
94 minutes | May 31, 2021
E102: Carol Cooper on New York Sounds + Stax Records + Eddy Grant audio
In this episode we welcome the distinguished New York writer Carol Cooper and ask her to talk us through her career, from her first pieces for the SoHo Weekly News, via the Village Voice and The Face to her present incarnation as an Adjunct Instructor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Dr. Cooper also talks about her early experiences of live music in NYC & New Jersey, plus the dawn of East Coast hip hop (and the vital importance of Bronx club Disco Fever); the problematic concept of "global music"; and the impact of Jungian psychology of her writing & teaching.Carol then pitches in on a discussion about Steve Cropper, Otis Redding & the racial politics of Stax Records, as well as reminiscing about her 1983 Musician interview with Eddy Grant as Mark talks us through a 1991 audio interview with the former Equal. There's a general discussion of the Guyana-born maverick's unique genre-blending career and DIY business acumen.Mark talks us through highlights among the most recent additions to the RBP Library, including pieces on Graham Nash & the Hollies, Aretha Franklin's legendary show at the Fillmore West and Paul McCartney's 1980 drug bust in Japan, while Jasper has his mind twisted by Edwin Pouncey's guide to "occult rock" and Lisa Verrico's advice to Times readers on "how to get hip to rap".Many thanks to special guest Carol Cooper. Please visit carolcooper.org for more of her writing and to buy her book, Pop Culture Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.Pieces discussed: Black Music Association, Global Music, Disco Fever, Stax Story, Steve Cropper, Stever Cropper audio, Otis Redding, Eddy Grant audio, Graham Nash, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, Chelsea FC, Gil Evans, Paul McCartney, Iggy Pop, Neil Young's archives, Top 10 Black clubs, Occult rock, How to get hip to rap and Rick Rubin.
79 minutes | May 17, 2021
E101: Marshall Crenshaw on Buddy Holly + Tom Wilson + Lloyd Price
In this episode we invite beloved pop-rock singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw to reminisce about his long career, from the 40-year-old Shake single 'Something's Gonna Happen' to the documentary film he's producing about Dylan/Zappa/Velvets producer Tom Wilson. Along the way, Barney, Mark & Jasper ask Marshall about his Michigan upbringing, playing John Lennon in Beatlemania, signing to Warner Bros. Records, and his great influence Buddy Holly.Holly pops up in a clip from the week's new audio interview, a 1990 conversation with sometime Cricket Sonny Curtis, who tells John Tobler about his friendship with Buddy, the Clash's version of his timeless 'I Fought the Law' and the mysterious 1966 death of fellow Texan singer Bobby Fuller. Yet another Texan, the aforementioned Mr. Wilson, offers the perfect excuse to discuss Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground and the Mothers of Invention.From there, we say goodbye to another deep Southerner, R&B legend Lloyd ('Lawdy Miss Clawdy') Price, referencing Wayne Robins' fascinating 2013 interview with the 80-year-old "Mr. Personality". Mark guides us through his favourite library additions of the week, including interviews with Carly Simon, Lamont Dozier and Mel & Kim, and Jasper concludes the episode with passing remarks on Wattstax, Björk and Charles Aznavour.Many thanks to special guest Marshall Crenshaw; visit his website at http://marshallcrenshaw.com/, and back the Kickstarter for the Tom Wilson documentary.Rock's Backpages is part of the Pantheon podcast network.Pieces discussed: Marshall Crenshaw by Iman Lababedi, Marshall Crenshaw by Laura Fissinger, Sonny Curtis audio, Lloyd Price by Bill Millar, Lloyd Price by Wayne Robins, Tom Wilson, Carly Simon, Lamont Dozier, The Replacements, Mel & Kim, Shaun Ryder, Wattstax, Björk and Charles Aznavour.
