Results for The Who

interviews

Billy Bragg

Roots, Radicals and Rockers In the 1950s, a surprising, short-lived musical craze swept across the UK: skiffle, a raw version of African-American blues and folk performed by white British youth. Folk-punk singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has written about skiffle in his new book Roots, Radicals and Rockers. This week, he sits down with producer Evan Chung to make the case for skiffle as the origin of English guitar pop and the first sign of the DIY sensibility of punk.

Skiffle emerged out of the trad jazz scene – an early New Orleans jazz revivalist movement in the UK. In the middle of their sets, the trad jazz musicians would put down their horns and pick up acoustic guitars, washboards, and upright basses to play the songs of Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, and others. Skiffle hit the top of the pop charts in both the UK and the US when Lonnie Donegan released his version of Leadbelly's "Rock Island Line." Bragg argues that this was a revolutionary moment that taught British youth that anyone could play the guitar – and led to skyrocketing guitar sales. As a result, members of The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, David Bowie, and even ABBA got their start in DIY skiffle groups. According to Bragg, if you want to understand everything that came after in the UK – from the British Invasion to the English folk revival to R&B to punk – you have to look at the impact that skiffle had on the emerging British teenage culture.

Go to episode 613

Glyn Johns

soundman One day in February 1969, engineer and producer Glyn Johns disembarked a flight from Los Angeles to London. He went straight to a studio to work with the Beatles on what would eventually become Let It Be. That was followed by an all-night session with the Rolling Stones for Let It Bleed. And after that, he rejoined the Beatles and jutted on over to Royal Albert Hall to record Jimi Hendrix live. Just“a day in the life,”eh? Those legendary recordings are just beginning of Johns tremendous list of credits which includes Led Zeppelin, the Faces, the Kinks, The Who, the Eagles and more recently Band of Horses and Ryan Adams. He relays this life spent recording in a new book called Sound Man. And he is as candid in his conversation with Jim and Greg, as he is in print. The aforementioned Let It Be? Johns remarks that Phil Spector“puked”all over it. Of Eric Clapton, Johns admits he initially refused to bring him into a session with Pete Townshend due to his drug-addled personality. And he talks about parting ways with the Eagles after they wanted to go in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction—something Johns says the band wouldn't know if they fell over it.

For more behind-the-booth conversations, check out Jim and Greg's interviews in the Footnotes section with Stephen Street, Butch Vig, Bob Ezrin, Tony Visconti, Mark Howard, Giorgio Moroder, Joe Boyd and of course, Brian Eno.

Go to episode 528

Steve Wynn

In preparation for this week's guest, Steve Wynn, Jim and Greg do a little primer on the Paisley Underground music scene that developed in California in the 1980s. Jim plays a song by one of the seminal bands of this scene, The 3 O'Clock, whose very psychedelic name was inspired by Tom Wolfe's assertion in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" that if one drops acid in the early evening, the high of the trip will occur at 3:00 a.m. The 3 O'Clock was helmed by Michael Quercio, a musician who started as a punk rocker. After discovering psychedelic rock, however, his sound, and his look, began to change. It was Cuercio's affinity for the music of the '60s, as well as the brightly colored paisley clothes, that gave this scene its name. While the name did not do the music justice, the influence of the Paisley Underground on contemporary bands like Oasis and The Secret Machines is undeniable.

It may surprise to listeners who are only familiar with "Walk Like an Egyptian," but The Bangles were also pioneers of the Paisley Underground. Their original sound, with its three- and four-part harmonies and sing-songy melodies, paralleled that of The Mamas and the Papas and The Byrds. Lead singer Susanna Hoffs continues to work in this genre; she and '90s indie pop star Matthew Sweet just released a 1960s covers album featuring songs by The Left Banke, The Beach Boys and The Who.

Greg points out that the Paisley Underground sound was not a homogenous one — in fact, what bonded these bands was a punk sensibility that welcomed other musical styles. Unlike many other punk bands at the time, these acts didn't see why they had to conform to a strict policy of three-minute, Ramones-style songs. And what's more punk rock than non-conformity? One band that went above and beyond its punk and psychedelic influences was The Long Ryders. They took more of a country approach and can be seen as pioneers of the alternative country scene that now houses bands like Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and The Bottle Rockets.

