There aren’t many people who can truthfully say, “I was a teenage Zombie.” Two of them – Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent – were part of British Sixties band that brought us songs like “She’s Not There”, “Tell Her No”, and “Time of the Season”, and the acclaimed album Odessey and Oracle recorded just before they broke up.
After the break-up, Blunstone launched a solo career that included hit songs “Say You Don’t Mind” and “I Don’t Believe in Miracles”. The Zombies eventually reunited, and have released several new albums, most recently 2015’s Still Got That Hunger.
This was a quick unplanned interview on 9/4/16, conducted backstage before The Zombies performed at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai, California. (Andrew Eccles photo)
Mike Love has been a Beach Boy since the band began way back in 1961, and wrote lyrics to some of their best-known songs including “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, and “Good Vibrations”. And that’s him singing lead vocals on the recordings of the first three of these, plus “Surfin’ U.S.A”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, and more.
Guitarist and singer Jeffrey Foskett first joined The Beach Boys in 1982, and stayed on for about a decade, including for their Live Aid performance and for the recording of the hit song “Kokomo”. He then spent 16 years as the musical director for Brian Wilson’s band, and performed on the Brian Wilson Presents Smile and That Lucky Old Sun albums. He was part of the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour which reunited Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and rejoined The Beach Boys permanently in 2014.
This joint interview with Love and Foskett was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 3/8/17 concert by The Beach Boys at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. It was done by phone on 3/2/17. (Udo Spreitzenbarth photo)
Amongst the incredible line-up of movies at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival was the world premiere of a cool documentary about the folk-rock band Gunhill Road, best known for their 1973 Top 40 hit song “Back When My Hair Was Short”. The name of the film, Every 40 Years, is a reference to the 40 year gap between the band’s heyday and their reunion that saw them performing a couple of gigs and recording a fine new album.
The film was co-directed by Eric Goldrich, the son of Gunhill Road’s pianist Steven Goldrich, who wanted to learn more about that phase of his father’s life and also to document the band’s reunion. Mixing vintage footage with new interviews with the band and associates – including Kenny Rogers who produced their first album – Every 40 Years tells the touching story of a band that tasted fleeting success, then got a chance decades later to make music together again.
There’s also a Santa Barbara connection – Gunhill Road’s singer/guitarist/songwriter Glenn Leopold lives in Santa Barbara, having moved here toward the end of a successful career in the animation industry, something he got into after the band petered out. Leopold, Steve and Eric Goldrich, and Gunhill Road bassist Paul Reisch were in town for the premiere, and the band even played their first real West Coast gig at the Red Piano afterwards.
This interview with Glenn Leopold was done by phone on 2/10/17, for an article on noozhawk.com.
George Thorogood has been cranking it up for over four decades, with a catalog that encompasses smokin’ covers of classic songs like “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer”, “Move It On Over”, and “Who Do You Love?”, and blues-rock originals like “I Drink Alone” and “Bad to the Bone”. Along the way, he has sold over 15 millions albums and performed over 8000 concerts.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the George Thorogood and The Destroyers concert on 3/2/17 at the Chumash Casino. It was done by phone on 2/21/17. (David Dobson photo)
Alejandro Escovedo’s amazing musical journey has taken him from being a founding member of early San Francisco punk rock band The Nuns, to the cow-punk pioneers Rank and File, to the rockin’ True Believers, to an acclaimed solo career which has explored various sounds and earned him the title Artist of the Decade for the 1990’s from the alt-country publication No Depression. His latest album, Burn Something Beautiful, came out last year, and was a collaboration with Peter Buck from R.E.M. and Scott McCaughey from The Young Fresh Fellows and Minus 5.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Alejandro Escovedo’s concert at the Lobero Theatre on 2/25/17, as part of the Sings Like Hell concert series. (Nancy Rankin Escovedo photo)
The Chieftains have been thrilling audiences with traditional Irish music for an amazing 55 years, with Paddy Moloney on uilleann pipes, tin whistle, and amusing banter for the whole time. The band is filled out by longtime band members Kevin Conneff (bodhran, vocals) and Matt Malloy (flute), with plenty of young talent along for the ride.
