The legendary singer Emmylou Harris nicely sums up her approach to music as follows: “For me, obviously, there’s a certain amount of ego, but it’s always about the song. You are the vessel through which the music comes. So it’s a sacred responsibility when you have that gift of being able to sing and being able to perform. I just think that that should be your priority.”
Emmylou first made waves singing, touring, and recording with country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons for the two years before his untimely death, including on his solo albums GP and Grievous Angel. She then launched an acclaimed solo career which has won her Grammy awards, Gold Records, and the hearts of fans for over four decades.
Mixed in was the smash hit Trio album with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, and her heavenly harmony vocals on recordings with artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Lucinda Williams, Leo Kottke, Steve Earle, and Guy Clark. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
This inteview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Emmylou’s performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 7/8/16. It was done by phone on 7/5/16. (Mark Sliger photo)
Collective Soul’s first single, “Shine”, introduced the world to their heavy but melodic post-grunge sound. No one hit wonder, they followed-up with a self-titled album which included “December” and “The World I Know”. Fast-forwarding twenty years with other hit songs along the way, 2015 brought their 9th album See What You Started By Continuing.
This interview with Collective Soul rhythm guitarist Dean Roland was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Collective Soul’s concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 7/16/16. It was done by phone on 7/1/16. (Photo: Concord Music Group)
The Goo Goo Dolls have been making music for thirty years, starting as a rough and raw hard-rockin’ band and eventually becoming more accessible and hitting it big with songs like “Name”, “Iris”, and “Slide”. Over the years, they have sold over 10 millions albums, including 1995’s A Boy Named Goo and 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl; their latest album Boxes came out in May 2016.
The partners throughout this journey have been guitarist/singer John Rzeznik and bassist/singer Robby Takac. This interview with Takac was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for their concert on 7/16/16. It was done by phone on 6/9/16. (Bob Mussel photo)
“Everything happened in 1966 for The Spencer Davis Group,” says someone who would know – Spencer Davis himself. And what a year it was for the band. They started off with a UK Number One song “Keep On Running”, which knocked The Beatles’ single “Day Tripper” / “We Can Work It Out” off the top spot. Another UK Number One song, “Somebody Help Me”, followed a few months later.
But the highlight of the year for the band was the release of the timeless classic “Gimme Some Lovin'”, co-written by Davis, Muff Winwood, and Muff’s kid brother Steve, the band’s lead singer who also played organ and a bit of guitar.
Now, 1966 wasn’t actually the only year that things happened for The Spencer Davis Group. Their song “I’m A Man” was released in early 1967 and hit the Top Ten; a couple years later it was memorably covered by Chicago. But Steve Winwood left the band in 1967 to form Traffic, and as Spencer Davis puts it, they “lost a huge amount of momentum”.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the concert by The Spencer Davis Group as part of the Happy Together Tour at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on 7/13/16. It was done by phone on 6/29/16. (Liz Barry photo)
The early 1980’s were very good to Rick Springfield. He had a Number One song with “Jessie’s Girl”, plus other hits including “I’ve Done Everything for You”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, and “Affair of the Heart”. And MTV wasn’t the only place where you could catch him on TV – he was also the fan-favorite Noah Drake on the soap opera General Hospital.
Although that was his period of highest visibility, Springfield has continued to act on the small screen (High Tide, Californication, True Detective, and a return to General Hospital) and the big screen (Ricki and the Flash), and to record music, most recently his 2016 album Rocket Science. And as we saw on Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City from a few years ago, he can still rock out!
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Rick Springfield’s concert at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai on 7/10/16. It was done by email, with answers received on 6/17/16. (Publicity photo)
George Clinton is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the development of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic, whose notable 1970’s albums include Mothership Connection, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Maggot Brain, and One Nation Under a Groove, and whose songs include “Flash Light” and “One Nation Under A Groove” (both of which reached No. 1 in the US R&B charts), “Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”, “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)”, and “Dr. Funkenstein”. Clinton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and continues to tour.
This interview was done by phone on 6/9/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Lee “Scratch” Perry’s productions were amongst the first to feature and popularize the reggae sound, including Bob Marley’s pivotal early singles and first album – after Perry threatened to kill Marley for stealing his best musicians. All told, he produced hundreds of songs by various artists spread over multiple labels, many at his Black Ark studio. (Later bad vibes at the studio caused Perry to burn it down, according to his own claim at least.) He also wrote and recorded his own songs, and along with King Tubby pioneered the dub genre. A genius, and perhaps a bit of a madman, Perry’s importance to the development of reggae music cannot be overstated.
