Stooges guitarist (and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) James Williamson's sludgy, greasy sound is uniquely his own. Plus, he was a perfect match and co-conspirator for Iggy Pop at just the right time when he took over for Ron Asheton on the Raw Power album and then partnered up with Iggy for a few more years, writing songs, and taking whatever record contracts they could get while totally strung out. James quickly left and forged a long and successful; career in Silicon Valley, not even touching a guitar for over 20 years! He eventually stepped in when needed again for Asheton and toured with the Stooges for a few more years before deciding to do his own thing. His "own thing" has included several excellent albums including last year's Two To One with vocalist Deniz Tek, one of the best of the year. We go deep on albums, songs, software, Bowie (not a fan), and other stories. Enjoy!
Jane's Addiction might be the most influential and important band of the last 35 years. Think about it - did anyone bridge the alternative rock of the 80s with the grunge sound of the 90s better? They are the link in that transition. Hugely creative, fantastically musical, and tragically dysfunctional, their records may be few, but their power is enormous. Speaking of power, drummer Stephen Perkins joins us to share his philosophy on drumming, music, life, band dynamics and everything in between. We also hear the stories behind the songs and albums that we all love. His passion is infectious and the music never gets old. Enjoy!
We're ending 2020 the same way it began, by hearing from a fantastic and accomplished songwriter. Clif Magness has won a grammy, been nominated for an Oscar, and has had songs recorded by everyone from Barbra Streisand to Cheap Trick to Quincy Jones. But some of his biggest successes have been writing "All I Need" for Jack Wagner back in the 80s and working closely with Avril Lavigne on her debut album. He's also found time to release a couple excellent solo albums which you'll want to check out if you're a fan of meat and potatoes AOR rock. In addition to all this, we discuss his partnership with Glen Ballard, some of his soundtrack work, a serious health scare, and more. Enjoy!
It's Christmastime and it felt right to share our conversation with the lovely Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer! Of course SIxpence broke through big when their third album in 1997 launched "Kiss Me" into the public consciousness where it would remain embedded forever and ever and the band has released music when the mood hit them ever since. Along the way, Leigh has forged her own solo path, including the wonderful EP Get Happy, released earlier this year. Leigh and I discuss the whole career, how she approaches a cover, her love of Country and Religious music, and the good and bad things about being labeled a Christian artist. Leigh is about as sweet as it gets, so please enjoy and have as Merry a Christmas as is possible!
We are welcoming back rock doc director Jon Brewer to discuss his recent documentary “Chuck Berry: The Original King of Rock and Roll”. Chuck is on the Mt Rushmore of rock but is also s complicated person. Jon and I discuss the good and bad sides of the man and his legacy. We also are giving away two copies of the Blu-ray so join Patreon to be in the running. Enjoy!
I can't think of another band quite like Modern Romance. They came out of the Blitz scene in the early 80s with bands like Duran Duran, Ultravox and Spandau Ballet and originally sounded like lesser versions of those guys. On their third single, "Everybody Salsa", they adopted big Latin rhythms and stumbled on a unique new sound and a bunch of hits followed - "Best Years of Our Lives", "Ay Ay Ay Moosey" and more. Soon after styles and band members changed and the band called it quits. In 1999 original percussionist Andy Kyriacou brought the band back and they've been playing Retro Fests ever since. Andy's story is a unique one and when he talks about his family a profound lesson is shared. They also just released Their Greatest Tracks. Enjoy!
We close out our recent producer series by talking to the fantastic Tim Palmer! Tim's career goes back 40 years and includes everyone from Ozzy to Kajagoogoo to Heatwave. We hear amazing stories about his time with artists like Tin Machine, Pearl Jam, Dead or Alive, Robert Plant, Tears for Fears, U2, Psychedelic Furs and many others. Tim is still very active today, in fact a recent production of his couldn't be more important. Wayne Hussey of The Mission put together an all-star group of music legends to re-record their seminal hit, "Tower Of Strength" with Tim producing as a charity single for front-line workers during the pandemic. Think of it as the 2020 version of Band-Aid. It's beautiful stuff and so is everything else Tim touches. Enjoy!
