February 15, 2019
It seemed fitting to kick off a new series on The Hustle with the man that kicked off the podcast back in May of 2015. Starbuck mastermind Bruce Blackman was our very first guest and still one of the best. His knack for telling stories infused with southern charm is unparalleled. It's what made Starbuck's music so good and what makes his new memoir The Road to Moonlight Feels Right so entertaining. Bruce has a Faulkner-esque knack for bringing color to his childhood in Mississippi and the many characters that decorate that time. You also get to understand his approach to show business and how he wasn't willing to sell his soul to become a typical rock star. It's a blast of a book and worth a read whether you're a fan of his music or not. But, c'mon, who doesn't love "Moonlight Feels Right"!
Bruce Blackman - The Road to Moonlight Feels Right
February 12, 2019
If there was ever a time to bring back the chill 90’s, it’s now. You saw it in the loose fitting clothes, and you definitely heard it in the music. It was just a laid back time. A calm before the storm, if you will. Duncan Sheik’s blockbuster hit personified that era. With well over a million radio plays, it followed you everywhere; inside your Toyota Camry, on VH1, aisle 7 at Costco and the changing room at Structure.
Perhaps today, as you sang along to it on Nineties On 9, you felt a tinge of sadness for this ultimate one-hit-wonder. Save your barely breathing breath! He’s doing just fine. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find Mr. Sheik where the neon lights are bright than on some legacy tour with Deep Blue Something and Dishwalla. Duncan’s composing for Spring Awakening earned him two Tony Awards and he’s still one of the hottest names on Broadway.
I catch Duncan on a reflective day. We pour over his entire career and I share a handful of my favorite songs that should have received more acclaim. Quite a few are of past relationships and Duncan is as open, honest, funny and self-deprecating as any guest I’ve ever had. And did I mention we’re buddies now? 😂
February 6, 2019
British rock band Embrace may have come out in the wake of Oasis and Blur during the second British Invasion of the late 90s, but they had a sound that separated them greatly from the pack. Rarely has a Brit-pop group concocted grandiose rockers and epic ballads with more heart, inspiration and beauty.
allmusic.com called them the "Orson Welles of rock" which is about right. While they've had a few #1 albums in the UK, their road to success in the States has been rocked with some of the worst luck imaginable.
Bassist Steve Firth and I discuss the ups and downs, the downside of meeting your heroes, and what motivates their amazing sound. We also celebrate the 21st anniversary of their debut album, The Good Will Out (there's a UK tour happening in March) and their latest release, 2017'sLove Is a Basic Need. I often say a band's music can make your life better - never has it been more true than it is with Embrace. They're probably my favorite band of the last 20 years.
January 30, 2019
Despite being a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter in his own right, Don Dixon's legacy as an important figure in American rock was cemented when he co-produced the first two albums by R.E.M. (Murmer and Reckoning) with Mitch Easter. Helping to bring their sound to the world changed everything. He would go on to produce other excellent artists like Guadalcanal Diary, the Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw and Matthew Sweet, while also forging his own solo path with excellent tunes like "Praying Mantis" and "A Million Angels Sigh." He's still at it today continuously releasing new albums, producing up and coming artists, and collaborating with his wife, the acclaimed singer/songwriter Marti Jones. In this chat we discuss his long and excellent solo career as well as the stories behind the greats he produced. Enjoy!
January 26, 2019
In part one of our new series Deep Dive, we've invited back former guest, Matthew Seligman to discuss the recording of Thomas Dolby's underappreciated masterpiece, 1984's The Flat Earth. At a time when listeners were expecting "She Blinded Me With Science Part 2", Dolby delivered a challenging piece of art that still doesn't get enough attention. Matthew played bass on the record and shares his stories and recollections of the era.
January 22, 2019
Ian Burden was a key member of the revolutionary new wave band the Human League during their imperial 80s period. Philip Oakey was desperate to find band members during the lead-up to the creation of 1981's game-changing album Dare! and called upon Burden to bring his musicianship to the group, which lead to classic singles like "The Sound of the Crowd," "Love Action," and "Mirror Man." After the unpleasant experience of recording 1986's Crash with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Ian decided to leave the group and a music career. Yet, out of nowhere, last year he put out his first solo album Hey Hey Ho Hum, which sounds exactly like the album a former Human League member should make. In this chat we discuss all of it - the albums, the hits, the ups, the downs and the motivations for a solo album at this stage. What an honor to hear from him!
