Tears for Fears: The 1989 Interview

In September 1989, the week Tears for Fears released their third album, The Seeds of Love, I interviewed both members of the duo separately for a Rolling Stone feature headlined “Fear of Finishing: How Tears for Fears Took Four Years to Sprout The Seeds of Love.” (Had an editor pored over my interviews, the title might well have included the word “Fussy.”) This interview with Curt Smith details the making of that album.

Rock and Roll Ghosts

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past these days. I’ve also been thinking about records and the stores where I used to buy them. Despite streaming, rents, corruption, consolidation, an epidemic and other deleterious factors, New York still has a number of going concerns, but I recently got it in my head to see what became of the places that are now gone.
While I’m not sure what value these pictures of places that used to house New York City record stores hold, some mixture of nostalgia and curiosity got me out of the house to go photograph them.

Brinsley Schwarz Does It ‘Cause He Likes It

There aren’t many other bands named after a member who isn’t the clear frontperson. J. Geils comes first to mind….Manfred Mann…Zumpano… But when Kippington Lodge decided to reinvent themselves in 1969, that’s what they did. They became Brinsley Schwarz.

Liz Phair in Guyville, 1993

“Oh, honey, I have a three-inch stack of notes. I’m not saying that anyone else would get this without my explanation but I absolutely did that. If anyone wants to take the time and sit down with my notes, I would [explain it]. I said it because it’s true; and it mattered to me, but I think people would prefer to keep their own images. It makes for a richer structure, and people can tell there’s thought in it, but I don’t think anyone really cares.”

Sparks, 1975 + 1990

On the occasion of Sparks’ first tour of America in 1975, TP spoke to Ron and Russel Mael. They were articulate, intelligent and totally convinced that they have no equals, musically, in the British charts.

Milton Berle on Elvis Presley

Milton Berle was a legend, a figure so engrained in American culture and yet so far outside my cultural world that talking to him on the phone about Elvis Presley in 1997 didn’t quite feel real. He was old and hard of hearing but completely capable of reeling off ancient anecdotes.

Jack White Rocks Himself Out of His Socks

“The shows I like the most are when we’re trying to win somebody over,” says Jack White, “When they’re yelling at us, that really gets me going.” Right now, the White Stripes are definitely going. The Detroit duo is indie rock’s great white hope, and audiences are falling for them like a punch-drunk boxer throwing a fight. The guy standing with his wife behind the sound board heard one song on a college radio station, bought the White Stripes’ current album, White Blood Cells, and drove in from Connecticut for the first of their three sold-out New York shows. He’s not disappointed.

John Lydon: To the Core

I met John Lydon in a New York hotel room on a promotional tour for his first memoir. Although it was a fruitful interview, he ate sushi while we spoke and displayed an overt display of scorn that could have been better saved for someone with a lot less admiration and respect for him and his music…

Music in a Word: 50 Years on a Rock and Roll Soapbox

Why do I write about music? Why does anyone? I’ve given that question a lot of thought and I have discerned subliminal motives that are less than flattering. On one hand, it’s the desire to share what moves me, to offer the benefit of serious consideration and historical knowledge to the young and curious. On a deeper level, however, it springs from a desire to be accepted and appreciated, to establish standing in the world that I hungered for as a child.

Nick Drake’s Short Ride

His songs cast an eerie spell; they hold you in their grip and rarely let go. It’s not only that Nick Drake produced some of the finest melodies and lyrics ever or that he influenced many a romantic young man to take up the art of song. It’s the emotional intensity and sincerity of his music.

The Sensible Mr. Scabies

The once-notorious Rat Scabies of the Damned is now a charming grandfather, drumming (remotely) in a great band with another London scene stalwart and two LA punk veterans.

What Remains?

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.

Girls on Film

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’s Mutated Music: “Little Cristine”

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.

The Virgin Birth Story

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.

The Zombies Live On

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.

From the archives: Tony Stratton-Smith of Charisma Records

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.

One From the Vaults: Andrew Loog Oldham

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.

How (Not) to Build a Rock Critic

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.