The Charisma story — that is, the story of Tony Stratton-Smith, a former sportswriter who became a label president through the avenues of music publishing and management — mirrors the rise and maturation of art-rock while providing a close personal look at the artists who make it.
In the fall of 1978, the first issue of Trouser Press Collectors’ Magazine came off the presses, containing an interview about Immediate Records with the colorful and quotable Andrew Loog Oldham.
Store policy was to never refuse. We’d take five of anything to support local acts. Since I knew them, at least by sight, I took 10 copies of the Pollywog Stew EP from Adam Yauch and Mike Diamond.
In 2014, Caitlin Moran published a novel called How to Build a Girl that largely tracks her teenage career as a rock writer for Melody Maker. Last year, it was made into a film. I am always fascinated by how scribblers fare as the subject of a story rather than its chronicler.
I was invited to fly to London for an audition. With a mix of regret and excitement, I broke the news to the other Planets and, a few days later, carrying my Gibson Les Paul, boarded a plane at JFK en route to Heathrow.
Lou Reed had Lester Bangs to joust with; in our little world, Robert Fripp had a large, shy electric engineer named Ihor Slabicky. This interview, which ran in three issues of Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press, is an amazing colloquy, the sort of unguarded, knowledgeable back and forth you don’t see much of in music journalism any more.
When British punk broke out in all its anti-glory in the mid-1970s, only the Who and Small Faces were immune from purist punk rockers’ sulfurous disdain. It’s obvious why. Small Faces were punks. Punks with world-class chops and a singer, Steve Marriott, who may well have been the best rock voice Britain has ever produced.
Andrew Farriss wrote or co-wrote (with Michael Hutchence) nearly every hit song that made INXS one of the most successful acts of the 1980s and 1990s. INXS called it quits in 2012. Farriss has since reinvented himself as a country singer.
I love the idea of tribute albums. I am fascinated by the countless ways a song can be redone. I enjoy the familiar being remade anew. Recognizable bands delight me when they take on a song I like instead of presenting nothing but their own originals. (Despite being proven wrong on a regular basis, I have never gotten over the vague suspicion that all the good songs have been written. I mean, “Waterloo Sunset,” amiright?)
1975: The first two Ramones to arrive were Johnny and Tommy, wearing their band uniform: motorcycle jackets, white T-shirts, jeans blown out at the knees, Chuck Taylor Cons.
“This is the PA?!?” blurted Tommy. Johnny wouldn’t even acknowledge my presence. He just snorted with undisguised disgust and stomped past me.
The Mekons have long been an exceptional outfit for many reasons, and their latest release, Exquisite, is another link in the group’s inimitable chain. Responding to the unique situation of no-travel home isolation, they just dove in and made a record.
Beginning around 10 years of age, just as the British Invasion began, my introduction – nay, initiation — to music came through the tiny speaker or the knotted white-wired earplug of a trusty Viscount transistor radio, my battery-powered connection to WMCA-AM.
March 28, 1967: The guitar intro to “Substitute” began and then… BOOOOM! The bass and drums came thundering in. Only then did the curtain finally start to open.
The former Soft Cell singer covered a few of Van der Graaf vocalist-songwriter Peter Hammill’s songs and later met with him.
Having set myself the challenge of writing a novel about the glam rock era in 1972 England, I did a fair bit of concerted listening to the music. I’ve always valued and enjoyed the genre and found its standing in rock history unfairly low, but then again…
Remembering Dee Dee Ramone 18 years after his death.
With 2020 being the 40th anniversary of the band’s celebrated debut, Crocodiles, we thought it would be a good time to check in with the band’s founding guitarist.
To quote Vivian Stanshall’s prelude to “The Intro and the Outro,” “Hi there, nice to be with you, happy you could stick around.” It’s been a minute, as the kids say, since the wheels came off the old TrouserPress.com site.
In August 1991, K Records organized the International Pop Underground Convention in its home town of Olympia, Washington, a state capital whose insanely charming annual Pet Parade just happened to be scheduled that same week.
What gave Lou Reed volcanic power over four decades of rock and roll wasn’t his musical talent – in traditional realms like melody, singing and guitar-playing he scarcely had any – so much as his forthrightness and courage.