When Jackson Browne assembled the band for his 1977 landmark live album Running on Empty, he chose some of the best musicians in the business. For backing vocals he chose Rosemary Butler. The rest, as they say, is history.
By that point, Butler already had a notable career in music. She was in the all-female band the Ladybirds, which opened for The Rolling Stones in 1964. She later joined the all-female hard rock band Birtha, which released two albums in the early 1970′s. And she had sung backing vocals for Bonnie Raitt and Warren Zevon. She went on to sing backing vocals for many other notable artists including Linda Ronstadt, Ringo Starr, James Taylor, Little Feat, and many more. Butler just released a new album You Just Watch Me.
This interview was done by email for a preview article for her concert at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 12/1/13, with answers received on Thanksgiving Day, 11/28/13. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Review of Bonnie Bramlett with Rosemary Butler, Tata Vega, Carl Graves, Eddie Tuduri, Edward James Olmos, and more, 9/28/12, Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara.
Review of the Meat Puppets 11/8/13, Quasi 11/14/13, and Bill Callahan, 11/15/13, all at SOhO, Santa Barbara.
Photos of Quasi at SOhO, Santa Barbara 11/14/13. (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
In one of the more memorable scenes from the 1992 movie Wayne’s World, Wayne and Garth get to hang out backstage with Alice Cooper, to which they respond by bowing down and telling him, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”
Cooper commands such respect, fictional or otherwise, both for his music and pioneering dark theatrics involving guillotines, snakes, twisted makeup, and much more. His efforts have earned him the honorary (or is it dishonorary?) title of the “Godfather of Shock Rock”, plus well-deserved election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Alice Cooper saga began in the late 1960′s when the band, at that time itself called Alice Cooper, released the psychedelic-tinged album Pretties For You, which Frank Zappa reportedly agreed to produce to get the band to leave his house. Early notoriety came when Alice Cooper, the singer, threw a live chicken from the stage which was subsequently attacked and killed by the audience, an incident exaggerated by the press. The classic Alice Cooper sound was born when producer Bob Ezrin came on board, and the band’s profile grew with hits like “I’m Eighteen”, “School’s Out”, and “No More Mr. Nice Guy”.
Alice Cooper, the singer, launched a successful solo career with his 1975 album Welcome to My Nightmare, and since that time he has released multiple albums and played countless concerts which push the boundaries of what a rock and roll show can be.
This interview was done for a preview article for Alice Cooper’s concert on 11/21/13 at the Chumash Casino. It was done by phone on 11/5/13.
Photos of Buddy Guy at Campbell Hall, UC Santa Barbara 11/5/13. With Quinn Sullivan. (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Review of The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 11/1/13.
Sam Coomes sings, plays guitar, keyboards, and whatever else might be laying around for Portland-based indie rock veterans Quasi, who have been cranking out remarkable music, that has unjustly flown under the radar, for two decades. Back to their roots as a two-piece – Coomes with Janet Weiss on drums – they recently released an adventurous double album called Mole City which straddles the pop, indie, and avant rock universes.
While Quasi has been active, both principals have also made marks on other projects, Weiss as drummer for riot grrrl notables Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and Coomes as a guest with Built to Spill and with the late, great Elliott Smith both in the alt rock band Heatmiser and in his solo career. Along the way, Quasi backed Smith on some of his tours.
This interview was done for a preview article for Quasi’s long overdue Santa Barbara debut at SOhO on 11/14/13. It was done by email, with answers received on 10/28/13.
Passion Pit has come a long way since Michael Angelakos recorded a set of modern electronica songs on his laptop in his dorm room as a Valentine’s gift to his then-girlfriend. Those songs ended up getting released on an EP that included the additional song “Sleepyhead”, which became a minor hit.
Since then, Passion Pit has released two popular, critically acclaimed albums of well-crafted electronic pop, the latest of which, 2012′s Gossamer, includes “Take A Walk”, their biggest hit to date. In its full-band touring configuration, Passion Pit has appeared on Saturday Night Live, played at Coachella, and much more.
This interview with Passion Pit’s bassist Jeff Apruzzese was for a preview article for their concert on 10/26/13 at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Review of Atoms for Peace at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 10/17/13.
