This category contains 323 posts

Interview: David Singleton

Robert Fripp is a guitarist best known as the driving force behind the mighty progressive rock band King Crimson. He has also collaborated with David Bowie (think of the heavenly sustained guitar in the song “Heroes”), Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall, Andy Summers, and many others. And starting with his early recordings with Brian Eno, he also pioneered the tape looping system Frippertronics, creating ethereal soundscapes and ambient pieces. Fripp greatly expanded his audience during the pandemic in a series of quirky videos with his wife Toyah.

David Singleton is Fripp’s “reluctant manager”.

Well, of course, David Singleton is much more than this. He is also a producer for the music of King Crimson and for the recent acclaimed documentary “In the Court of the Crimson King”, an audio engineer, author of The Vicar Chronicles about the music business, co-founder of the Discipline Global Mobile music label, and a musician himself.

This interview was for a preview article for for Fripp and Singleton’s talk “An Evening With Englishmen Abroad” at the New Vic Theatre in Santa Barbara on 3/1/24. It was done by phone on 2/14/24.

Interview: JD Souther

Singer/songwriter JD Souther has given us some very memorable music over the years.

He had a solo hit in 1979 with “You’re Only Lonely”, and ten of his songs have been recorded by Linda Ronstadt including “Faithless Love”, “Simple Man, Simple Dream”, and “Prisoner in Disguise”.

Then there are his co-written songs: “Her Town Too” with which he sang with James Taylor, “Best of My Love”, “Heartache Tonight”, “Victim of Love”, and “New Kid in Town” as recorded by the Eagles, and Don Henley’s hit “The Heart of the Matter”.

This interview was for a preview article for for JD Souther’s 2/26/20 concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 2/21/20. (Jeremy Cowart photo)

Interview: Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert is a music legend.

As leader and trumpeter for Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, he had a string of hit songs in the 1960’s including “The Lonely Bull”, “A Taste of Honey”, “Spanish Flea”, “Casino Royale”, and “This Guy’s in Love with You”. Famously, in 1966 the band outsold The Beatles by a ratio of two to one. Musical success continued, including Alpert’s 1979 instrumental recording “Rise” which hit Number One in the charts.

Along the way, Alpert co-founded A&M Records with Jerry Moss – the “A” is for Alpert, and the “M” is for Moss. In addition to Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, A&M artists included The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, the Police, and Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, whose early albums for the label were produced by Alpert and Moss. Alpert married Brasil ’66 singer Lani Hall in 1973.

Finally, The Herb Alpert Foundation was created in the 1980’s, and has provided millions of dollars to support youth and arts education in California and beyond.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 2/28/20 concert by Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Granda Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 1/13/20. (Dewey Nicks photo)

Interview: Glen Phillips

Toad the Wet Sprocket chose the name for their band because it sounded funny, and it was meant to be temporary. That was over 30 years ago.

The bandmembers – singer/songwriter/guitarist Glen Phillips, guitarist/songwriter Todd Nichols, drummer Randy Guss, and bassist Dean Dinning – knew each other from San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara. Phillips was only 15 when the band formed, Nichols and Dinning were 19, and Dinning was 20. The band had a breakthrough with their third album fear, released in 1991. This spawned the hits “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean”, which still have healthy airplay on the radio. Later hits included “Fall Down”, and “Good Intentions”. The band broke up in 1998, but have now been back together for over a decade.

This interview with Glen Phillips was for a preview article for for the 1/30/20 and 1/31/20 Toad the Wet Sprocket shows at the Lobero Theatre in their hometown of Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 1/13/20. (Eli Reskow photo)

Interview: Dick Lucas

Dick Lucas is the singer for Subhumans, who are regarded to be one of the most important and influential anarcho-punk rock bands, with songs that have railed against war, corporations, politics, and oppression with unmatched ferocity.

Subhumans formed in 1980 in Southwest England, and after three EPs released their first album Day the Country Died in 1982. This was followed by the album From Cradle to Grave in 1983, featuring the 16-minute title track. Several more releases followed before the band broke up in 1985. Fortunately, Subhumans reunited in the 1990’s, and they recently released Crisis Point, their first new album in twelve years. The band has had the same line-up since 1983.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 10/21/19 Subhumans concert at Discovery Ventura in Ventura, California. It was done by phone on 10/12/19. (Publicity photo)

Interview: Tom Ball

Harmonica phenom/singer Tom Ball and guitar wizard Kenny Sultan have charmed audiences all over the world for decades with their good-time acoustic blues music. Their long-time Sunday residency at Cold Spring Tavern has been hugely popular for nearly forty years, and during that time they have also hit virtually every other Santa Barbara venue, from nearly-forgotten dive bars to the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Tom and Kenny have released eight albums together, and have been featured on multiple radio programs, film scores, TV soundtracks, and commercials. Tom has also played on over 200 albums by other artists including Kenny Loggins and Jeff Bridges, and Kenny was honored by Martin Guitars with the Signature Model 00018KS. They are a true Santa Barbara treasure!