This interview was for a preview article for Perry’s concert on 6/19/16 at Discovery Ventura. It was done by phone on 6/9/16. (Thanks to Arnold Smith for heroic assistance in transcribing this interview. L. Paul Mann photo)
Singer and stringed-instrument virtuoso David Bromberg has quite a musical resume. He got his start in the Greenwich Village folk music scene, accompanying artists like Tom Paxton, Richie Havens, and Jerry Jeff Walker. His breakthrough (and unbilled) solo performance at the Isle of Wight Music Festival led to a recording contract which produced much fine music in a range of styles during the 1970’s. During this time he was also an in-demand session musician, with contributions to recordings by Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, The Eagles, and many, many more.
After a 22 year break from music, Bromberg returned to the stage and the studio. This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for his 6/23/16 performance at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 5/27/16.
There are many great things about Santa Barbara – the weather, the beach, the mountains, the lifestyle… And you can add Iration to this list, the popular Santa Barbara-based reggae band. Most of the current members of Iration met growing up in Hawaii, but they reconnected and formed the band in Santa Barbara, with their first release – the New Roots EP – coming out in 2006. Other recordings followed, including 2013’s Automatic and 2015’s Hotting Up which both hit the top of the U.S. Reggae chart.
This interview is with Iration guitarist and lead singer Micah Pueschel. It was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for their headlining performance at the 12th Annual KJEE Summer Round Up at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 6/3/16. It was done by email, with answers received 5/20/16. (Josue Rivas photo)
Dave Wakeling is the lead singer for The English Beat, one of the key bands in the British ska revival during the late 70’s and early 80’s, along with The Specials and Madness. The English Beat’s songs included the hits “Mirror in the Bathroom”, “Save it for Later”, “Too Nice to Talk To”, and covers of “Tears of a Clown” and “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, all of which still sound fresh some thirty-odd years after their first release. After The English Beat broke up, Wakeling co-founded General Public, which released the hit songs “Tenderness” and “I’ll Take You There”.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the concert by The English Beat at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 6/4/16. It was done by phone on 5/16/16. (Eugenio Iglesias photo)
Jack Grisham is the lead singer for T.S.O.L., which stands for True Sounds of Liberty, a band that was at the forefront of the L.A. hardcore punk movement in the early 1980’s along with Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Social Distortion. T.S.O.L.’s sound evolved from anti-government hardcore punk to goth punk to art punk before Grisham left the band in 1983. He returned to the band in 1999, and in 2003 he ran for governor of California in the recall election – he lost the election, but he still tours with T.S.O.L. He has also written several books, including his memoirs An American Demon and a book on recovery.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 5/13/16 concert by T.S.O.L. at The Garage in Ventura. It was done by phone on 4/29/16.
Charlie Musselwhite is a blues-harp player who got his start in Chicago before moving to San Francisco and being embraced by the counterculture scene. His 1967 debut album Stand Back! is considered a classic, and he has released over twenty more albums since then. A Blues Hall of Fame inductee, Musselwhite has also recorded with INXS, Ben Harper, Cyndi Lauper, and John Lee Hooker. Plus, he provided inspiration for Dan Aykroyd’s character in the Blues Brothers.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Musselwhite’s concert with John Mayall at Discovery Ventura on 5/8/16. It was done by phone on 4/30/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
When Sly & The Family Stone came onto the scene in the late 1960’s, they truly were “A Whole New Thing” – a band made up of men and women with different racial backgrounds who mixed soul, funk, and psychedelic rock to give music that could simultaneously make you dance and take you higher.
The band’s musical mastermind was Sly Stone, who wrote brilliant songs like “Dance to the Music”, “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Stand!”, “Everyday People”, and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”. In 1969, they released the classic album Stand! and had a breakthrough performance at Woodstock.
Sadly, Sly descended into drug addiction, from which he never really recovered. There were concert delays and cancellations, and only one more classic album came out – 1971’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On. Later efforts were spotty, and the original band was no more by 1975.