Although the word “virtuoso” gets used a bit too generously at times, it truly applies to guitarist Steve Vai. But don’t just take my word for it: he was called the “little Italian virtuoso” by no less an authority than Frank Zappa, who hired the young Steve Vai to transcribe his guitar solos and play in his band.
After his time with Zappa, Vai played with David Lee Roth at the dawn of Roth’s solo career – that’s him doing the talking guitar at the beginning of “Yankee Rose” – and with Whitesnake. He also released various solo albums including 1990′s Passion and Warfare and 2012′s Story of Light, has been a guest artist on recordings by many artists, and has toured with fellow guitar virtuosos Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, and others as part of the G3 concert series. You might also remember him as the Devil’s guitarist Jack Butler in the movie Crossroads.
The following interview was for a preview article for Vai’s 10/18/13 concert at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by email, with answers received 10/10/13.
Review of John Fogerty at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles, 10/11/13.
Review of The Avett Brothers at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 10/10/13.
Review of World’s Greatest Teen Idols (David Cassidy, Micky Dolenz, Peter Noon) at the Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, 10/3/13.
Photos of World’s Greatest Teen Idols (David Cassidy, Peter Noone, Micky Dolenz) at Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, 10/3/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
There have been teen idols throughout the history of rock and roll, dating back to the young Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson, and continuing up through Miley Cyrus (in her pre-twerking days, at least) and One Direction.
One of the most popular teen idols of all time is David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge on the 1970′s TV show The Partridge Family, and at the same time also enjoyed a successful pop music career including the smash No. 1 hit “I Think I Love You”. Since that time, he has continued to record music and act on television and in musical theater.
The following interview was for a preview article for The World’s Greatest Teen Idols show at the Chumash Casino on 10/3/13, featuring Cassidy and fellow idols Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees and Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits, who together have sold over 250 million records. It was done by email, with answers received on 9/30/13.
Well, it turns out that Rachmaninoff wasn’t the only prominent musician to have played the piano. The owner that was giving it away for free was Vijay Iyer.
Dr. John, aka The Night Tripper, has released over thirty albums which draw from the music of his native New Orleans and beyond, bookended by his 1968 voodoo psychedelic masterpiece debut Gris-Gris and last year’s wonderful Locked Down, produced by Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys.
Although not the sort of artist who had big hits – his only one was the funky “Right Place Wrong Time” – Dr. John has been hugely respected in the music world for decades. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, not just for his solo career, but also for his contributions to recordings as a member of the group of Los Angeles session musicians now known as The Wrecking Crew, and later contributions to recordings by an incredible set of musicians including The Rolling Stones, Ringo Starr, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Rickie Lee Jones, Carly Simon, Joe Cocker, and many more.
The following interview was for a preview article for a concert by Dr. John at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on 9/20/13. It was done by phone on 9/11/13.
by Paul Mann
Peter Hook (known as “Hooky” by friends and fans alike) may be one of the most fascinating figures in modern electronic music. He created a new music sound born out of punk rock roots, in a working class neighborhood of Manchester in the mid 1970′s. He was a founding member of the pivotal rock group Joy Division. His unique signature bass sound, invented out of economic necessity, became an intricate part of dance club music, in the early 1980′s. As Joy Division morphed into New Order, after the untimely passing of iconic singer Ian Curtis, his music became part of mainstream pop culture. But maybe, even more importantly, that sound led to a whole new type of electronic dance music, that evolved into today’s world of massive EDM pop culture.
Although Boz Scaggs is best known for the slick R&B hits “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle” from his breakthrough 1976 album Silk Degrees, his career in music has spanned much, much more.
Scaggs first made a mark as a member of the Steve Miller Band during their early psychedelic rock phase, playing guitar plus writing and singing a few songs on the band’s first two albums.
His first solo album after leaving Miller’s orbit was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, and featured a young Duane Allman on guitar shortly before Allman reached guitar god status. This has been ranked in the Top 500 albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Subsequent solo releases were also well regarded, hitting a peak with the aforementioned Silk Degrees which sold millions of copies and won Scaggs a Grammy for Best R&B Song for “Lowdown”. Scaggs has continued to release acclaimed albums over the years, most recently the covers-heavy Memphis.