This interview with Tom Ball was for a preview article for for Tom and Kenny’s 40th Anniversary party at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 10/26/19. It was done by phone on 10/10/19. (Skip Saenger photo)

Interview: Chip Kinman

Chip Kinman, along with his brother Tony who passed away in 2018, has had a rather colorful musical journey. Their band The Dils was a notable late-70’s punk rock band whose songs included “I Hate the Rich” and “Class War”. This was followed by Rank and File, a roots rock band which is heralded as one of the pioneers of the cowpunk genre. The Kinman brothers changed direction again for Blackbird, a drum machine-driven noise rock band. Then came their old-school Western music project, Cowboy Nation.

Which brings us to Ford Madox Ford, whose debut album This American Blues came out in 2018, and was produced by Tony. When I saw Ford Madox Ford at the Troubadour in April 2018, Chip kicked off the proceedings by saying, “We’re going to do something that’s never been done. We’re going to play some punk rock. We’re going to play some blues. And we’re going to do it at the same time.” They then launched into a cousin of the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”, followed by a punk-infused bluesy stomp.

This interview was for a preview article for for the Ford Madox Ford performance at the Majestic Ventura Theater on 10/4/19, as one of the opening bands for the Dead Kennedys. It was done by email, with answers received 9/18/19. (“Taco” John Norman photo)

Interview: Michael Nesmith

Michael Nesmith is best known for his time in The Monkees, a group whose music and television show offered a fun, zany, and sanitized take on the emerging youth culture in the 1960’s. Although the television show lasted only two years, it has remained popular and influential to the present day. The music was also hugely successful, with four of The Monkees’ albums and three of their singles hitting Number 1 in the U.S. charts.

Before The Monkees, Nesmith had written a number of songs including “Different Drum”, which was a hit for Linda Ronstadt. When The Monkees dissolved, he helped to shape the emerging country rock genre, starting with the 1970 album Magnetic South credited to Michael Nesmith & The First National Band. He continued in the country rock vein for a series of acclaimed albums in the 1970’s.

Nesmith later founded the Pacific Arts video production company, which released Repo Man and other movies, and he produced music videos including “All Night Long” for Lionel Richie and “The Way You Make Me Feel” for Michael Jackson.

This interview was for a preview article for for Nesmith’s 10/2/19 performance at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 9/10/19.

Interview: Klaus Flouride

Forty years ago, the Dead Kennedys released their first single “California Uber Alles”, which humorously warns of a New Age dystopia courtesy of then-Governor Jerry Brown.

“California Uber Alles” also appeared on the band’s classic 1980 debut album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, along with such satirical and darkly humorous songs as “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” – which is kind of self explanatory, “Kill the Poor” – a Jonathan Swift worthy proposal to use neutron bombs to kill poor people without damaging property, “Chemical Warfare” – a fantasy about gassing country club members, and “Holiday In Cambodia” – which manages to be critical of both the brutality of Pol Pot’s regime and Americans who seem more absorbed with their own so-called problems that they ignore atrocities elsewhere in the world.

The rest of the band’s core discography is the In God We Trust, Inc. EP, the Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist and Bedtime for Democracy albums, and the compilation Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. Other notable songs include “MTV – Get Off The Air”, “Too Drunk To Fuck”, and “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, the latter a not-so-subtle response to the punks who used Nazi symbolism as part of their style or, even worse, dabbled in neo-Nazi ideology.

The current line-up for The Dead Kennedys is original guitarist East Bay Ray, original bassist Klaus Flouride, drummer D.H. Peligro who joined in 1981, and vocalist Ron “Skip” Greer who joined in 2008. Original singer Jello Biafra is no longer performing with the band. Biafra was sued in 1998 by other band members in a dispute over songwriting credit and royalty payments, and the court ruled in favor of the other band members.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 10/4/19 Dead Kennedys show at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by phone on 9/13/19.

Interview: Brian Wilson 2019

With a songbook that includes the likes of “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls”, “God Only Knows”, “I Get Around”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “Surfin’ Safari”, and “Help Me, Rhonda”, there can be no dispute that Brian Wilson is a musical genius.

This interview was done for for Brian’s Wilson’s concert at the Arlington Theatre on 9/8/19, for which he’ll be highlighting songs off two Beach Boys albums – 1968’s Friends and 1971’s Surf’s Up.

And although these albums don’t get the accolades of 1966’s Pet Sounds (which Rolling Stone Magazine ranks as the second best album of all time) or the aborted follow-up album Smile which finally saw the light of day in 2011, there are a lot of great songs on Friends and Surf’s Up, and it will be a rare treat to hear these songs performed live. Selected Beach Boys hits will also be on the program. The openers for the show are The Zombies, who will play their album Odessey and Oracle.

While Wilson’s answers to the questions may be short, they still reveal some insight into the life and mind of one of music’s all-time greatest songwriters. This interview was done by phone on 9/5/19.

Interview: Chris White

The Zombies – the rock band, and for that matter the fictional undead monsters – are arguably more popular than ever. The band was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in recognition of their hit songs “She’s Not There”, “Tell Her No”, and “Time of the Season”, plus their acclaimed 1968 album Odessey and Oracle recorded just before they broke up.