They are also known for their collaborations with artists from other musical worlds, including the likes of the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, Sting, Pavarotti, and many others. Along the way, they have released roughly 50 albums and won six Grammy awards.
This interview with Paddy Moloney was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the concert by The Chieftains on 2/21/17. It was done by phone on 1/31/17 (photo courtesy of The Chieftains).
Electric guitar virtuoso Uli Jon Roth got his start with The Scorpions, playing on the band’s early studio albums including Fly to the Rainbow, In Trance, and Virgin Killer, and the live album Tokyo Tapes.
Eager to explore a more expansive direction, Roth left The Scorpions in 1978 to form Electric Sun, which released a trio of albums. His musical journey then took him in a more classical music direction, which continued until he returned to the rock format for the G3 guitar tour in 1998.
More recently, Roth has gone back to his hard rock beginnings with the release of Scorpions Revisited in 2015 and Tokyo Tapes Revisited: Live in Japan in 2016.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Uli’s concert at the Majestic Ventura Theater on 2/19/17. It was done by phone on 1/28/17.
The following is a list of some of the notable musicians who passed away in 2016, including a few who performed in the Santa Barbara area in recent years. Some are well-known, many are not, but all are worthy of our respect. R.I.P. – Rock In Peace.
Christmas music comes in many flavors, from traditional carols like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night”, to secular pop songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock”, to novelty songs like “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. And then there’s Mannheim Steamroller, which for the last 30 years has brought an instantly recognizable modern synthesizer-driven spin on traditional Christmas songs and beyond.
The mastermind of Mannheim Steamroller is Chip Davis, who got his start writing music for C.W. McCall of “Convoy” fame, then struck gold with Mannheim Steamroller’s Fresh Aire albums before striking platinum in the Christmas realm. To date, Mannheim Steamroller has sold over 40 million albums, and is the top Christmas music artist of all time.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA on 12/29/16. It was done by phone on 12/20/16. (Scott Dobry photo)
Multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Segel is a founding member of the eclectic alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven. The band’s first album Telephone Free Landslide Victory, which came out in 1985, includes such classic songs as “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon”, “Where the Hell is Bill?”, the Black Flag cover “Wasted”, and “Take the Skinheads Bowling”. He also appeared on the independently-released II & III and self-titled Camper Van Beethoven, and on the band’s major-label debut Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart. Segel has been back with the band since they reformed at the end of the end of the 1990’s, including on their most recent album, 2014’s El Camino Real. Segel has also played with many other bands and artists including Sparklehorse and Eugene Chadbourne.
This interview was for a preview article for the Camper Van Beethoven concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 12/28/16. It was done by email, with answers received 12/14/16.
Review of Fest Forums at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort, Santa Barbara, 11/19/16 – 11/21/16.
Tabla master Zakir Hussain has had an incredible career in Indian music and as a pioneer of world music. For those of us in the West, his notable and wildly diverse credits include collaborating with George Harrison, Mickey Hart, Yo-Yo Ma, Van Morrison, Bill Laswell, Kenny Loggins, David Grisman, the Kronos Quartet, Charles Lloyd, and John McLaughlin, with whom he was a founding member of the world fusion band Shakti.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Hussain’s performance with sitar player Niladri Kumar at Campbell Hall at the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the Arts and Lectures Series on 11/2/16. It was done by email, with answers received on 10/20/16. (Susana Millman photo)
Jimmy Eat World has been cranking it up for over two decades, giving us at least two classic emo albums – 1999’s Clarity and 2001’s Bleed American – and hit songs including “Pain”, “Big Casino”, “My Best Theory”, and the biggest of them all – “The Middle”. They just released a new album called Integrity Blues.
This interview with bassist Rick Burch, who has been with Jimmy Eat World since 1995, was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the Jimmy Eat World concert at the Majestic Ventura Theater on 10/28/16. It was done by phone on 9/29/16, the day that the band performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. (Jimi Giannatti photo)
Ian Anderson is the frontman / singer / songwriter / flautist / acoustic guitarist for the band Jethro Tull. Jethro Tull’s first album, the bluesy This Was, came out in 1968, and their music rapidly developed with 1969’s Stand Up incorporating elements of English folk music and 1970’s Benefit embracing hard rock.