This interview was for a preview article for Boz Scagg’s concert at the Chumash Casino on 9/12/13. It was done by phone on 8/28/13.
Review of Heart and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 8/27/13.
Ann Wilson is the lead singer for the band Heart, which was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ann and sister/guitarist Nancy Wilson have formed the core of Heart since the 1970′s, when they recorded hits including “Magic Man”, “Crazy on You”, and “Barracuda”. They struck gold again in the 1980′s with help from MTV and songs like “What About Love”, “Never”, “These Dreams”, and “Alone”.
This interview was done by phone on 8/7/13, and was for a preview article for Heart’s concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 8/27/13, with opening act Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. (Norman Seeff photo)
Booker T. Jones has had an astounding career in music, as part of Booker T. & the M.G.’s and beyond.
With the M.G.’s, he had hits in the 1960′s with instrumentals including the timeless “Green Onions”, “Hang ‘Em High”, and “Time Is Tight”. The band also backed an amazing collection of artists on the legendary Stax Records, such as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Albert King.
Jones also co-wrote notable songs for other artists including “Born Under A Bad Sign”, “I Love You More Than Words Can Say”, and “I’ve Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)”. Moreover, he produced records by Willie Nelson, Bill Withers, and Rita Coolidge, and he played with musicians including Stephen Stills and Bob Dylan. Booker T. & the M.G.’s were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and Jones received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2007.
This interview was done by phone on 8/8/13 for a preview article for the Memphis Music Fest at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on 8/23/13. (Piper Ferguson photo)
When Cherie Currie joined the all-girl jailbait rock band The Runaways, whose classic line-up also included Joan Jett and Lita Ford and whose manager was the legendary Kim Fowley, it was 1975 and she was a teenage David Bowie fanatic.
Over the next few years, the white-corsetted Currie and the rest of the band made a mark in the burgeoning punk rock scene with infectious songs like “Cherry Bomb” and “Queens of Noise”, ultimately becoming an important influence on all-female bands like The Go-Gos, The Bangles, and The Donnas, and various male rockers as well.
A well-publicized 2010 biopic brought The Runaways back into the popular consciousness, and Currie now has a new album in the works. She answered the following questions by email, with answers received on 8/16/13; this was for a preview article for her concert at San Luis Obispo on 8/18/13. (Donna Santisi photo)
David Freiberg was a co-founder of 1960′s psychedelic band Quicksilver Messenger Service, which was known for extended jams as captured on their classic album Happy Trails. He toured with Jefferson Airplane toward the end of that band’s existence, and stayed on when the band evolved into Jefferson Starship. He was a co-writer of Jefferson Starship’s 1979 hit song “Jane”. Both Freiberg and Paul Kantner quit the band as its sound became more commercial, in particular before the recording of “We Built This City” as Starship.
Freiberg answered the following questions by phone on 7/16/13 for a preview article for the Jefferson Starship performance at the Chumash Casino on 8/1/13.
Mike Palm is the singer, songwriter, and guitarist for Agent Orange, a skate punk band from Orange County which plays a potent combination of punk and surf rock. The band first gained attention for the 1979 recording of the song “Bloodstains”, which was included on DJ Rodney Bingenheimer compilation album Rodney On The Roq. Their brilliant first album, Living In Darkness, came out in 1981 and features punk originals and smokin’ covers of surf rock classics. The band has released several more albums and EP’s over the years.
This interview was done by email, with answers received on 7/17/13. It was for a preview article for the Agent Orange show at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 7/19/13.
Photos of Barenaked Ladies, plus Guster, Ben Folds Five, Santa Barbara Bowl, 6/22/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Photos of MC Hammer, Chumash Casino, 6/20/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Photos of The Beach Boys, Chumash Casino, 6/6/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Photos of Huey Lewis and the News, Chumash Casino, 5/16/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Photos of from Tom Curren, SOhO, Santa Barbara, 4/13/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Photos of from Dave Stewart and friends, Troubadour, Los Angeles 4/24/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Photos of from Coachella, 4/12/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Belle and Sebastian’s early days are legendary. The Scottish indie pop band quickly recorded their first album Tigermilk in Glasgow in 1996 as part of the yearly project for a music business course at Stow College, pressing 1000 vinyl copies which they could barely give away.