Bassist Chris White wrote over half of the songs on Odessey and Oracle, and was the primary songwriter for the post-Zombies band Argent’s hit “Hold Your Head Up”. This interview with White was for a preview article for for the 9/8/19 performance by The Zombies at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, in which White and other original Zombies Colin Blunstone (lead vocals), Rod Argent (keyboards, vocals), and Hugh Grundy (drums) will perform Odessey and Oracle in its entirety. The Zombies will be followed by the genius songwriter Brian Wilson, who will perform selections from the Beach Boys albums Friends and Surf’s Up, plus other Beach Boys favorites. The interview was done by phone on 8/26/19. (Photo: Payley Photography)

Interview: Jon Anderson 2019

Jon Anderson is, quite literally, the voice of Yes, the band whose albums The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge are amongst the most beloved of 1970’s progressive rock. Songs from this era co-written by Anderson include “Roundabout”, “Yours Is No Disgrace”, “I’ve Seen All Good People”, “Heart Of The Sunrise”, and many others. He also sang on Yes’ 1983 runaway hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Anderson also had a long-running collaboration with Vangelis of Chariots of Fire fame. Anderson’s first solo album was 1976’s Olias of Sunhillow, and his new solo album called 1000 Hands came out in March of this year.

This interview was for a preview article for Jon Anderson’s concert at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai on 8/30/19. It was done by phone on 8/19/19. (Photo: Deborah Anderson Creative)

Interview: Martha Davis

Martha Davis has been the voice of The Motels since the 1970’s. An early milestone for the band was their performance at the Radio Free Hollywood show in 1976, which helped to open the doors for unsigned, cutting-edge bands to perform at Los Angeles venues. The Motels then became part of the L.A. punk rock scene, and released their first album in 1979.

Things took off commercially with their third album, 1982’s All Four One, which featured the hits “Only the Lonely” and “Take the L”, aided by popular music videos on the early MTV. Other recordings followed, including the hit “Suddenly Next Summer”, before Davis decided to pursue a solo career in 1987. Davis later reformed The Motels, and in 2018 they released the new album The Last Few Beautiful Days.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 8/30/19 performance by The Motels at the Chumash Casino, as part of the Lost ’80’s Live tour. It was done by phone on 8/13/19.

Interview: Don McLean

Don McLean’s epic song “American Pie” laments “the day the music died” – the 1959 plane crash which killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper – and also tells a beautifully cryptic story about the subsequent evolution of rock ‘n’ roll and society. An enduring classic, it spent four weeks at Number One in 1972, and in 2017 was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

But McLean wasn’t a one-hit wonder. The American Pie album also included the hit song “Vincent”, a meditation on Vincent van Gogh and his masterpiece painting “Starry Night”. Other notable Don McLean songs include “Dreidel”, “Wonderful Baby”, “Since I Don’t Have You”, “Castles in the Air”, and a hit cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying”. His most recent album was last year’s Botanical Gardens.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 8/16/19 Don McLean concert at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai, California. It was done by phone on 7/10/19. (Publicity photo)

Interview: David Sanborn

Saxophonist David Sanborn has seemingly played with everyone: David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, and many, many more.

Sanborn started playing saxophone to strengthen his chest muscles after a childhood bout with polio. His earliest recordings date back to 1967 with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with whom he performed at a little festival called Woodstock. His profile grew immensely in the 1970’s, when he was the go-to guy for laying down a saxophone solo. In that decade, he also started recording his own albums.

One notable milestone in Sanborn’s career was the 1986 album with keyboardist Bob James called Double Vision. The album spent 63 weeks on the Billboard charts, and won a Grammy for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental.

This interview was for a preview article for for the Double Vision Revisited show with Bob James and Marcus Miller, who also played on the Double Vision album, at the Granada Theatre on 8/11/19. It was done by phone on 7/25/19. (Melanie Futorian photo)

Interview: Tommy James

Tommy James had an incredible run in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, with hit songs including “Hanky Panky”, “Crimson and Clover”, “I Think We’re Alone Now”, “Mony Mony”, “Sweet Cherry Wine”, “Crystal Blue Persuasion”, and “Draggin’ the Line”. Several of these songs became hits again in the 1980’s when they were re-recorded by Joan Jett (“Crimson and Clover”), Billy Idol (“Mony Mony”), and Tiffany (“I Think We’re Alone Now”).

Amazingly, James did his recordings for a record label which was a front for a Mob family, a story detailed in his book “Me, the Mob, and the Music”, and which will be turned into a movie biopic in the next few years.

This interview was done for a preview article for for James’ concert at the Ventura County Fair on 8/6/19. It was done by phone on 7/30/19. (Publicity photo)

Interview: Clem Burke

Clem Burke is the drummer extraordinaire for Blondie, arguably the most successful of the original punk / New Wave bands. Blondie’s hits include “Heart of Glass”, “Call Me”, “The Tide is High”, “Rapture”, “One Way or Another”, and “Dreaming”. Their 1978 album Parallel Lines is regularly ranked as one of the best albums of all time. Blondie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Burke has also played drums with The Eurythmics, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, The Ramones (as “Elvis Ramone”), The Romantics, and many more bands and artists.

This interview was for a preview article for for Blondie’s performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 8/7/19. It was done by phone on 7/12/19. (Danielle St. Laurent photo)

Interview: Steve DePace

When you think of San Francisco bands, you think of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey,… and Flipper? Well, some people do at least.

Flipper formed 40 years ago was part of the fertile San Francisco punk rock scene. A major influence on bands like Nirvana and Jane’s Addiction, Flipper embraced noise, chaos, and unpredictability both in their studio recordings and live shows. Their first album, Album – Generic Flipper, is often hailed as a punk rock classic, and their signature song “Sex Bomb” has been covered by countless fledgling bands just learning their chops.

