Bob Rock is one of the most successful producers in rock history. Run down some of the benchmarks on his resume and your jaw will drop (Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation, Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, The Cult's Sonic Temple and of course Metallica's black album). But before all that he and musical partner Paul Hyde were young punks in Vancouver, British Columbia fronting the excellent new wave band The Payola$. Perhaps best known for the classic tune "Eyes of a Stranger" from the Valley Girl soundtrack, the band went through a few changes in names and styles chasing that elusive mass audience. Sadly, it never quite happened outside of their native Canada. While this is happening, Bob starts working at what becomes a prominent studio in BC where hits from Loverboy and Honeymoon Suite attract bigger and bigger clientele allowing Bob to define the sound of rock music in the 80s and 90s. Here Bob and I discuss the history of the Payola$, his love of all kinds of music, working with Mick Ronson, and he shares stories from his production career. Enjoy!
In the late 70s, artist Robin Scott adopted the moniker "M" and created one of the most enduring pieces of pop art in history with his 1979 global #1 "Pop Muzik." This piece of profound simplicity wrapped in the guise of fluffy, disposable pop art took the world by storm and showed in neon what the next decade of music would sound like. As Robin continued to push the boundaries of pop music, his sound became more and more challenging and the hits never came again. But, hits are not what Robin was about. He ventured into world music, painting and anything else that tickled his fancy. Last year, he released his first album in years called Emotional DNA and it's a return to the pop music of his M days. This chat is a conversation in its truest form - we discuss the challenges of putting creativity out in the world, competing for people's attention, and staying true to yourself. Get to know the man behind the Muzik.
The music career of Alan Shacklock reads like a history of British rock and roll. He started out rocking as a pre-teen hobnobbing with other future luminaries and eventually made it big as the guitarist and creative force for the 70s blues band Babe Ruth. They may be best known for their hit "The Mexican" which has become one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history. In the last 70s he decided to pursue production and among the people he worked with that we talk about are Dexys Midnight Runners, JoBoxers, The Alarm, Meat Loaf, Roger Daltrey and Dennis DeYoung with tangent stories about everyone from Jeff Beck to Andrew Lloyd Webber! Pound for pound there may be more stories and name-dropping in this conversation than anyone we've featured so far. Just stand back and let him go! Enjoy!
For nearly 40 years, Keith's Scott's partnership with Bryan Adams has produced some of the most memorable guitar rock of all time. Content to remain "the guy behind the guy", Keith deserves more credit for the magic he brought to seminal songs like "Cuts Like a Knife", "Summer of '69", "It's Only Love" and many more. It's truly "RIFF ROCK" at its finest.
In this rare conversation, Keith tells the stories behind some of the biggest hits of the 80's and 90's. What mega Bryan Adams hit did the band Blue Oyster Cult take a pass on? What Keith Scott guitar solo left Mutt Lange speechless? And what is Keith's favorite song he's ever done with Bryan? All that and much much more from one of the most unhearaled and humble rock guitar virtuosos you'll ever come across.
Redbone are another of those excellent 70s hitmakers that are enjoying a career resurgence thanks to their inclusion on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks. The band released many hits that decade like "The Witch Queen of New Orleans,"One More Time," and "Wovoka," but the biggest was "Come and Get Your Love" which reached #5 in 1974 and is currently enjoying a rebirth. Pat Vegas and his brother Lolly were working musicians during that legendary Southern California classic rock period before starting Redbone and becoming the most successful Native American rock band in history. Lolly passed away in 2010, but Pat is keeping the band alive and is a gusher of stories including everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Jim Morrison to Aretha Franklin. Enjoy!
Jon was recently invited to guest on the super fun podcast Reliving My Youth with host Noel Fogelman. Noel picked the topic of Top 5 Covers of 80s songs, which should spark some great debates. If you're unfamiliar with Reliving My Youth you should give it a shot. Noel talks to pop culture icons from back in the day, including actors, actresses, musicians, you name it. In fact, we've had many cross-over guests. There is a lot of guest envy going on between us! Hope you like this.