The Rain Parade is the next Paisley Underground band up for discussion. While the members of The Rain Parade never saw the major label success like their peers in The Bangles or The 3 O'Clock (who were signed to Prince's Paisley Park label), many went on to work on successful projects. David Robeck formed the band Mazzy Star, which had an alternative hit single with "Fade Into You" in 1993 and Matt Piucci went on to work with Crazy Horse. The remaining bandmates reincarnated themselves as Viva Saturn.

Greg plays a song featuring this week's guest, Steve Wynn. His band The Dream Syndicate was a group that both Jim and Greg became fans of in the early '80s. They emerged in LA as one of the pioneers of the Paisley Underground sound. Steve then released a number of solo records and has spent the last few years with his most recent band, The Miracle 3. Steve and his band members, Linda Pitmon, Dave DeCastro and Kirk Swan, joined Jim and Greg for an interview and performance at the Chicago Recording Company.

The Dream Syndicate never made it into the 1990s, but its innovative sound continued to influence artists. While other LA bands at the time, like Black Flag, Social Distortion and Bad Religion, were making post-punk and punk music with a really hard edge, The Dream Syndicate stuck to a swirlier, psychedelic pop sound. For this reason, Jim and Greg explain, no matter how many solo projects he embarks on, our guest will most likely always be remembered as the lead singer of The Dream Syndicate.

After playing a track from Days of Wine and Roses, which Greg calls one of the masterpieces of the Paisley Underground era, our host asks Steve about the chemistry between two guitarists. In this case, Steve's partner in guitar is Kirk Swan, who was in another innovative '80s indie pop band, Dumptruck, Steve responds that the basic formula of guitar, drums, and bass is simple, but never gets old. He points to bands like Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Television as examples.

Jim asks Steve about why he continues on in this business after so many years. As Steve jokes on his website, this new album is one of several“comebacks,”but music is not such an easy life to come back to. After being pegged the“new Springsteen,”Steve and the band had somewhat of a difficult time. He explains how that hurt the band (and indirectly how he hurt Jim one drunken night). Thankfully they both came out on the other side.

Go to episode 21

Glenn Kotche

This week Jim and Greg are joined by percussionist extraordinaire Glenn Kotche. He is best known as one of the members of Wilco, but he also has a number of side projects, and a new solo album entitled Mobile. Glenn joins our hosts to discuss all things drumming and to play some of his inventive music. What makes Glenn's drumming style so special is that it ranges from the avant-garde to the straight-ahead rock he does with Wilco, yet it's always in service of the song. You can hear his solo tracks "Monkey Chant" and "Projections of (What) Might" during the show.

After playing for a bit, Glenn gives our hosts a little tour around his kit. Some of Glenn's toys include crotales, a glockenspiel, contact mics (which amplify and alter the drum sounds), and a superball mallet (or half of it). The drummer also has a prepared snare drum which is affixed with different springs and wires, similar to a John Cage prepared piano. He also stole his wife's fruit basket, which the two received as a wedding present. But, perhaps the most unusual percussion instruments that Glenn uses are light-sensitive toy crickets that anyone can pick up in Chinatown.

The discussion ends with a conversation about some of the best (and worst) rock drummers. Some of Jim, Greg, and Glenn's favorites include: Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground, Meg White of The White Stripes, Elliott Smith, Levon Helm of The Band, and Keith Moon of The Who (despite the accusations of overplaying).

