Photos of Sound City Players, 1/31/13, Palladium, Los Angeles (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Steve Diggle plays guitar, writes songs, and sometimes sings for The Buzzcocks, the hugely influential band from Manchester which produced the blueprint for pop punk. The Buzzcocks also jump-started the punk do-it-yourself ethos with their 1977 self-released Spiral Scratch EP, on which Diggle played bass guitar. The Buzzcocks’ notable songs include “Orgasm Addict”, “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”, “I Don’t Mind”, “Promises”, and “Harmony In The Head”. Their compilation Singles Going Steady is regularly ranked as one of the best punk rock albums of all time.
The Buzzcocks broke up in 1981, but re-united in the late 80’s and have been going strong ever since. Between performances at this year’s Coachella festival, they will be playing a few smaller gigs in California, including one in San Luis Obispo for which this interview served as the material for a preview article. I reached Diggle, who also released a solo album called Air Conditioning last year, at his home in London. The interview took place on 3/23/12. (Ian Rook photo)
When “Weird Al” Yankovic was sixteen years old, he gave a home-recorded tape of original and parody songs to Dr. Demento, who broadcast them on his radio show. This was the beginning of Yankovic’s career in comedic music, which really took off in 1984 with his hit song with “Eat It”, a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” with a hilarious video which spoofed Jackson’s own. He has released many other popular parodies, including another song by Jackson (“Fat”) and songs by Madonna (“Like A Surgeon”), Queen (“Another One Rides The Bus”), Nirvana (“Smells Like Nirvana”), Coolio (“Amish Paradise”), and Chamillionaire (“White & Nerdy”). He also writes a number of original comedy songs. His new album, ALpocalypse, is being released in June, 2011.
The following interview was conducted by phone on 6/13/11.
Cris Kirkwood is the bassist for the Meat Puppets, which released the indie rock classic albums Meat Puppets II in 1984 and Up on the Sun in 1985. They hit their commercial peak with 1994’s album Too High to Die, which featured the minor hit “Backwater.” Their visibility was helped immensely around this time by Kurt Cobain proclaiming the Meat Puppets to be one of his biggest influences, and by brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood joining Nirvana onstage at their MTV Unplugged performance of three songs from Meat Puppets II. But things crumbled shortly thereafter, in large part because of Cris’ escalating substance abuse problems.
This interview was conducted over the phone on 1/8/09, and formed the basis of a preview article for the Meat Puppets concert at SOhO. Be sure to read Cris’ hilarious answers to “The MOJO Questions” at the end.