This interview was for a preview article for for Flipper’s concert on 7/26/19 at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by phone on 7/2/19. (Nick Sternberg photo)

Interview: Cheetah Chrome

The Dead Boys were short-lived, recording just two albums before they broke up. But their first album, 1977’s Young, Loud and Snotty, was one of the great punk rock albums to come out of America. The band hailed from Cleveland, rising from the ashes of the legendary Rocket From The Tombs, but they made their mark in New York City as CBGB’s regulars.

Cheetah Chrome played guitar for both Rocket From The Tombs and the Dead Boys. He co-wrote the Dead Boys’ signature song “Sonic Reducer”, plus “Ain’t It Fun” off their second album We’ve Come For Your Children.

Cheetah Chrome and drummer Johnny Blitz recently reunited the Dead Boys to celebrate their debut album’s 40th anniversary. Original Dead Boys singer Stiv Bators died in 1990 after being hit by a car; Jake Hout is the new singer.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 5/29/19 Dead Boys show at The Garage in Ventura, California. It was done by phone on 5/3/19. (Jeff Fasano photo)

Interview: Wattie Buchan

The Exploited exploded into existence in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1979, representing the hardcore end of the second wave of British punk rock music. With songs like “Punks Not Dead”, “I Believe in Anarchy”, and “Dogs of War”, The Exploited chanted and ranted about a chaotic world through a punk rock lens. Notable recordings include their first EP, Army Life (1980), their first album, Punks Not Dead,(1981), Troops of Tomorrow (1982), and Let’s Start a War… (Said Maggie One Day) (1983) – the “Maggie” here is Margaret Thatcher, and the war is the Falklands War.

Singer Wattie Buchan has been the only constant presence in The Exploited since they formed. This interview with Wattie was for a preview article for for the concert by The Exploited at the Majestic Ventura Theater on 5/17/19. It was done by email, with answered received on 4/30/19.

Interview: Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes

The Church was founded in 1980 in Sydney, Australia. Their first album, 1981’s Of Skins and Heart, included the song “The Unguarded Moment” which enjoyed some success as a single in Australia and New Zealand. Other early Australian hits included “Almost With You” and “Electric Lash”.

Things really took off for The Church with the 1988 album Starfish, featuring “Under The Milky Way” which became a hit in the US and elsewhere, plus other notable songs like “Reptile” and “Destination”. With this, their sixth album, their lush, neo-psychedelic sound finally resonated with the worldwide masses.

Other albums followed, and while they didn’t enjoy the commercial success of Starfish, The Church stayed true to its musical vision. Their latest release was 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity.

The following interview with Church co-founders Steve Kilbey (singer/bassist/primary songwriter) and Peter Koppes (guitarist/multi-instrumentalist) was done by email, with answers received on 4/23/19 and 4/24/19, respectively. This was for a preview article for for their concert at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 5/4/19.

Interview: Brendan Canty

Brendan Canty is best known as the drummer for Fugazi, the now-dormant post-hardcore / indie rock legends who influenced hundreds of bands both well-known and obscure over the last 30 years. And their influence extended beyond music, through their ethical approach to business and art. Highlights from the Fugazi catalog include the 1989 compilation of their early EPs called 13 Songs, their first album Repeater from 1990, and their final album The Argument released in 2001.

Before Fugazi, Canty had already made a mark on the Washington DC music scene with Deadline and Rites of Spring, the latter being notable because it helped push hardcore music into more introspective territory. In addition to many other projects, Canty was also the drummer for the recent MC50 tour featuring proto-punk MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer.

Canty currently plays drums for the band The Messthetics, with guitarist Andrew Pirog and Fugazi bassist Joe Lally. The band’s instrumental rock features a healthy dose of experimentation and improv, and their songs at times could even pass for Mahavishnu Orchestra outtakes.

This interview with Brendan Canty was done for a preview article for for the concert by The Messthetics in Santa Barbara on 4/21/19. It was done by phone on 4/9/19. (Antonia Tricarico photo)

Interview: Otis Williams

The Temptations are a true American treasure, with an astounding catalog which includes “The Way You Do the Things You Do”, “My Girl”, “Get Ready”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, “Cloud Nine”, “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today”, “Just My Imagination (Runing Away With Me)”, and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”. They formed in 1960 and went on to became one of Motown’s most successful groups, selling millions and millions of records.

Otis Williams is the only surviving founding member of The Temptations, and with his bandmates is still out capturing the magic sound of yesteryear. This interview was for a preview article for for the concert by The Temptations on 4/12/19. It was done by phone on 3/26/19.

Interview: Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas first had success as the frontman for Matchbox Twenty, whose 1996 album Yourself or Someone Like You has sold over 15 million copies thanks to songs like “3AM”, “Push”, and “Real World”. Next came a collaboration with Carlos Santana that yielded the smash hit “Smooth”, which won three Grammys and is ranked as the Number Two song on Billboard’s all-time list of Hot 100 songs. Matchbox Twenty followed up with hits like “Bent”, “If You’re Gone”, and “Unwell”, and Thomas launched a solo career in 2005 with the Number One album …Something to Be. Thomas’ new album Chip Tooth Smile will be released in April.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 3/29/19 concert by Rob Thomas at the Chumash Casino – a benefit concert for Sidewalk Angels Foundation, which supports no-kill animal shelters and animal rescues and whose President is Rob’s wife Marisol. The interview was done by phone on 3/8/19.