Looking Glass made a brief, but lasting impact in 1972 when they scored the #1 smash "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" off their debut album. After only one more album in 1973, the band broke up and Brandy's songwriter Elliot Lurie put out one non-starting solo album in 1975 before his music career basically ended. He went on to a long and successful career as a music supervisor for films and is responsible for the soundtracks to films like 9 1/2 Weeks, The Last of the Mohicans, and Jumping Jack Flash. In more recent years, thanks to the rise of the yacht rock movement, as well as the inclusion of "Brandy" in the uber successful Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, Elliot is enjoying a comfortable life. Enjoy!
Jon and Jan come together again to discuss topics like Jon's visit to the Nashville Rock n Pod Expo, Jan's internet lovelife, and the guests featured in July and August. Oh, and Jon's sick again.
Robbie Dupree scored big out of the gate with the enduring "Steal Away" which reached #6 in 1980 and the follow up "Hot Rod Hearts" also did well on the pop charts. But, after the relative disappointment of his second album, 1981's Street Corner Heroes, Robbie's plans changed. Thankfully, there was still a hunger for Robbie in the Asian market and a new record deal allowed him to continue to make music. It may not have gotten the wide distribution he was used to, but it would keep him viable and he's continued to make music ever since like 1987's Carried Away and 1993's Walking On Water. These days, the rise of "Yacht Rock" and the tours, radio stations, and fanbase devoted to it have given him a new lease on life. We talk about all of it! Plus, earlier this year his first two albums were FINALLY released on cd by Blixa Sounds! Robbie's an artist where going deep in their catalog is well worth your time.
Another excellent Rock n Pod Expo is in the books and Jon was honored to be asked once again to host a panel on Songwriting and Collaboration. We only had 30 mins this year, but the guests were all excellent. The introductions weren't recorded, but they were Gary Corbett, keyboardist for Kiss, Cinderella, Debbie Gibson and Lou Gramm, Paul Taylor of Winger and Steve Shareaux of Kik Tracee. The Expo was a rousing success, we hope you all can join us next year!
John Aizlewood is a British music writer and broadcaster, contributing over 30 years of thoughtful interviews to UK publications like The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard and (my beloved) Q Magazine. But, I became aware of him as one of the talking heads on the AXS TV program "Rock Legends" where he can be found alongside other British music experts telling the stories of the legends of rock. If you've seen the show, you know John has a very distinct and unique way of expressing his perspective that's highly entertaining (plus, his accent is the best). Here we talk about how Rock Legends is put together and how to conduct a successful interview, as well as some of his best stories from his time in music. He also picks some of his favorite songs to discuss and we debate a few things. Enjoy!
Linda Clifford was one of the most successful disco divas of the late 70s. While being signed to Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label she racked up a bunch of hits on the R&B and Dance charts including a handful of #1s like "Runaway Love" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now". She worked hard during the disco era releasing six stellar albums in three years, but by the mid-80s when tastes had changed Linda decided to step away to raise her family. Time has been good to Linda however and not only is she currently touring as one of the First Ladies of Disco with other legends like Martha Wash and Evelyn "Champagne" King, but Blixa Sounds is rereleasing four of her classic albums from this era on cd on 8/24. Here we talk about her time as an actress, what it was like working with luminaries like Mayfield and Isaac Hayes, the controversy surrounding her being crowned Miss New York in 1966 and how her life changed when her hit "Red Light" was featured on the soundtrack to the smash hit Fame. Linda is a wonderful woman and deserves this late-career surge!
Grant Lee Buffalo were one of the very special bands to come out of the 90s alternative rock scene. They combined their own blend of moody folk-rock with unconventional stories of the American West. Paul Kimble was the bassist, but also, more importantly, served as the producer of the band's first three albums (Fuzzy, Mighty Joe Moon, and Copperopolis). Unfortunately, before production began on their fourth album, Paul was sacked and the band released their fourth and final album without him. Soon after, frontman Grant Lee Phillips went solo and has enjoyed success ever since. Paul is very candid about some of the struggles he's had over the years, but also lays claims to his successes like producing other artists and working on his soon to be released solo album. I love the guests that don't hold back and tell it like it is and Paul does that. Enjoy!
Cherry Vanilla has done and seen just about everything. She's a recording artist, actress, author, publicist and groupie. Just a few of her career highlights include being a part of Warhol's Factory scene and acting in his play "Pork," being a publicist for David Bowie in the early 70s, putting out two excellent glam rock albums - Bad Girl in 1978 and Venus D'Vinyl in 1979 - and touring Europe with a pre-fame Police backing her up (including Sting and Stewart Copeland), and enjoying the free love culture of classic rock n' roll with the likes of Bowie AND his wife Angela. She's written a book about her many exploits called "Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla" that is free on Kindle and Audible. I tried to have an insightful discussion on sexual politics and morality and I'm not sure I quite got there, but it was certainly entertaining either way. Enjoy!
Billboard Magazine lists B.J. Thomas among the top 50 most played artists of the modern era. This shouldn't be surprising considering his career goes back over 50 years and features songs that have become standards at this point like "Hooked On a Feeling," "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," and, of course, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" from 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In this conversation B.J. discusses how he was selected to sing that song, how his spiritual awakening helped him overcome alcoholism, the time he met John Wayne, and how he came to sing the theme to Growing Pains. He's still going strong and next week is his 76th birthday!
Vanilla Fudge was a band unlike any other doing something no one had done before or since. They basically set the template for hard rock with their 1967 debut album by taking current pop hits and slowing them way down, adding loads of psychedelia, and toughening up the sound. This revolutionary idea was a huge influence on bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple who were both openers for the Fudge back in the day. Unfortunately, after that debut album broke down barriers with their #6 version of the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On", the follow up album, The Beat Goes On, was an unmitigated disaster and they never quite got the momentum back. Singer and organist Mark Stein would go on to work with artists like Tommy Bolin and Dave Mason after the Fudge ended, but today the band is reunited and playing many gigs a year including several in 2018 headlining Hippiefest. Mark shares his stories about the ups and downs of his career, what it's like influencing so many legends, but remaining relatively obscure, the solo album he's currently toying with, and the time he worked with Michael Jackson. Enjoy!
If you think about it, the Range were really more of a super group. A bunch of highly sought after professional musicians came together around the creative leadership of newcomer Bruce Hornsby to form an excellent unit that recorded some of the most enduring hits of the 80s ("The Way It Is," "Mandolin Rain," "Look Out Any Window" and many more). Bassist Joe Puerta had already had some success with his original band Ambrosia, which employed a young Bruce late in its run, but his life changed massively once the Range began to take hold in 1986. The band put out three seminal albums before Bruce decided to go it alone in the early 90s. Here Joe talks about how the Range came together, how the Grateful Dead influenced Bruce's musical direction, and his ability to pick hits. Enjoy!
Jon and Jan welcome special guest, listener Andy Schaal for the latest recap episode. They discuss their thoughts and behind the scenes stories from the May and June episodes and debate Andy's chosen topic of Most Underrated Artists/Bands. Thanks again for the support, Andy!
Drummer Chris Joyce was one of the founding members of Simply Red and an essential part of their sophisto-pop sound and early success. But, even though they were getting big around the world and scored two #1 hits in the US ("Holding Back the Years" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now"), it was about to get even bigger. In 1991 they released their fourth album, Stars, which went on to be one of the biggest selling albums in UK chart history (and was mostly ignored in the US). Unfortunately, Chris was sacked just as the recording of Stars was about to take place. In this candid conversation we discuss what went wrong and how he felt at the time. His career since has seen some extreme highs and extreme lows, but today he is in a really good place and running his own drum school outside of Manchester. In my opinion, Simply Red hasn't been as good since he left!
Once again Jon sits down with our buddy Paul Underwood of Glory Days Radio, only this time it was to list their Top 5 favorite producers. We hope you enjoy this lively, and opinionated, conversation and please let us know what you think!
Glory Days Radio is now available for download on the Podbean app! Do yourself a favor and subscribe as Paul is a wiz of a producer and always provides excellent entertainment and deep discussions on various musical topics. You can also follow GDR on facebook at this link right here.
We all remember when Frankie Goes to Hollywood burst on the scene with their provocative songs like "Relax" and "Two Tribes" and even more provocative persona. They put sex and homosexuality front and center at a time when such topic were only whispered about. Unfortunately, despite burning bright, they flamed out quickly and followed up their massive debut album, 1984's Welcome to the Pleasuredome with the half-hearted Liverpool in 1986 and then called it quits. Here, guitarist Brian Nash discusses how they broke big and what brought the band down, his issues with producer Trevor Horn, and his lovely solo career as Nasher. He's also written an excellent book on it all called Nasher Says Relax. He's one of the most honest, straight-shooting guests we've ever had!