January 18, 2019
Once again Jon teams up with Noel Fogelman from Reliving My Youth for another music-related topic close to his heart: Top 10 soundtrack songs from the 80s! We discuss our lists and defend our picks. But, we ask you, dear listener, who wins?
Good news - no metronome this time!
Look for a Part 2 in the near future.
January 15, 2019
After building a devoted fanbase in their native Michigan in the early 90s, the Verve Pipe struck gold in 1996 when a song they'd been playing for years called "The Freshman" totally changed the game, catapulting their third album (first on a major label) Villains into platinum territory. The world was their oyster. Unfortunately, the follow-up tanked on an epic level and they never quite regained their footing. Since then their songcraft has only improved over the years, including 2017's excellent Parachute. Along the way, frontman Brian Vander Ark did his very best to stay afloat with solo albums and revolutionizing the house concert. In this chat we discuss all of it including working with producers like Jerry Harrison, Adam Schlesinger, and Bill Szymczyk, what he purchased when he finally hit it big and the impact of constantly being confused for UK band The Verve. Brian's about as down to earth as it gets and the Verve Pipe are currently on tour so catch them while you can!
January 12, 2019
Jon and Jan recap the episodes from November and December and countdown their top 10 episodes of the year, as well as the listener's top 5. We also answer some listener questions AND we announce a new sidecast for 2019 that listeners should really love. 2018 turned out to be a great year for us thanks to all of you. Hopefully we can keep it going!
January 8, 2019
It’s time to set the record straight. Liberty DeVitto is not merely the former drummer for Billy Joel. He is a collaborator in the sounds that shaped popular music in the latter 20th century. Here we not only touch on his complicated relationship with the Piano Man; moreover, we showcase “Lib’s” immense talent on tunes that weren’t necessarily the hits.
Things to listen for:
* The song that contains percussion played on Billy’s bare chest.
*The timeless classic that cemented its place on "The Stranger" only after Linda Ronstadt & Phoebe Snow guaranteed it would help the band get girls.
*The “Glass Houses” simplistic ditty that’s covered by other artists more than any in Billy’s oeuvre.
*And finally, a never before told story about these Liberty imagined lyrics for the hit “My Life” that, once heard, can NEVER be unheard!
PS: Check out Liberty’s current gig with The Slim Kings. It’s young, fresh and far from a tired tribute band.
January 1, 2019
Tower of Power have been one of the landmark r&b outfits for 50 years now. From humble beginnings in the East Bay of Northern California, co-founders and sax players Emilio Castillo and Doc Kupka started something very special that carries on today, arguably better than ever. In fact, TOP put out one of their best albums ever in 2018 called Soul Side of Town. While there have been ups and downs and stops and starts along the way (not to mention too many band members to count!) the quality has never waned and the power has never diminished. In this conversation, Emilio and I discuss all of it including his getting sober, hanging out with Sly and the Family Stone back in the day, his many 80s collaborations, and his spiritual life. We also discuss his relationship with his controversial former band member, Victor Conte. Few have ever done what they do better than TOP. They're national treasures.
December 25, 2018
City Boy was a band that was almost impossible to classify. Imagine if ELO, Queen and Yes got together and decided to get weird and you're in the ballpark. They did manage to hit the pop charts once when the epic "5705" off their third album Book Early reached #27 in the states in 1978. Unfortunately, that was it in terms of the charts, but then again chart success was never the highest priority. This week we talk to bassist Chris Dunn about what fueled their quirky creativity, as well as what it was like having a young, up-and-coming producer named Mutt Lange produce their first five albums. Chris also brings a unique perspective to the show because once the music career ended, he started a successful music equipment rental business that supplied studios and producers with the exact keyboards, mics, compressors, what have you, they needed. Get to know a congenial guy with some great stories and rediscover City Boy!