66 minutes | May 10, 2021
E100: Celebrating 100 episodes + The Black Keys + Donald Fagen audio
In this episode we depart from our normal format in order to celebrate the milestone that is our 100th episode. Barney, Mark & Jasper look back over highlights of the previous 99 "shows", listening to amusing clips from interviews with Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, Neil Tennant, Amy Linden, Bernard Fowler, James Fox, Stewart Lee, Caroline Boucher, Loyd Grossman and John Harris. Along the way they relive the podcast's inception and evolution — and the crucial importance of Mark Pringle's inimitable laugh.The podcast's "power trio" wish a happy 80th birthday to contributor Keith Altham, express their deep appreciation for his support over the past 20 years, and discuss three of his 450 pieces on RBP. They also talk a bit about the Black Keys, R. L Burnside & the North Mississippi hill country blues sound that inspired the Keys' new Delta Kream album. Clips from a 1991 audio interview with Donald Fagen prompt conversation about The Nightfly, the Rock & Soul Revue, and the all-round greatness of Steely Dan.Finally, Mark regales us with quotes from new library pieces about the Velvets & the Mothers live, the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb and Cameo's Larry Blackmon. Jasper talks us out with remarks on Coldplay live and Lil Jon.Many thanks to all our guests, contributors and listeners for joining us for one hundred episodes.The Rock's Backpages podcast is part of the Pantheon podcast network. Pieces and episodes discussed: Episode 1, Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, Neil Tennant, Amy Linden, Bernard Fowler, James Fox, Stewart Lee, Caroline Boucher, Barbara Charone, Loyd Grossman, John Harris, Keith Altham at 80, Monterey Pop, Marc Bolan, The Beatles, North Mississippi Hill Country Blues, R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, Billy Gibbons and Dan Auerbach, Donald Fagen audio, the Velvet Underground & the Mothers of Invention, Barry Gibb, Miles Davis, Cameo, Public Enemy, Coldplay, Lil Jon, Junglepussy, Christina Aguilera and Keith Altham.
70 minutes | May 3, 2021
E99: David Quantick on Pop Eating Itself + Teenage Fanclub + Marianne Faithfull
In this episode we invite Emmy award-winning screenwriter David Quantick to relive his days as a budding pop scribe on the NME – and to share his memories of Paul Weller, Lloyd Cole & the ignominious Morrissey. As someone who's written with Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci and Harrys Hill & Enfield, David is predictably hilarious about '80s pop – as well as about Simon Cowell & many other things. He also offers his tuppenceworth on the week's featured act Teenage Fanclub, and on our 1998 Marianne Faithfull audio interview, clips from which we hear and discuss in this episode.Mark then talks us through new library pieces about John Lennon's dad, Led Zeppelin and Earth, Wind & Fire; Barney cites Mat Snow's 2009 interview with Mike Oldfield, triggering a Quantick memory of theTubular Bells dude being quizzed by the late Steven Wells; and finally Jasper wraps up the episode with reflections on pieces about the 2001 BRIT Awards, soundtrack composer Mica Levi & jazz titan Kamasi Washington.Many thanks to special guest David Quantick. Read more about his work at davidquantick.com and pre-order Quantick's Quite Difficult Quiz Book here.Pieces discussed: Style Council, Lloyd Cole, Morrissey, Simon Cowell, Teenage Fanclub, Teenage Fanclubber, Teenage Fanclubbest, Marianne Faithfull audio, Jimi Hendrix live, Allman Brothers live, Bob Marley & the Wailers live, Freddie Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones at Altamont, Earth, Wind & Fire, Mike Oldfield, Nick Tosches, BRIT Awards 2001, Mica Levi and Kamasi Washington.
79 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
E98: Chris Welch on Melody Maker + Fairport Convention + DMX R.I.P.