But the music lives on in The Family Stone, which features original Sly & The Family Stone members Jerry Martini (saxophone) and Greg Errico (drums). This interview with Martini, who was with Sly & The Family Stone from its beginnings in 1967 through its demise in 1975, was for a preview article for the 4/21/16 concert by The Family Stone at the Chumash Casino. It was done by phone on 4/7/16. (Ron Elkman photo)
Drummer Chad Smith joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the band’s fourth album Mother’s Milk, released in 1989, and has with them ever since. You can also hear him on albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and hit songs including “Give It Away”, “Under the Bridge”, “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside”, “Dani California”, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, and much, much more. He also drums for the supergroup Chickenfoot, and recently showed his humorous side with a drum off on the Tonight Show against lookalike Will Ferrell.
He’s also the drummer for Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats, for which he is joined by keyboardist Ed Roth, guitarist Jeff Kollman, and bassist Kevin Chown to give a funky brew with a jazz fusion edge. This interview was for a preview article for the Bombastic Meatbats concert on 4/15/16 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 4/11/16.
Linda Ronstadt’s career in music has taken many twists and turns. She began in country rock with the Stone Poneys, and had the hit song “Different Drum”. She then earned the nickname “The First Lady of Rock” with 1970’s / early 1980’s hits like “You’re No Good”, “When Will I Be Loved”, “Heat Wave”, “Blue Bayou”, “It’s So Easy”, and “Hurt So Bad”.
She also had notable success with her “Trio” recordings with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, was nominated for a Tony award for her Broadway performance of The Pirates of Penzance, and recorded traditional pop standards with Nelson Riddle and hit duets with James Ingram (“Somewhere Out There”) and Aaron Neville (“Don’t Know Much”). Mixed in were acclaimed recordings of the Mexican music that she grew up listening to.
It’s probably safe to say that Ronstadt had one of the most diverse singing careers of all time. And certainly one of the most successful.
Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in December 2012. This has made it impossible for her to sing, but her voice carries on in a lifetime of recordings.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for “A Conversation with Linda Ronstadt” at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 4/21/16. It was done by phone on 4/4/16. (Rocky Schenk photo)
Guitarist Greg Hetson has been instrumental (pun intended) in three notable SoCal punk rock bands: He played on the first Redd Kross EP (released in 1980, back when they were called Red Cross). He co-founded the hardcore band Circle Jerks, whose classic albums include Group Sex (1980), Wild in the Streets (1982), and Golden Shower of Hits (1983). And he played with Bad Religion from 1985-2014, including on the albums Suffer (1988), No Control (1989), Against the Grain (1990), and Recipe for Hate (1993). Hetson also has been a part of Punk Rock Karaoke since 1996, a punk rock supergroup that provides live backing for singers from the audience.
This interview was for a preview article for a Punk Rock Karaoke show at The Garage in Ventura, California on 4/16/16. It was done by email, with answers received on 4/8/16.
Third Eye Blind was one of the most popular alt-rock bands during the late 1990’s, with their ubiquitous hit “Semi-Charmed Life” and other notable songs like “How’s It Going to Be”, “Jumper”, “Graduate”, and “Never Let You Go”. The band has continued into the 2000’s under the leadership of singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephan Jenkins, with their most recent album being 2015’s Dopamine.
This interview was for a preview article on noozhawk.com for the 4/7/16 Third Eye Blind concert at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California on Thursday, April 7. It was done by email, with answers received on 3/21/16. Clearly Jenkins wasn’t into talking about the past…
There’s no denying that many classic albums have classic album covers. Think of Crosby, Stills & Nash sitting on a couch on their debut album. Or The Doors looking out the window of the Morrison Hotel. Or the handsome young James Taylor on the cover of Sweet Baby James.
It turns out that the same photographer, Henry Diltz, took those and many, many other album cover photos over the years, along with thousands upon thousands of candid and action shots of musicians in places like Laurel Canyon and at Woodstock. Diltz was also a member of the Modern Folk Quartet.
This interview was for a preview article for Behind The Lens at the Lobero Theatre on 3/23/16, for which Diltz will be sharing some of his favorite photos – and the stories behind them. Joining Diltz will be Pattie Boyd, the muse for the songs “Something” by George Harrison, and “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, plus an accomplished photographer herself. This was done by email, with answers received on 3/16/16. (Photo from morrisonhotelgallery.com)
He was a founding member of The Byrds, and contributed to hits including “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, and “Eight Miles High”, which he co-wrote. He then co-founded Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young), writing or co-writing “Guinnevere”, “Almost Cut My Hair”, “Long Time Gone”, and “Wooden Ships”, and contributing vocals on such beloved songs as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, “Teach Your Children”, “Our House”, and “Woodstock”.
