Author Robert Rodriguez returns to the show to discuss Beatles 1 Plus…a repackaging of the best-selling Fab Four hits collection, featuring all 27 of the Beatles #1 hits, accompanied by a DVD of those same songs in video form (read our review of the set here).
We talk about the origins of many of the video clips, the improved audio quality, and what things were omitted. Rodriguez has written several books on the Beatles, including Fab Four FAQ which began a series of FAQ books that’s still going strong years later. His latest book is called Solo in the Seventies.
Geoff Tate fronted Queensryche for 30 years, selling millions of albums, including the multi-platinum smash Empire. He also set the standard for concept albums with 1988’s Operation: Mindcrime. After an acrimonious split with his former members, Tate has emerged with a new project and a familiar name – Operation Mindcrime.
The first new release is called The Key, and it’s part one of an ambitious trilogy of albums which Tate has planned over the next few years.
How many #1 hits did the Beatles have? How long did Thriller stay on the album charts? Did Milli Vanilli really have that many charting singles? These are all questions that have been answered thanks to the staff of Record Research. Joel Whitburn began compiling the chart data of Billboard magazine back in the early Seventies. Since then, his company has released hundreds of books, covering the pop, soul, and country charts, even delving into the Big Band era. But, their latest book is a real find – it’s called The Comparison Book, and for the first time, the chart data from the top three music magazines – Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World, have been compiled in one handy reference book. We talk to one of the men who helped put this together – from Record Research, Paul Haney.
Peter Case has had a long and diverse career, which began in the mid Seventies with his first band the Nerves. They didn’t sell a lot of records, but ended up being very influential on many bands that came after. Case fronted the Plimsouls through the mid-Eighties, scoring an MTV hit with “A Million Miles Away.” After his band broke up, and right in the middle of the BIG Eighties, he embarked on an acoustic solo career – embracing roots music, and garnering several Grammy nominations. Now Case is back with his first new album in five years called Hwy 62, and in a way he’s come full circle, with this new record once again embracing acoustic roots music. We talk the five-year gap in between studio albums; how he got hooked up with Ben Harper, who plays great guitar on the record; and the crowd funding campaign he’s running to fund his upcoming tour.
2Ton Bridge is Alexander Wright, a hands-on troubadour with a voice of reason, digging deep into rich musical soil. We reviewed the new music and said it has the ability to “take you out of your current surroundings.” Wright sings, and plays acoustic guitar & banjo, and he’s backed by a crack band of seasoned veterans. Wright recently released a Digital 45 of two songs – “Pennies on the Shore” and “I’m a Hoot Owl” – a pair of samples of full length album promised in early 2016. Both songs were produced by roots master and former member of Lone Justice Marvin Etzioni.
Guitar Player Magazine described Omar Dykes – “his guitar playing slices like a freight train pullin’ a load of Texas tone, and his voice has the kind of delivery that could shatter a beer stein.” Dykes has been making music for over 50 years, and he’s showing no sign of slowing down. 2014 was a particularly emotional year for him – he lost four dear friends that had been a part of his career. Using music as his catharsis, he’s created one of his strongest albums to date called the Kitchen Sink. In addition to the new songs, he gives us the origins of the archival tracks on the new disc. Plus, he talks about how being retired is actually helping his songwriting, and the time he met Johnny Cash.
Webb Wilder has been described by 20th Century Guitar Magazine as “a master at scrambling the sounds, songs and threads of country, blues, British rock, rockabilly, and the freedom and emotion of soul music.” We talk to the Mississippi native about his first new record since 2009, and writing with legendary songsmith Dan Penn.
In Texas, everything is larger than life, and that includes Kinky Friedman, the cigar-smoking, self-proclaimed Jewish cowboy, who first got noticed with his debut album, Sold American from 1973. He toured with Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review, and he’s even been on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. He’s a songwriter, satirist, author, politician, entrepreneur, and animal lover. Yet, it’s been an eternity since Friedman released a new album (Reagan was in his first term).
Well now’s as good a time as any for The Loneliest Man I Ever Met, featuring some Friedman originals, plus his take on songs by Dylan, Johnny Cash & Warren Zevon. There’s even a duet with Willie Nelson. We talk with Friedman about smokin’ with Willie, running for Governor of Texas, and who he thinks would be the perfect ticket for the 2016 Presidential Election. Warning – mature content
It was 60 years ago that James Dean, his star just beginning to rise, died in an auto accident. The crash, and the events surrounding Dean’s death have been shrouded in mystery. Author Keith Elliot Greenberg attempts to put some of those pieces together in a new book, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: James Dean’s Final Hours, from Applause Books.
We talked with Greenberg back in 2010 about another book Dec 8, 1980, the day John Lennon Died. Greenberg went back to Dean’s hometown to talk with some of his family members and classmates. He also profiles Dean’s mechanic, Rolf Wutherich, who was the passenger who survived the crash, and chronicles the strange circumstances that surrounded Dean’s crashed car.
Legendary vocalist Jon Anderson led the progressive rock band Yes for almost 40 years – his soaring voice can be heard on such classic albums as Fragile, Close to the Edge and 90125. The work he did with that band brought a level of sophistication seldom heard in popular music. Anderson stepped away for a solo career in 2008.
His latest project returns him to a band format – and has been a long time in the works – bringing together two icons of music – Anderson and violinist Jean Luc Ponty – calling themselves the Anderson/Ponty Band – they’re getting ready to release the appropriately titled Better Late Than Never – and our planning a world tour.
We chat with Anderson about why it took so long for this project to finally become a reality. He also talks about the passing of his former bandmate, Yes bassist Chris Squire, and how Yes is still not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.