But the law of supply and demand kicked in as interest in the band grew, thanks to the popularity of their follow-up If You’re Feeling Sinister which had a much wider release, and copies of Tigermilk started commanding prices in the hundreds of pounds. Meanwhile, the band laid low, with singer and main songwriter Stuart Murdoch refusing to do interviews for years. But the buzz continued to build, and the band cracked into the American market.
Fast-forwarding to the present, Belle and Sebastian has by now released eight albums and loads of EPs and singles, with their music drawing favorable comparisons to notables such as The Smiths, The Velvet Underground, and Nick Drake.
The following interview was done with Belle and Sebastian’s keyboard player Chris Geddes by phone on 7/8/13 for a preview article for the band’s concert on 7/17/13 at the Santa Barbara Bowl, the only California appearance of its tour.
Doug “Cosmo” Clifford was the drummer for Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose songbook includes classics such as “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “Green River”, “Down on the Corner”, “My Back Door”, “Fortunate Son”, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”, “Travelin’ Band”, and “Up Around the Bend”. Creedence also did smokin’ covers of “Susie Q” and “I Heard It Through the Gravevine”. The band broke up acrimoniously in 1972, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 1995, Clifford and Creedence Clearwater Revival bassist Stu Cook formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the name change reflecting the absence of singer/songwriter John Fogerty and his late brother Tom. This band, which not coincidentally also abbreviates to CCR, plays the hits we know and love from their days with Creedence Clearwater Revival.
This interview was done by phone on 7/3/13 for a preview article for Creedence Clearwater Revisited’s concert at the Santa Barbara County Fair in Santa Maria on 7/13/13.
Chuck Negron was one of three lead singers for Three Dog Night, which had a whopping twenty-one Top Forty songs between 1969 and 1975. Three of these hit Number One – “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)”, “Black and White”, and “Joy to the World”, the latter featuring Negron’s vocals and the familiar opening line “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”. He also sang lead vocals on “One”, “Eli’s Coming”, “An Old-Fashioned Love Song”, and “Easy to be Hard”. These, like most of Three Dog Night’s songs, were covers, often in very different arrangements from the originals.
Negron went through a period of serious drug addiction, which he finally overcame in the early 1990′s. His book Three Dog Nightmare is a harrowing account of his rock and roll excess, and starts with the line, “I should be dead.”
This interview was for a preview article for the Happy Together Tour show at the Chumash Casino on 7/11/13, for which Lindsay is one of the featured performers. (Mac O’Brien photo)
Mark Lindsay was the lead singer for Paul Revere & The Raiders, one of the most popular bands of the 1960′s. Their songs include “Kicks”, “Steppin’ Out”, “Hungry”, “Good Thing”, “Him or Me, What’s It Gonna Be”, and “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” which was a Number One hit in 1971. Their early songs, in particular, have a raw sound that was influential on punk rock a decade later.
Paul Revere & The Raiders appeared regularly on television, including being the house band for Dick Clark’s show Where The Action Is. They typically played in American Revolutionary War costumes, giving a visual gimmick to go along with their rockin’ music. It has been reported that Lindsay is the most televised American lead singer in history.
Lindsay also had success as a solo artist, with “Arizona” selling over one million copies.
Review of Robert Plant and the Sensational Shape Shifters, Santa Barbara Bowl, 6/28/13.
Review of Zavalaz at SOhO, Santa Barbara, 6/19/13.
The punk rock band The Dwarves has taken the “Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll” mantra to heart, with nearly three decades of decadence under their belts.
Formed in Chicago and now based in San Francisco, The Dwarves gained early notoriety for ferocious 15-minute shows that often degraded into violent brawls, and at times included onstage sex-acts. They also raised eyebrows with controversial song and album titles and artwork, including the 1990 album Blood Guts & Pussy which shows nude women (and a midget) drenched in animal blood.
The core of the band is singer Blag Dahlia and guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed, the latter the subject of a death hoax which got the band dropped from their record label Sub Pop. Dahlia was himself in the news when he was assaulted in 2004 by Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Josh Homme.
Blag Dahlia answered the following questions by email, with answers received on 5/29/13. This was for a preview article for the show by The Dwarves on 6/6/13 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara.