Did you know that Miami's Exposé are the 8th most successful girl group of all time? And did you know they were the first group to land four top 10 songs on their debut album? Accolades like that are mostly forgotten with these guys, unfortunately. The combination of Jeanette Jurado, Ann Curless, and Gioia Bruno - all great singers, all beautiful and all different - was unbeatable from the mid 80s to the early 90s. Svengali Lewis Martineé guided the girls to huge hits like "Point of No Return", "Come Go With Me", and the #1 ballad "Seasons Change". But, as is often the case with groups built like this, things were not always rosy. Jeanette is very open about how the group came together, the rough spots, her thoughts on their legacy, her relationship with the others, and her life outside of the group. It's a very unique glimpse into how it all worked. Enjoy!
Tom Werman was one of the most successful producers of the 70s and 80s. He's responsible for making Cheap Trick what they are thanks to his work on their first few albums. He's also behind some of the best power pop of the era like the Producers, Off Broadway, and Gary Myrick. And, he helped shape the sound of the Sunset Strip by producing massive albums by Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Poison. Oh, he also discovered Ted Hugent, Boston, REO Speedwagon and more. Surprisingly, in the 90s he left it all behind to open a Bed and Breakfast. Tom elaborates on all of these and much more including not getting along with Dee Snider, some of his favorite lesser known projects like Mother's Finest, and why he walked away. Enjoy!
Talk Talk basically invented a new musical language with their fourth album, Spirit of Eden. The band began as a strong, but slightly derivative, synth pop group, but due to the artistic restlessness of main man Mark Hollis, Talk Talk evolved into something no one had ever heard before and hasn't heard since. Critics called what they did "post-rock", which is probably pretty close. Former guest Phill Brown was the engineer on those sessions and recounts the entirely unique circumstances Mark and his collaborators created this masterpiece. Here's the full story!
The Roots are revolutionary artists for many reasons. Not just the music they make, but being hired as Jimmy Fallon's house band changed the landscape of late night television. Guitarist Kirk Douglas has risen as one of the most exciting images on our TVs night after night. In addition to his two important day jobs, Kirk also has a solo career as Hundred Watt Heart and recently released his second solo album, New Unknown. Kirk's sound is true gumbo, but the main hallmarks are psychedelic guitar with a lot of soul and an alt rock base. In this chat, we discuss his many influences, but also some behind the scenes stories from the Tonight Show, the memorable guests, how he prepares, and much more. New Unknown will knock you out, be sure to give it a listen!
Today sees the release of the much anticipated box set of songs from John Hughes movies called Life Moves Pretty Fast: The John Hughes Mixtapes. John's Music Supervisor, and friend of the podcast, Tarquin Gotch returns to discuss how he went about compiling the box, what got left off and why, and the love and care that went into it finally coming out. Over four discs (and plenty of extra goodies) we can relive the hugely influential music from one of the hugely influential voices of his generation. Check it out!
Singer/songwriter Dar Williams can do it all. On top of her wonderful music career, she also publishes the occasional book and her latest is a gift to creative people everywhere. How to Write a Song that Matters shows her describing not only the best way to approach making music, but also how to tap into the best parts of yourself when tackling something inventive. She details her own experiences of stressing over a certain word, committing to an idea and seeing it through, finding the right chords, opening your mind to different thoughts, etc. It's a fascinating book whether you write songs or not. We also get into her 30 year career, a lot of her songs and much more. Enjoy!
This week is a fun twofer with a couple of excellent singer/songwriters that are hitting the road together. First up is Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips. Not only has Glen fronted Toad since the beginning with hits like "Walk On the Ocean" and "Come Down", but he's also had his own robust solo career. Glen has a new album coming out this weekend called There Is So Much Here that is a wonderfully optimistic take on the world. Glen is a deep guy and we hit all the big topics - faith, mental health, politics, and philosophy.
This week is another special twofer!
