115 episodes

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.

Rock's Backpages Mark Pringle, Barney Hoskyns, Jasper Murison-Bowie

    • Music
    • 4.2 • 52 Ratings

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.

    Davitt Sigerson on disco + Bootsy Collins + Mick Rock R.I.P.

    Davitt Sigerson on disco + Bootsy Collins + Mick Rock R.I.P.

    In this episode, we welcome Davitt Sigerson, all the way from his native New York City, to talk about his stellar career from Black Music magazine in 1975 to being made chairman of Island Records in America in 1998. Along the way we hear about his passionate love of disco, his two albums for ZE Records, and plenty more besides.
    Davitt also weighs in with thoughts on Chic, Prince, David Bowie's Young Americans, the late Mick Rock and a newly-added audio interview with Bootsy Collins, conducted in June 1978 by Davitt's sometime Black Music colleague Cliff White. Davitt proves to be a witty and erudite guest, as comfortable holding forth on Robert Musil as on Cloud One's 'Atmosphere Strut' — and with fascinating recall, to boot.
    Among the new library articles added by the RBP team, Mark & Jasper focus on pieces about the Clash, Vivian Stanshall, Cecil Taylor, Randy Newman, Amy Winehouse and — bringing the episode neatly full circle — disco "mix master" Tom Moulton.
    Many thanks to special guest Davitt Sigerson, whose remastered demos are coming soon to a streaming service near you.
    Pieces discussed: Davitt on Disco, Tom Moulton, Chic, Prince, Barney meets Davitt, Bootsy Collins audio, Young Americans, David Bowie, Mick Rock, Elton John, Cecil Taylor, The Clash + Johnny Thunders, Rough Trade and Factory, Randy Newman, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Otis Redding, Noel Redding, Viv Stanshall, Terry Southern, Amy Winehouse, Cameron Carpenter and Tom Moulton.

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Lenny Kaye on Patti Smith + Nuggets + Led Zep IV

    Lenny Kaye on Patti Smith + Nuggets + Led Zep IV

    In this episode, we welcome the great Lenny Kaye — all the way from NYC — and ask him to reminisce about his New Jersey youth; the revelation that was rock 'n' roll; his exposure in 1966 to Crawdaddy! and other pioneering music zines, and of course his first encounters with the inimitable Patti Smith. Along the way we hear about his landmark 1972 anthology Nuggets, and about his thrilling new book Lightning Striking.
    Clips from John Tobler's 1978 audio interview with Patti prompt Lenny to relive key moments from the '70s, including the pair's engagement with the British punk scene on their band's first London visit in May '76. To mark the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin IV, he also talks about his rave Rolling Stone review of that album, a piece he stands by to this day. His hosts also note the imminent release of the follow-up to Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' Americana classic Raising Sand.
    The RBP team pays its respects to Maureen Cleave, whose crucial early pieces on the Beatles made her part of Fab Four folklore. Lenny mentions his New York mentor Danny Fields (episode 28) whose syndication of Maureen's "more popular than Jesus" Lennon interview sparked an unholy fundamentalist backlash across America. Mark & Jasper talk us out with remarks about "new and notable" library pieces on — among other subjects — Patti Smith (1972) and Led Zeppelin (1969)! And several more great interviews and reviews besides…
    Many thanks to special guest Lenny Kaye. Lightning Striking is published by White Rabbit and available now.
    Pieces discussed: Lenny Kaye on music in the '60s, Nuggets, Patti Smith, Patti Smith audio, Lenny on Led Zep IV, Barney on Led Zep IV, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, The Beatles, John Lennon, Pete Makowski, Thelonius Monk, Maurice White, Anita Baker, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin at the Fillmore West, Patti Smith, Gary Lucas, Vibe magazine and Field Day festival.

