Slash


Posted: February 26th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | No Comments »


Welcome Back To The Jungle

Background note: I interviewed Slash on three separate occasions. By the third session I think he finally remembered we’d spoken before. In honor of Guns’ induction into the Rock Hall, here’s my favorite chat with the chill guitar hero, followed by an interview with Guns’ producer Mike Clink, who helped shore up Slash’s memory about the recording of Appetite For Destruction. I originally conducted the interviews for a Guitar One cover story in celebration of that album’s 15th anniversary. Ten years later the rock world still waits to see if the classic line-up that created it will share a stage again. Breath-holding is not recommended.

The Guns ‘N Roses legend is one filled with as many cautionary tales as it is rock-and-roll victories. There’s the time Duff McKagan’s pancreas exploded from prolonged over-indulgence. And the time Izzy Stradlin was arrested after relieving himself in an airplane’s galley. And the time Axl Rose incited a riot because an audience member took his photo. Read the rest of this entry »


David Bowie


Posted: February 25th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Background note: The following interview was conducted on October 23, 2001, for an album preview for Alternative Press, which named Bowie’s Heathen one of 2002’s most anticipated releases. The phone interview left me with considerably more content than the brief assignment required, but since the discussion revolved around probes concerning the sound of a then-unheard album the world would soon hear, the transcription remained spooled away on my hard drive for over a decade. Until now. Read the rest of this entry »


The Verve


Posted: February 24th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


The Skinny on Art, Fame and Nike Ads

Background note: Favorite band of the ’90s. First ever cover story. A little lengthy, but I think it still holds up (does any music mag run 5000-word features these days?). Classic cover photo and interior shots by the incomparable Ms. Heidie Lee Locke. Still love this group.

“For me to sit here and analyze my whole fuckin’ life is just… I made a great record; I don’t need a lot of fuckin’ shrinks with tape recorders. Do you know what I mean?”

He’s not here to have his head examined, but under different circumstances, the man at the window might seem paranoid. He speaks of clearing up “misinformation.” He describes himself as a voyeur who’s become the spectacle. He senses people projecting their unfulfilled desires onto him. He also exhibits an unsettling intensity when describing these lucid insights. Read the rest of this entry »


The Brian Jonestown Massacre


Posted: February 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , | No Comments »


No Ropes Attached

Background note: A discussion with Anton Newcombe was always a memorable event, but he also holds the distinction of being my first, and thus far only, clothing-optional interview. This piece was first published around 2001, several years before the band earned greater infamy via the film Dig!

Since 1995, I’ve observed via post-show chats, interviews and friendly phone calls as Anton Newcombe first bartered his way out of obscurity, then nearly burned himself into oblivion. The last time I formally interviewed him, he was somewhere in between and, in keeping with his storied eccentricity, wearing nothing but a Cossack-style fur cap, sunglasses and Frye boots.

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The Darkness


Posted: January 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | No Comments »


Beware Of Darkness

Background note: This good-humored interview originally appeared as a cover story in Guitar One. The band broke up fairly soon after, but they’ve since reunited for an album and tour (and now star in a Samsung commercial). Hopefully they’ll actually make it to the stage in Cleveland this time so they can finally utter the immortal salutation.

Expectations precede The Darkness. Mine do at least. Beer in hand, I perch on a comfy settee in a well-appointed sitting room in Cleveland’s swank and indeed ritzy Ritz Carlton Hotel. I’m awaiting the group’s catsuit-sporting Justin Hawkins and his younger brother Dan. Together they form the band’s twin Les Paul fury–singer Justin taking the classic widdly-widdly lead role and Dan holding down the power riffage and rhythms.

It’s only noon, but I figure the party never stops around Britain’s new rock royalty, right? Or so I have read. “Wasting beer is disrespectful,” Justin recently pronounced. And in England, it’s certainly well past tea time. Judging from the waaay-over-the-top videos for the band’s insta-anthems, who knows what could happen?