The mythology of classic rock is built on the backs of legendary characters like Bobby Whitlock. Bobby was involved in three of the greatest rock albums ever made - George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street and, of course, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs from when he and Eric Clapton teamed up for Derek & The Dominos. Bobby discusses his own solo career, plus working with legends like Delaney & Bonnie, Steve Winwood, Duane Allman, "Duck" Dunne, and many more. In addition, an album was recently found by CCR drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford called California Gold which was a project he and Bobby did together in the late 70s, but never saw the light of day until now and it's amazing. We discuss all of this and much more. Enjoy!
Songwriters Hall of Fame member Jack Tempchin is probably best known for the hits he penned for the Eagles. "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Already Gone" are two of the most heard songs in history. He also helped Glenn Frey have a few solo hits like "Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong to the City" among others. Johnny Rivers, Glen Campbell, Tanya Tucker and George Jones are also in his history. Today, Jack has a couple projects he's super excited about. First, he's collaborating with the great young rock band, Mrs Henry to re record some of his songs. He's also launched Jack's Beach Jams where he records himself writing a song on the spot at the beach by his house. Both of these further cement Jack's immense talent that includes his amazing solo work. Jack and I get into all of it. Enjoy!
This week is a pretty unique pairing of classic rockers. First up we hear from Slade drummer Don Powell! Don discusses those glory days of Slade, why they never fully caught on in the States despite being one of the biggest UK bands of the 70s, how Quiet Riot's cover of "Cum on Feel the Noize" finally brought them some attention, the personal and business obstacles the band had to overcome and his recent solo album with the Occasional Flames, Just My Cup of Tea. He's about as nice as they come!
God bless Billy Bragg, one of mankind's greatest gifts! The man has devoted his life to fighting for those that can't fight for themselves, to improving the planet and to inspiring all of us to get involved. We learn what actually motivates him is empathy and knowing that makes his mission even better. Last year he put out a new album called The Million Things That Never Happened that sees him looking at the world optimistically and this week he kicks off a North American tour. We also go deep on the Mermaid Avenue albums he made with Wilco, how those happened, working with Johnny Marr, and the stories behind many of his songs. Billy is a national treasure.
Great news coming out of the Smithereens' camp these days. This weekend they released The Lost Album which is a collection of songs recorded in the early 90s that never saw the light of day until now. Hearing the band, especially the voice of the late great Pat DiNizio again is like manna from heaven for fans. We welcome drummer Dennis Diken to discuss the new album and then we Deep Dive the band's classic from 1988, Green Thoughts. We discuss each track, working with Don Dixon, the many guests and Dennis even lets us know what he thinks the greatest performance ever is! Are the Smithereens the greatest rock band America has ever produced? I say "yes"!
Tony James is one of rock's great shapeshifters. He starts out with Billy Idol in Generation X, one of the great punk bands, but when Billy went solo, Tony took some time to conceptualize his next creative move. That gestation period eventually brought about Sigue Sigue Sputnik, one of the most outrageous groups of the 80s. Though they were short-lived, the band left a giant lipstick stain on the collar of pop music. Tony then downgraded to sideman when he joined up with "The" Sisters of Mercy for a spell. Then, because he can, he pairs up with his old London SS buddy Mick Jones and forms Carbon Silicon and gives most of the music away for free. It's been a wild ride and today Tony lives comfortably off his success and does whatever he wants. It's a crazy, hilarious story.
One of the best rock docs ever made is coming back to theaters next month to celebrate its 13th anniversary. Who can forget seeing Anvil! The Story of Anvil for the first time? For many (too many, sadly) it was our introduction to Lips and Robb and their decades long struggle to be taken seriously in rock and roll. The world fell in love with these guys, and the movie, and they've been enjoying a lot more success ever since. Anvil's Lips Kudlow and Robb Reiner along with director Sacha Gervasi join us to discuss their lives since the release, the new remastered version hitting theaters and Anvil's new album, Impact is Imminent. Enjoy!
For a band that has barely made a peep over the last 25 years, the House of Love are having a major resurgence. This summer they released the incredible 8 CD box set Burn Down The World that showcases just about everything from their major label days. They're also kicking off a UK tour this week, as well as a 30th anniversary tour of the US next month, and, as if that isn't enough, they have a killer new album called State of Grace coming out this Friday! Mastermind Guy Chadwick joins us to discuss how he looks at his past, the transition from the scrappy indie days into the big time, what he did when the band ended, the solo album he made with Robin Guthrie, the latter day HOL work, and much more. This band is special, hop aboard!