Britain's The Outfield broke out in a big way in 1985 when their debut album Play Deep sold three million units and scored hits as enduring as "Your Love" and "Say It Isn't So". While subsequent albums didn't sell as much, their place as pop/rock craftsmen was cemented forever. They tapered off in the 90s, but never really went away, even releasing two of their strongest albums in 2006 and 2011. Unfortunately, guitarist and song-writer John Spinks died in 2014 of liver cancer leaving lead singer Tony Lewis to do some serious soul searching. The result is Tony's decision to reluctantly carry on as a solo artist, releasing his first solo album Out of the Darkness on 6/29. Here we talk about how he finally decided to keep going and his former band's wild ride. John Spinks will always be missed, but we still have Tony's voice and a near perfect legacy to enjoy.
Here's part two of Jon's appearance on the Permanent Record podcast. Brian, Sarah, Colby and Jon bring some of their favorite new wave songs to the table for a lively discussion. What tune is your favorite? And subscribe to these guys already!
Wang Chung scored some of the biggest, and most ubiquitous, hits of the 80s with seminal songs like "Dance Hall Days," "Let's Go," and, the mother of all 80s hits, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight". Though Blender magazine may have ranked that hit the 3rd worst song of all time, it's never gone away and is as well known today as it was 30 years ago. Jack and I talk about how that song came to be and how it's affected his life. We also go deep on the rest of his career, his relationship to touring, his many side projects, his upcoming solo album, and his soundtrack work for To Live and Die in L.A. and the Breakfast Club. Hopefully, you'll learn some things you didn't know before!
Jon was recently honored to be a guest on one of his favorite music podcasts Permanent Record. Husband and wife co-hosts Brian and Sarah Linnen do an excellent job deep diving the benchmark New Wave albums of the 80s featuring artists like Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, Erasure and a-ha. If you haven't checked them out yet and you like that genre, get on it! For this we each picked a song we love to discuss for a Summer Mix Tape episode. I hope you enjoy it! Part two will be out next week.
The Alarm were one of the great bands of the Big Music movement of the 80s that included other seminal groups like U2, Big Country and Simple Minds. But, despite recording some of the best anthems of the era ("Sixty Eight Guns," "Strength," and "The Stand" etc), they never completely crossed over to the mainstream Top 40. It was perhaps the stress of this that caused frontman Mike Peters to famously leave the band abruptly in the early 90s, bringing an end of the classic Alarm line-up. This week we talk with original bassist and co-songwriter Eddie MacDonald about how they went about writing those anthems, what brought the band to an end, and why a full-fledged reunion has never happened. He's a very animated guy with some great stories. He also talks about his very successful second career as a photographer and his new band Smalltown Glory, which is an excellent new venue for his talents.
Last year music documentary filmmaker Jon Brewer released the excellent doc "Beside Bowie", which brought much-deserved attention to the life and contributions of David Bowie's original guitarist Mick Ronson. If you haven't seen it, the film is currently streaming on Hulu and is a must watch. On June 8th, a companion soundtrack to the film will be released featuring several Ronson highlights from the movie including solo tracks, live performances from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, and of course a couple Bowie classics. Jon and I discuss his motivation for making the movie, what he felt "Ronno" brought to Bowie, and how the songs were selected for the soundtrack. Bowie fans will love it!
Sananda Maitreya has quite a story to tell. After scoring a bunch of hit songs ("Wishing Well", "Sign Your Name", "Delicate") and hit records with his former persona Terence Trent D'Arby, in 1995 he moved to Europe, changed his name and embarked on a career in "post-millennium rock", which is the title he gives to the many records he's put out since then under the Sananda Maitreya moniker. Last year he released the expansive, three-disc set Prometheus & Pandora and has recently released another excellent single from it called "The Birds Are Singing". We go very deep in this conversation about the name change, his thoughts on the deaths of many of his friends like Prince and Tom Petty, and how he may finally be warming to merging the music of his early career with what he's done the last 23 years. He's also about the embark on an Italian tour (and possibly more). Here's the full story!