Tis the season! Jon and Jan are joined by friends Ben Montgomery from the Records Revisited podcast and Jon's buddy, regular, podcast-less civilian, Dave Carruth to discuss Christmas music, but also movies, traditions, etc. Hot topics are debated like whether "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Last Christmas" are good or bad, whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and a number of other hot takes. We also countdown our top 3 Christmas songs/albums ever. And listen to the intro and outro songs provided by friends of the pod.
Don't we all miss the 70s? That golden era of soulful singer-songwriters left an impression that has never been replicated and high among them is the great Melissa Manchester. After 50 years in the business, Melissa keeps getting better releasing material in the 2000s that's easily as good as her peak 70s period. We talk openly about her journey, how the glory of the 70s led to the gloss of the 80s that completely changed her sound before the 90s passed her by almost entirely. We also talk about her relationship with songwriters like Carole Bayer-Sager, Kenny Loggins and Paul Simon, her teaching career, and how she was nearly a cast member on Saturday Night Live! They don't make them like Melissa anymore, we're lucky to have her!
For this Deep Dive we are welcoming Gunnar Nelson to tell us the full story behind the Nelson's blockbuster debut album After the Rain. Few rock albums from that era stand the test of time like this one, helped by several smash hits like "More Than Ever" and "Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection". Gunnar tells us how he and Matthew wrote the songs, the obstacles they had to overcome to release it and make it a hit, and much more. Gunnar's honesty and passion is infectious. Enjoy!
Producer Terry Manning is a Jack of All Trades and Master of Many! Starting out as a pre-teen in Texas, Terry went on to work with everyone from Led Zeppelin to Otis Redding to Bjork and many more in between. After a long relationship with ZZ Top he produced their breakthrough Eliminator and from there was hired to bring similar success to acts like George Thorogood and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. His time at Stax and Ardent Studios brought time with Big Star, Al Green and Isaac Hayes and while running Compass Point in the Bahamas booked time with David Bowie and Lenny Kravitz. He's also an accomplished photographer,runner, and recording artist in his own rite. This episode of jam packed with more great stories than you can imagine, including everyone mentioned here. You'll love it!
Steve Stevens and Billy Idol are a pair that goes together like Marr and Morrissey, like Plant and Page, like Scott and Adams, like Pirroni and Ant... you get the idea. This power duo has created some of the most indelible songs and styles of the last 40 years with Steve's identifiable guitar leading the way. In this chat we learn some of the stories behind their dynamic, the albums, his solo work, and our thoughts on the passing of Eddie Van Halen (news broke about 15 mins before the interview). Here's a chance to listen to a true game-changer.
The loss of the Outfield's Tony Lewis recently really stings. The Outfield were a consistently excellent band that deserved more and Tony's incredible voice paired with the late John Spink's songwriting was a match made in heaven. To honor Tony we bring back former guest producer William Wittman (ep 215) who did their first two, and biggest, albums, Play Deep and Bangin'. And go back and listen to our interview with Tony himself (ep 164). He's the best.
Nick Launay started his career when still in his teens and when John Lyden picked (forced?) him to produce PiL's "Flowers of Romance" in 1981 he was off and running. His resume includes greats like Killing Joke, Talking Heads, Semisonic and even recent albums from Arcade Fire, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I planned to cover these amd many more in our conversation, but instead we went deep on a few - INXS (he produced The Swing), Midnight Oil, The Church, Nick Cave, Silverchair, Phil Collins (he was in the room when Phil did the drums for "In The Air Tonight", Eric Clapton and Public Image Ltd (which is maybe the craziest story we've ever heard). This is another instant classic!
The Bongos were one of those great early 80s American indie bands, like Violent Femmes or the db's. After having some success and creating a rabid grassroots fanbase, frontman Richard Barone went solo and has had a fulfilling musical career ever since doing whatever he wants. Imagine growing up with people like Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and Tony Visconti as your heroes and then actually befriending and working with them! Richard's is a fascinating story of the power of glam rock, shape-shifting, sexual experimentation, and art. You'll love it!
