They were so much older then, they're younger than that now: Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns 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. The RBP podcast is produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie and is a proud part of Pantheon — the podcast network for music lovers.
Mark Cooper on Neil Young + Jools Holland + Steve Van Zandt
In the new episode of the Rock's Backpages podcast, we welcome into RBP's cosy virtual cupboard the BBC's former Head of Music Entertainment — and the co-creator of the enduring Later… with Jools Holland show. Yes folks, Mark Cooper revisits his career as a music writer — from seeing the last Sex Pistols show in San Francisco in 1978 to interviewing N.W.A. in South-Cental L.A. 1989 — and talks about his long TV career and the hatching of Later in 1992.
Mark's 2008 interview with Neil Young sparks a discussion of the Canadian giant's so-called "doom" years from 1972 to 1976, boxed up this month in the second volume of his monumental Archives project. With special attention to 1975's dark masterwork Tonight's the Night, we hear clips of Neil speaking in 1985 and 2005, then discuss Don't Be Denied, the documentary Mark made about him with director Ben Whalley.
There's yet more audio in the episode as we celebrate the 70th birthday of Steve Van Zandt (or, if you prefer, Miami Steve, Little Steven… or indeed Silvio Dante) with clips from a 1982 interview. The E Street Band legend and subsequent Sopranos star talks to John Tobler about the bands he and his buddy Bruce Springsteen led in mid-'60s New Jersey, after which Mark and his co-hosts compare views on SVZ's side band the Disciples of Soul.
Finally, Mark (Pringle, that is) talks us through his highlights among the week's 50+ new library articles, including great pieces on the Four Tops, David Bowie, Hound Dog Taylor, Dan ('Instant Replay') Hartman and Sheryl Crow … after which Barney quotes from interviews with Prince and Ani DiFranco, talking about Woody Guthrie and Donald Trump's odious dad Fred. That just leaves Jasper to wrap things up with closing remarks on Simon Cowell's ill-fated Girl Thing and former X-Factor contestant Cher Lloyd.
Many thanks to special guest Mark Cooper.
Rock's Backpages is proud to be part of the Pantheon podcast network.
Pieces discussed: Neil Young, Sex Pistols, NWA, Neil Young, Neil Younger, Neil Youngest, Crazy Horse, Steve Van Zandt audio, Four Tops, David Bowie, Hound Dog Taylor, Dan Hartman, Culture Club, Mantronix, Sheryl Crow, Prince, Ani DiFranco, Girl Thing and Cher Lloyd.
Jez Butterworth on The Band + Dolly Parton + Perry Farrell
In this episode we welcome acclaimed playwright Jez (Jerusalem) Butterworth into RBP's virtual cupboard to talk mainly about The Band – but also about Dolly Parton and other musical tastes shared with hosts Mark, Barney & Jasper.
Barney gets the ball rolling by asking Jez how an early '90s conversation with Malcolm McLaren led to his first play Mojo – and how music has long played a part in his work. A Butterworth screenplay based on John Niven's peerless novella Music from Big Pink prompts discussion of The Band, taking in clips from Barney's 1991 audio interview with Al Aronowitz, the New York Post writer who first visited Big Pink to report on Bob Dylan's former backing group.
A tangent takes the episode into the terrain of Jerusalem, not to mention Brexit and the rural vs. urban polarisation exemplified by the U.S. presidential elections (still bitterly undecided at the time this episode was recorded). A neat segue leads to a deep appreciation of Dolly Parton, about to publish her autobiography Storyteller. An early Parton interview on RBP's home page provides a perfect springboard for consideration of her unique voice, her politics (or lack thereof), and her cosmetic augmentations.
There's no easy pivoting from Parton to Perry Farrell: suffice to say that – in 1996 audio clips about his Lollapalooza festival and the "spirits" of heroin and cocaine – the former Jane's Addiction and current Porno for Pyros frontman is barmy, brilliant and typically engaging.
Last but far from least, Mark talks us through his personal highlights from the week's new intake of great interviews and reviews from the golden age(s) of music journalism – including the Daily Express' Ivor Davis dropping in on John Lennon during his "lost" L.A. weekend in 1973, the Village Voice's Richard Goldstein on the "meaning" of Bette Midler in 1975, NME's Paul Morley coaxing quotes out of Joy Division's Ian Curtis in 1979… and that same rag's Steven Wells lambasting pale and uninteresting Velvet Underground devotees in 1993. Jasper takes us out with quotes from a fabulous early interview with Ms. Amy Winehouse…
Many thanks to special guest Jez Butterworth.
