A new documentary turns a much-needed spotlight on a band whose many hits are suffused deep and wide into the soil of American music, but one that has long been taken for granted, underrated even. Ironically, the bludgeoning familiarity of John Fogerty’s Creedence songbook has had, with time, the effect of obscuring the diversity and economy of his amazing creative run through the Woodstock era.
Articles by Ira Robbins
With Pavement on the road again, here’s a 1997 profile of the band by Ira Robbins.
Shot by Barbara Wolf on Super 8 from an orchestra seat at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Don’t know which one of the four shows it was. These three reels have been sitting in a box in a series of closets for 48 years, and I just thought to have them digitized. For more Who…
Nell Davies is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from rural Cornwall. Already in her 40s, she started making music in late 2020 after reading Viv Albertine’s memoir inspired her to buy a guitar and begin writing songs. She records in a converted pigsty and produces herself. “Happy Birthday” is her fourth single.
From 1992: It’s been ages since anyone over the age of 12 expected perfection from a rock’n’roll band, but the members of R.E.M. have managed to become Genuine Rock Gods without making a public nuisance of themselves.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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 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.
“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.
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…
Dancing about architecture? How about listening about music….
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.
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 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.
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.
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.