Producer/Musician Andy Ross has been in music his entire life. He's served as a session musician, a member of the band Immaculate Fools, and a producer working with artists like Howard Jones. His dad even gave saxophone lessons to a young David Bowie! Andy's just released a hugely ambitious and excellent album The Fear Engine. The album, and the accompanying documentary, explores why people behave the way they do by asking big questions like Why do people lie?, Why do people fear failure?, Why do people want to be famous? etc. He explains the impetus for this timely project as well as his career and music in general.
Producer John Fryer was instrumental in honing the sound of some of the 80s most inventive groups. While working at Blackwing Studios and largely with the 4AD label, his list of accomplishments includes albums by Depeche Mode, Yaz, Cocteau Twins, Fad Gadget, Peter Murphy and many others with the mother of all being Nine Inch Nails' debut Pretty Hate Machine. Over the years he's devoted time to his own musical projects as well and his latest is Black Needle Noise which sounds just like you would imagine and has a new album, These Mortal Covers, coming out this week. We discuss all of this including the stories behind songs he worked on like Love & Rockets "So Alive" and MARRS "Pump Up the Volume". Enjoy!
For this Deep Dive we welcome back a favorite of ours, songwriter Martin Page (ep30)! On top of the great songs Martin's written in his career, back in 1985 he was hand-picked by Earth Wind and Fire mastermind Maurice White to oversee his first solo album. Even though the songs are just as strong as what EWF would have put out, the album underperformed and remains fairly obscure to this day. Martin talks about what it was collaborating with this genius and how he approached the songs he wrote. We also talk about Martin's entertaining podcast, Radio OwlsNest and how he creates his own solo material. Enjoy!
Survivor were one of the key rock bands of the 80s. They either defined the sound of the era, or produced some of the finest music that era had to offer. And with hits like "High On You", "Can't Hold Back", and a dozen others including the enduring "Eye of the Tiger" the band's legacy is immortal. Co-founder and guitarist Frankie Sullivan tells us the stories behind many of the hits, including the full story of "Tiger", what it's like working with former guest Ron Nevison, the underappreciated influence of the Scotti Brothers, and why the band chooses to not reform. Enjoy!
INXS's Andrew Farriss returns to the show to discuss his new EP, Love Makes The World. As we learned in July, Andrew has been readying a country album, but when Covid hit it became fuzzy what the result of this project would be. Love Makes The World is an excellent 5-song album that includes his latest single, "All The Stars Are Mine." Andrew details the thinking behind the release and what to expect next.
We lost another legend. Eddie Van Halen was one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time. To discuss his life and the impact he had on music we brought back BulletBoys frontman Marq Torien (ep151). Not only did those bands share a producer in Ted Templeman, the BBoys were heavily influenced by Van Halen and were championed by them early on. Marq tells us what Eddie meant to him and where he ranks in rock history.
Producer/Musician Youth is one of the most creative and innovative musical minds of the last 40 years. Starting out as the bassist in pioneering doom rock band Killing Joke, he left after three albums and went on to become one of the most important dance music producers the UK has ever created when he formed The Orb and brought genres like trance and dub to the forefront. He also produced landmark albums by Crowded House, The Verve, james, Embrace, Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney (as the Fireman), and even Killing Joke when he returned in the 90s. Recently he teamed up with Blow Monkeys frontman Dr. Robert for the funky single "Get Yourself Together" which is just as great as everything else he's done. We cover all of it and more!
Months continue feeling more like years, but it's still time for another check-in. Jon and Jan recap the last three month's worth of episodes, announce a cd giveaway, play an important brand new song by a former guest, and answer some listener questions.
Many, including me, consider Go West frontman Peter Cox one of the greatest blue-eyed soul singers the UK has ever produced. With musical partner Richard Drummie, Go West competed in the synth pop genre well in the 80s with hits like "We Close Our Eyes" and the gigantic "King of Wishful Thinking". But that partnership, like many others, needed a break so Peter went on to have an excellent and varied solo career touching on blues, rock and even country, that continues to this day while also touring with Go West, playing festivals all over Europe. Here Peter discusses all of it, including his main influences (you'll be surprised), his pre and post Go West musical life, and how he feels about his legacy. There isn't enough Go West or Peter Cox music out there, but I hopefully this reminds everyone how great he is.
