Former Rolling Stone editor Rod Yates sits down with some of music’s biggest stars and behind-the-scenes players and asks: How did they get where they are today? What made them who they are? How have they navigated the ups and downs of life and their career, and what have they learned along the way? The results are frequently funny, occasionally heartbreaking, often educational and always very, very revealing. Come behind the scenes and discover what makes these music-makers human.
Ken Casey (Dropkick Murphys)
Dropkick Murphys' 11th studio album is called This Machine Still Kills Fascists.
The record features a collection of Woody Guthrie’s unpublished lyrics set to music.
The seeds of the project were sown some years ago when the band befriended Woody’s daughter, Nora. Her son was a fan of the Dropkick Murphys and saw in the band a group of kindred spirits who embodied Woody’s everyman working class ethic.
We talk about that whole journey in this interview, as well as going deep into Ken’s life and career with the Dropkick Murphys, from fighting Nazis at punk shows to the DIY spirit that’s driven them from the day they formed in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1996.
There aren't many artists touring the world right now who can say they were once part of the Obama administration. Bartees Strange can, thanks to his time as the Deputy Press Secretary for the Federal Communications Commission.
He also worked in the labour and climate movements, but before that he was an active member of the music scene in and around Oklahoma, where he was raised.
He admits he strayed from music for a few years after he moved to DC to pursue politics, but playing and performing kept calling him back. Little by little he started to refocus his energies on his music career.
In the years since he’s enjoyed a steady climb up the indie ladder, and he’s now two albums deep into his career, with his latest, Farm To Table, drawing on influences as diverse as country, pop, hip-hop and hardcore to make a sound that is uniquely his own.
We talk about it all in this interview!
My guest for this 100th episode is bona fide musical legend Don Was.
Don was a founding member of Was (Not Was), and he’s a GRAMMY-winning producer who’s worked with artists such as Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss and John Mayer, to name a few.
He’s currently playing bass with Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir in Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros, and he’s also the president of one of the world’s most famous record labels, Blue Note Records.
We talk about it all in this interview!
Marlon Williams' voice has been turning heads since he was a teen singing in the church choir – it was enough to convince Bradley Cooper to cast him in A Star Is Born, in which his character performed a beautiful version of Roy Orbison’s "Pretty Woman" alongside Brandi Carlile. He continues to act to this day, but it’s music for which Marlon is perhaps best known.
He was raised in the small New Zealand town of Lyttelton, and cut his teeth in New Zealand before relocating to Australia, after which he toured the world on the back of his 2015 self-titled debut album and its follow up, Make Way For Love.
Marlon now lives back in New Zealand, which is where he was when we caught up in late July. And while we talk about his entire life and career in this interview, we started by talking about his new album, My Boy…
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
When Orlando Higginbottom – AKA Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – releases his new album When The Lights Go on September 9, it will be 10 years since his previous LP, Trouble.
Orlando wasn’t completely quiet over that period, having toured the world and released a series of EPs and singles. But after the success of Trouble he went through something of a personal and creative crisis as he struggled to figure out how to operate in the music industry, which was one of the things that contributed to the 10-year gap between albums.
We talk about that whole journey in this interview, as well as Orlando’s upbringing in Oxford, his path into music, his memories of playing with Flume in Sydney while touring Trouble and, of course, the making of When The Lights Go.
In 2016, Moonchild Sanelly wrote down a list of goals she wanted to achieve in the next 10 years, and they included collaborating with Beyoncé, Diplo and Damon Albarn.
She achieved those goals in half the time, singing on Gorillaz' 2020 album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, collaborating with Beyoncé on the song “My Power” from The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, and singing with Diplo on DJ Raybel’s song “Whole Night”.
Driven by an unshakable self belief, an image that turns heads, and a genre of music that she calls Future Ghetto Funk – which incorporates South African house, R&B, electro, pop, funk and rock – Moonchild Sanelly’s rise from the South African city of Port Elizabeth has been nothing short of spectacular.
She calls herself the president of the female orgasm and preaches messages of sexual positivity and emancipation, and her latest album Phases seeks to give a voice to women from all walks of life.
We talk about it all in this interview.
Candid interviews and a hosting style that gives the guests room to tell their own stories, gently coaxing out some fantastic details. Really enjoyable.
Best interviewing podcast around
Love your work guys - love the John butler interview! Hope there is more to come!
Learning a lot!
Really enjoying this series. The interviews are in depth and always revealing.