Paul Williams has had an amazingly fruitful career as a singer, songwriter, actor, and author.
Williams’ songs include “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” (best known as hits for The Carpenters), “Rainbow Connection” (sung by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie), “Evergreen” (sung by Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born, a winner of an Oscar for Best Original Song), “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and “Out in the Country” (hits for Three Dog Night), “You and Me Against the World” (a hit for Helen Reddy), and “Fill Your Heart” (covered by David Bowie). More recently, he co-wrote two songs for Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories.
His acting roles include parts in Smokey and the Bandit and Phantom of the Paradise; he co-scored the latter, and also did the music for the film Bugsy Malone and the aforementioned The Muppet Movie and A Star is Born. He also made multiple TV appearances during the 1970’s on shows such as The Tonight Show.
Williams is currently the President and Chairman of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), and is a notable recovery advocate, co-authoring the book Gratitude and Trust.
This interview was for a preview article for his curation of The Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, with a focus on the movie The Great Escape which screened 1/26/15. It was done by phone on 1/7/15.
Hall & Oates have been described as the most successful musical duo of the rock era, and if you think for a minute about who that puts them ahead of, that’s quite an impressive accomplishment.
Daryl Hall and John Oates first started making music together in the early 1970’s, and that decade saw hits for them including “Sara Smile” and “Rich Girl”. But things really took off for the duo in the 1980’s, with songs like “Kiss on My List”, “You Make My Dreams”, “Private Eyes”, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”, “Maneater”, “One on One”, and “Out of Touch” tearing up the charts. In recognition of their artistic and commercial success, Hall & Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
This interview was with guitarist John Oates, who co-wrote many of the duo’s songs and even sang lead vocals on a few. It was done by phone on 10/3/14 for a preview article for the Hall & Oates concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 10/19/14. (Juan Patino photo)
Pat Metheny brings brilliant technique, versatility, innovation, and overall musicality to his playing and his compositions, making him one of the most accomplished jazz guitarists out there. Up to this point, he has received an astounding twenty Grammy awards, most recently 2013’s Best Jazz Instrumental Album award for the album United Band, which also features the talents of Chris Potter (saxophone), Ben Williams (bass), and Antonio Sanchez (drums). Just a few weeks ago, the Pat Metheny Unity Group (the United Band members plus multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi) released the album Kin (←→), which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Jazz Chart.
Metheny has also collaborated with a diverse set of artists, including Jim Hall, Chick Corea, John Scofield, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Joni Mitchell, and Derek Bailey.
The following was for a preview article for the Pat Metheny Unity Group concert at the Lobero Theatre on 2/26/14. It was done by email, with answered received on 1/23/14.
Fanny has a distinguished place in rock and roll history as the first all-female rock band to record a full-length album (the self-titled Fanny in 1970) for a major label. In this pioneering band, June Millington sang and played guitar, and her sister Jean Millington played bass guitar. Fanny released a total of five stellar albums in the 1970’s (the last without June), and toured with many of the era’s biggest artists. Both June and Jean played on albums by Ringo Starr and Barbra Streisand. June also played guitar on Cris Williamson’s classic Women’s Music album Changer And The Changed, and co-founded the Institute for the Musical Arts. Jean also performed on albums by David Bowie and Keith Moon. The sisters recently released the album Play Like A Girl.
This interview with June and Jean was conducted by phone on 8/19/11.
Tony Kaye was the keyboard player in the original line-up of Yes, and played on the albums Yes, Time And A Word, and The Yes Album. After touring with the band in support of the latter, he left Yes and played in Badger, which released two albums. He rejoined Yes for the 90125 and Big Generator albums. He also toured with David Bowie for the Station To Station tour. Kaye is currently playing keyboards in CIRCA:, which recently released the album And So On. This interview was done by phone on 8/15/11.