Next up was Jethro Tull’s classic album Aqualung, released in 1971 and regarded by many to be the band’s best. This included such Jethro Tull mainstays as the title track, “Locomotive Breath”, and “Crosseyed Mary”. The band followed with two concept albums, both of which reached No. 1 in the U.S. concert charts: 1972’s Thick as a Brick, and 1973’s A Passion Play.
Jethro Tull released many more albums, notable ones including the compilation Living in the Past (1972), War Child (1974), Minstrel in the Gallery (1975), Songs from the Wood (1977), and Crest of a Knave (1987) which somewhat controversially beat out Metallica for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance. Also well worth checking out is Nightcap (1994), which has a different take on the material that ended up in A Passion Play.
Anderson recently decided to use the music of the band Jethro Tull to explore the life of the real Jethro Tull, who was an English agriculturalist who lived from 1674-1741. This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the show billed as “Jethro Tull, Written and Performed by Ian Anderson” at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on 10/19/16. It was done by phone on 8/4/16. (Nick Harrison photo)
John Sebastian’s musical journey has taken him from Greenwich Village to The Lovin’ Spoonful to Woodstock to a notable solo career, with a lot of hit songs along the way including “Do You Believe in Magic”, “Daydream”, “Summer in the City”, and the theme song for “Welcome Back, Kotter”. A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as the leader and primary songwriter for The Lovin’ Spoonful, Sebastian at 72 years young continues to write, record, and tour.
This interview was for Sebastian’s concert at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 10/12/16. It was done by phone on 10/4/16. (Photo from johnbsebastian.com)
Review of Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, Santa Barbara, California, 9/25/16.
Peter Case is kind of hard to categorize. For the last 30 years he has primarily been an acclaimed solo artist in the Americana vein, but with a bit more bite than you might expect from that description. That bite probably comes from his earlier musical adventures as a founding member of the short-lived power pop band The Nerves, which toured with The Ramones, and The Plimsouls, whose best-known song “A Million Miles Away” was on the soundtrack to Valley Girl. But however you want to categorize him, he’s been writing great songs for 40-odd years.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Case’s 9/21/16 concert at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, California, as part of the Tales from the Tavern concert series. It was done by phone on 9/1/16. (Greg Allen photo)
Steve Earle first made his mark with his debut album Guitar Town, which became a Number One country album but had enough edge to also appeal to many rock ‘n’ roll fans. Since then, he has had other milestone albums including the more rock-inspired Copperhead Road, the acoustic Train a Comin’ recorded after years of drug addiction that left him homeless, the transcendent Transcendental Blues, and a tribute album to his mentor Townes Van Zandt.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for a concert on 9/6/16 by Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara in support of their 2016 album Colvin & Earle. It was done by phone on 8/19/16. (Alexandra Valenti photo)
There aren’t many people who can truthfully say, “I was a teenage Zombie.” Two of them – Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone – are Zombies again, part of the reformed British Sixties band that brought us songs like “She’s Not There”, “Tell Her No”, and “Time of the Season”, and the acclaimed album Odessey and Oracle recorded just before they broke up.
If “Argent” sounds familiar, it’s also the name of the successful band that Argent founded after The Zombies, which is best known for the hit song “Hold Your Head Up”. Over the years, Argent has also recorded with other artists, most notably The Who on their 1978 album Who Are You.
This interview with Rod Argent was done for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 9/4/16 concert by The Zombies at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai, California. It was done by phone on 8/23/16. (Andrew Eccles photo)
Bruce Sudano has had a varied and interesting musical career, from co-writing the song “Ball of Fire” with Tommy James, to recording James’ song “Tighter, Tighter” with Alive N Kickin’, to co-founding Brooklyn Dreams and recording the song “Music, Harmony and Rhythm”, to marrying and managing and co-writing with Donna Summer including the hit “Bad Girls”, to writing “Starting Over Again” which was a hit for Dolly Parton and “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Too Good to Be True)” which was recorded by Jermaine and Michael Jackson, to a recent active solo career.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Sudano’s performance at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai, California on 9/4/16, as the opening act for The Zombies. It was done by phone on 8/22/16. (Darren Lau photo)
Review of Jeff Beck at the Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, California, 8/11/16.