In this episode of the RBP podcast, we welcome Melody Maker veteran Chris Welch into the virtual cupboard to talk about his long career — all the way from The Scotsman on Fleet Street in 1958 to editing Metal Hammer in 1989. Chris reminisces about the swinging, thrilling '60s and his essential early pieces on acts such as the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. He also recalls coining the term "progressive rock", after which he discusses jazz-fusion virtuosi the Mahavishnu Orchestra with Mark, Barney & Jasper.Attention then turns to Richard Thompson & Fairport Convention, whose Martin Lamble was an acquaintance of Chris' before the 17-year-old drummer was so tragically killed in the band's 1969 crash. There is general discussion of the Fairports — and of folk-rock in general, with special reference to the glorious Sandy Denny — and then of the solo Thompson, who publishes his autobiography Beeswing this week.From there it's an impossible segue into the life & death of hip hop icon DMX, who died on 9th April, followed by Mark's guide to the new RBP library highlights, including pieces about Sam & Dave, Gloria Gaynor, Boy George and Britney Spears. Barney brings in Chris when it comes to a 2004 piece on singer-turned-mogul Mickie Most, and Jasper wraps up with remarks on Joe, punk rock for kids and Charli XCX.Many thanks to special guest Chris Welch. Read more about him on his RBP writer's page.Pieces discussed: Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cobham, Backstage life in the 60s, Life after Fairport Convention, Richard Cromelin solo, Electric folk, Simon Nicol audio, DMX, Ruff Ryders, Sam & Dave, Grand Funk Railroad, Boy George, Gloria Gaynor, Britney Spears, Jack Nitzsche, Mickie Most, Amy Winehouse, Joe, Punk for kids, Charli XCX and Auto-Tune.
76 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
E97: Joel Selvin on Early '60s L.A. + Jack Nitzsche + Malcolm Cecil R.I.P.
In this episode of the RBP podcast, we welcome San Francisco Chronicle legend Joel Selvin into the virtual cupboard to talk about Hollywood Eden, his terrific new book about L.A.'s pop scene in the early '60s.After explaining how he first came to write for "the Chron" at the end of that decade, Joel recalls his early fascination with L.A. as the burgeoning "surf city" celebrated by Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys. Barney & Mark press him for stories about the scurrilous but brilliant "bottom feeder" Kim Fowley, after which we hear three audio clips from John Tobler's 1973 interview with (Jan &) Dean Torrence. (Among those namechecked along the way: Jan Berry, inevitably, and Lou Adler, Bruce Johnston, Terry Melcher & Jill Gibson...)Staying in a Southern California groove, Joel also reminisces about the troubled Jack Nitzsche, whom he interviewed for Melody Maker in 1978. We discuss Nitzsche's achievements as a producer-arranger, his big influence on the Rolling Stones, and his regrettable decline in the last years of his life. Handily, Joel also turns out to know his stuff when it comes to the role played in Stevie Wonder's synthesized '70s soul by the late Malcolm (Tonto's Expanding Head Band) Cecil, who passed away last week...Mark wraps matters up with observations on such recent RBP library additions as Maureen O'Grady's 1965 Rave interview with the visiting Byrds; Richard Goldstein's 1968 New York Times profile of the splendidly eccentric Van Dyke Parks; and — from 1980 — Glenn O'Brien's Interview interview with the Marianne Faithfull of Broken English.Many thanks to special guest Joel Selvin. Hollywood Eden is published by House of Anansi and Joel can be found online at joelselvin.com.Pieces discussed: Beach Boys, Lenny Waronker, Dean Torrence audio, Jack Nitzsche, Joel on Jack, Jack Nitzsche and the Stones, Stevie Wonder, Stubbs on Stevie, Tonto's Expanding Head Band, The Byrds, Bill Graham, Phil Spector, Phil Spector Again, The Stone Roses, Stash de Rola, Van Dyke Parks, Marianne Faithfull, Madonna, J.J. Fad, Brandy, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.