Drummer Richie Fontana has led an eventful life. He started out in the mid-70s with the killer rock band Piper. Today, they are probably best known as the launchpad for frontman Billy Squier. Piper was managed by Bill Aucoin, which led to Richie also working and touring with Kiss and playing on Paul Stanley's 1978 solo album. Piper's second album, Can't Wait, was produced by KISS mastermind/Aucoin Vice President Sean Delaney, which provided the bridge to Richie's second band the Skatt Bros. The Delaney fronted disco-rock band managed two albums before calling it quits, but Richie landed on his feet again when he was hired by the late Laura Branigan to be her touring drummer through the mid-80s. Unfortunately, MS has slowed him down a little, but not much. He's still very active musically and released a solo album a few years ago called Steady on the Steel. Today he's enjoying life with his long time girlfriend, Lydia Criss. We get the details on what life was like in the orbit of luminaries like Billy, Aucoin, Kiss and Laura. Enjoy!
Few artists formed the culture of the 80s more than filmmaker John Hughes. And a huge ingredient in those films was the music. This week we talk with Tarquin Gotch who served as Hughes' music supervisor on classics like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, She's Having a Baby, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He also went on to co-produce films like Home Alone and Uncle Buck. Before working with Hughes, he did many other things in the music industry including A&R man for Warner Bros. where he discovered bands like Wang Chung and the Stray Cats. Today he manages artists like former guest Ranking Roger and AC/DC's Brian Johnson (we talk about what really happened with Brian's departure from the band). Tarquin's life has been one full of music and passion and we talk about what that life has been like. Enjoy!
After beginning his career as a challenging, almost avant garde solo artist, Rupert Hine fell into producing in the early 80s and went on to become one of the most successful of the last four decades. He's put his signature sound on loads of classic artists, but the ones we talk about in here include Saga, The Fixx, Howard Jones, Tina Turner, Kate Bush, Eight Seconds, Thompson Twins, Underworld, Stevie Nicks, Rush and Duncan Sheik. The man is full of fascinating stories that every music lover will gobble up like manna from heaven. Enjoy this colorful conversation with a magnificent artist!
The focus of this podcast has always been how do artists maintain careers in music over the long haul. How do they "pay their bills". And, up til now, we've always talked to musicians about that, but I thought it would be interesting to hear from a regular person who has carved out a career working on the business side of the music business. This is a conversation with my friend Jackie Clary who has worked in the music business for 20 years with stops at MTV and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We'll learn what it's like to work at those places, the culture, brushes with fame, do they pay, and how you continue on in an industry that shrivels up more and more by the day.
Yes, E.G. Daily has been an accomplished actor, voice over artist, and singer/songwriter for over 35 years, but to me she will always be the Queen of the 80s Movie Soundtrack. Her "unmistakable" voice can be heard in decade defining films like The Breakfast Club, Summer School, Scarface, and Better Off Dead, in which she also appeared. Plus, in addition to her own successful solo career, she's collaborated with artists like Giorgio Moroder, Jude Cole, Phil Oakey, Jellybean Benitez and the Cruzados. We discuss her many years in the business, the stories behind many of her songs, what she still wants to accomplish, and her greatest role - motherhood. Enjoy!
Jon and Jan tell what they really thought of the last few guests, plans for the future and answer some listener questions.
The Hustle is turning three this week! And to celebrate our guest is Steve Farris, guitarist for our most requested guests, Mr. Mister! Who would have guessed when that band of session musicians came together that their second album, 1985's Welcome to the Real World, would conquer the globe with the three gigantic hits "Is It Love" and two #1s "Broken Wings" and "Kyrie". Unfortunately, the bond that made Real World happen had grown toxic for the follow up album, 1987's Go On... which flopped mightily. A fourth album was recorded, but by then Steve left, the rest of the guys splintered, and the album never came out. In this candid conversation, Steve talks about his life before and during the band, what made it end, the time he auditioned for Kiss, his time with Eddie Money, playing with Howard Jones, and his life now as an outdoorsman and land developer. Steve is so full of great stories he should have his own show! You guys will love this!