Guitarist/singer/songwriter Dave Mason was a co-founder of the English psychedelic/folk rock band Traffic, and he stuck around for their first two albums, the second of which contains his original version of “Feelin’ Alright”, a song that became a huge hit for Joe Cocker.
Mason also had a notable solo career, with albums including his 1970 debut Alone Together and 1974’s Let It Flow. Some songs from Mason’s solo career are “Only You Know and I Know”, “We Just Disagree”, and “Let It Go, Let It Flow”.
As if all this wasn’t enough, along the way he also worked with other artists including Jimi Hendrix for his cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, George Harrison for his first album All Things Must Pass, Paul McCartney for “Listen to What the Man Says”, and much, much more.
This interview was for Mason’s performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 9/1/16. It was done by email, with answers received on 8/16/16. (Chris Jensen photo)
When keyboard player Geoff Downes helped to write the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” as part of The Buggles, he didn’t know that it would have the distinction of becoming the first video shown on MTV. He also didn’t know that soon he would be joining prog rockers Yes for their transitional Drama album, or that he would co-found the supergroup Asia, for which he would co-write hit songs including “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, and “Don’t Cry”. But that all happened, and it happened in the space of just a few years.
Fastforwarding to the present, Downes is active with all three of these bands. Asia is ramping back up after John Wetton’s battle with cancer, and he is working on new songs with fellow Buggle Trevor Horn. And he rejoined Yes in 2011, which is currently on a tour performing the Drama album in its entirety and Sides 1 and 4 of the epic Yes album Tales from Topographic Oceans.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 8/28/16 Yes concert at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 8/15/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
The legendary singer Emmylou Harris nicely sums up her approach to music as follows: “For me, obviously, there’s a certain amount of ego, but it’s always about the song. You are the vessel through which the music comes. So it’s a sacred responsibility when you have that gift of being able to sing and being able to perform. I just think that that should be your priority.”
Emmylou first made waves singing, touring, and recording with country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons for the two years before his untimely death, including on his solo albums GP and Grievous Angel. She then launched an acclaimed solo career which has won her Grammy awards, Gold Records, and the hearts of fans for over four decades.
Mixed in was the smash hit Trio album with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, and her heavenly harmony vocals on recordings with artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Lucinda Williams, Leo Kottke, Steve Earle, and Guy Clark. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
This inteview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Emmylou’s performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 7/8/16. It was done by phone on 7/5/16. (Mark Sliger photo)
Collective Soul’s first single, “Shine”, introduced the world to their heavy but melodic post-grunge sound. No one hit wonder, they followed-up with a self-titled album which included “December” and “The World I Know”. Fast-forwarding twenty years with other hit songs along the way, 2015 brought their 9th album See What You Started By Continuing.
This interview with Collective Soul rhythm guitarist Dean Roland was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Collective Soul’s concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 7/16/16. It was done by phone on 7/1/16. (Photo: Concord Music Group)
The Goo Goo Dolls have been making music for thirty years, starting as a rough and raw hard-rockin’ band and eventually becoming more accessible and hitting it big with songs like “Name”, “Iris”, and “Slide”. Over the years, they have sold over 10 millions albums, including 1995’s A Boy Named Goo and 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl; their latest album Boxes came out in May 2016.
The partners throughout this journey have been guitarist/singer John Rzeznik and bassist/singer Robby Takac. This interview with Takac was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for their concert on 7/16/16. It was done by phone on 6/9/16. (Bob Mussel photo)
“Everything happened in 1966 for The Spencer Davis Group,” says someone who would know – Spencer Davis himself. And what a year it was for the band. They started off with a UK Number One song “Keep On Running”, which knocked The Beatles’ single “Day Tripper” / “We Can Work It Out” off the top spot. Another UK Number One song, “Somebody Help Me”, followed a few months later.
But the highlight of the year for the band was the release of the timeless classic “Gimme Some Lovin'”, co-written by Davis, Muff Winwood, and Muff’s kid brother Steve, the band’s lead singer who also played organ and a bit of guitar.