The Rock's Backpages podcast is proud to be part of the Pantheon Podcast Network.
Pieces discussed: The Band, Bob Dylan, Al Aronowitz audio, Dolly Parton, Dollier Parton, Dolliest Parton, Perry Farrell audio, Bob Dylan & the Hawks, Steve Winwood, John Lennon, Bette Midler, Manchester bands, Luther Vandross, Velvet Underground, Public Enemy, Amy Winehouse and Baron Wolman.
Loraine Alterman on Detroit + Stevie Wonder + Elvis Costello
In this episode, Barney, Mark & Jasper welcome the great Loraine Alterman — live from New York City! — to reminisce about her journey from '60s "Teen Beat" reporter on the Detroit Free Press to co-producer of a new Broadway show about Motown stars the Temptations. Along the way we also hear about New York's Fillmore and Apollo theatres — and how John Lennon came to be Best Man at her wedding to actor Peter Boyle. Then we head back to the Motor City to discuss the genius of Stevie Wonder as he morphed from '60s Motown prodigy to '70s Moog magician.
After paying their respects to the late Spencer Davis – the R&B "professor" who launched the superhuman lungs of 16-year-old Stevie Winwood on the world — your hosts and their guest hear the first of three clips from a compelling audio interview with Elvis Costello, mainly (but not exclusively) telling Adam Sweeting about his 1995 covers album Kojak Variety. Discussion of pop's own Mr. Eclectic ensues before Mr. Pringle talks us through his favourite new additions to the ever-expanding RBP library — including interviews with Brian Jones, Robert Wyatt, Grace Jones … and mall-pop princess Debbie Gibson. Barney cites a prescient 2014 interview about racism and Confederate flags with Lynyrd Skynyrd's Rickey Medlocke, and Jasper wraps matters up with reflections on Jason Donovan and D'Angelo…
Many thanks to special guest Loraine Alterman. For more information about the International Myeloma Foundation’s Annual Comedy Celebration, please visit comedy.myeloma.org.
Pieces discussed: MC-5, Smokey Robinson, Apollo Theatre vs Fillmore East, John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Wonderer, Stevie Wonderest, Spencer Davis Group, Spencerer Davis Group, Spencest Davis Group, Elvis Costello audio, Brian Jones, Soul, Soft Machine, Funkadelic, J. J. Cale, Grace Jones, Debbie Gibson, New Order, Lauryn Hill, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jason Donovan, D'Angelo's Black Messiah and Parody in Popular Music.
This show is part of the Pantheon Podcast Network.
Midge Ure on New Romantics + Van Halen + Mariah Carey audio
In this episode we invite James "Midge" Ure to talk us through his wonderfully convoluted career in a conversation that stretches from Slik to Visage — via the Rich Kids, the Blitz club and Live Aid — to his present-day Backstage Lockdown Club. With a special focus on the New Romantics, RBP's hosts ask Midge about Ultravox, whose classic Vienna album is 40 years old this week, and touch on the "manifesto" that Sounds' Betty Page put together with Spandau Ballet in that same year.
Midge also pitches in on the passing of guitar-shredder extraordinaire Eddie Van Halen, whose sad loss prompts a general celebration of the pop-metal band that was Eddie's namesake. We also pay our respects to U.S. soul singer turned reggae ambassador Johnny Nash and to country-MOR singer-songwriter Mac ('In The Ghetto') Davis.
The week's new audio interview being Steven Daly's 1998 conversation with R&B mega diva Mariah Carey, we hear two clips from this very entertaining chinwag ... and then ponder the pros and cons of Carey's career and oeuvre. Mark then walks and talks us through his highlights of the week's new intake of library articles , including seminal pieces on Otis Redding (1966), Ewan MacColl (1975) and Kraftwerk (1977), while Jasper rounds matters off with remarks on reviews of Ricky Martin, Jack White... and Midge Ure live in February this year!
Many thanks to special guest Midge Ure. Join Midge's Backstage Lockdown Club at www.patreon.com/midgeure, and check out the deluxe 40th anniversary version of Ultravox's Vienna.
Pieces discussed: Visage, Spandau Ballet, New Romantics, Van Halen @ Whisky a Go Go, Van Halen, Van Halener, Van Halenest, Johnny Nash, Mac Davis, Bunny "Striker" Lee, Mariah Carey audio, Otis Redding, Jackson Five, Ewan MacColl, Kraftwerk, ABC, Radiohead, Natalie Imbruglia, Dis-Education of Rock 'n' Roll, Ricky Martin, Lester Bangs, Jack White and Midge Ure.
