interview Archive

John Lydon Tells It As It Is (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… In what ways do you think that that realization comes through in your music? I try to be as transparent and honest as I possibly can, with the realization that if you give it all away there is nothing left for yourself. And that would be silly. Because I absolutely understand

John Lydon Tells It As It Is (Part One)

Crawling from the wreckage that was the Sex Pistols, vocalist Johnny Rotten reverted to his given name and put together a new group, Public Image Limited. PiL drew from dub reggae and disco, filtered through sheets of dissonance and Lydon’s trademark vocals. Through fits and starts, the band released a string of albums and unlikely

John Lydon is … Happy? (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… A defining characteristic of most all of PiL’s releases is that – like Black Sabbath, oddly enough – each was critically panned upon release, only to undergo reassessment within a few years, by which time the music would be hailed as relevant, innovative and important. One might expect Lydon to find

John Lydon is … Happy? (Part One)

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” With that question posed to an audience at San Francisco’s Winterland on January 14, 1978, visibly unhappy vocalist Johnny Rotten (neé Lydon) ended his tenure with the Sex Pistols. Not counting relatively brief reunions in 1996 and 2007, that gig marked the effective end of the band, though

Jason Isbell on Muscle Shoals, Politics, Religion and Sobriety

If he were so inclined, Jason Isbell could fill his time dusting and polishing the many awards he’s earned as a songwriter and musician. He has won four Grammys, nine awards from the Americana Music Association (including three this year), as well as several other honors and nominations. But instead Isbell focuses on songwriting and

Jason Isbell: High Road Leads Him Home

Though he’s been a musician for most of his life, Alabama-born guitarist-singer-songwriter Jason Isbell didn’t launch his career as a solo artist until 2007. But in little more than a decade, he has racked up numerous awards (artist of the year, song of the year, album of the year) from the Americana Music Association, earned

The Mommyheads: Chill About Everything … Except Global Warming

Sweden has made important contributions to music. Stockholm-based 1970s pop juggernaut ABBA is so revered at home that the band has its own museum. So when Swedish fans take a strong interest in an American group, the rest of the world should pay attention. NYC-based indie pop group the Mommyheads released five albums between 1989

Ranky Tanky: Preserving Gullah Culture Through Music

Gullah is a Creole language spoken in a concentrated geographical area, the low-country region along the Atlantic coastal islands in Georgia and the Carolinas. The Gullah people are descendants of 19th century slaves, and in addition to their language, they’ve manged to hold onto many of their cultural characteristics to present day. The band Ranky

Holly Golightly: The Country-punk-blues One-take wonder

British-born Holly Golightly was an important part of the UK garage-punk scene of the 1990s. Today her music effectively combines that foundation with a sound that draws equally from classic American country and western music. Her latest album, Clippety Clop, was created in her well-established way: working with life-and-music partner Lawyer Dave, Golightly recorded the

Jonathan Scales’ Structural Integrity

Composer, band leader and steel drum player Jonathan Scales maintains a busy and challenging schedule. In just the last two years or so, he’s toured internationally as part of the U.S. State Department’s cultural ambassador program, given a TEDx Talk, played at Victor Wooten’s music camp, and produced an album by his friend, musical associate