While he is best known for his work as a member of a group, Crosby also released the acclaimed 1971 solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name, and several other solo albums, most recently 2014’s well-received Croz. And two more solo albums are currently in the works.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Crosby’s solo concert on 3/22/16 at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 3/11/16. (Django Crosby photo)
Tata Vega is one of the featured artists in the Academy Award winning documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom, thanks to her amazing career as a backing vocalist with artists including Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, and Leon Russell.
In addition to backing other artists, she was in the groups Pollution and Earthquire, and has released eight solo albums. She was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Soul female Gospel Performance in 1985, and sang on four songs for the soundtrack of The Color Purple, including one (“Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)”) which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category.
This interview was for a preview article for the benefit concert for The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 3/13/16. Tickets to the event are available here. It was done by phone on 2/26/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Guitarist Danny Kortchmar played on some of the most beloved albums from the 1970’s – Carole King’s Tapestry, James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James, and Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty, to name the most obvious.
But that’s just scratching the surface of his phenomenal career in music, which also included six months with The Fugs, some great fusion albums with The Section, a fruitful collaboration with Don Henley that yielded “Dirty Laundry”, “All She Wants to Do is Dance”, and “Sunset Grill”, producing a Neil Young album, co-writing “Somebody’s Baby” with Jackson Browne, and playing on the Harry Nilsson album Pussy Cats which was produced by John Lennon.
This interview was for a preview article for Kortchmar’s concert at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez with Steve Postell and Dan Navarro on 3/9/16 as part of the Tales From the Tavern concert series. It was done by phone on 2/26/16.
Bob Margolin has serious Blues cred from his time as a guitarist in blues legend Muddy Waters’ band from 1973 until 1980, appearing on various albums including 1977’s Hard Again, which was produced by Johnny Winter. With Waters, Margolin was also part of the concert documented in the movie The Last Waltz. After his time with Waters, he has released various acclaimed albums as a solo artist, most recently “My Road” which came out earlier this year.
This interview was done for a preview article for Margolin’s 3/12/16 concert at the Carrillo Recreation Center in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 2/23/16.
The Dickies’ first release was a 1978 single featuring a hyper-speed cover Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, and other early singles included covers of the children’s TV show theme song “Banana Splits (Tra La La Song)” and The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin”.
In addition to their masterful punk rock interpretations of others’ material, The Dickies also wrote loads of smokin’ originals, often with twistedly amusing lyrics and themes. Their classic albums are usually considered to be The Incredible Shrinking Dickies and the follow-up Dawn of The Dickies, both released in 1979, but that’s not the end of their story, with various additional releases by the band over the years.
This interview with Dickies singer Leonard Graves Phillips was done by email, with answers received on 2/14/16. It was for a preview article for the 2/27/16 concert by The Dickies at The Garage in Ventura. This ended being a short interview, but size doesn’t matter, right? (Greg Papazian photo)
Hardcore anarcho-punk rockers Reagan Youth were first active in the years when Ronald Reagan was President, and it’s fair to say that their politics didn’t align with those of “The Gipper”. But even leaving politics aside, there’s no denying that their music was full of raw power, thanks to singer Dave Rubinstein, aka David Insurgent, and guitarist Paul Bakija, aka Paul Cripple.
Their first EP, Youth Anthems for the New Order (later re-released as Volume 1) came out in 1984, and featured fuzzy distortion and anti-fascist commentary on the socio-political scene. Their next recordings, Volume 2 released in 1990, continued the punk rock attitude but with a more ambitious sound.
Sadly, Rubinstein became consumed by a drug habit, and ended up committing suicide in 1993 after the murder of his girlfriend by serial killer Joel Rifkin. But Reagan Youth lives on, with Bakija leading the charge.
This interview with Paul Bakija was done by email, with answers received on 2/16/16. It was for a preview article for the band’s performance at GiGi’s Cocktail’s in Ventura on Tuesday, February 23.
“Eclectic” is a word that often gets thrown around by lazy music journalists trying to describe a band, but it’s truly the right word for describing Fishbone, who has been throwing ska, funk, hard rock, soul, and more into the mix for over three decades. To get a sense of their diversity – and overflowing talent – listen to “Party at Ground Zero”, “Sunless Saturday”, and “Everyday Sunshine”, and try to wrap your head around the fact that these were all recorded by the same band. And that’s just scratching the surface.
