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…
Articles by Ira Robbins
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?)
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.
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…
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.