Now, 1966 wasn’t actually the only year that things happened for The Spencer Davis Group. Their song “I’m A Man” was released in early 1967 and hit the Top Ten; a couple years later it was memorably covered by Chicago. But Steve Winwood left the band in 1967 to form Traffic, and as Spencer Davis puts it, they “lost a huge amount of momentum”.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the concert by The Spencer Davis Group as part of the Happy Together Tour at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on 7/13/16. It was done by phone on 6/29/16. (Liz Barry photo)
The early 1980’s were very good to Rick Springfield. He had a Number One song with “Jessie’s Girl”, plus other hits including “I’ve Done Everything for You”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, and “Affair of the Heart”. And MTV wasn’t the only place where you could catch him on TV – he was also the fan-favorite Noah Drake on the soap opera General Hospital.
Although that was his period of highest visibility, Springfield has continued to act on the small screen (High Tide, Californication, True Detective, and a return to General Hospital) and the big screen (Ricki and the Flash), and to record music, most recently his 2016 album Rocket Science. And as we saw on Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City from a few years ago, he can still rock out!
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Rick Springfield’s concert at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai on 7/10/16. It was done by email, with answers received on 6/17/16. (Publicity photo)
George Clinton is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the development of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic, whose notable 1970’s albums include Mothership Connection, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Maggot Brain, and One Nation Under a Groove, and whose songs include “Flash Light” and “One Nation Under A Groove” (both of which reached No. 1 in the US R&B charts), “Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”, “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)”, and “Dr. Funkenstein”. Clinton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and continues to tour.
This interview was done by phone on 6/9/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Lee “Scratch” Perry’s productions were amongst the first to feature and popularize the reggae sound, including Bob Marley’s pivotal early singles and first album – after Perry threatened to kill Marley for stealing his best musicians. All told, he produced hundreds of songs by various artists spread over multiple labels, many at his Black Ark studio. (Later bad vibes at the studio caused Perry to burn it down, according to his own claim at least.) He also wrote and recorded his own songs, and along with King Tubby pioneered the dub genre. A genius, and perhaps a bit of a madman, Perry’s importance to the development of reggae music cannot be overstated.
This interview was for a preview article for Perry’s concert on 6/19/16 at Discovery Ventura. It was done by phone on 6/9/16. (Thanks to Arnold Smith for heroic assistance in transcribing this interview. L. Paul Mann photo)
Singer and stringed-instrument virtuoso David Bromberg has quite a musical resume. He got his start in the Greenwich Village folk music scene, accompanying artists like Tom Paxton, Richie Havens, and Jerry Jeff Walker. His breakthrough (and unbilled) solo performance at the Isle of Wight Music Festival led to a recording contract which produced much fine music in a range of styles during the 1970’s. During this time he was also an in-demand session musician, with contributions to recordings by Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, The Eagles, and many, many more.
After a 22 year break from music, Bromberg returned to the stage and the studio. This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for his 6/23/16 performance at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 5/27/16.
There are many great things about Santa Barbara – the weather, the beach, the mountains, the lifestyle… And you can add Iration to this list, the popular Santa Barbara-based reggae band. Most of the current members of Iration met growing up in Hawaii, but they reconnected and formed the band in Santa Barbara, with their first release – the New Roots EP – coming out in 2006. Other recordings followed, including 2013’s Automatic and 2015’s Hotting Up which both hit the top of the U.S. Reggae chart.
This interview is with Iration guitarist and lead singer Micah Pueschel. It was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for their headlining performance at the 12th Annual KJEE Summer Round Up at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 6/3/16. It was done by email, with answers received 5/20/16. (Josue Rivas photo)
Dave Wakeling is the lead singer for The English Beat, one of the key bands in the British ska revival during the late 70’s and early 80’s, along with The Specials and Madness. The English Beat’s songs included the hits “Mirror in the Bathroom”, “Save it for Later”, “Too Nice to Talk To”, and covers of “Tears of a Clown” and “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, all of which still sound fresh some thirty-odd years after their first release. After The English Beat broke up, Wakeling co-founded General Public, which released the hit songs “Tenderness” and “I’ll Take You There”.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the concert by The English Beat at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 6/4/16. It was done by phone on 5/16/16. (Eugenio Iglesias photo)
Jack Grisham is the lead singer for T.S.O.L., which stands for True Sounds of Liberty, a band that was at the forefront of the L.A. hardcore punk movement in the early 1980’s along with Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Social Distortion. T.S.O.L.’s sound evolved from anti-government hardcore punk to goth punk to art punk before Grisham left the band in 1983. He returned to the band in 1999, and in 2003 he ran for governor of California in the recall election – he lost the election, but he still tours with T.S.O.L. He has also written several books, including his memoirs An American Demon and a book on recovery.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 5/13/16 concert by T.S.O.L. at The Garage in Ventura. It was done by phone on 4/29/16.