This interview was for a preview article for the 2/6/16 Fishbone concert at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara, for which the band’s line-up included original vocalist / sax man Angelo Moore (aka Dr. Madd Vibe), bassist Norwood Fisher, and trumpeter Dirty Walt. It was done by phone on 1/29/16.
Nick Oliveri played bass and co-wrote songs for some of the most acclaimed hard rock / stoner metal of the last few decades, including Kyuss’ 1992 album Blues for the Red Sun, and Queens of the Stone Age’s 2000 album Rated R and 2002 album Songs for the Deaf. Under the name Rex Everything, he has also played bass off and on for punk rockers/shockers The Dwarves. Oliveri has done a number of guest spots, including with the Eagles of Death Metal, and hd leads the band Mondo Generator whose releases include 2000’s Cocaine Rodeo and 2012’s Hell Comes To Your Heart.
This interview was for a preview article for the 1/30/16 concert by The Dwarves at The Garage in Ventura, CA. It was done by phone on 1/8/16. (Ester Segarra photo)
Bruce Johnston has had an incredible career in music. In the early days of rock and roll, he played shows as part of the backing band for Ritchie Valens, and he did one performance in the backing band for Eddie Cochran. Then, after a stint as a young producer for Columbia Records, he was asked to fill in for a few concerts with The Beach Boys, which turned into membership in the band for thousands of concerts and the recordings of some of their best-known albums including Pet Sounds, Smile, Friends, Sunflower, and Surf’s Up. Along the way, he also did vocal arrangements and sang background vocals for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and wrote “I Write the Songs”, which was a Grammy Award winning Number 1 hit for Barry Manilow.
This interview was for the 1/30/16 concert by The Beach Boys at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA. It was done by phone on 1/8/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Doyle, aka Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, was a teenage Misfit, joining the horror punk band on guitar in 1980 when he was only 16 years old. The younger brother of Misfits bassist Jerry Only, Doyle’s riffage can be heard on the band’s albums Walk Among Us and Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood, plus about half the songs on Collection I and II.
The Misfits broke up in 1983, but Doyle was back in the fold for a stretch when they reformed (minus original singer Glenn Danzig) in 1995. After stints in Gorgeous Frankenstein and Kryst the Conqueror, and some guest appearances with Danzig such as this one, Doyle is now promoting his own band’s hard rockin’ album Abominator.
This interview took place in Doyle’s trailer at Discovery Ventura in Ventura, California after his concert on 11/8/15. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Two decades ago, Everclear’s hit single “Santa Monica” made them alt-rock superstars. This came from their album Sparkle and Fade, which also made a deep impression with tracks that addressed topics like drugs (“Heroin Girl”) and interracial relationships (“Heartspark Dollarsign”).
More hits followed on cheerful subjects such as trying too hard to fit it (“Everything to Everyone”), parental abandonment (“Father of Mine”), and divorce (“Wonderful”). OK, actually not-so-cheerful subjects. But that was arguably why Everclear’s music struck a chord with so many people in the 1990’s and beyond.
This interview with Everclear singer/songwriter/guitarist Art Alexakis was for a preview article for the band’s 11/22/15 concert at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by phone on 11/18/15.
When I talked to actor Tab Hunter on the phone, he was so effusive in his love for the Santa Barbara area that I suggested that he should get a job as the spokesman for the city’s tourism office, to which he joked that he could be a greeter for the cruise ships that visit town.
But at 84 years young, Hunter is busy with other things, so the cruise ship greeter gig will have to wait. He is currently promoting his latest movie, a documentary called “Tab Hunter Confidential”, which like his autobiography with the same name tells his incredible story inside and outside of Hollywood. The documentary will screen on Thursday, November 19 at the Granada Theatre, with Tab Hunter himself in attendance. Tickets are available here.
If you’re too young (or too old) to remember, Hunter was a big-time movie star in the 1950’s and beyond, with credits including Battle Cry and Damn Yankees, and, later, Polyester and Lust in the Dust. His co-stars included John Wayne, Lana Turner, Natalie Wood, Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Sophia Loren, Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds, Vincent Price, Divine, and many others. He was also a music star – in fact, his recording of “Young Love” knocked Elvis off the top of the charts in 1957.
But, perhaps foremost, Hunter was a Hollywood heartthrob, one of the biggest of the 1950’s. The plot twist is that his legions of female fans were unaware that he was actually gay, living a secret life that threatened to shatter his popularity.