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Michael Zilkha on ZE Records + John Cale + The Velvet Underground

    Michael Zilkha on ZE Records + John Cale + The Velvet Underground

    In this episode, Michael Zilkha joins us all the way from Houston, Texas, to reminisce about his iconic ZE label — and the extraordinary artists he signed to it, from James Chance & Lydia Lunch to his late ex-wife Cristina and August "Kid Creole" Darnell... not forgetting John Cale, whom we hear in two audio clips talking about Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. Discussion of Todd Haynes' new documentary on the band — Michael's all-time favourite group — follows.
    Mark & Jasper round things off by talking us through their highlights among the 100+ new articles added to the RBP library, including a 1966 piece on Mama Cass meeting the Beatles, Nick Kent's 1987 Face op-ed on the Smiths, and a 2018 celebration of Moroccan gnawa by John Lewis.
    Many thanks to special guest Michael Zilkha. Visit the ZE Books website at zebooks.com.
    Pieces discussed: Mary Harron on Michael Zilkha, Paul Rambali on Michael Zilkha, ZE Records night at Hurrah, John Cale audio, The Cure, Stevie Wonder, Kirsty MacColl, Mama Cass, Mitch Mitchell, Donald Fagen, The Smiths, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Blackwell, Slick Rick, Junkie XL/Elvis, New Orleans Funk and Moroccan gnawa.

    • 1 hr 22 min
    Paul Morley on Manchester + Tony Wilson + New Order + Faust

    Paul Morley on Manchester + Tony Wilson + New Order + Faust

    In this episode, the legendary Paul Morley joins us to talk about his native Manchester, Joy Division and his epic new biography of Factory Records boss Tony Wilson.
    Paul recounts his early pop epiphanies and discovery of the UK's music press, culminating in the one & only issue of his 1976 fanzine Out There — not to mention his first reviews for the NME in 1976. The conversation then turns to "Anthony H." Wilson and the formation of Factory, taking in Paul's championing of Joy Division before leading into a discussion of Martin Aston's 1986 audio interview with New Order's Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris.
    From there we consider the week's featured act Faust, spinning off from pieces about the German enigmas by Ian MacDonald, Andy Gill and David Stubbs, and prompting general thoughts on "Krautrock" from both guest and hosts. After saying goodbye to chief Chieftain Paddy Moloney, and to three veteran RBP writers on soul and R&B (Pete Grendysa, Bob Fisher and Roger St. Pierre), Mark leads us through his personal favourites among the 100+ articles added to the RBP library over the past fortnight, incuding pieces about the Stones' pad in Edith Grove, Lorraine Ellison's volcanic single 'Stay With Me' and Charlie Watts on drummers & drumming. Finally, Jasper talks us out with his thoughts on pieces about Primal Scream's 2000 XTRMNTR and John Sinclair taking The Wire's "Invisible Jukebox" text in 2003.
    Many thanks to special guest Paul Morley; his book From Manchester with Love: The Life and Opinions of Tony Wilson is published by Faber and available now. 
    Pieces discussed: Paul Morley on Manchester, Joy Division, New Order, Tony Wilson, New Order audio, Faust, Faust IV, Jean-Hervé Peron, David Stubbs' Faustian Pact, Rhythm & Blues, Soul (Style), The Chieftains, Paddy Moloney, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Lorraine Ellison, Iron Butterfly, Patti Smith, 808 State, Dusty Springfield, Charlie Watts, The Sex Pistols, Was (Not Was), Primal Scream and John Sinclair.

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Miles Marshall Lewis on Kendrick Lamar + Wynton Marsalis + Bob Marley