Charlie Musselwhite is a blues-harp player who got his start in Chicago before moving to San Francisco and being embraced by the counterculture scene. His 1967 debut album Stand Back! is considered a classic, and he has released over twenty more albums since then. A Blues Hall of Fame inductee, Musselwhite has also recorded with INXS, Ben Harper, Cyndi Lauper, and John Lee Hooker. Plus, he provided inspiration for Dan Aykroyd’s character in the Blues Brothers.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Musselwhite’s concert with John Mayall at Discovery Ventura on 5/8/16. It was done by phone on 4/30/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
When Sly & The Family Stone came onto the scene in the late 1960’s, they truly were “A Whole New Thing” – a band made up of men and women with different racial backgrounds who mixed soul, funk, and psychedelic rock to give music that could simultaneously make you dance and take you higher.
The band’s musical mastermind was Sly Stone, who wrote brilliant songs like “Dance to the Music”, “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Stand!”, “Everyday People”, and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”. In 1969, they released the classic album Stand! and had a breakthrough performance at Woodstock.
Sadly, Sly descended into drug addiction, from which he never really recovered. There were concert delays and cancellations, and only one more classic album came out – 1971’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On. Later efforts were spotty, and the original band was no more by 1975.
But the music lives on in The Family Stone, which features original Sly & The Family Stone members Jerry Martini (saxophone) and Greg Errico (drums). This interview with Martini, who was with Sly & The Family Stone from its beginnings in 1967 through its demise in 1975, was for a preview article for the 4/21/16 concert by The Family Stone at the Chumash Casino. It was done by phone on 4/7/16. (Ron Elkman photo)
Drummer Chad Smith joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the band’s fourth album Mother’s Milk, released in 1989, and has with them ever since. You can also hear him on albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and hit songs including “Give It Away”, “Under the Bridge”, “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside”, “Dani California”, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, and much, much more. He also drums for the supergroup Chickenfoot, and recently showed his humorous side with a drum off on the Tonight Show against lookalike Will Ferrell.
He’s also the drummer for Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats, for which he is joined by keyboardist Ed Roth, guitarist Jeff Kollman, and bassist Kevin Chown to give a funky brew with a jazz fusion edge. This interview was for a preview article for the Bombastic Meatbats concert on 4/15/16 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 4/11/16.
Linda Ronstadt’s career in music has taken many twists and turns. She began in country rock with the Stone Poneys, and had the hit song “Different Drum”. She then earned the nickname “The First Lady of Rock” with 1970’s / early 1980’s hits like “You’re No Good”, “When Will I Be Loved”, “Heat Wave”, “Blue Bayou”, “It’s So Easy”, and “Hurt So Bad”.
She also had notable success with her “Trio” recordings with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, was nominated for a Tony award for her Broadway performance of The Pirates of Penzance, and recorded traditional pop standards with Nelson Riddle and hit duets with James Ingram (“Somewhere Out There”) and Aaron Neville (“Don’t Know Much”). Mixed in were acclaimed recordings of the Mexican music that she grew up listening to.
It’s probably safe to say that Ronstadt had one of the most diverse singing careers of all time. And certainly one of the most successful.
Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in December 2012. This has made it impossible for her to sing, but her voice carries on in a lifetime of recordings.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for “A Conversation with Linda Ronstadt” at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 4/21/16. It was done by phone on 4/4/16. (Rocky Schenk photo)
Guitarist Greg Hetson has been instrumental (pun intended) in three notable SoCal punk rock bands: He played on the first Redd Kross EP (released in 1980, back when they were called Red Cross). He co-founded the hardcore band Circle Jerks, whose classic albums include Group Sex (1980), Wild in the Streets (1982), and Golden Shower of Hits (1983). And he played with Bad Religion from 1985-2014, including on the albums Suffer (1988), No Control (1989), Against the Grain (1990), and Recipe for Hate (1993). Hetson also has been a part of Punk Rock Karaoke since 1996, a punk rock supergroup that provides live backing for singers from the audience.