72 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
E96: Adele Bertei on Labelle + Peter Laughner + August Darnell
Content warning: This episode contains discussion of domestic abuse and violence against women (33:50–37:42). In this episode, we talk to the amazing Adele Bertei about her career as a singer, songwriter and the author of two terrific books, Peter & the Wolves & the new Why Labelle Matters. Starting with her wild life as a gay teenager in Cleveland, Ohio, we hear about her friend & mentor Peter Laughner, founder member of Pere Ubu and a tragically self-destructive troubadour who died back in 1977.Adele then talks us through her move to New York's East Village and her participation in the city's No Wave punk-funk scene as a member of James White & the Contortions — and as the leader of the all-girl Bloods. This leads on to discussion of ZE Records & August "Kid Creole" Darnell, audio clips of whom we hear in a 2016 conversation with Larry Jaffee... which in turn takes us on to Adele's hymn of love for Labelle, the trailblazing trio who morphed from '60s girl group into '70s Afrofuturists. RBP's co-hosts ask Adele about the group's manager Vicki Wickham (hear Vicki's own RBP podcast episode) and about Laura Nyro, Bobby Womack's Poet II, and female power & resistance in the decades before #MeToo.Finally, after noting the passing of Sally Grossman — widow of Bob Dylan's manager Albert & the "lady in red" on the cover of Bob's Bringing It All Back Home — Mark rounds up the highlights of his recent additions to the RBP Library, including Richard Goldstein's review of The Band's Big Pink, Philip Elwood's prescient 1970 appreciation of a young Bruce Springsteen playing live in San Francisco & the recently-recruited Maureen O'Grady interviewing new Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. Jasper takes us out with thoughts on pieces about white appropriation of Black soul, plus an underwhelming 2000 "chart battle" between (insert polite cough) Westlife & Spice Girls...Many thanks to special guest Adele Bertei. Why Labelle Matters is published by UT Press and Peter & the Wolves by Smog Veil.Pieces discussed: Nona Hendryx, Labelle, Bobby Womack, August Darnell audio, Sally Grossman, Woodstock, Pere Ubu/Devo, Kid Creole, Chris Farlowe, The Monkees, The Band, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top, Love's Alone Again Or, Mick Taylor, Steel Mill, Ian Dury, Keith Levene, Millie Jackson, Screaming Lord Sutch, Westlife vs. Spice Girls, Le Tigre and Lily Allen/Joss Stone/Amy Winehouse.This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
70 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
E95: Tony Russell on old-time country music + Phil Everly audio + Bunny Wailer R.I.P.
In this episode we welcome the great blues & country writer Tony Russell, who talks about his new Rural Rhythm: The Story of Old-Time Country Music in 78 Records — and the joys of the original Americana sound from the '20s to the '40s. Tony also talks us through his writing career from the late '60s to the present, with a particular nod to a 1972 Cream piece about B.B. King.The focus on the "Old-Time" country of Fiddlin' John Carson & Uncle Dave Macon carries through to discussion of those compelling revivalists Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, big faves of the RBP crew — and then to clips we hear from a 1983 audio interview with Phil Everly of peerless country-pop harmonists the Everly Brothers. Phil talks about the strained relationship with brother Don and the prospect of the Everlys reunion that happened in the fall of that year.For those less smitten by Appalachia and "high lonesome" close-harmony singing, there are heartfelt farewells to roots reggae icon Bunny Wailer & trad-jazzer turned "Father of British R&B" Chris Barber, both of whom were lost to the music world last week. There's effusive appreciation of the Wailers co-founder's classic 1976 solo debut Blackheart Man, while RBP's co-founder Martin Colyer pitches in with reminiscences of his uncle Ken's bandmate Barber.Mark talks us through his highlights from recent additions to the RBP Library, including the great Derek Taylor holding forth on the Stones' drug bust in 1967 and the recently-departed Chick Corea discussing his Return To Forever group with Zoo World's John Swenson in 1974. Barney namechecks a Kandia Crazy Horse hymn to the L.A. Canyons from 2009 and Jasper rounds things off with remarks on Danger Mouse's Rome project, from 2011, and London MC Sway's 2006 album This is My Demo.Many thanks to special guest Tony Russell, whose new book Rural Rhythm is published by OUP and available now. Pieces discussed: Charlie Poole, Uncle Dave Macon, B.B. King, Gillian Welch, Gillian Welch, Phil Everly, Bunny Wailer, The Wailers, Chris Barber, Chris Barber, Ben Webster, Peter Green, Curtis Mayfield, Roky Erickson, Rolling Stones, Chick Corea, The Time, L.L. Cool J, L.A. Canyons, Dave Edmunds, Valerie June, Sway and Danger Mouse.