    Miles Marshall Lewis on Kendrick Lamar + Wynton Marsalis + Bob Marley

    In this episode, we welcome the excellent Miles Marshall Lewis to Zoom in from his native New York City. Co-hosts Barney, Mark & Jasper ask Miles about his formative musical experiences in the South Bronx, including the impact of his parents' superhip record collection. The conversation turns to hip hop, and then to the "mashing" of jazz and rap on the first three Tribe Called Quest albums — which leads circuitously to Kendrick Lamar's jazz-infused 2015 masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, and then to the biography (Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power & Poetry of Kendrick Lamar) that Miles has just published. Jasper asks the author about Kamasi Washington and other guest stars on Butterfly, after which we swing to the opposite end of the jazz spectrum and discuss Tony Scherman's 1996 interview with somewhat divisive traditionalist Wynton Marsalis — the week's new audio offering, from which we hear two clips.
    From jazz and hip hop we turn to reggae and to the week's featured artist Bob Marley. Prompted by the imminent London premiere of Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up!, we hear the voice of the Jamaican superstar as he speaks to Karl Dallas about 'I Shot the Sheriff', a mere day after the Wailers blew the roof off London's Lyceum theatre on 18th July, 1975.
    After bidding farewell to Status Quo bassist/cofounder Alan Lancaster and to George "Commander Cody" Frayne IV, the RBP team talk us through the 100+ pieces added to our library over the past two weeks. These include Lillian Roxon writing about L.A. in the aftermath of the 1969 Manson killings (before Manson has been arrested); Ronnie Hawkins in hot water with former charges The Band/Hawks (also 1969), Michael Watts in hot pursuit of Iggy Pop in 1977, Mark Rozzo revisiting "ultimate cult album" Big Star Third in 2006, and — bringing the episode full circle — our special guest on Baz Luhrmann's 2016 hip hop drama The Get Down...
    Many thanks to special guest Miles Marshall Lewis. Visit his website at mmlunlimited.com and buy his book Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power & Poetry of Kendrick Lamar.
    Pieces discussed: The Sound in Our Veins: Jazz, Kendrick Lamar, Wynton Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis audio, Bob Marley audio, Bob Marley, Status Quo, Commander Cody, Robert Shelton, Hollywood 1969, Blue Note Records, Ronnie Hawkins, The Band, Iggy Pop, Take That, Big Star, Gorillaz, John Coltrane and The Get Down.

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Jaan Uhelszki onstage with KISS + Buena Vista Social Club + Lindsey Buckingham

    Jaan Uhelszki onstage with KISS + Buena Vista Social Club + Lindsey Buckingham

    In this episode of the Rock's Backpages podcast, Mark Pringle, Martin Colyer and Jasper Murison-Bowie discuss the writing of Creem legend Jaan Uhelszki, who is the featured writer on the week's homepage. Her open letter to Smokey Robinson, interview with Suzi Quatro, appraisal of proto-punk band Death and onstage escapades with KIϟϟ provide the trio with an opportunity to enthuse about her marvellous, stylish prose. 
    On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Buena Vista Social Club, they then consider the unusual circumstances that led Ry Cooder and his son Joachim to record with a group of Cuban musicians. Mark and Martin confess their initial scepticism of the project, but admit that it (and various offshoots featuring Rubén González and Manuel Galbán) won them over, while Jasper contemplates its enduring appeal and timeless nature.
    The three of them then listen to clips from the week's audio interview, which features Lindsey Buckingham in conversation with Bud Scoppa in 2011, on Rumours, Tusk, and his own solo output, before Mark and Jasper pick out their highlights from their additions to the library. Mark's selections include a reader's letter to Robert Shelton regarding folk vs folk rock in 1966 and Burt Bacharach at the Cow Palace in 1971, plus a review of Paul Butterfield's Better Days that prompts Mark and Martin to wax lyrical about guitarist Amos Garrett. Jasper elects to feature a scathing review of the Killers' Sam's Town, an altogether more positive review of Blood Orange's Negro Swan, and a report on German pyrotechnics-enthusiasts Rammstein.
    Pieces discussed: Smokey Robinson, Suzi Quatro, Death, KIϟϟ, Ry Cooder in Havana, Buena Vista Social Club, Ry and son Joachim, Lindsey Buckingham audio, The Who, Folk rock, Sly Stone, Leonard Cohen, Burt Bacharach, Peter Gabriel, The Smiths, Radiohead, Aretha Franklin, Paul Butterfield's Better Days, Jackson Browne, Paul Mathur, Nirvana, Pulp, The Killers, Blood Orange and Rammstein.

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

dgf4am ,

Snearingly awake!

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

Ice-DM2-Tablet ,

Lefties alert!

Love the musical knowledge, the guests and the banter. Can’t abide the smug, 6th form common room, self-satisfied, media-liberal lefty political comments. Can you please start a new podcast and put your political stuff on there? Wonder how successful that would be 🤣

thaw lanark ,

Five stars

A fine, fine podcast

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