Go to episode 42
specials

Live Albums

The concept of a Live Album is a controversial one for many rock fans. Some see these releases as merely filler between proper new albums. And some see these records as a way to experience a specific musical moment again. For Jim and Greg, the following are great albums because they either bring something new to an artist's work, or capture a time worth remembering. As you gear up for the summer concert season, enjoy the following live albums:

Go to episode 179

1967

Recently Jim and Greg began an exploration of one of the great watershed years in Rock and Roll: 1967. First up was the birth of the album as art. Now, they look at the growth of the live music business and the industry, for better or worse, growing up. There's no better example of this maturation than the Monterey International Pop Festival. For 3 days in June, thousands of music fans descended on Monterey, California to see The Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, The Who and the spectacular debuts of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. They worked for free, with ticket proceeds going to charity, but the capitalist machine was not far behind. As Jim and Greg discuss with writer Harvey Kubernick, managers, promoters and label executives took notice of the festival's popularity and media attention, leading to new signings and savvy marketing plans. In terms of sound, the Monterey performers encapsulated the diversity of the psychedelic era. Rock, funk, jazz, country-it was all up for grabs. And artists like Otis Redding introduced a southern sound to white audiences, paving the way for landmark recordings like Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You.

Go to episode 325

1967

Not to make you feel old, but it's been 45 years since the "Summer of Love," the year of the hippie, and some of the most influential music in rock history. So Jim and Greg have decided to look back at the watershed year 1967. Television viewers were treated to memorable performances by The Who, The Doors and The Rolling Stones. Aretha Franklin recorded her famous Atlantic release "Respect." Fans from around the country gathered in California for the Monterey International Pop Music Festival. But during this episode Jim and Greg focus on the single LP's that changed the way people thought of the studio and a collection of songs. 1967 gave birth to the idea of album as art.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band is, of course, the most prominent example of studio innovation on album in '67. Recorded at Abbey Road by George Martin on mono, stereo and four-track recorders, Sgt. Pepper's was a critical and commercial success. But, as they stated during our Revolver Classic Album Dissection, Jim and Greg don‘t think it’s The Beatles‘ best. Nor is it the best album of that year. They’d point people to the landmark recordings The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd, Forever Changes by Love and The Velvet Underground and Nico by The Velvet Underground. Jim and Greg talk about these albums' innovations in terms of recording and artistic ambition. They also hear from Joe Boyd, who produced Pink Floyd's first single in 1967 and Jac Holzman, who discovered Love and signed them to Elektra.

Go to episode 323
reviews
Interpretations: The British Rock SongbookInterpretations: The British Rock Songbook available on iTunes

Bettye LaVette Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

What happens when a veteran soul singer takes on classic British rock tunes? The answer is actually not as exciting as one might think. Both Jim and Greg were really looking forward to Bettye LaVette's Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook. The album came out of LaVette's Kennedy Center Honors performance of "Love Reign O'er Me," by The Who. She put her unique, alto rasp to use on subsequent covers of songs by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But, as Greg explains, the album's sleepy, slow-burn pace didn't do her voice or the songs justice. Jim agrees, and also wishes LaVette had chosen more original songs by these famous artists. They both regrettably give the record a Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 235
dijs

Greg

“I Can See For Miles”The Who

While the remaining members of The Who appear to be looking forward, Greg decided to look backward for this week's Desert Island Jukebox pick. He went with what he believes to be the ultimate Who track: "I Can See For Miles." This track, which was the only Who song to crack the U.S. top-ten chart, perfectly encapsulates what the band was about. Although all four members — Roger Daltry, Pete Townshend, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon — were integral to the group, it was Townshend's arranging that really allowed each to shine. Keith Moon's drumset was really the lead instrument, and despite being the chief songwriter and guitar player, Townshend knew enough to showcase that rhythm. This relationship is highlighted in“I Can See For Miles,”and therefore Greg wants to take it with him to that eternal desert island.

Go to episode 44

Greg

“Louie, Go Home”The Who,Joan Jett,David Bowie,The Kingsmen,Paul Revere and the Raiders

Idaho-native Paul Revere of the 1960's colonial-garbed band Paul Revere and the Raiders passed away this week from cancer, so Greg chooses to remember the ringleader of the raucous band by taking their song "Louie, Go Home" with him to the Desert Island Jukebox. The 1964 single is a response to The Kingsmen's 1963 song "Louie Louie"—one they put together after relocating from Idaho to Kingsmen territory in the Pacific Northwest. The tongue-in-cheek track would later go on to be recorded by David Bowie (still known then as David Jones), The Who, Joan Jett and more.