On a recent trip to Texas, Jon was invited to appear on Glory Days Radio with host Paul Underwood. On the show they talked about the Hustle, stories behind some of the episodes, and Jon got to pick some of his favorite songs that feature his favorite "magical moments" in them. Or, as Paul calls it, the part you shush your family when it comes up in the car. You even get to hear from Jon's wife and kids on how they feel about it all. Paul is the best and GDR is a wonderful show. Follow them on facebook so you can hear his episodes every week.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, the Hoodoo Gurus elevated the art of hooky power pop showing a mastery few others of the era could emulate. And though they never landed that deserved crossover hit, they were mainstays on college radio with gems like "Bittersweet", "Come Anytime" and "What's My Scene". Though new releases have been few and far between the last 20 years, they are, rightfully, considered legends in their native Australia and still play shows to rapt audiences. In this conversation, frontman Dave Faulkner discusses their status back home, the evolution of the band, and the stories behind each album. If you didn't know the band well before, get ready to discover some of the best music there is.
Mark Opitz is probably the most important Australian music producer in that country's history. Beginning in the mid-70s with AC/DC's Powerage album, Mark went on to define a generation's worth of rock music with his style he coined "sophisto-punk". In 1978 is produced the Angel's landmark album Face To Face and his legendary status was cemented. From there it was other Australian icons like Cold Chisel, Divinyls and Australian Crawl, as well as global phenoms INXS. Other credits we discuss in this interview are the Hoodoo Gurus, the Ocean Blue and even Kiss. In 2012 Mark published his memoir "Sophisto-punk: The Story of Mark Opitz and Oz Rock" which is an insightful look into all he's accomplished. Over the course of this chat you'll hear some great music and excellent stories.
In the world of ska and the history of British alternative rock of the 70s and 80s, Neville Staple is practically royalty. Coming up with the pioneering Two-Tone group The Specials, Neville and his bandmates not only cut an indelible image stylistically, but politically as well by displaying blacks and whites cohabitating in the same band during a time of political unrest in the UK. After releasing one of the greatest debut albums in history, as well as a more expansive, but worthy follow up, Neville, Terry Hall and Lynval Goulding created the Fun Boy Three which expanded their musical palette even wider. After two albums they too called it quits. Today, Neville reunites with the Specials on occasion, but his primary focus is the Neville Staple Band, who released an excellent album last year called The Return of Judge Roughneck. Neville is a legend and changed a lot of people's lives, including mine!
Filmmaker Blair Foster is a 2-time Emmy winner and co-director of the documentary "Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge" which chronicles the cultural impact of Rolling Stone magazine and its founder Jann Wenner on it's 50th anniversary. The film, which debuted on HBO last fall, is being expanded and is now available on iTunes and other streaming services. We dissect the format of the film, the choices she and co-director Alex Gibney made, the impact the magazine and its founder have had on popular culture and the life of a documentarian. We also discuss the other music-related documentaries she's worked on including films on George Harrison, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, and the now infamous Eagles documentary.
The Motels were one of the most successful bands to emerge from LA's New Wave scene. Lead by the unique vocals of frontwoman Martha Davis, the band scored three top 40 hits, including "Only the Lonely" and "Suddenly, Last Summer" which both peaked at #9 in 1982 and 1983 respectively and are still mainstays today. Eventually, Martha went solo in the mid-80s, but by then the wave had petered out and the spotlight had moved on. Since then, Martha's remained a draw on the nostaligia circuit, but today she and the Motels are putting their heart and soul behind their brand new album, The Last Few Beautiful Days, which was just released last week. She's a wonderfully open woman and very candid about the ups and downs of life as an artist. Plus, the new album is excellent!
BulletBoys burst on the scene at the height of 80s hair metal with the super sexy "Smooth Up In Ya" in 1988. During the glory days of 80s rock, they partnered with Van Halen producer Ted Templeman on three classic albums before grunge began wreaking havoc on them and everybody else. Though Marq and his band may have slowed down, they never completely went away. They've been enjoying a creative resurgence recently with their excellent comeback album Elefante from 2015 and their brand new disc From Out of the Skies which was released last week. Marq and I discuss his early days in Motown, choosing hard rock over r&b, starting out on the Sunset Strip, and what he did during the band's lean years. He's a really good dude!