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Lenny Kravitz


Posted: November 1st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | No Comments »


The Second Coming

Background note: You can’t judge a man by one conversation, but Lenny was fairly sour the day I interviewed him for a “Guitar One” feature back in 2004. Fortunately he warmed up a little once I proffered my theory about 2004 being an especially strong year for Geminis, with Prince, Outkast’s Andre 3000, Morrissey and Lenny in some sort of creative ascension or revival. Hey, sometimes you gotta get the story by any means necessary, even if it means dipping into astrology.

Lenny Kravitz sounds exhausted and not a little exasperated. For the better part of a day, if not week, he’s been fielding questions about the demise of his relationship with Brazilian model Adriana Lima; his fling with actor Nicole Kidman; his vacations with Mick Jagger; his herb-smoking sessions with rock royalty; and last, if not least, his pierced dangle. Journalists, it seems, have forgotten something. Read the rest of this entry »


The Psychedelic Furs + Echo And The Bunnymen


Posted: November 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


Parallel Lines

Background note: I first interviewed Richard Butler at the Gramercy Hotel, in NYC, in the early ’90s. As we sat down at the table in the bar, he fired up a cigarette and said, “You can’t write that I’m smoking, my wife will kill me.” So much for post-punk rebellion… Still, Butler and the ever-quotable Ian McCulloch were among my idols growing up, so it was always a thrill to interview them. This piece was written as a preview of their joint tour, in 2001.

The distinctive croon. The doomed-romantic lyrics. The ever-present cigarette and shades. The fastidiously unkempt hair. From a distance, the Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler and Echo And The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch share much in common. But mostly it’s their separateness that links them. In fact, they each carved such individual career courses in the ‘80s that they never really crossed paths until 2001, when the two bands toured together for the first time.

“There were other bands who had that mutual-admiration thing going on—like the born-again Christians,” explains McCulloch, taking a playful jab at the Bunnymen’s rivals, U2. “We weren’t that kind of band, and I don’t think the Furs were, either.”       Read the rest of this entry »


Sgt. Pepper’s Creative Secrets


Posted: September 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading at “The Accelerator”


The Wisdom of Dimebag Darrell


Posted: December 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Background note: When I interviewed metal legend Dimebag Darrell for a Guitar One cover story, shortly before his death, in 2004, I warmed up with a query about his infamous hangover remedy. He was more than willing to share his secret, elaborating on the nuances he’d developed through painstaking research.

The riotous interview that followed featured many anecdotes that simply didn’t fit the context of the larger piece (on the then state of heavy metal), but reading back through them, I think they’re just too entertaining not to share. So here, published for the first time, in unexpurgated form, is the wisdom of Dimebag.

Raise a glass and read along (for heightened effect, imagine his words spoken by Yosemite Sam)—but follow his lifestyle lead at your own risk. Although a little too much was always enough for Dimebag (after all, it was a depraved fan’s bullet that ultimately brought him down, not the Crown Royal), most of us lack a guitar hero’s constitution and flexible hours. Read the rest of this entry »


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club


Posted: October 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Feature story | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


What Can A Poor Boy Do?

Background note: BRMC were notorious for monosyllabic responses to interview questions, but once we established some common ground, they gradually warmed to my queries. The ice breaker? Chiefly Nicolas Roeg’s film Performance. The band originally considered calling themselves the Turner Purple Orchestra, after the fictional band fronted by Mick Jagger’s character, Turner, in the movie. Bassist Robert Been was performing under the pseudonym “Robert Turner” at the time of this interview, in 2003, and I called him on it. Still love this group. I feel like I’m transforming into a werewolf the second I hear one of Been’s bass lines. Hopefully they’re working on something awesome as I type.

They brought it upon themselves.

Call yourself a rebel and the question is bound to arise: What are you rebelling against? The members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club know it well. The question has come up repeatedly in interviews since the San Francisco-based trio released its 2001 self-titled debut and captured imaginations with feedback-wreathed drone-pop gems like “Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘N’ Roll (Punk Song).” Read the rest of this entry »


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