This interview was done by phone on 11/9/15.
Chris Thile has been described as “the most remarkable mandolinist in the world”, with a range that spans bluegrass to Bach, plus many points in between and beyond. He has won acclaim as part of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, and for his solo career, including a 2012 MacArthur “genius grant” and several Grammy Awards. And starting in 2016, he will take over as host of NPR’s Prairie Home Companion in 2016.
This interview was done by phone on 11/3/15 for a preview article for Thile’s solo performance at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 11/8/15.
The inspiration for the name of the band Promise of the Real comes from the Neil Young song “Walk On”, specifically the line “Some get stoned, some get strange / Sooner or later, it all gets real”. Well, “sooner or later” is here, in the sense that Promise of the Real played with Young on his latest album The Monsanto Years, and is now on tour with him.
On their own, Promise of the Real – led by singer/guitarist Lukas Nelson, who is the son of country music legend Willie Nelson – has been creating buzz since their first album came out in 2010, and a new album is on the way in a few months. This interview with Lukas was for a preview article for the Neil Young / Promise of the Real concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 10/10/15. It was done by phone on 10/1/15. (Jim Eckenrode photo)
Swervedriver first made their mark twenty-five years ago with the release of their debut “Son of Mustang Ford” EP, which had a heavy rockin’ sound that put them as much in the camp of American indie rock al a Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth as the British shoegaze box which they were put into. More acclaimed EPs and LPs in the same vein followed in the 90’s, but bad luck with personnel and record labels kept them from getting their full due, and the band didn’t survive the decade.
Original singer/guitarist Adam Franklin and guitarist Jimmy Hartridge revived the band in 2008, and earlier this year they released their first new album, I Wasn’t Born to Lose You, in 17 years.
This interview was for Swervedriver’s concert at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara on 9/27/15. It was done by email, with responses received on 9/2/15. (Giles Borg photo)
He came from a land down under, couldn’t get to sleep, and told Johnny to “be good, be good”. Who can it be now? Colin Hay, of course, singer/songwriter for Men At Work, the Australian band which burned bright for a few years in the early 80’s.
After Men At Work stopped working, Hay continued sharing his music with the world in an acclaimed solo career, which got a nice boost from having his songs used on the TV show Scrubs. His most recent solo album, Next Year People, came out earlier this year.
This interview was for Colin Hay’s concert at the Lobero Theatre on 9/19/15, as part of the Sings Like Hell series. It was done by phone on 8/31/15.
One measure of Bela Fleck’s incredible musical skills on the banjo – and his diverse musical sensibilities – is that he has been nominated for a Grammy Award in more musical categories than anyone else in history. And he has won 15 times, including a Latin Grammy for the 2007 collaboration album The Enchantment with jazz pianist Chick Corea. A true innovator, Fleck continues to expand the possibilities that the banjo can offer.
This interview was for the 9/15/15 concert by Bela Fleck and Chick Corea at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 8/17/15. (C. Taylor Crothers photo, 2015 copyright Chick Corea Productions)
In 1968, multi-instrumentalist Rusty Young co-founded the pioneering country rock band Poco along with Richie Furay and Jim Messina, who he met when he was asked to add pedal steel guitar to Furay’s signature song “Kind Woman” in the waning days of the great Buffalo Springfield. He is Poco’s only continuous member over the band’s illustrious career and two dozen albums, and wrote their biggest hit “Crazy Love”.
This interview was for the 9/13/15 concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara billed as Jim Messina with special guest Poco’s Rusty Young “Sittin’ In”. It was done by phone on 8/31/15.
Jerry Douglas has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of dobro players” in honor of his skills on the resonator guitar and inspiring musicianship. His playing can be heard on over 1500 albums, including the O Brother, Where Art Though? soundtrack and recordings with James Taylor, Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons, Elvis Costello, Garth Brooks, Earl Scruggs, and Ray Charles. And since 1998, he has been a key member of Alison Krauss and the Union Band, both on recordings and on tour.
This interview was for a preview article for Jerry Douglas’ solo concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 8/28/15. It was done by email, with his reply received on 8/21/15.
There are many things that are great about Eddie Tuduri, including his career as a drummer which had him touring and/or recording with Rick Nelson, Jim Messina, Steve Perry, Dr. John, Ike Turner, The Beach Boys, Johnny Rivers, Delaney Bramlett, Bobby Whitlock, and many other artists.