64 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
E94: Caroline Boucher on Zappa + Beefheart + Alice Cooper + Yes
In this episode we invite former Disc (and Music Echo) reporter Caroline Boucher to reflect on her journey from the Gravesend & Dartford Reporter to The Observer's Food Monthly supplement — via a stint at Elton John's Rocket label. Barney, Mark & Jasper ask Caroline about being a female pop reporter in that very unwoke era, and press her for stories about her favourite L.A. freaks Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.The Zappa theme leads into clips from not one but two audio interviews with Vince "Alice Cooper" Furnier, the first from August 1969 — when Alice signed to Frank's Straight label — and the second from exactly 20 years later, when Adam Blake talked to him about his new Trash album. Fond recall ensues of 'School's Out' and other Cooper classics.The conversation turns from freaky California weirdness to pompous English prog-rock, though Mark makes a compelling case for — and defence of — the 50-year-old Yes Album. The "team" pays its respects to the Supreme Mary Wilson, the jazz-fusing Chick Corea, Salsa godfather Johnny Pacheco and Byrds/Smiths biographer Johnny Rogan, after which Mark talks us through his library highlights from the previous fortnight and Jasper signs off with remarks on pieces about Halsey and Pharrell Williams.Many thanks to special guest Caroline Boucher; for more of her writing, visit her page on RBP.The Zappa documentary is streaming now on the altitude.film website and all major platforms from March.Pieces discussed: Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Burgers with Alice Cooper, Alice Cooper backstage, Alice Cooper audio, Yes, Yes, Yes, Mary Wilson, The Supremes, Chick Corea, Johnny Pacheco, Johnny Rogan, The Beatles live, Aretha Franklin, Nick Drake, Sunset Strip groupies, Evan Parker, Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, George Clinton, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Alan Douglas, Al Bell, Pharrell Williams and Halsey.
71 minutes | Feb 8, 2021
E93: Nick Kent on the NME + Iggy Pop audio + SOPHIE R.I.P.
In this episode we welcome the legendary Nick Kent as our very special guest. Unarguably the most famous British rock writer from the golden era of '70s rock journalism, Nick tells Barney, Mark & Jasper how he began writing for the underground Frendz and then for Nick Logan's super-hip New Musical Express. Recollections of Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson and the Rolling Stones lead inevitably to tales of self-indulgence and self-destruction — and eventually to Nick's sometime drug buddy Iggy Pop, who is heard speaking in March 1977 about his beloved proto-punk band the Stooges and about his new Bowie-produced solo album The Idiot.The conversation turns briefly to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain before we pay our respects to departed Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine and then — led by a very eloquent Jasper — to the extraordinary electronic producer and trans icon SOPHIE. Among the new library articles Mark highlights are pieces about Cream's Eric Clapton, Charlie Gillett's Sound Of The City, Fun Boy Three and 12" disco master-mixer Tom Moulton. For reasons that will be obvious to many of you, Nick pitches in after Mark quotes from Barry Cain's 1978 Record Mirror interview with PiL's John Lydon and Jah Wobble. Jasper wraps up the episode with passing remarks on Simon Reynolds' 2017 retrospective on Donna Summer's epic 'I Feel Love'...Many thanks to special guest Nick Kent; his novel The Unstable Boys is published by Constable and out now.Pieces discussed: Nick Kent on David Bowie, Nick Kent on Brian Wilson, Nick Kent on Iggy Pop, Nick Kent on Kurt Cobain, Chris Salewicz on Nick Kent, Iggy Pop audio, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl, The Animals, SOPHIE, Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, New York Dolls, Eric Clapton, Graham Nash, Sound of the City, Public Image Limited, Fun Boy Three, Tom Moulton, Donna Summer & Giorgio Moroder and Jon Bon Jovi.
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