Go to episode 463

Greg

“She's Not a Little Girl”Green

For his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox, Greg wants to add a song by one of his favorite“Power Pop”bands. The term was actually coined by Pete Townshend during The Who's pre-rock opera era. It now describes a slew of bands that use big melodies, tight arrangements, harmonies and prominent guitar riffs. The Midwest produced a lot of power pop bands, including Green. The band has had many incarnations, but it's the constant force of Jeff Lescher that gives the group its edge and puts them above the rest for Greg. He takes their song, "She's Not a Little Girl Anymore" with him to the deserted island.

Go to episode 365

Greg

“She's Not a Little Girl”Green

For his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox, Greg wants to add a song by one of his favorite“Power Pop”bands. The term was actually coined by Pete Townshend during The Who's pre-rock opera era. It now describes a slew of bands who use a lot of big melodies, tight arrangements, harmonies and prominent guitar riffs. The Midwest produces a lot of power pop bands, including Green. The band has had many incarnations, but it's the constant force of Jeff Lescher that gives the group its edge and puts them above the rest for Greg. He takes their song, "She's Not a Little Girl" with him to the desert island.

Go to episode 198
lists

Rock Operas

For many music fans, when you hear "Rock Opera," you probably think of The Who's 1969 album Tommy. But, Jim and Greg assert that Tommy is neither the first, nor the best, Rock Opera. Credit for the first goes to S.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things in 1968. Credit for the best? Well, there's a long list throughout music history, including those listed below. But whatever your favorite, just don't call it a concept album!

  • The Who's Quadrophenia
  • Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  • Green Day's American Idiot
  • Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger
  • Janelle Monae's The Archandroid
  • The Pretty Things's S.F. Sorrow
  • The Kinks' Arthur
  • Lou Reed's Berlin
  • David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust
  • Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall
  • The Decemberists' Crane Wife
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Greendale
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar

Share your favorite at 888.859.1800, at interact@soundopinions.org or on Facebook and Twitter.

Go to episode 455

Apology Songs

There are a lot of ways to say“I'm sorry,”but what better method than through song. Jim, Greg and a few listeners share their favorite apology tracks.

Go to episode 581
news

Music News

This week MTV launched a new sister — or rather“hermana”— network called MTV Tr3s. The station, pronounced“MTV Tres,”is a bilingual music network aimed at Latino Americans aged 12-34. Considering that the Latino population in the U.S. is estimated to grow 62% by 2020, this is a smart business move. Jim and Greg hope that the opportunity to focus on new, cutting edge Rock en Español acts is not lost. A skim of the programming schedule shows that the MTV Tr3s will not be radically different from the flagship station. In addition to a Latino TRL, which will feature acts like Shakira, Mana and Pitbull, there is a version of "Pimp My Ride" entitled“Pimpeando,”and a version of "My Super Sweet 16" entitled“Quiero Mis Quinces.”Sound Opinions doesn't like to pre-judge, but we suspect that Rock en Español fans might be better off seeking music out on their own. Check out Jim and Greg's interview with Ernesto Lechner for suggestions.

In the latest installment of what Jim and Greg have dubbed the“Pot Calls the Kettle Black”series, Sting recently spoke out against the overly commercial pop music of artists like Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. He says,“Today's music is not designed for me… For me singing is a spiritual journey. I'm devoutly musical.”This statement comes from a man who debuted his single, "Desert Rose," in a Jaguar commercial. Of course, Sting has absolutely NO commercial aims with his next project — a disc full of 16th century music performed on the lute. True music fans can check that out next month. In the meantime, we invite Sting and Bob Dylan and any other cranky old rocker to make an appointment with the Rock Doctors.