Interview: KOLARS

With a musical style variously described as “Desert Disco”, “Space Blues”, and “Glamabilly”, you know that the husband-and-wife duo KOLARS isn’t your average band. But whatever you call it, it is clear that Rob Kolar (vocals/guitar) and Lauren Brown (tap-dance drumming) bring a diverse set of influences and a whole lot of fun into the mix.

KOLARS grew out of the group He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, which also included Rob’s sister Rachel. The debut KOLARS album was released in 2017 and received rave reviews, but one could argue that the real magic happens when you see them live.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 2/23/19 KOLARS show at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 2/11/19. (Cortney Armitage photo)

Interview: Parry Gripp

Parry Gripp is the singer and guitarist for the “nerd rock” pop punk band Nerf Herder, whose self-titled debut album was released in 1996 and included their best known song “Van Halen”, which is a biting tribute to the David Lee Roth era of that band. In their first run, they also released the albums How To Meet Girls (2000) and American Cheese (2002), and recorded the theme song for the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In an surprising second life in music, Gripp has written and posted a number of catchy/hilarious songs on YouTube including “Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom” (31 million views), “Boogie Boogie Hedgehog” (6 million views), “Spaghetti Cat (I Weep For You)” (3 million views), “Guinea Pig Bridge” (6 million views), “Space Unicorn” (15 millions views), “Raining Tacos” (28 million views), and “Baby Monkey (Backwards on a Pig)” (27 million views). There may be some truth to the lyric from the latter song: “The world has gone insane”.

This interview with Parry Gripp was done in person on 2/5/19, and was for a preview article for for the Nerf Herder show at Mercury Lounge in Goleta, California on 2/16/19. (Dana Ross Sherlock photo)

Interview: Dale Crover

The Melvins have been dishing out their sludgy heavier-than-Black-Sabbath sounds for three and a half decades, and show no signs of compromising or slowing down. Their latest album is Pinkus Abortion Technician, which has the Melvins core – singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover – joined by Redd Kross bassist Steve McDonald and Butthole Surfers bassist Jeff Pinkus.

The Melvins are assured at least a footnote in rock ‘n’ roll history because of their strong connections to Kurt Cobain, who counted them amongst his favorites. Crover even played with Cobain before Nirvana existed, and on Nirvana’s 1988 10-song demo. Cobain co-produced The Melvins’ 1993 major-label debut Houdini.

Or, alternatively, Kurt Cobain is a footnote to The Melvins’ story. Although never really rising above cult band status, The Melvins have now released over 20 albums, and continue to wow audiences with their powerful music and quirky choices of cover songs.

This interview with Melvins drummer Dale Crover was for a preview article for for the Melvins concert at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara on 1/17/19. It was done by phone on 12/21/18. (Photo credit: O)

Interview: Jeremy Clyde

Jeremy Clyde was one half of Chad and Jeremy, a musical duo on the softer end of the British Invasion spectrum. Their hits included 1963′s “Yesterday’s Gone” and 1964’s “A Summer Song”, featuring pleasant harmonies and lush orchestration. As the ’60’s unfolded, they became more experimental with the albums Of Cabbages and Kings (1967) and The Ark (1968), which are now considered cult classics amongst baroque-psych fans, many of whom are at least one generation removed from the creators. Clyde has also had a long-time collaboration with lyricist David Pierce which has thus far produced four albums worth of songs in the series The Bottom Drawer Sessions. Clyde has also had a notable career as an actor.

This interview was for a preview article for for Jeremy Clyde’s performance with Peter Asher at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 11/11/18. It was done by phone on 11/1/18.

Interview: Scott Kirkland

The Crystal Method – originally made up of sonic adventurers Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan – first made its mark on the electronica scene with the 1997 album Vegas, a classic of the genre which sold over one million copies in the US. This was followed by the 2001 album Tweekend, which incorporated rock elements into the mix, and had guest appearances by singer Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots and guitarist Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.

More albums followed, the most recent being The Trip Home which came out in September and was the first Crystal Method album produced after the retirement of Mr. Jordan. But have no fear – Mr. Kirkland took the reins and produced a fine album with lots of danceable parts, a bit of open space, and some great retro synth sounds.

This interview was for a preview article for for the show by The Crystal Method at EOS Lounge in Santa Barbara on 11/9/18. It was done by phone on 10/29/18. (Graham John Bell photo)

Interview: Todd Rundgren 2018

Todd Rundgren has worn many musical hats. He was the principal songwriter and guitarist for the 1960’s Anglophile band The Nazz, the solo pop star who wrote the 1972 hit “Hello, It’s Me” and co-wrote the 1983 anti-work anthem “Bang the Drum All Day”, and the leader of the prog-rock ensemble Utopia. He also produced the mega-hit Meat Loaf album Bat Out of Hell, and albums by many other artists including the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and Grand Funk Railroad. This year, he was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This interview was for a preview article for for Todd’s concert in San Luis Obispo on 11/9/18. It was done by phone on 10/24/18.