We close out our series of big time drummers with the great Mickey Curry! Like the others, Mickey has done a lot of fun things that we talk about, but two of his biggest partnerships have been with Hall & Oates and Bryan Adams. We go deep on both artists, his favorite moments and contributions like Live Aid and others. In addition, we discuss his playing with The Cult, Steve Winwood, Carly Simon, Rpy Orbison, Dion and Tom Waits. What is abundantly clear is that Mickey's career has lasted so long because he's a really good hang. Enjoy!
We continue our series on big time drummers by hearing from Tris Imboden! Until a couple years ago Tris spent decades holding it down for Chicago, but before that he also spent many years with Kenny Loggins. In our conversation we hear what it was like collaborating with both of those greats, including his thoughts on recording "Footloose", as well as what he's doing now after abruptly leaving Chicago. Along the way he also worked with Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Fee Waybill and Richard Marx. We also hear what it was like backing Kenny at Live Aid. He's such a great guy, enjoy!
Mighty Lemon Drops guitarist and principle songwriter David Newton returns to the pod to tell us all about the creation of the band's 1988 breakthrough second album World Without End. This album launched them to the national stage thanks to the fantastic single "Inside Out" and solidified them as a band to take seriously. In addition, David's new project Thee Mighty Angels, just released their debut album A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment which is a fantastic dollop of Brit Pop. Enjoy!
This week we close out our series going deep on the careers of the Immediate Family by hearing from legendary drummer Russ Kunkel. Like the others, Russ's career goes back 50 years when he took off playing with James Taylor, Carole King, and the like. In this conversation we dive into his collaborations with artists like Bill Withers, Jimmy Buffett, Dan Fogelberg, Crosby Stills & Nash and many others. The Family has just released their second single "Slippin' and Slidin'" and their new EP of the same name will come out on Oct.16th!
Lone Justice had all the potential in the world, but ended up more of a cautionary tale. They had a charismatic lead singer with Maria McKee, a big time producer in Jimmy Iovine, the backing of a major label and contributions from Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Little Steven, and many more.The problem is none of these people knew what to do with their hybrid of classic country and punk leaving Lone Justice to fall as soon as they rose. Founder Ryan Hedgecock tells his story passionately and compellingly and you really come away with a unique view of the rock machinery. Enjoy!
We are honored to bring back producer Clive Langer to discuss the wonderful Madness! When "Our House" hit big in the states in 1983, the record label released this self-titled compilation to introduce them to the American market and show what Madness was all about.. This was also one of the first records Jon ever owned and Madness were instrumental to the young Jon and Jan's upbringing. Clive gives us a peak behind the curtain of working with the "Nutty Boys", the dynamic among the guys, and the stories behind the songs. Was this album impactful for anyone else? Enjoy!
Andy Richards started out as a classical pianist, but being discovered by Trevor Horn in the early 80s changed all that. He went to work at SARM studios where he played on albums by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Propaganda. He began getting calls to play on albums/songs by everyone from Wham ("Careless Whisper"), Chris DeBurgh ("Lady in Red"), Rush, Pet Shop Boys, Liza Minelli, Billy Squier, OMD, Seal, Grace Jones, Nik Kershaw, Prefab Sprout, Berlin, and producing artists like Corey Hart, Dusty Springfield, and T'Pau. We discuss all these people, and Andy is refreshingly honest about his experiences. We also chat about his current solo project, which is pretty unique. This one's another instant classic - enjoy!
Cutting Crew frontman Nick Van Eede returns to the pod to deep dive the band's problematic second album, The Scattering from 1989. Die hard fans love this album, but it was met with indifference upon its release and didn't reach the heights of the debut. Nick tells us about the challenges of making the album and why he's proud of it. We also discuss the new Crew album, Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven, which features versions of classic Cutting Crew songs played with an orchestra. We hope you reacquaint yourself with this underappreciated album that deserves more attention.