But, most importantly, he is a great human being, who after breaking his neck in a body surfing accident has devoted his boundless energy to The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP), a program with a global reach that “educates individuals with intellectual and developmental differences as well as children in typical preschools by embracing a unique methodology that encompasses rhythm as a modality to address basic life and learning skills as well as reading, writing and arithmetic.”
This interview was for a preview article for a benefit concert for TRAP on 8/21/15 at 4 p.m. at the Hill-Carrillo Adobe, 15 E. Carrillo St. in Santa Barbara. On the program is an incredible lineup of musicians – including Tuduri, Airto Moreira, Tamara and Bill Champlin, Táta Vega, and the band Pockets. It was done by phone on 8/5/15.
Three Dog Night had an amazing string of hit songs from 1969-1975 – count ’em, 21 straight Top 40 Hit Singles including three – “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”, “Joy to the World”, and “Black and White” – which reached Number One.
The original line-up for Three Dog Night was notable for having three lead vocalists, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells, each bringing their own unique flair to the material, which usually came from outside writers. Negron left the fold in the 1980’s, but Hutton and Wells have carried on with the Three Dog Night name.
This interview was for a preview article for the Three Dog Night concert on 8/20/15. It was done by phone on 8/4/15.
In singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston’s hometown of Kinsley, Kansas, there’s a sign which says that it’s 1,561 miles to New York City and to San Francisco. In pursuit of a career in music he took the first option, eventually selling part of his family’s farmland in Kansas to finance his acclaimed second album, 1992’s Can You Fly. A couple years later he released This Perfect World, which featured the single “Bad Reputation” and resulted in him being named songwriter of the year in 1995 by Rolling Stone magazine, ahead of some guy named Kurt Cobain. Other well-regarded albums followed, most recently this year’s Neon Repairman.
This interview was for a preview article for Johnston’s 8/15/15 concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 8/6/15. (Dina Regine photo)
By combining it with dubstep and dancing, Lindsey Stirling has shown that violin playing doesn’t have to be stuffy and stodgy. And there’s a lot of people that like what she’s doing, with her YouTube videos regularly receiving tens or even hundreds of millions of views – for example, check out her video for “Crystallize”. She has also released two acclaimed albums, and will be starting on her third one very soon.
This interview with Stirling was for a preview article for Stirling’s 8/15/15 concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl. It was done by phone on 7/24/15. (Photo from lindseystirling.com)
The Cowsills were the family band who served as the real-life inspiration for The Partridge Family. Their hit songs included “The Rain, The Park & Other Things” (think “I love the flower girl”), “Indian Lake”, and “Hair”, and they made multiple appearances on TV shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Johnny Cash Show. Today’s Cowsills consist of siblings Bob, Paul, and Susan.
This interview was for a preview article for the Happy Together Tour concert at the Chumash Casino on 7/23/15, which also includes The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, The Buckinghams, The Association, The Grass Roots, and Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders. It was done by phone on 7/10/15.
Eddie Money’s musical career launched with his 1977 debut album, bringing us the timeless hits “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise”. And thanks in part to his clever videos on MTV, the next decade gave Money even more hit songs including “Think I’m in Love”, “Shakin'”, and “Take Me Home Tonight”. At 66 years young he’s still out there touring, presently with three of his children.
The following mile-a-minute interview was for a preview article for 7/15/15 concert at the Santa Barbara County Fair in Santa Maria. It was done by phone on 7/10/15.
There are only a handful of bands/artists that performed at both the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Ravi Shankar, David Crosby (in The Byrds and filling in for Neil Young in Buffalo Springfield at Monterey, then in CSN at Woodstock), Stephen Stills (in Buffalo Springfield at Monterey, then in CSN at Woodstock), and Canned Heat.
Larry “The Mole” Taylor played bass for Canned Heat during their prime years, including at Monterey, at Woodstock, and for the hits “Go Up the Country” and “On the Road Again”. He has also had a fascinating musical history outside of Canned Heat, having played on early surf rock recordings by The Gamblers, as a session bassist for The Monkees, with John Mayall, with Tom Waits, and much, much more.
This interview was for a preview article for the Canned Heat concert on 7/10/15 at SOhO in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 6/29/15.
David Lowery is the singer and co-founder – along with Johnny Hickman – of the alt-rock band Cracker, whose well-known early 90’s songs include “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)”, “Low”, and “Euro-Trash Girl”. In 2014, the band released its 9th studio album, Berkeley to Bakersfield, with the Berkeley disc featuring the band’s original line-up for the first time in ages and drawing on their punk rock influences, and the Bakersfield disc in a California country vein.