Interview: Michael McDonald 2018

Michael McDonald is a 5-time Grammy winner who sang with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers, and has also had a notable and successful solo career. Highlights of his catalog include “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)”, “You Belong To Me”, “It Keeps You Runnin'”, “Minute By Minute”, “What A Fool Believes”, “Takin’ It To The Streets”, “Yah Mo B There”, “Sweet Freedom”, and his cover of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.

This interview was for a preview article for for a benefit concert on 11/7/18 at the Lobero Theatre for The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP). It was done by phone on 10/27/18. (Timothy White photo)

Interview: Luke Spiller

The first Struts album Everybody Wants came out in the UK in 2014, with a glam rock sound that features some of the best rock vocals this side of Freddie Mercury. A highlight of this album was “Could Have Been Me”, with a singalong chorus that sums up the band’s philosophy of living life to the fullest. This album and the band’s energetic live performances earned them the blessing from bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, and the Foo Fighters.

The second Struts album just came out on October 26 of this year, and keeps the magic going with songs like “Body Talks” and “Primadonna Like Me”. There’s glam, there’s anthems, there’s even a power ballad. The Struts continue to show us that rock and roll is alive and well.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 11/4/18 concert by The Struts at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by phone on 10/18/18. (Anna Lee photo)

Interview: Mike Garson, Part 2

Pianist Mike Garson performed over one thousand concerts with David Bowie, more than any other person. He joined Bowie’s band for the Ziggy Stardust tour, and played on the Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, and Young Americans albums. He re-entered Bowie’s orbit in the 1990’s, and played on Bowie albums including Outside, Earthling, and Reality. You can hear Garson’s diverse piano skills on Bowie songs ranging from “Aladdin Sane” featuring his avant-garde solo, to “Young Americans” and its Philly soul splendor, to the frenetic “Battle For Britain (The Letter)”

Garson has also recorded and toured with a number of other notable artists, including Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins, and has released a number of solo albums. He has composed over 5,000 pieces of music in virtually every imaginable style.

This interview with Mike Garson was for a preview article for for the concert “Cancer: The Urgency of Now ” at the Lobero Theatre on 11/2/18. It was done by phone on 10/19/18. It complements a previous interview with Mike Garson, available here.

Interview: Graham Nash

Graham Nash is famously part of the on-again/off-again group Crosby, Stills, & Nash & sometimes Young, and he wrote some of their best-known songs including “Teach Your Children”, “Our House”, “Wasted on the Way”, and “Marrakesh Express”.

But that’s only part of the story. Nash was also in the British Invasion band The Hollies, co-writing “Carrie Anne”, “King Midas in Reverse”, “On a Carousel”, and “Dear Eloise”, and singing on many other Hollies hits including “Bus Stop”. Other notable Graham Nash songs include “Immigration Man”, “Chicago”, and “We Can Change the World”.

This interview with Graham Nash was for a preview article for for his solo concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 10/9/18. It was done by phone on 9/27/18. (Amy Grantham photo)

Interview: Mike Garson

Pianist Mike Garson performed over one thousand concerts with David Bowie, more than any other person. He joined Bowie’s band for the Ziggy Stardust tour, and played on the Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, and Young American albums. He re-entered Bowie’s orbit in the 1990’s, and played on Bowie albums including Outside, Earthling, and Reality. You can hear Garson’s diverse piano skills on Bowie songs ranging from “Aladdin Sane” featuring his avant-garde solo, to “Young Americans” and its Philly soul splendor, to the frenetic “Battle For Britain (The Letter)”

Garson has also recorded and toured with a number of other notable artists, including Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins, and has released a number of solo albums. He has composed over 5,000 pieces of music in virtually every imaginable style.

This interview with Mike Garson was for a preview article for for the concert “A Bowie Celebration” at the Majestic Ventura Theater on 9/26/18. It was done by phone on 11/6/18. (Steve Rose photo)

Interview: Tommy Stinson

Tommy Stinson has quite a musical resume.

He played bass guitar for The Replacements, a Minneapolis rock band which still has a cult following decades after their albums were released and their legendary concerts often left wakes of destruction and baffled fans. Their 1984 album Let It Be is regularly ranked as one of the top albums of that decade.

After one more album, Tommy’s brother Bob was fired from The Replacements because of substance abuse issues, and he passed away a decade later. The band released several more acclaimed albums before calling it a day in 1991. Singer Paul Westerberg and Tommy reunited The Replacements in 2012 for a successful string of shows, but they broke up, apparently for good, in 2015.

Also, from 1998 until 2016, Tommy played bass guitar for Guns N’ Roses, including on the Chinese Democracy album which took a decade of recording to finish. Along the way, he has released well-regarded albums with Bash & Pop and as a solo artist.

This interview was for a preview article for for the Cowboys in the Campfire concert on 9/14/18 at Gone Gallery in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 9/1/18. (Jeff Moehlis photo)

Interview: Al Anderson

If you’ve heard Bob Marley’s music, then you’ve almost certainly also heard Al Anderson on guitar. That’s him on “No Woman, No Cry” (both the live and studio versions), and many other Bob Marley classics.