Tanya Donelly is a pioneer. She was a founding member of three of the most important female-fronted indie rock bands in history - Throwing Muses (with her step-sister Kristin Hersh), the Breeders (with Kim Deal), and her own Belly. She's also forged a successful solo career that includes her latest album, a collaboration with the Parkington Sisters that is a fantastic covers album. We go deep on how she selected the covers to record, why she left each of those bands, what it was like being signed to the 4AD label, motherhood and much more. And listen to the end to learn about a new giveaway. Enjoy!
Seven-time Grammy winning producer/engineer/mixer Steve Thompson returns to the show to deep dive the posthumous release from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Milk and Honey from 1984. Made up of half Yoko songs and half songs John was working on when he was murdered, the album features his last hit "Nobody Told Me". Steve discusses his work on the album and his relationship with John and Yoko, but also music in general. Steve is one of a kind and always great to hear from!
We are extremely honored to welcome back producer Bob Rock to deep dive The Cult's 1989 breakthrough album Sonic Temple. We learn all about Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy's mindframe when they created it, how Bob achieved the sound they were looking for, how classic songs like "Fire Woman" and "Edie (Ciao Baby)" came to be, and how the Cult relate to other Bob Rock affiliated bands like Metallica, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. We are so lucky to hear from legends like Bob. Enjoy!
Has anyone managed to pass through puberty without being slipped a copy of the Violent Femmes' debut album from 1983? It's become a rite of passage - every generation passes it down to the next. This week we talk to original drummer Victor DeLorenzo about his time in the band (he left many years ago), how they found their name and style, the album covers, his acting career, and his current musical project Nineteen Thirteen which is him and cellist Janet Schiff. He also released a new ep this year called Tranceaphone. Unfortunately, there were some technical problems, but we did the best we could to clean them up. Enjoy!
This week is heavy metal cult hero Thor! After Jon Mikl won buckets of bodybuilding championships all over North America, he decided to enter showbiz and took on the Thor persona nearly 50 years ago (imagine He-Man as a rock star). Combining his love of hard rock, comic books, superheroes, and performance art, Thor put on eye-catching live shows where he'd blow up hot water bottles and bend steel. He's still at it today (although with fewer props) and in 2016 an entertaining documentary was made about him called I Am Thor and this year he released his 31st album, Rising. Here we're joined by band member Ted Jedlicki to learn what life is like for a cult hero today. Enjoy!
In this very special bonus episode we look back at the life and career of Canadian guitar legend Jeff Healey. We're joined by his widow Cristie Hall Healey and one of his best friend's Roger Costa, Co-Administrators/Archivists for the Estate of Jeff Healey, to talk about the glory days with the Jeff Healey Band, filming Road House, his transition to jazz trumpet in the late 2000s and what's in the pipeline for re-releases. This is a unique glimpse into a fantastic artist that was gone too soon.
In 2020 Air Supply's dynamic duo of vocalist Russell Hitchcock and guitarist/songwriter Graham Russell are celebrating 45 years together. And in that time they've recorded many of the most immortal ballads in pop music like "All Out of Love," "Lost in Love," and "Even the Nights are Better." What sometimes gets lost is that these guys did more than just these soft rock staples. Graham Russell discusses the stories behind some of the hits, his love of dance music and writing for the theater, those years when the band wasn't considered cool, and why he moved to rural Utah 30 years ago. Air Supply are still a beloved institution after 45 years in the biz!
Jon and Jan recap the second quarter of 2020, how the last three months feel like three years thanks to Covid, the former guests we've lost this year, and give our thoughts on the last three months worth of shows.
This week is another member of the Immediate Family, legendary session guitarist, producer and songwriter Waddy Wachtel! Like the others, Waddy has been in the business for almost 50 years and played with everyone you can think of. In here we talk about his early days with the Everly Brothers and his time with Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, Adam Sandler and Warren Zevon (including co-writing "Werewolves of London"). We also learn about his memorable guitar work in classic tunes like "Oh Sherrie" and "Bette Davis Eyes" and what it was like producing The Church ("Under The Milky Way"). Waddy's got stories galore, you'll love it! And don't forget to follow the Immediate Family and listen to their new single, "Cruel Twist."