December 18, 2018
Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite might be the most undervalued melodic rock band of the 80s. Though always maintaining a profile up north, the band deserved more attention in the states and around the rest of the world. Hits like "New Girl Now," "What Does It Take" and "Feel It Again" from their 1986 masterpiece The Big Prize (produced by Bruce Fairbairn) are perfect examples of the very best that genre had to offer. Like most 80s rock bands, the 90s weren't kind to HMS and the spotlight moved on, but guitarist and primary songwriter Derry Grehan explains that today they are able to continue to tour around their native Canada. We also discuss the songs they've had in movies, working with luminaries like Bruce, Bob Rock, and Ted Templeman, and last year's excellent return to form Hands Up. Please rediscover this excellent band!
December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Osborne is one of the greatest balladeers in r&b history. Who can ever forget his amazing performance on 80s standards like "On the Wings of Love," "We're Going All the Way," and "You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)." After leaving his first band L.T.D. he teamed with the legendary producer George Duke to become one of the most successful singer of the 80s with additional hits like "Stay With Me Tonight" and "The Borderlines." By the 90s he took a step back, but has never gone away and even released a new album this year called Worth It All. We discuss the stories behind many of his biggest hits, what it was like working with George, why he became a vegan, and what he's up to today. He's one of the best there's ever been!
December 5, 2018
Kevin Armstrong has been a go-to guitarist for some of the greatest artists of the last 35 years. After first tasting success playing with Thomas Dolby during the Golden Age of Wireless era, Kevin went on to partner with David Bowie for several years, including backing him at Live Aid and being the "unofficial" 5th member of Tin Machine. This also lead to a partnership with Iggy Pop, which continues to this day. We talk about several other artists he met along the way including Morrissey, Peter Murphy, Propaganda, Sinead O'Connor and Prefab Sprout. He was even asked to replace Johnny Marr in the Smiths at one point! He's seen and done a lot and continues to work with the best around. Also, he has a solo album coming out next month, so follow Kevin Armstrong Guitar X on facebook for details.
November 29, 2018
In this special bonus episode we chat with Zombies bassist Chris White about the resurgence the band has enjoyed over the last 15 years or so leading to them being nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a fourth time! This rediscovery is largely thanks to generations getting turned on to their excellent 1967 album Odessey and Oracle, which was a bomb at the time (though it did include the hit "Time of the Season"), but is now called out as being one of the greatest albums of all time. Chris talks about how this all has affected his life, the story behind several of his songs, why he made the decision to stop touring and remain behind the scenes, and what being inducted in the Rock Hall would mean to the band. Fans have until Friday, November 30th to vote, so time is running short!
Vote for the Zombies!
November 27, 2018
Brian James doesn't like to sit in one spot for too long. In the mid-70s he joined up with Rat Scabies and the gang to form the pioneering punk band The Damned. That band holds many firsts - first punk band signed to a major label, first punk band to release a single with "New Rose" in 1976, and the first to tour America. But, after an ill-fated second album, the band broke up and Brian went on to play guitar with his hero, Iggy Pop. After a couple years doing that, he joined forces with the great Stiv Bators to form the gothic pop/rock band Lords of the New Church which kept him busy through the 80s until Stiv's untimely death. Since then he's released solo albums, formed super groups like the Racketeers, and collaborated with everyone from Stewart Copeland to Duff McKagan. In here he tells stories about all of it, what punk means to him today, his gratitude for his family and even how Guns n Roses covering "New Rose" changed his fortunes. Enjoy!
November 20, 2018
The Buzzcocks remain one of the greatest punk bands in history. Their mixture of punk's aggression with pop's hooks set them apart from their contemporaries with standards like "What Do I Get," "Autonomy," and "Ever Fallen In Love." Co-founder Steve Diggle lays out the history of the band, the effects of punk on his young psyche, the story behind the big hits, how David Bowie influenced male sexuality, and what solo projects he has coming up. Steve is still punk through and through and the band remains as vital as ever. Enjoy!
November 13, 2018
Translator were one of those great polyglot bands of the early 80s - a little new wave, a little power pop and a lot of genres like "jangle pop" and "college rock" that hadn't even been invented yet. They released four album in the 80s and are probably best known for one of the best singles of the decade, 1982's "Everywhere That I'm Not." Eventually the band went on hiatus and Steve and his impressive songwriting skills lay dormant for a many years until 1999 when he kicked his solo career into gear. That, and the occasional Translator reunion, has been going strong ever since. Earlier this year he released his most ambitious album yet, the 3-disc (!) Tall Tales And Alibis, which shows a much darker, moodier side of this pop master. In here we talk about him starting out in music at 11 years old, the Bay Area scene Translator flourished in, what he did during those down years, and what motivated this new album. If you aren't already familiar with Steve and Translator's work, hopefully you'll hear some stuff you like!