This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts
Jude Rogers on Adele + Prince + Sonic Youth audio
In this week's episode, we welcome the wonderful Jude Rogers into RBP's very own Gridworld. Live from her native Wales, the far-from-obscure Jude reviews her career as a music scribe from The Llanelli Star to The Word, revisiting interviews with megastar-in-the-making Adele Atkins and wholly reformed cocaine fiend Tony Bennett. Jude also reflects on a 2008 thinkpiece about the Beach Boys' influence on Fleet Foxes, the latter having just "dropped" a rather fine new album, Shore, with minimum fanfare. Additionally, Jude offers her thoughts on the multifarious splendours of Prince's Sign 'O' the Times, the 1987 "double" album oft regarded as his crowning achievement. Hosts Mark, Barney & Jasper reference contemporary reviews of the record and ponder the influence on the purple maestro of departed Revolutionaries Wendy & Lisa.
After noting the passing of blue-eyed soul man Roy ('Treat Her Right') Head – with nods to a nice 1966 profile of the Texan by Britain's Bill Millar – your hosts and their guest hear the first of three clips from Martin Aston's 1986 interview with Sonic Youth, wherein Kim, Lee, Steve and Thurston (new solo album out this week!) discuss, among many other matters, obscure guitars and their interpretation of fellow Manhattaniite Madonna's 'Into the Groove(y)'. The episode concludes with a round-up of particularly tasty additions to the RBP librarium, including a 1966 report on "psychedelics", a 1972 interview with the impressively recalcitrant Bill Withers, a 1988 Smash Hits encounter 'twixt Chris Heath and wannabe-soul boys Wet Wet Wet...and pieces about neglected Motown siren Kim Weston and "postmodern-cabaret" man Max Raabe.
Pieces discussed: Adele, Tony Bennett, Beach Boys influence, Prince, Princer, Princest, Wendy & Lisa, Roy Head, Roy Head: Club Lingerie, Sonic Youth audio, Psychedelics, Beach Boys, Bill Withers, Sex Pistols, Judas Priest, Wet Wet Wet, Elastica, Louise Criscione, Kim Weston, Salt-N-Pepa and Max Raabe.
This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
Stewart Lee on Robert Lloyd + Robert Wyatt + Ronald "Khalis" Bell
In this week's episode, we invite cult meta-comedian and out-there-music connoisseur Stewart Lee to discuss the new documentary he's made about Prefects/Nightingales legend Robert Lloyd. Stewart also pitches in on RBP's new audio interview, a 1991 conversation 'twixt the late Andy Gill and everyone's favourite choirboy-voiced Commie Robert Wyatt. In addition we consider the week's featured RBP writer Caitlin Moran, with especial attention to her hair-raising 1994 encounter with Courtney Love. Plus we bid a fond farewell to Kool & the Gang co-founder Ronald "Khalis" Bell and to Simeon Coxe of pioneering '60s oscillators Silver Apples...
Finally, with intermittent interjections from Mr. Lee, Mark picks highlights from the week's trove of new additions to the RBP library, including top pieces on Jimi Hendrix (1967), Rodney "Mayor of Sunset Strip" Bingenheimer (1979), Spandau Ballet (1981) and inimitable drag superstar RuPaul (1993). With Stewart's tastes in mind, Jasper M-B spotlights Wire classics on Laurie Anderson (2001) and Japanese free-music extremist Keiji Haino (2002).
Many thanks to special guest Stewart Lee. Find out more about King Rocker at kingrockerfilm.com.
Pieces discussed: Robert Lloyd, Nightingales, The Prefects, The Chameleons, Robert Wyatt audio, Courtney Love, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls, Silver Apples, Kool & the Gang, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers, Rodney Bingenheimer, Spandau Ballet, Brothers Johnson, Sinéad O'Connor, RuPaul, Keiji Haino and Laurie Anderson.
The Rock's Backpages podcast is proud to be part of the Pantheon podcast network.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Top class fellers love it. Appreciate the diversity and the rabbit holes that the various articles inevitably lead me down. Keep up the fine work, maybe consider some closer micing for your recordings. Bring on the shirts. Snearingly awake! DGF
A fine, fine podcast
A Little Sneeringly ‘Woke’
Pringle and Hoskyns generally know their stuff although their Tobler interview with John Prine was painful. All were ignorant about Country music. Why go there? (Also btw J Prine is now an Americana icon). Smug forays onto politics is wearying. Fine, you don’t like Trump, but don’t assume all your audience doesn’t or maybe you only want certain categories of listener?