Acclaimed author Martin Popoff joins us to discuss his new coffee table book Bowie@75. Martin is probably best known for his many books and thoughts on hard rock and heavy metal, but this time he's focused on a beautiful book that celebrates Bowie at 75, but also the 75 chronological benchmarks in Bowie's career - good and bad. In here we talk about how he wrote the book, but also banter and debate our hot takes and opinions about the man. The book is as gorgeous as it is thought provoking. Check it out!
Google Richard James Burgess. Trust me. His list of accomplishments, inventions, innovations, businesses, etc is long. We focus on his production career here and it barely scratches the surface. He started out in the late 70s as the frontman for a quirky synthpop band called Landscape that had a couple hits in the UK. He quickly went into production work starting with the first couple Spandau Ballet albums and then became a go-to guy for vibrant pop music with a dance accents and an r&b angle. His credits during this time include King, Living in a Box, Adam Ant, Kim Wilde, Shreikback, When in Rome and straight r&b with Five Star, New Edition and Imagination. Legends like Kate Bush and Thomas Dolby are in there too. He's an extremely interesting guy with a great musical resume. Enjoy!
This week we are honored to welcome our good friend, and first time author, BJ Kramp to the show to talk about his new book on Cheap Trick. Many of us may feel like we have a book somewhere inside of us, but BJ actually did, conducting hundreds of interviews to tell the origin story of one of the greatest American bands ever. We learn about his writing process, the band's involvement, and why he connects with Cheap Trick so much. The book is great and we're incredibly proud of our friend and his accomplishment.
We did it! It only took 382 episodes, but we finally get to hear from the great Howard Jones! Next week sees the release of his new album, Dialogue, which is the 3rd album of a four-part series that discusses the issues of our time and humanity's responsibility to find common ground. If anyone knows about staying positive in the face of adversity, it's Howard Jones! We also discuss his performance at Live Aid, the ups and downs of his career, following his creative muse, and why he's so huge in Utah. The world needs more Howard Jones, we're grateful to have him!
Book Club - Mitchell Cohen author of Looking for the Magic: New York City, The ’70s and the Rise of Arista Records
Writer Mitchell Cohen started working in the music business during those heady days in the 70s that we imagine as the peak period for record labels. When Clive Davis began Arista Records, Mitchell was there on the ground floor doing marketing and A&R and helping to build the label into what it would become. He writes about these experiences in his new book, Looking for the Magic, that details label politics, building marketing campaigns, and highlighting musicians big and small. He shares those stories with us as well. Enjoy!
Gang of Four's 1979 debut album Entertainment! defined what we think of when we think of "post-punk". They perfected the mix of angular guitars crossed with disco bass, driving beats and political lyrics. The band's sound continued to evolve over time, but never lost its bite or urgency. Unfortunately, as with most bands, there's been a lot of animosity over the decades, but with the passing of guitarist Andy Gill last year, frontman Jon King is carrying the torch and recently completed a successful US tour. Jon and I discuss Andy's death, being banned by the BBC, whether David Byrne stole his look, being on the Karate Kid soundtrack, curating their new box set, and all the albums. Gang of Four deserve the deepest of deep dives. If you don't know them that well, now's your chance!
Annabella Lwin has seen a lot. More than she wants to talk about, honestly. We know the story - discovered at 13 and made the lead singer of a band masterminded by the outlandish Malcolm McLaren, Bow Wow Wow. They make a sound no one's ever heard before and leave behind a bunch of hits no one will ever forget (sadly, only "I Want Candy" got much traction in the States). The career she had would never fly now, not like it did then, but she's survived a lot, including the end of the band, a solo album and grinding away as an artist in a tough business. These days Annabella is mostly viewed as the icon she is and plays many shows a year, including a couple Lost 80s Live shows on 8/20 and 25. We touch on all of this, address some tough stuff, and move past others. She can still do it all and better than ever.
