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Interview: Dr. John

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.

Concert Review: fun.

Review of fun. at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 9/7/13.

Paul Mann Interview with Peter Hook

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.

Interview: Boz Scaggs

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.

Concert Review: Heart

Review of Heart and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 8/27/13.

Concert Review: The Postal Service

Review of The Postal Service at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 7/20/13.

Concert Review: Steely Dan

Review of Steely Dan at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 8/20/13.

Interview: Ann Wilson

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)

Interview: Booker T. Jones

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)

Interview: Cherie Currie

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)

Interview: David Freiberg

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.

Interview: Mike Palm

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: Barenaked Ladies

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: MC Hammer

Photos of MC Hammer, Chumash Casino, 6/20/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Beach Boys

Photos of The Beach Boys, Chumash Casino, 6/6/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Huey Lewis and the News

Photos of Huey Lewis and the News, Chumash Casino, 5/16/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Tom Curren

Photos of from Tom Curren, SOhO, Santa Barbara, 4/13/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Dave Stewart

Photos of from Dave Stewart and friends, Troubadour, Los Angeles 4/24/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Coachella 2013

Photos of from Coachella, 4/12/13 (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Interview: Chris Geddes

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.

Interview: Doug Clifford

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.

Interview: Chuck Negron

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)

Interview: Mark Lindsay

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.

Concert Review: The Blasters

Review of The Blasters in Santa Barbara, 6/29/13.

Concert Review: Robert Plant and the Sensational Shape Shifters

Review of Robert Plant and the Sensational Shape Shifters, Santa Barbara Bowl, 6/28/13.

Concert Review: Zavalaz

Review of Zavalaz at SOhO, Santa Barbara, 6/19/13.

Interview: Blag Dahlia

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.

Concert Review: Yngwie Malmsteen

Review of Yngwie Malmsteen, Majestic Ventura Theater, 5/12/13.

Concert Review: Devendra Banhart

Review of Devendra Banhart, SOhO, Santa Barbara, 5/11/13.

Interview: John Mayall

John Mayall has been called “The Father of British Blues”, with good reason. As bandleader and songwriter for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, he was instrumental in launching the British blues boom in the 1960′s.

Mayall is probably best known for the landmark 1966 album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (the “Beano” album), which brought Clapton to “Clapton is God” status. Mayall’s Bluesbreakers band was also an early incubator for other notable talent including guitarists Peter Green (who along with other Bluesbreakers alums John McVie and Mick Fleetwood formed the early Fleetwood Mac) and Mick Taylor (who went on to join the Rolling Stones).

Mayall has recorded dozens of albums over the decades, and at 79 years old continues to tour extensively. The following interview was for a preview article for his 5/22/13 concert at SOhO in Santa Barbara. Answers were received by email on 5/6/13.

Concert Review: Built to Spill

Review of Built to Spill, SOhO, Santa Barbara, 5/1/13.

Review: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Review of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Granada Theatre, 5/2/13.

Photos: Jello Biafra at Coachella

Photos of Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, 4/12/13, Coachella (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Bobby McFerrin

Photos of Bobby McFerrin, 4/2/13, Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Party 2013

Photos of Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Party, 3/28/13, Club Nokia, Los Angeles (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Photos: Akron/Family

Photos of Akron/Family, 1/29/13, Muddy Waters Cafe, Santa Barbara (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)

Concert Review: Danzig with Doyle

Review of Danzig with Doyle, Majestic Ventura Theater, 4/28/13.

Concert Review: Enjoying the Coachella Spillover

Review of Coachella 2013 bands playing near Santa Barbara:

  • Arlo Guthrie (Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, 4/15/13, didn’t play at Coachella)

  • The Japandroids (Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara, 4/15/13)

  • Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (SLO Brewing, San Luis Obispo, 4/16/13)

  • Johnny Marr (Santa Barbara Bowl, 4/18/13)

  • New Order (Santa Barbara Bowl, 4/18/13)

  • Dinosaur Jr. (Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara, 4/18/13)

  • Sigur Ros (Santa Barbara Bowl, 4/19/13)

  • The Gaslight Anthem (Majestic Ventura Theater, 4/20/13)

  • Interview: Arlo Guthrie

    Arlo Guthrie is a beloved folk singer best known for his talking blues epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” and his Top 40 hit “The City of New Orleans”. But this is just the cream of the crop from dozens of albums that he has released and songs he has performed over decades of touring since the late 1960′s. He also starred in the 1969 movie Alice’s Restaurant, and made a “far out” appearance in the Woodstock movie, which used his song “Coming Into Los Angeles” as accompaniment to footage of some serious reefer gladness.

    Guthrie is also the son of folk music legend Woody Guthrie, who wrote hundreds of notable songs including “This Land Is Your Land”. The family’s musical legacy continues with Arlo’s children.

    The following interview was for a preview article for Arlo’s concert at the Lobero Theatre on 4/15/13. He answered the questions by email, with answers received on 3/26/13.