After 24 years, legendary rock group The Who are coming back with new material. Remaining members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry will release a new album, Endless Wire, in late October. The two recently launched a tour, along with Ringo's son Zak Starkey on drums and Pino Palledino on bass, and finally, they have new music to perform. Greg caught their Chicago show, and was impressed that after years of trying to recreate what they once were, the band finally understands what they are — a duo. The music focuses on the combination of their vocals, rather than a powerhouse, arena rock sound. Jim thinks that all of Townshend's other projects are a lot more interesting than the new Who material, however. The musician/opera composer is also a publisher and author. Of course, it wasn't any of these things that got Townshend in the headlines in the past few years.

Go to episode 44

Music News

who-tour The big summer concert season is getting underway, and many fans have their sights set on big ticket tours to see their favorite classic rockers. But, Jim and Greg wonder if they are really getting the full band experience? The Who, for example, just kicked off their 2015 tour and are likely to rake in the bucks despite being at half capacity. Drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle have passed away, so the answer to“Who are The Who?” is merely Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. That duo brought in $13 million during their 2012-13 tour, far more than Pete or Roger could do solo. So, for incomplete acts like The Who, AC/DC, Smashing Pumpkins and Queen, Jim and Greg suspect the brand is more important than the band.

Go to episode 492

Music News

It seems like just yesterday that the British first invaded rock and roll. But, many early recordings by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who are so old they were about to fall into public domain. However, the European Union just extended that copyright law from 50 years to 70 years, giving record companies another two decades to collect big revenues. It's being called Cliff's Law after pop singer Cliff Richard, but other artists don't think the law will benefit them. Here in the U.S., copyright law allows for artists to reclaim ownership of their work after 35 years. So, many American musicians who made recordings in the 1970s, including Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Don Henley, are able to file claims. But the big four labels are heavily resisting, claiming that performers were mere employees doing“work for hire,”and thus have no rights.

In other news across the pond, U.K. culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on search engines, such as Google, to bar links to websites with pirated material. You expect these kind of restrictions in China, but not necessarily in England. Hunt has rejected suggestions that this is“an assault on the ‘freedom’ of the internet,”but for Google that's exactly what it is. They said they already work with copyright owners to remove infringing materials. So it looks like legislation is the next step.

Go to episode 303

Music News

Jim and Greg have been reporting on the tragic events of last week's Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany. At the time of this recording, 20 deaths and over 500 injuries were reported. This was likely due to mass overcrowding at the electronic music festival which began in 1989. While a criminal investigation is still ongoing, festival organizers have announced that this was the last Love Parade. Jim and Greg count this as one of the biggest tragedies in concert history, up there with Pearl Jam's 2000 Roskilde show, the 2003 E2 stampede, the 2003 Station fire, and The Who's 1979 concert at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum. They hope promoters will do better to learn from the past.

You know the record industry is in crisis when they turn to the church for help — literally. Universal Music's Decca Records searched high and low for the next big pop phenom and came up with a group of cloistered French nuns. The nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation beat out over 70 convents from around the world for a record deal. Their new album will be coming out this fall. Who knows, they might release the next “Gregorian Chant” or "Dominique".

Go to episode 244

Music News

Last weekend was the famous Eurovision Song Contest, the“World Cup”of music. A fixture in Europe since 1968, past winners include ABBA, Celine Dion and Katrina and the Waves. Eurovision never fails to feature weird music and geopolitical controversy, and this year was no exception. Singer Jamala from Ukraine beat out Australia and Russia for the top prize. Russia was irked by Jamala's song choice, a track called "1944," about Stalin's exile of the Crimean Tatar population – with obvious connections to today's crisis in Ukraine. Better the countries fight via silly pop songs than actual guns, Jim argues.

Get your sunscreen, hats, and wallets out for the first Desert Trip! The new music festival will be held in the same location as Coachella, and with its septuagenarian lineup, it quickly acquired the nickname "Oldchella." Desert Trip will feature six major acts from the 1960s rock scene: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who. Ticket sales have already exceeded a record $150 million – thanks to ticket prices reaching into the thousands. That's not to mention the $6,500 resort packages. Jim thinks that for that price, they ought to air condition the desert.

Go to episode 547