Rock in Retrospect host Nick Bambach recently had Jon and Haydn Murdoch of the INXS: Access All Areas podcast on his show to make their case why INXS deserves consideration for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here is our impassioned plea!
This week is another legendary producer, the fantastic Stephen Street! Stephen first came to prominence when he engineered those classic Smiths album like Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead. He ultimately produced the Strangeways, Here We Come album, which led to a partnership with Morrissey on his solo debut. Stephen is also best known for his work with Blur and producing Parklife, one of the ultimate British albums of the modern era. He's also had long collaborations with the Cranberries and the Kaiser Chiefs. We also get in albums he's done with New Order, the Psychedelic Furs, Suede, and much more. Stephen's talent has defined a sound specific to British alternative guitar pop of the 80s and 90s. Here's his story!
Jon, Andy and Jan recap the second quarter's episodes, and discuss what's going on in their lives, and gigs. Jan's curious love of redheads makes an appearance ( you think he'd learn, after the first one ).
We also get into gig openers, and discuss our faves! Make sure and tell us yours!
There's also some great music available. Check out the following:
Opener: The Byson Family
Dusty: Dusty Miller
Our featured song for this recap can be found at Rich Bischoff Original Music
In Minneapolis, the Peterson family musical dynasty goes back decades. Paul Peterson didn't even have to think about what he'd do with his life. In his late teens, he was pegged to join Morris Day and the Time for their Ice Cream Castles album which became their biggest and featured hits like "Jungle Love" and "The Bird". From there, Prince decided to build The Family, one of his many 80s side projects, around the voices of Paul and Susannah Melvoin. But, after one album The Family ended and Paul went solo. For over 30 years, Paul has been making his own music (new album Break On Free just came out) and working as an in demand hired gun for people like Steve Miller, Kenny Loggins, Oleta Adams and Donny Osmond. In addition to his excellent new album, Paul has a great podcast called Music on the Run about staying in shape on the road. It's a unique and fascinating story you have to hear!
In the second part of our conversation with the great Steve Lillywhite, we get into his work with Aretha Franklin, the Chameleons, Crowded House, The La's, Thompson Twins, Talking Heads, XTC, U2, Ultravox, and the Psychedelic Furs. And there's more ballbusting and strong opinions. Steve's the best!
It finally happened! When Jon started this podcast seven years ago, at or near the top of his dream guest wishlist was producer Steve Lillywhite, one of his absolute favorites. Steve was so cool and generous with his time that we're releasing this in two parts. In part one we get straight into it discussing Steve's work with Travis, Morrissey, the Killers, Marshall Crenshaw, Big Country, Simple Minds, U2, Peter Gabriel, the Pogues, the Rolling Stones and Johnny Thunders. There are also side conversations on the late, great Kirsty MacColl, the famous gated drum sound Steve had a hand in creating and much more. Stay tuned for part 2 which is equally as good and will be out later this week. It's a dream come true, enjoy!
We have another wonderful 2fer for you this week.
Seriously, what can you say about Roxy Music? They are literally one of the most inventive and influential musical acts in history. That fact was finally confirmed when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago. Guitarist Phil Manzanera joins us this week to talk about the history of the band, the evolution of their sound, and how they're getting back together for some 50th anniversary shows later this year. In addition, Phil has had a fruitful career collaborating with many other heavy hitters like Pink Floyd and Tim Finn who he also produced back in the Split Enz days. In fact, Phil and Tim have a brand new album coming out at the end of the month. This man is a legend and we're lucky to hear from him.
WARNING: 100% POLITICS TALK
Jon is joined by friends and fellow podcasters Eric Miller, Brad Page and BJ Kramp to discuss how we approach fandom when our favorite rock stars are on the wrong side of history. Are opposing political views and historically bad behavior grounds to move on? What are the stakes politically in this day and age? Here's our live and unedited discussion on this topic.
Jon was recently invited by host Mike Wiles to come on the Retro Rock Roundup podcast to discuss the Doobie Brothers and go album by album through their career. Here's their conversation.