We are welcoming back maybe our favorite guest ever, the one and only Fee Waybill! Fee returns to deep dive the Tubes' breakthrough album from 1981 The Completion Backward Principle. We hear what it was like working with producer David Foster, why this was a make or break album for the band, and how hits like "Talk To Ya Later" and "I Don't Want to Wait Anymore" were created. Fee also has a fantastic new solo album called Fee Waybill Rides Again that was produced by his buddy Richard Marx, so we hear all about that as well. There's only one Fee Waybill and we're lucky to hear from him!
Musicians, keyboardists, gearheads, lend us your ears! Jay Graydon is back to tell us the story of the famous E Electric Piano which was a sought after session instrument in the early 80s and how it's been sampled and is now for sale. He also discusses a new Youtube channel is starting where he will share tricks of the trade and we hear stories about David Foster, Ray Parker Jr. his approach to production, guitars, perfect pitch, and a million other things. Get to know how the mind of a musical genius works!
Jay Graydon is one of rock's most wildly successful multi-hyphenates. He was a first call session guitarist in LA for most of the 70s with one of his biggest claims to fame being the solo on Steely Dan's "Peg". He also wrote huge hits for artists like DeBarge, George Benson, and Earth, Wind and Fire, formed the fantastic, but short-lived band Airplay with burgeoning mega-producer David Foster, and then he produced huge albums by Al Jarreau, Patti LaBelle and Kenny Rogers. Not to mention, if you've seen him in the great doc Hired Gun, you know what a funny, honest guy he is. In this loose and sprawling conversation, we cover all of this and much much more including his interest in magic and bowling. Stories abound!
For my money, INXS are one of the greatest bands in rock history. To have recorded that many pop/rock masterpieces is an absolute miracle. As we all know, they were cut short with the death of Michael Hutchence and each member has picked up the pieces in various ways ever since. Co-founder Andrew Farriss was, along with Michael, the main songwriter of those classic jams and he's now dipped his foot in the Country genre. Listen to songs like "Good Mama Bad" and "Come Midnight" to see for yourself. In this chat we talk about what motivated the change in style and then recap highlights from INXS's fantastic career. For us, it doesn't get much better than this!
We are honored to bring back UB40 founding member Robin Campbell to talk about the band's latest album For The Many from 2019. This highly political piece of work is a perfect look at our current time in history and expresses the frustrations of many of us living in this turbulent period. UB40 have always had a knack for expressing the feelings of the politically oppressed and For The Many continues that tradition. It's their best album in decades and we need it now more than ever.
Producer Chris Hughes has been behind the boards for some very important music, but you wouldn't have guessed it if you go back to the beginning. Chris started out as the drummer in Adam and the Ants. That burundi sound that made Adam so special? That was Chris! He began producing the early Adam albums which lead to other high-profile gigs like Tears For Fears' The Hurting and Songs From the Big Chair, Wang Chung, Howard Jones, Red Box, Ric Ocasek, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel. Chris's own solo work hearkens back to artists like Steve Reich, so you can see his taste is diverse and exquisite. We hear the stories behind all of it. For my money, he's one of the best producers there's ever been.
Suzi Quatro is the original rock chick and a stone-cold legend. She's currently celebrating 50 years in the rock world and finally getting her due as the pioneer that she is. This legacy makes her the perfect subject of an incredible new documentary on her life called Suzi Q. The film details her early years as a teenager singing with her sisters in Detroit, her global rise (though not in the States) as a glam rocker with hits like "Can The Can", "Devil Gate Drive" and "Stumblin' In", and her various changes in career like Leather Tuscadero on "Happy Days". Suzi Q will be released on VOD and DVD on July 3rd and there is a special virtual Q&A with Suzi hosted by Cherie Currie and Kathy Valentine on July 1st. Details are in the link below. We get into the specifics on all of these topics and many more. Let's get Suzi in the RnR Hall of Fame!