This interview was for a preview article for a Punk Rock Karaoke show at The Garage in Ventura, California on 4/16/16. It was done by email, with answers received on 4/8/16.
Third Eye Blind was one of the most popular alt-rock bands during the late 1990’s, with their ubiquitous hit “Semi-Charmed Life” and other notable songs like “How’s It Going to Be”, “Jumper”, “Graduate”, and “Never Let You Go”. The band has continued into the 2000’s under the leadership of singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephan Jenkins, with their most recent album being 2015’s Dopamine.
This interview was for a preview article on noozhawk.com for the 4/7/16 Third Eye Blind concert at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California on Thursday, April 7. It was done by email, with answers received on 3/21/16. Clearly Jenkins wasn’t into talking about the past…
There’s no denying that many classic albums have classic album covers. Think of Crosby, Stills & Nash sitting on a couch on their debut album. Or The Doors looking out the window of the Morrison Hotel. Or the handsome young James Taylor on the cover of Sweet Baby James.
It turns out that the same photographer, Henry Diltz, took those and many, many other album cover photos over the years, along with thousands upon thousands of candid and action shots of musicians in places like Laurel Canyon and at Woodstock. Diltz was also a member of the Modern Folk Quartet.
This interview was for a preview article for Behind The Lens at the Lobero Theatre on 3/23/16, for which Diltz will be sharing some of his favorite photos – and the stories behind them. Joining Diltz will be Pattie Boyd, the muse for the songs “Something” by George Harrison, and “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, plus an accomplished photographer herself. This was done by email, with answers received on 3/16/16. (Photo from morrisonhotelgallery.com)
He was a founding member of The Byrds, and contributed to hits including “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, and “Eight Miles High”, which he co-wrote. He then co-founded Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young), writing or co-writing “Guinnevere”, “Almost Cut My Hair”, “Long Time Gone”, and “Wooden Ships”, and contributing vocals on such beloved songs as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, “Teach Your Children”, “Our House”, and “Woodstock”.
While he is best known for his work as a member of a group, Crosby also released the acclaimed 1971 solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name, and several other solo albums, most recently 2014’s well-received Croz. And two more solo albums are currently in the works.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Crosby’s solo concert on 3/22/16 at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 3/11/16. (Django Crosby photo)
Tata Vega is one of the featured artists in the Academy Award winning documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom, thanks to her amazing career as a backing vocalist with artists including Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, and Leon Russell.
In addition to backing other artists, she was in the groups Pollution and Earthquire, and has released eight solo albums. She was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Soul female Gospel Performance in 1985, and sang on four songs for the soundtrack of The Color Purple, including one (“Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)”) which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category.
This interview was for a preview article for the benefit concert for The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 3/13/16. Tickets to the event are available here. It was done by phone on 2/26/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Guitarist Danny Kortchmar played on some of the most beloved albums from the 1970’s – Carole King’s Tapestry, James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James, and Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty, to name the most obvious.
But that’s just scratching the surface of his phenomenal career in music, which also included six months with The Fugs, some great fusion albums with The Section, a fruitful collaboration with Don Henley that yielded “Dirty Laundry”, “All She Wants to Do is Dance”, and “Sunset Grill”, producing a Neil Young album, co-writing “Somebody’s Baby” with Jackson Browne, and playing on the Harry Nilsson album Pussy Cats which was produced by John Lennon.
This interview was for a preview article for Kortchmar’s concert at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez with Steve Postell and Dan Navarro on 3/9/16 as part of the Tales From the Tavern concert series. It was done by phone on 2/26/16.
Bob Margolin has serious Blues cred from his time as a guitarist in blues legend Muddy Waters’ band from 1973 until 1980, appearing on various albums including 1977’s Hard Again, which was produced by Johnny Winter. With Waters, Margolin was also part of the concert documented in the movie The Last Waltz. After his time with Waters, he has released various acclaimed albums as a solo artist, most recently “My Road” which came out earlier this year.
This interview was done for a preview article for Margolin’s 3/12/16 concert at the Carrillo Recreation Center in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 2/23/16.