The Rock’s Backpages podcast

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In this week’s episode of the Rock’s Backpages podcast, Mark Pringle (left) and myself are joined by special guest and good friend Keith Altham (centre) to pay tribute to the late Scott Walker, an artist he interviewed many times for New Musical Express. They consider Scott’s early years as a teen idol and as a Walker Brother, followed by his bold ’60s solo albums and his radical re-emergence in the ’80s. Keith talks about touring with Scott and Jimi Hendrix – and about introducing the NME to the concept of “humour”.

The three of them listen to a clip from an interview with Martin Fry and Mark White of ’80s icons ABC about Trevor Horn’s production of debut album The Lexicon of Love. Mark then introduces selections from the week’s new additions to the RBP library, including Mick Jagger talking to Dawn James in 1965, folk siren Anne Briggs “zooming down a whirlpool to annihilation”, David Bowie‘s Ziggy Stardust album, My Bloody Valentine live at London’s Clarendon, John Mellencamp‘s self-confessed status as a rock cliché and Salt-n-Pepa being denied their rightful place in hip-hop’s history. Barney rounds it all off with tributes to writers Steven Wells and Mick Farren.

The RBP podcast with Martin Colyer

IMG_4485.jpgIn this week’s RBP podcast, Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns consider the enduring influence of soul giant Curtis Mayfield with special guest (and RBP co-founder) Martin Colyer (in the middle, with a framed Mario Testino shot of Princess Di, part of Martin’s “rider” for appearing on the podcast… don’t ask).

The trio also hear a snippet of Julian Henry’s 1985 audio interview with the absurd Sigue Sigue Sputnik – and talk about how Tony James and co. crashed down to earth despite their stratospheric ambitions. There’s a brief discussion of pieces by featured writer Mac Randall on Robert Wyatt & Bill Nelson, Linda Thompson and Beck, leading on to a rundown of what’s new in the archive for the subscribers, led by chief archivist Mark Pringle: specifically, articles on Del Shannon, Diana Ross, Keith Richards, Vivian Stanshall, Andrew Weatherall and Missy Elliot, as well as a lengthy feature on the drug Ketamine from 1976.

Martin, Mark and Barney then take a journey back in time to the origins of Rock’s Backpages itself, explaining how the idea for the archive originated… and what steps they took together to make it a reality.

Sticky fingers: The RBP podcast

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Featuring exclusive clips of an increasingly intoxicated KEITH RICHARDS during a 2002 interview by Adam Sweeting, the latest Rock’s Backpages podcast could be described as a ROLLING STONES special if there weren’t so many other things being discussed. Lauding Keef, 75, as the band’s heart & soul and asking “how this man has made it to 75”, Mark Pringle (left) and myself then wax lyrical about the brilliant Performance.

Directed by the late Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell – with a Jack Nitzsche soundtrack I describe in the podcast as one of the “creepiest, weirdest, but most mesmerising” he’s ever heard – Performance sums up the transition from ’60s flower power to something altogether darker and spookier, with the Stones themselves at “the centre of a vortex of social change”.

Other topics under consideration include Elvis Presley, the Beastie Boys, Paul Weller, Fleetwood Mac, Ice Cube and Gary Barlow’s envy of of Robbie Williams…

Etta James in the Rock’s Backpages podcast

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They were so much older then, they’re younger than that now: me ‘n’ RBP’s Mark Pringle reel in the years and riff on all that’s new this week in the world’s biggest library of music journalism – definitive interviews with legends of the last 60 years by the pop press’ greatest writers … and much much more.

In this week’s RBP podcast , the great ETTA JAMES considers her life in R&B up to 1978—‘Roll With Me Henry’, Johnny Otis, Chess Records and working with Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals. Your hosts in turn consider her impact on singers from Janis Joplin to Adele and discuss the late Rob Partridge, Royal Trux and pioneeringly “out” glamster Jobriath. Their attentions then turn to Burl Ives, Marc Bolan, Willie Nelson, Portishead and the Fugees.

Is that machine on? Archive on Radio 4

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Along with Jon Savage, Allan Jones, Caitlin Moran, Michael Lydon and presenter Stuart Maconie – to mention but a few – I’m one of the voices gabbing in Jonathan Mayo’s terrific Radio 4 doc on the golden age of the music-press interview. The programme also features a bunch of clips from the Rock’s Backpages audio archive, including the spoken thoughts of Messrs. Hendrix, Cobain, Marley and Garcia…