    Concert Review: Bobby McFerrin

    Review of Bobby McFerrin, Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara, 4/2/13.

    Interview: Morris Day

    Morris Day is the frontman for The Time, a band which is known for funky songs like “Jungle Love”, “The Bird”, “Jerk Out”, and “777-9311″.

    From the beginning, The Time enjoyed a close association with Day’s childhood friend Prince, who contributed significantly to their early albums – 1981′s The Time, 1982′s What Time Is It?, and 1984′s Ice Cream Castle. The combination of Day’s spirited vocals and Prince’s funky grooves led to some of the finest R&B of the decade. The band’s early association with Prince culminated in an appearance as the rival band in the film Purple Rain.

    The Time returned in 1990 with the well-regarded album Pandemonium, recorded with less input from Prince. The original band also released the album Condensate in 2011, where the band was called The Original 7ven because Prince owns the recording rights for the name The Time.

    The following interview was for a preview article for the concert by Morris Day and The Time at the Chumash Casino on 4/11/13. It was done by phone on 4/3/13.

    Concert Review: Jeff Mangum at the Lobero

    Review of Jeff Mangum, Lobero Theatre, 3/25/13.

    Interview: Raffi

    Raffi has been called “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world”. It all started with his 1976 album Singable Songs for the Very Young, which includes songs “The More We Get Together”, “Down By The Bay”, “Willoughby Wallaby Woo”, and “Going to the Zoo”, and which was notable for bringing the highest quality in recording and production to children’s music. He went on to release many other hugely popular children’s albums, and along the way wrote classics including “Baby Beluga” and “Bananaphone”.

    Raffi is also a passionate advocate for children, and co-founded the Centre for Child Honouring which works to restore communities and ecosystems by addressing the universal needs of children. He has been honored as a recipient of the Order of Canada and the United Nations’ Earth Achievement Award.

    The following is from a phone interview on 3/26/13 for a preview article for his concert in Santa Barbara on 4/7/13.

    Concert Review: The Specials

    Review of The Specials, Majestic Ventura Theater, 3/22/13.

    Interview: Stephen Pope

    Stephen Pope plays bass guitar for Wavves, a noise pop / sunshine punk band whose profile has been on the rise over the past few years with their awesome 2010 album King of the Beach, 2011′s Life Sux EP featuring the song “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl”, and now their new album Afraid of Heights. Before Wavves, Pope played with the late Jay Reatard, including on his last album Watch Me Fall.

    It must be mentioned that Wavves has also made headlines for frontman Nathan William’s chemical-induced onstage breakdown at the 2009 Barcelona Primavera Sound Festival, and for Pope getting kicked out of the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards for pot possession.

    The following interview was done by phone on 2/20/13 for a preview article for the Wavves concert on 3/23/13 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara.

    Concert Review: Dave Mason

    Review of Dave Mason, Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara, 3/9/13.

    Interview: Garry Peterson

    The Guess Who had a truly impressive number of hit songs during the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, including “These Eyes”, “Laughing”, “Undun”, “No Time”, “American Woman”, “No Sugar Tonight”, “Share the Land”, and “Clap for the Wolfman”, many of which are on regular rotation on today’s classic rock radio.

    Drummer Garry Peterson was a founding member of The Guess Who, and was part of their classic late 1960′s and early 1970′s line-up. He and founding bassist Jim Kale are in the current incarnation of the band.

    This interview was done by phone on 2/21/13 for a preview article for The Guess Who’s concert at the Chumash Casino on 3/14/13. (Wayne Drennar photo)

    Interview: Kim Wilson

    Kim Wilson (who Santa Barbarans might know as “Goleta Slim”) is the lead vocalist and harmonica player for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, whose blues rock has thrilled audiences for decades. The band’s commercial peak came in the 1980′s with the hit songs “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up”, which helped to launch a blues revival. The latest release by The Fabulous Thunderbirds is called On The Verge. Wilson has also recorded with other artists including Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and James Cotton.

    Interview: Dan Hicks

    Dan Hicks has been a part of musical history in at least two big ways.

    First, he was the drummer for The Charlatans, which is widely credited as the first psychedelic rock band. The Charlatans formed in San Francisco in 1964, and Hicks joined in time for their summer 1965 residency at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada. When they returned to San Francisco, The Charlatans were important players in the city’s burgeoning music scene, helping to pave the way for the emerging San Francisco Sound.

    Second, in 1968 he founded Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, which went in a more eclectic acoustic direction colored by jazz, country, and swing influences. Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks released several well-regarded albums before disbanding in the mid-1970′s. A little over a decade ago, Hicks put together a new incarnation of the Hot Licks to record new material and to tour.

    The following interview was for a preview article for a concert by Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, California on 2/27/13. It was done by phone on 2/9/13.

    Concert Review: Freebo and Jerry Donahue

    Review of Freebo and Jerry Donahue, Live Oak Universalist Congregation / Song Tree, Santa Barbara, 2/9/13.