Anderson joined up with Marley for the breakthrough 1974 Natty Dread album, contributing guitar with a bit more of a rock feel than was common at the time in reggae. He also played on the Live!, Rastaman Vibration, Babylon by Bus, Survival, and Uprising albums, and was an integral part of Marley’s band for five major tours. Anderson also recorded and performed with the legendary Peter Tosh, including on his first solo albums Legalize It and Equal Rights.

For the last ten years, Anderson has kept the music alive with The Original Wailers. This interview was for a preview article for for a concert by The Original Wailers on 9/7/18 at Discovery Ventura. It was done by phone on 8/9/18.

Interview: Christopher Thorn

You probably remember Blind Melon from their infectious hit song “No Rain”, and the video for the song which featured the “Bee Girl”. This came from their remarkable self-titled debut album, which turned 25 years old last year. After extensive touring, the band followed up with the 1995 album Soup, which replaced the debut’s jam-based sound with a darker, but still compelling vibe. Sadly, Blind Melon’s lead singer Shannon Hoon died shortly after Soup was released from a drug overdose. The music, however, has stayed alive.

This interview with Blind Melon guitarist Christopher Thorn was for a preview article for for the band’s 9/5/18 show at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, and 9/8/18 show at Discovery Ventura. It was done by phone on 8/23/18.

Interview: Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson is a surfer turned singer-songwriter whose laid-back tunes have made him a favorite well beyond the surfing world. To date, he has released four Number One albums: Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George (2006), Sleep Through the Static (2008), To the Sea (2010), and From Here to Now to You (2013). His best-known songs include “Upside Down”, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”, and “You and Your Heart”. He is also known and respected for his support of environmentalism and sustainability.

This article came from spending time on 3/17/18 with Jack Johnson and the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, which included a tour of the damage from 2018 Montecito mudflow. It originally appeared in on 3/18/18. The “bonus” questions and answers, and most of the photos, are published here for the first time. (Photos copyrighted by Jeff Moehlis, all rights reserved)

Interview: Emily Saliers

Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have been together as the Indigo Girls for over three decades. Their career took off with their 1989 self-titled album, with key songs like “Closer to Fine” and “Kid Fears” reminding us that music can be simultaneously beautiful and thought-provoking. Both Saliers and Ray are amazing songwriters, with some additional song highlights being “Strange Fire”, “Secure Yourself”, “Galileo”, “Least Complicated”, “Power of Two”, and “Shame on You”.

Over the years their music has evolved – perhaps most notably they started plugging in their guitars more often – but their wonderful lyrics and harmonies have always continued to shine. Their next album – a project with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra – will be released at the end of June.

The Indigo Girls are also politically active, and have long supported environmental, Native American, and gay rights causes.

This interview with Emily Saliers was for a preview article for for their 6/30/18 concert at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo. It was done by phone on 6/11/18.

Interview: Peter Asher

Peter Asher has such an impressive resume, it’s hard to believe that one person could’ve done it all.

He first came to fame as part of the British Invasion duo Peter & Gordon, whose 1964 single “A World Without Love” by Paul McCartney (attributed to Lennon/McCartney) went to Number One in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland.

The Beatles connection continued when he become the head of A&R for Apple Records, and in this capacity Asher signed James Taylor to his first record deal and produced his first record. When Taylor decided to move back from the UK to the US, Asher came along as his manager, and produced and contributed to Taylor’s acclaimed albums in the 1970’s and beyond.

Asher also became Linda Ronstadt’s manager, and produced a number of her hit albums including Heart Like a Wheel, Hasten Down the Wind, What’s New (recorded with Nelson Riddle), and Canciones de mi Padre (Linda’s first mariachi album).

As if that wasn’t enough, he also produced albums by Cher, 10,000 Maniacs, Neil Diamond, Robin Williams, and many others. And he co-founded the notable 1960’s counterculture Indica Bookshop and Gallery in London, and the Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Oh, and he was the inspiration for the look of Austin Powers.

This interview with Peter Asher was for a preview article for for his 6/23/18 show with Albert Lee at SOhO in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 6/12/18. (Joe Carducci photo)

Interview: Ian Anderson 2018

Ian Anderson is the frontman / singer / songwriter / flautist / acoustic guitarist / musical mastermind for Jethro Tull, which is celebrating its 50th year. Anderson is the only member who has been with the band since its beginnings.

Next up was Jethro Tull’s classic album Aqualung, released in 1971 and regarded by many to be the band’s best. This included the signature tunes “Aqualung”, “Locomotive Breath”, and “Cross-Eyed Mary”.

Jethro Tull followed with two concept albums, both of which reached No. 1 in the US charts: 1972’s Thick as a Brick, and 1973’s A Passion Play. They 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.

This interview was for a preview article for for Jethro Tull’s concert at Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, CA on 6/3/18. It was done by phone on 5/1/18.

Interview: Lonnie Jordan

Keyboard player/singer Lonnie Jordan is one of the founding members of the band WAR, a melting pot of soul, funk, Latin, and jazz influences whose songs include “Low Rider”, “Spill the Wine”, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”, and “The Cisco Kid”.

WAR’s fortunes took off when singer Eric Burdon asked them to back him up after leaving the Animals. They recorded two albums together, and had a huge hit song in 1970 with “Spill the Wine”.

WAR raged on after Burdon’s departure, and in 1972 they released the Number One album The World Is a Ghetto. More ’70’s success followed, with “Low Rider”, especially, striking a chord which resonates to this day.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 5/27/18 WAR concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl, a show with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic also on the bill. It was done by phone on 5/7/18.