Nobody does what the Cowboy Junkies do quite like they do. The Canadians' music is often slow, smokey, and emotional and conveys a heaviness even if it's not always heavy. They have also shown a mastery of covers, often taking ownership of the song from the original artist, and their latest album, Songs of the Recollection, is an album of excellent and well thought out covers, some of which might surprise you. Lead singer Margo Timmins joins us this week to discuss the band's long history including working alongside siblings, the label's pressure to change, and specific details about the recording of their landmark Trinity Sessions album. What shines through most is Margo's inherent decency. You'll come away loving them even more.
It's a classic rock two-fer this week! First up is Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew. This band of Scots has been chugging along for over 50 years and Pete is the last original member still at it. Pete and the band managed to release a super strong new album this year, Surviving the Law, that's one of the best they've released in a while. Pete and I discuss the effects of the lockdown on touring, what it's like experiencing periodic success in various parts of the world, and the glory days of Hair of the Dog.
We're lucky to be living in the golden age of excellent rock docs. The latest one to add to the list is Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr. In this episode, director Phillip Reichenheim joins us from Berlin to discuss making the movie and working with the unique personalities of J, Lou, and Murph. The film also includes excellent insights from Henry Rollins, Black Francis, Kim Gordon and more. The movie is now available for streaming, so check it out even if the band is new to you!
This week is another excellent producer. Steve Levine had worked as an engineer on albums by the Clash and the Vibratoirs before doing the work that brought him the most attention - producing the first three Culture Club albums. He saw that band conquer the world and, ultimately, implode. This led to gigs producing the Beach Boys, Quarterflash, China Crisis, America, the Creatures, and the Vapors among many others. Today's he's busier than ever working for the BBC as well as many other projects. We discuss all of these acts as well as his work on John Hughes movie soundtracks, getting to know Stevie Wonder, winning a Grammy for gospel music and much more. His enthusiasm is infectious!
Writer Nick Duerden has recently published a book that, if you've been a listener of this podcast for any length of time, will be manna from heaven. His new book, Exit Stage Left, explores what rock stars do when the spotlight has moved on. Sound familiar? It's one of the most enjoyable music books you'll ever read if you've ever wondered how and why artists try to make it work decade after decade. We get the inside story of around 50 artists of all levels of fame (many of which have also been guests on our show) including Shaun Ryder, Bob Geldof, Robbie Williams, Natalie Merchant, David Gray, Ceelo Green, Don McLean, Billy Bragg and many many more. This conversation is a mutual love fest between two people seeking the same answers. You'll love it!
Ringleader Mike Scott has been at the center of the Waterboys keeping the train moving for about 45 years. He's always mixed traditional Irish folk music with the poetry of Bob Dylan or Yeats and a heavy dose of punk to create their unique sound and spirit. The result is spirit-lifting anthems like "The Whole of the Moon" and "Fisherman's Blues" and a bunch of fantastic and experimental detours. The last few albums have seen Mike experiment with drum loops and hip-hop beats culminating in the sparkling new album All Souls Hill. Mike shares with us his writing process, the inspiration behind several of his classics, working with Karl Wallinger, writing poetry and more. Mike is a generational treasure. We've all been blessed by his latent.
This week is another very special two-fer who share a long history together.
You could say Graham Bonnet is hard rock's greatest chameleon. Perpetually stylish and sexy with his white suits, short hair and sunglasses, he continues to be an anomaly compared to his metal peers. He was plucked from relative obscurity to front Rainbow in the late 70s, but only lasted one album before joining Michael Schenker's group where his time was even shorter. Then he created Alcatrazz which launched the careers of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai and which he's dipped in and out of over the years. All along there have also been solo albums and the Graham Bonnet Band, which have a strong new album called Day Out in Nowhere that's worth a listen. Whether it's crooning classic r&b songs or wailing like a banshee over the hardest metal, Graham does whatever he feels like and does it well. And his stories have to be heard to be believed. He's the Metal Gentleman.
It's a couple of straight shooters this week.