November 10, 2018
Jon and Jan are happy to be joined by the great Sonny "Hollywood" Pooni of the Growin' Up Rock Podcast Rock City podcasts to recap the last couple months of episodes. We also discuss the Rock n Pod Expo, how he got into podcasting, and the possible future of The Hustle. Sonny has suggested a deliciously fun topic to discuss - Top 3 songs that we wish had hit #1 between the years 1983-1989. Songs get played, names get dropped, and tastes are debated. Enjoy!
November 6, 2018
Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker is going to be busy for a while. Not only did his original band announce recently they were reuniting for a 40th anniversary tour in 2019 AND releasing their first album of new material in many years, Lee himself is about to release a new solo CD/DVD in December called The LOW Road! In fact, there is a Pledge Music campaign associated with the release and you can get involved at the link below. In this conversation, Lee discusses what details he can about the reunion, the current dynamic with Brian and Jim, his feelings about the new music as well as the classics even some more obscure stuff, working with Nile Rodgers, and even the illustrious side-project Phantom, Rocker and Slick. Enjoy this chat with a legend!
October 31, 2018
In 1992 the Spin Doctors had an era-defining, cultural touchstone of an album on their hands when their debut, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, finally took off after months of release. It went on to sell over 3 million copies on the back of perennial hits like "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong." Unfortunately, as is often the case, the curse of the Sophomore Slump hit them pretty hard when the follow up, 1994's Turn It Upside Down, failed to take hold. Though momentum stalled, the band has carried on releasing great albums over the next 25 years. On November 8th, the band is celebrating 30 years together with a special show at the Brooklyn Bowl in NYC that is sure to make fans very happy. In this chat, frontman Chris Barron discusses the many highs and lows he's experienced over these 30 years, partially being inspired to make music by school chum John Popper of Blues Traveler, what his life is like now, and his recent solo album, 2017's Angels and One-Armed Jugglers. He's a wonderfully funny and frank guy who's totally down to earth. Enjoy!
October 26, 2018
In this fun bonus episode we chat with Joyce Hyser Robinson, star of the classic 1985 movie “Just One of the Guys”. She talks about her experience making the movie, who else was up for the part, her career afterwards, and other things she’s done like being almost completely cut out of “Spinal Tap.” She also explains the important non-profit she’s a part of, the Harold Robinson Foundation. Enjoy!
October 23, 2018
The Babys were one of the great British rock bands of the late 70s. They released five albums between 1976 and 1980 and scored a number of hits like "Every Time I Think of You" and "Isn't it Time" which were a perfect showcase for the vocal chops of frontman John Waite. But, in 1981 the band broke up when Waite went solo and keyboardist Jonathan Cain joined Journey. This week we talk with drummer Tony Brock who also scored a sweet post-Babys gig drumming for Rod Stewart as well as collaborating with Jimmy Barnes. Eventually, Brock and some of the original members put the Babys back together and have been touring successfully for many years. Here Tony and I discuss the legacy of the Babys, his time with Rod and Jimmy, his feelings about not being invited to join Bad English, and what it's like being a Baby again. And, of course, we talk about how he got the part in the classic 80s teen movie "Just One of the Guys." Enjoy!
October 16, 2018
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!
October 9, 2018
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.
October 2, 2018
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!
September 25, 2018
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.
September 18, 2018
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!
September 14, 2018
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.
September 11, 2018
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!
September 7, 2018
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.
September 4, 2018
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.
September 1, 2018
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!
August 28, 2018
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!
August 21, 2018
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!
August 14, 2018
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!
August 7, 2018
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!
July 31, 2018
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!
July 24, 2018
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!
July 17, 2018
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!
July 14, 2018
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!
July 10, 2018
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!
July 8, 2018
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.
July 4, 2018
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!
June 26, 2018
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.
June 21, 2018
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!
June 19, 2018
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!
June 15, 2018
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.
June 12, 2018
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.