Interview: Mark Hosler

Mark Hosler is one of the founding members of the experimental music collective Negativland, which has pushed the boundaries of sampling and appropriation in ways that have led to artistic triumphs and legal headaches.

Negativland’s first album came out in 1980 while Hosler was still in high school, and the band broke through to college radio with the 1987 album Escape From Noise. They gained some noteriety when they claimed that one of the songs from that album inspired an axe murderer’s rampage, a hoax which the band actually created to avoid having to go on tour.

Along the way, Negativland coined the term and advanced the notion of “culture jamming”, an anti-consumerist movement to subvert mainstream cultural institutions. This came to a head with their 1991 release of an EP called U2, which led to four years of legal battles after they were sued by U2’s record label for unauthorized sampling of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and misleading artwork.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 5/24/18 visit by Mark Hosler and fellow Negativland conspirator Wobbly to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sponsored by UCSB’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music, this visit includes a Roundtable Workshop and a concert. The interview was done by phone on 5/11/18. (Stefan Müller photo)

Interview: Al Stewart

Al Stewart has written songs about World War I pilots (“Fields of France”), an English sailor (“Lord Grenville”), and the German invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II (“Roads to Moscow”).

Oh, and then there’s that one about a cat. Well, not really. “Year of the Cat”, which got its name from a book on Vietnamese astrology, is based on the movie Casablanca. This was a huge hit single in America over 40 years ago, and remains in the rotation of many classic rock stations to this day.

Before all this, Stewart was an English folk singer who wrote songs about love lost and found, including the 18-minute epic “Love Chronicles”. (Incidentally, “Love Chronicles” is believed to be the first recording with the word “fucking” in it, but it is used in a descriptive rather than pejorative sense.)

This interview was for a preview article for for Al Stewart’s concert at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai, California on 5/12/18. It was done by phone on 5/2/18.

Interview: Verdine White

With a catalog that includes hits like “Shining Star”, “September”, “Fantasy”, and “Boogie Wonderland”, Earth, Wind & Fire truly is a force of nature.

Bassist Verdine White has been laying down the groove for Earth, Wind & Fire from the very beginning, now approaching 50 years. Along the way, he has anchored landmark albums like 1975’s That’s the Way of the World and legendary live performances that back in the day included magic, theatrical effects, and pyrotechnics, all in service to the music of Verdine’s brilliant brother Maurice. Maurice retired from touring in 1994 due to health issues, and passed away in 2016, but his music lives on.

This interview with Verdine White was for a preview article for for the Earth, Wind & Fire concert at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on 5/8/18. It was done by phone on 4/26/18.

Interview: Billy Howerdel

When Billy Howerdel was working as a guitar tech for the band Tool, he played some of his songs for singer Maynard James Keenan, and got some good news – MJK liked them, and eventually joined up with Howerdel in the band A Perfect Circle.

The first APC album Mer de Noms came out in 2000, revealing a potent mix of heavy and atmospheric sounds. This was followed up in 2003 by Thirteenth Step – a favorite of many fans of the band – and in 2004 by the covers album Emotive. APC’s eagerly awaited next album, Eat the Elephant, comes out on April 20.

This interview was for for A Perfect Circle’s concert at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on 4/17/18. It was done by email, with answers received 4/9/18. (Tim Cadiente photo)

Interview: Sin Quirin

Sin Quirin plays guitar for the industrial metal band Ministry, and has played on the albums The Last Sucker, Cover Up, Adios… Puta Madres, Relapse, From Beer to Eternity, and the recently-released album AmeriKKKant. He also has played guitar with the Revolting Cocks and various other bands.

This interview with Sin Quirin was for a preview article for for the 3/23/18 Ministry concert at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by phone on 3/1/18. (Marie Anthony photo)

Interview: Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins was the frontman for seminal hardcore punk band Black Flag from 1981 to 1986 – a period which included their acclaimed album Damaged. After that band broke up, he formed the Rollins Band which released a number of albums including the 1994 album Weight with the song “Liar”.

Along the way, Rollins started giving impassioned spoken word performances, and has also acted in various movies and television shows including FX’s Sons of Anarchy.

This interview was for a preview article for for Henry Rollins’ spoken word performance on 3/21/18 at SOhO. It was done by email, with answers received on 2/19/18.

Interview: Tim Butler

From their post-punk beginnings to their MTV-driven success, boosted popularity from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, and extended touring reunion, there have been two constants for the Psychedelic Furs: brothers Richard Butler on lead vocals and Tim Butler on bass guitar.

The Psychedelic Furs started in 1977, and they released their first album in 1980. The rougher edge of their debut was softened for their second album, 1981’s Talk Talk Talk, which included the original version of the song “Pretty in Pink”, a re-recording of which later became part of the soundtrack of the movie of the same name. They hit the US Top 40 with “Love My Way” in 1982, and followed up with songs like “Heaven”, “The Ghost in You”, and “Heartbreak Beat”. The band broke up for most of the 1990’s, but eventually reunited and now continues to tour.

This interview with Tim Butler was for a preview article for for the Psychedelic Furs concert on 3/9/18 at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo. It was done by phone on 2/28/18.