Nick Heyward has built a reputation as one of Britain's finest songwriters. His initial success came by fronting Haircut 100 in the early 80s and scoring major hits with "Love Plus One" and "Fantastic Day". Bad vibes led him to leave the band and go out on his own where he had continued success with standards like "Whistle Down the Wind" and "Kite". He's also racked up several excellent solo albums including 2017's wonderful Woodland Echoes, his first disc in almost 20 years. Here we talk about why he left Haircut 100 and how that relatively small period of time has overshadowed the rest of his career in some ways. We also talk about what took him so long to put out another solo album and what he's working on now. He's a beautifully funny and engaging guy and one of the best there's ever been at what he does.
Everybody remembers Ray Parker Jr. taking over the world in 1984 with the Ghostbusters theme. But, there is so much more to his story. He was one of the most sought after session guitarists of the 70s playing with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Marvin Gaye to Seals and Crofts. He also wrote hit songs for artists like Leo Sayer and Rufus with Chaka Khan, not to mention racking up a bunch of his own hits like "The Other Woman" and "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)" as both a solo artist and as the frontman for his funk band Raydio. As he says in this conversation, "Ghostbusters" was just "gravy on the steak". Here we talk about his whole career, but the big news is that Fran Strine, director of the acclaimed Hired Gun documentary, has begun work on a Ray doc called Who You Gonna Call, which launched an Indiegogo campaign last week. Here is the link to donate. Enjoy!
Jon once again joins Steve and Drew from Suburban Underground to play great songs (Jon's are, anyway) from the side projects of prominent alternative rock stars. We also rip each other new ones in the process. Who do you think comes out ahead with the best taste? And be sure to subscribe to SU on your favorite podcatcher for your weekly alternative mix tape.
In the states, Level 42 may only be seen as two-hit-wonders thanks to the massive success of "Something About You' and "Lessons in Love" in the mid-80s. But around the rest of the world, Level 42 were viewed as a seriously complex group merging funk, r&b, jazz and rock in ways few others have ever done. Founding members bassist Mark King and keyboardist Mike Lindup finally closed up shop in the mid-90s, but reunited in 2006 and have steadily toured the world ever since. In this deep chat, Mike and I go over the band's history, the stories behind some of their songs, his excellent, but under-heard solo album, and what he's up to now. There's also a hilarious Bill Murray story at the end. On a personal note, this is a big one for me as Mike owns my all-time favorite singing voice.
Earth Wind and Fire are one of the greatest and most influential groups in the history of music. It's more than just having hits - they established a level of greatness, of what is possible musically and spiritually, that many have aspired to, but few have reached. Lead by the vision of the late-great Maurice White, the group has torn through the last 45 years leaving a near perfect track record in their wake. Here we have a brief chat with bassist and founding member Verdine White about some of the seminal moments in the band's history, people they've worked with and what they're up to now. Believe me, life's too short to be a casual EWF fan!
Australian rock legends the Church have been an active part of the alternative scene for over 35 years. Their biggest global success may have been when "Under The Milky Way" reached #24 on the US pop charts in 1988, but they've never gone away and even released their 25th album, also one of their best, Man Woman Life Death Infinity last year. Steve's one of the most unfiltered guests we've ever featured on this show and is brutally honest when it comes to his drug addiction, financial state, and opinions about other Aussie bands. You won't believe what you hear!
Seventies rock icons Bad Company received a much-needed shot in the arm when founding members Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs recruited relative newbie Brian Howe to replace the great Paul Rodgers. By that point, Brian had recently started to breakthrough when he sang on Ted Nugent's Penetrator record. With Brian's help, Bad Company reached a whole new audience and kept the name alive throughout the late 80s and early 90s with Howe-penned hits like "No Smoke Without Fire", "Holy Water" and "How About That". Unfortunately, as is often the case, tensions between Brian and the Mick and Simon duo brought an end to this version of the band and it isn't pretty. Since then, Brian has continued to tour singing the songs he made famous. And, thankfully, he is currently on the mend after a massive heart attack a few months ago. This is a fascinating story behind one of the greatest voices in rock history. Enjoy!