interview Archive

Class Reunion: The Damned, Stars of Punk’s ‘Class of ’77’ Tour America

Note: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing not one but two members of the Damned. Here’s Dave Vanian; tomorrow it’s Captain Sensible. — bk The Damned were part of British punk rock’s so-called “class of ’77,” a group that included the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Buzzcocks, the Stranglers and select other bands. But

Adrian Belew: Twang Bar King in a Trio Format

Guitarist Adrian Belew has had a long and staggeringly impressive career. With one foot in the progressive world and the other firmly planted in mainstream pop, he’s played and toured extensively with David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails and many others. He was guitarist and primary vocalist for rock legends King Crimson

The Allah-Las: Record Store Days

The Allah-Las make original music that evokes the shimmering, melodic end of mid-to-late 1960s psychedelic scene. But because the members of the Los Angeles-based group write and perform their own material, they shy away from the “60s revival” tag. Still, there’s no denying that they honed their songwriting craft by absorbing the influences of that

Resonant Rogues’ Musical Welcome Mat

Led by the duo of Sparrow and Keith Smith, Asheville-based band Resonant Rogues combines flavors of Appalachian old-time, early jazz, and Eastern European folk to create a distinctive and original sound. The group’s latest album, Hands in the Dirt uses that sound as a backdrop to lyrics that focus on universal – and sometimes very

Russian Circles: Making Music in a Post-rock World

In a valiant attempt to provide helpful points of reference for music listeners, journalists have concocted all manner of genre labels. Some – folk-rock, for example – are useful in describing a style of music. Others are virtually meaningless. So it is with post-rock, a term first used in the mid 1990s to describe music

Finn Magill: World Music, World Traveler

In his native Swannanoa, N.C., Finn Magill may be thought of as a vastly accomplished musician in the idiom of traditional Irish music. But his interests and musical explorations have long taken him far beyond that style. He recorded an album of Malawian flavored music, Mau a Malawi, and he leads a traditional Brazilian quartet

Ian Anderson: System Latency and the Opportunities of Multimedia

British Progressive legends Jethro Tull have been around in one form or another for nearly half a century. From 1967 until now, the group’s mainstay has always been Ian Anderson: as songwriter, singer and flautist, Anderson has long cut a distinctive figure. His trademark standing-on-one-leg flute solos accent the band’s reliably high-energy performances. Even today

For Ian Anderson, It’s Not Just Another Day at the Office

Jethro Tull started out as a blues band; the group’s 1968 debut album This Was drew to a large degree upon jazz and blues styles. But under the leadership of founder Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull soon moved into a style of its own, a European folk-tinged kind of progressive rock. That approach served the band

He’d Only Just Begun: Paul Williams and The Holy Mackerel (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … From a very early age, Williams had been greatly influenced by the Great American Songbook. He recalls that even as a child in Omaha, Nebraska, “I was this little 11- and 12-year old kid singing Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like.” Gordon Jenkins’ 1946 album Manhattan Tower was Williams’ favorite

He’d Only Just Begun: Paul Williams and The Holy Mackerel (Part 1)

(Note: an edited version of this feature appeared previously in print in Goldmine Magazine.) In 1970, songwriter Paul Williams was catapulted to the top of the pop music world. Two of his songs – co-written with Roger Nichols – became major hit singles: the Carpenters scored with “We’ve Only Just Begun” (a #2 hit), and