A Look Back at ELP with Carl Palmer, Part Three

Continued from Part Two … Bill Kopp: With the benefit of studio technology, bands in the early ’70s could overdub and make really dense, layered albums. Reproducing that sound onstage was another matter, especially for a three-piece, I would imagine … Carl Palmer: Of course we didn’t have MIDI in those days, so we couldn’t

A Look Back at ELP with Carl Palmer, Part Two

Continued from Part One … Bill Kopp: The term “supergroup” was just coming into use around the time ELP got started. And it certainly applied to you three, since each of you had achieved success in previous projects. I would imagine there were expectations placed upon you by the music press and so forth. Did

A Look Back at ELP with Carl Palmer, Part One

Late-breaking Author’s Note: Very shortly after I turned in this feature for publication — it ran in December on BLURT — news broke that Greg Lake had succumbed to cancer at age 69. Carl Palmer and I didn’t spend a lot of time discussing Greg specifically, but Carl did, as you’ll see, make repeated references

Album Mini-review: The Legal Matters — Conrad

File next to: Wings, Lannie Flowers Power pop is the Rodney Dangerfield of the rock world: it gets no respect. Detractors call it shamelessly derivative and lightweight. Those who have a soft spot for the subgenre, on the other hand, appreciate the chiming, sticky-sweet melodies and sharp hooks. Michigan’s the Legal Matters – a trio

Album Mini-review: Sshh — Issues

File next to: The Pretenders, Transvision Vamp Zak Starkey has already had a fascinating career. The son of Ringo Starr, Zak was given drum lessons by “uncle” Keith Moon, made a great, hard-to-find album with powerpop hero Will Owsley, drummed with Oasis, and eventually took Moon’s seat as drummer for the Who. But none of

Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies

File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective

Wes Tirey: In Print and On Record

Last fall, Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. That news is a reminder that, at their best, music and the printed word can be two sides of the same creative coin. Black Mountain-based singer-songwriter Wes Tirey subscribes to that idea. Tirey recently celebrated the release of a book of his lyrics as

Best of 2016: Interviews

In 2016 alone, I’ve interviewed more than 140 artists; that’s nearly half the number I interviewed in the decade prior to this year. I hope 2017 will be at least as busy; I find my conversations with creatives extremely rewarding. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and one of the most important realizations

Best Music of 2016: Concerts

There’s a bit of overlap where my best albums and best concerts of 2016 are concerned. And there are some old favorites, too. John Mayall Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte NC March 11, 2016 It was only around this time that I pivoted to writing as a full-time job (in other words, how I make my living).

Best of 2016: Books

2016 has been a busy year for me. Though I have been working part-time as a music journalist for more than a decade, early this year I made the transition to writing full time. What that has meant in practical terms is that I’ve transitioned – for the most part – from strictly writing about