Four Boston college students formed the Remains in 1963 to play straightforward rock ‘n’ roll. Their energy and exuberance was unmatched by any American band of the time and surpassed by only a couple of English bands.
Bubblegum had nothing to do with any style of music per se, only with a style of promoting that music. Unlike any other genre of rock and roll, bubblegum has no musical roots, only financial and marketing ones. Its only musical requirement is baffling simplicity, an insistent 4/4 beat and lyrics a four-year-old can grasp after two plays.
“I remember being an 18-year-old in New York coming to Other Music for the first time and being intimidated by the fact that I didn’t recognize 90% of the names on the bin cards. But that didn’t keep me from coming back. I wanted to find out who they were.”
A wild tale of talent scouting, heedless auditioning and a weirdly happy ending that involves Iggy Pop and Ray Manzarek.
The Go-Go’s’ documentary, which began streaming on Showtime Friday, tells the band’s story and gives all the principals ample time to share their memories, acknowledge their flaws, laugh about past excesses and admit regret over one bad career decision.
Mickey Leigh has been a fixture on the New York rock scene since the late 1970s. The guitarist, keyboard player and singer is also an author and the organizer of the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash charity concert. We’re proud to share this exclusive premiere of “Little Cristine” from his current project, Mutated Music.
In 1979, we got to interview down-to-earth billionaire Richard Branson and his Virgin Records label manager at the company’s West Village office, on the occasion of their new American imprint.
After strutting around the stage, mocking the crowd, without warning or even a count-in, they launched/catapulted/tore into “I Feel Alright” by the Stooges. It wasn’t the beginning of a song, it was detonation! Their power, energy and volume made it breathtaking.
One of the star-crossed British Invasion bands that never got its due — a brilliant, multi-faceted delight for discerning aficionados and just a couple of classic singles to the general public — the Zombies mounted quite a second act.
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.