Lowery is also a founding and continuous member of the eclectic alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven, to which he contributes vocals and guitar. Camper Van Beethoven’s first album, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, came out in 1985, and includes such classic songs as “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon”, “Where the Hell is Bill?”, the Black Flag cover “Wasted”, and “Take the Skinheads Bowling”. They released four more acclaimed albums before burning out, the independently-released II & III and self-titled Camper Van Beethoven, and the major-label albums Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie. The band reformed at the end of the end of the 1990’s, and has released several more albums.
This interview was for a preview article for Cracker’s concert at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo on 7/6/15. It was done by phone on 6/25/15.
Released in 1981 and clocking in at under a half hour, the debut album by The Adolescents – affectionately known as “The Blue Album” – helped to lay the groundwork for the emerging Southern California hardcore and skate punk scene. The teenage band that recorded The Blue Album didn’t stay together for long, but their influence was felt strongly in SoCal and beyond. Several reunions and albums followed, and although their ages are no longer in the adolescent range, The Adolescents continue to record and tour. Today’s band includes original singer Tony Cadena and bassist Steve Soto, who was also in the original incarnation of Agent Orange.
This interview was for a preview article for the concert by The Adolescents and The Weirdos at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara on 7/9/15. It was done by email, with answers received on 6/24/15.
Singer Peter Murphy is often called the “Godfather of Goth”, and although he doesn’t seem to like that label it is undeniable that his singing helped to make the Bauhaus song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” one of the seminal songs of the goth rock genre. Other notable Bauhaus songs from their first active period of 1978-1983 include “Dark Entries”, “Terror Couple Kill Colonel”, “She’s in Parties”, and a smoking cover of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”.
After Bauhaus folded and the short-lived band Dali’s Car, Murphy launched a solo career that has brought us songs including “Cuts You Up” and “The Sweetest Drop”. His latest album, 2014’s Lion, came out of sessions with Killing Joke’s Martin “Youth” Glover.
This interview was done by Skype on 6/5/15 – fittingly, Murphy was speaking from a cafe in Istanbul during a storm – and was for a preview article for his 6/13/15 concert at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo.
There’s an element of truth to Wayne Campbell’s declaration in the movie Wayne’s World 2 that “Everybody in the world has Frampton Comes Alive! If you lived in the suburbs you were issued it. It came in the mail with samples of Tide.”
Frampton Comes Alive! was the smash live double album released by Peter Frampton in 1976, which sold millions of copies and established him as a superstar. And while that album was the high point of his career, he has also had other notable successes – before “coming alive”, he had hit songs with The Herd (the UK hit “I Don’t Want Our Loving to Die”) and Humble Pie (“Natural Born Bugie”, “I Don’t Need No Doctor”), and afterwards he released the Grammy Award winning instrumental album Fingerprints and has been on many successful tours, including the Frampton Comes Alive! 35 tour that stopped at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 2011.
This interview was for Frampton’s concert on 6/7/15 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara for the 5th Annual Notes For Notes Benefit Concert. Notes For Notes has the admirable mission of providing musical instruments, instruction, and facilities to young musicians. It was done by phone on 5/15/15. (L. Paul Mann photo)
The music of The Waterboys has evolved over the years, from their early-80’s “Big Music” era which gave us the hit song “The Whole of the Moon”, to the later-80’s Irish/Scottish Raggle Taggle band era which recorded the acclaimed Fisherman’s Blues album, to later visits to various points on the Celtic-folk-rock spectrum. The one constant throughout the band’s history is singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mike Scott, who poetic lyrics and willingness to explore different musical styles has always kept things interesting.
This interview was for a preview article for the 5/16/15 concert by The Waterboys at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by email, with answers received on 4/29/15. (Dara Munnis photo)
Herb Pedersen has contributed his instrumental and vocal talents to recordings and performances by a wide range of artists over the years, including John Denver, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, and many, many more. His band memberships have included bluegrass powerhouse The Dillards in the late Sixties and early Seventies, and the Desert Rose Band with ex-Byrd / ex-Flying Burrito Brother Chris Hillman.
This interview was for a preview article for the 5/3/15 performance by Hillman and Pedersen at the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria, California. It was done by phone on 4/22/15.