Guitarist Lenny Kaye has positioned himself as the ultimate tour guide through the history of rock and roll. Of course he's best known for being Patti Smith's enabler and co-conspirator, having been by her side since day one. He's also a producer helping artists like Suzanne Vega, James, Kristen Hersh and Soul Asylum find their best selves. He's a noted music historian, having curated the indispensable Nuggets compilation and writing articles and liner notes for decades. And, he's also a writer with a brand new book called Lightning Striking which details ten big moments in rock and roll. In this wonderful conversation, Lenny details how he structured the book, how he and Patti made music including Horses, working with Jimmy Iovine and Clive Davis, and his gratitude for a full life spent with what he loves most. It's inspiring stuff.
When you think about music from the late 70s, chances are good you think about Leo Sayer. He practically owned that period with hits like "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing", "When I Need You" and "More Than I Can Say". Unfortunately, bad management robbed him of his career (and all his money) and he's had to build it all back up, which he's done successfully for decades. The last few years have been especially fruitful. In 2019 he released the excellent album Selfie and this year he put out Northern Songs which is him reimagining Beatles songs in a most creative way. Leo tells many incredible stories from his over 50 years in show business like interactions with the Beatles, hanging out with Prince and being the last person to speak with Elvis. You have to hear this to believe it!
The Hustle turns seven this week and to celebrate we welcome Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and the "King of Rock" Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of Run-DMC! Darryl recently published a children's book called "Darryl's Dream" about an awkward kid with big glasses growing up in the hood with an interest in comic books and cartoons. That kid grew up to join forces with Run and Jam Master Jay and form Run-DMC, one of the most revolutionary music groups in history. Darryl discusses the history of the group, his battles with mental health and depression, getting clean, and the stories behind many classic songs. D is a total inspiration and is fighting the good fight shedding light on mental health. We're lucky to hear from him. Enjoy!
The new book by Graeme Thomson answers many of the questions Simple Minds fans have had for decades. In Themes For Great Cities, Thomson explains (with participation from almost all band members past and present) how their artistically challenging beginning gave rise to their commercial peak in the mid-80s. What were their influences, how were songs like "I Travel" and "Love Song" even constructed, and what was behind the good and bad decisions the band made along the way. Theme is manna from heaven for SM obsessives because as enjoyable as the band is to listen to, they're equally as enjoyable to discuss.
Guitarist Brinsley Schwarz, in his own little way, changed music. When his namesake band came on the scene in the early 70s, they popularized a sound (along with bands like Dr. Feelgood, Clover and Status Quo) that would forever be known as "Pub Rock". British bands emulating the American roots music they were hearing, while adding their own spin. After a few albums, the hyper talented Nick Lowe left the band and Brinsley joined up with Graham Parker to start the Rumour. After several years in and out of activity with GP (his This Is 40 story is hilarious) Brinsley is now focused on a beautiful solo career and his new solo album, Tangled. It's exactly what the world needs right now! Brinsley tells us all about his history and shares the story of a historically bad gig you won't believe. Enjoy!
This week is another two-fer! First up is the legend herself and one of the greatest voices in rock history, Heart's Ann Wilson! Ann and Nancy have been doing their own thing the last few years and Ann has a brand new solo album called Fierce Bliss coming out on the 29th. To me, it sounds the closest to the heavy rock sound of the 70s that Heart and their influences like Led Zeppelin and Bad Company were doing. Singles like "Greed" and her cover of the Eurythmics' "Missionary Man" are already out there. Ann and I talk about her approach to covers, the status of Heart these days, how she got Roger Dean to do the album cover and more.
Imagine being one of the hottest tickets in Hollywood in the early 80s. The parties. The celebrities. The glitz and glam. The BusBoys lived that life for a while. As most people know, they were captured for eternity thanks to their appearance in the movie 48 Hours, which cemented a friendship with Eddie Murphy that continues to this day. Frontman Brian O'Neal and the guys are finally back with new music! Excellent singles "Love On My Mind" and "Civil Rights" are already out there and a new album is in the works. Brian and I discuss those early days in LA, the challenges of being a rock band made up of black guys, how they also made it on the Ghostbusters soundtrack, his approach to hard work, and much more. The BusBoys are ripe for rediscovery!