Warren Zevon was the very definition of the enigmatic artist. In Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon (Backbeat Books), author James Campion attempts to separate the man from the myth by first analyzing the lyrics in several of his songs, then by talking with the family, friends and colleagues who knew him best. Campion secured interviews with Zevon’s ex-wife, and kids, plus J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne, and many others.
We chat with the life-long, self-proclaimed “Zevon-head” about doing a book on his favorite artist, plus how he tracked down all the great interviews for the book. We also discuss how Zevon felt about his one, smash hit “Werewolves of London.”
Tom Rush is credited for starting the “singer/songwriter” movement. He emerged from the folk scene of the early Sixties, releasing a series of albums that featured covers of traditional folk and blues songs. Things changed for 1968’s The Circle Game, where Rush became the first artist to record songs by then-unknown songwriters Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne (before the three even signed record contracts).
Rush has always written his own material, but it might surprise you that his latest album, Voices, is the first release which features an entire record of his own compositions – it’s only taken 55 years!
We talk to Rush about using crowd-funding to support his new project, the fact that he almost never remembers writing his songs, and how a recent Youtube video of his went viral and received SEVEN MILLION views!
The Motels had several big hits in the early Eighties, including “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer.” At a time when new albums are kind of an afterthought, The Motels have just issued one of the strongest albums of their entire career called The Last Few Beautiful Days.
Vocalist Martha Davis is reunited with Marty Jourard who provided signature saxophone and keyboards on many of their albums. This new record somehow manages to be both modern and a reflection of everything that the band has done before.
We chat with Davis about what led to this new project, and how using vintage keyboards on the new record helped give it a timeless quality . Plus, she gives us the stories behind their biggest hits.
The musical landscape of the of early 1980’s was an unique one. Disco had died down, yet MTV hadn’t quite taken hold yet. The charts were ruled by mellow recordings full of lush arrangements. Now, years later, this style of music is being called Yacht Rock.
One such artist having hits back then was Robbie Dupree, who hit #6 on the Billboard charts in 1980 with “Steal Away.” Then, a few months later, found himself back in the Top 20 with “Hot Rod Hearts.” Blixa Sounds is issuing for the first time on CD, the first two albums from Robbie Dupree, remastered, and featuring bonus tracks.
We talk the crazy events that got him signed to Elektra, playing in an early band with Chic’s Nile Rodgers, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
An In-Depth Look at Every show the Beatles played in America
There have been literally thousands of books written about the Beatles over the last 50 years, covering virtually every aspect of their brief career. Yet, Chuck Gunderson has found an unique angle.
In Some Fun Tonight, a two-volume set of coffee-table books from Backbeat books, he goes behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and tumultuous tours the Beatles did in North America in 1964, 1965 & 1966, giving us an account of what happened before, during and after each concert the Beatles played in the US and Canada.
He tells some incredible stories of the planning, and jockeying of promoters and radio stations to pull off bringing the four lads from Liverpool to America. In his research and detective work, Gunderson has also unearthed a treasure trove of never-before-seen photographs and memorabilia from each stop on those tours.
The end result is a must to anyone who attended these legendary performances, or anyone that wants to understand just how crazy these tours of the Beatles really were.
Steve Barton is best known as the leader of the Los Angeles band, Translator, who was signed to Columbia records in the early Eighties, scoring a college radio hit, “Everywhere That I’m Not,” in 1982. Barton issued his first solo record in 1999, and since then has issued six more, his latest being Tall Tales and Alibis.
At a time when many artists have abandoned the album format for the far more economical single, Barton’s new release is a triple album, tour de force, with each disc taking on it’s own unique mood; a staggering 37 new songs to add to his catalog. In addition, his venerable band Translator continues to record and tour.
Barton plays all the instruments on the first two discs, which he recorded at his home studio. The third disc is a full band record, featuring cameos by fellow Translator members as well as Pete Thomas on drums from Elvis Costello’s Attractions.
He also talks about a dream he had where Bob Dylan played him a new song, which is included on one of the new discs.
“You’re as baaad as Eric Clapton, and I know Eric Clapton”
Those words were uttered by legendary bluesman Buddy Guy and he was talking about guitarist Peter Parcek, who’s been creating a name for himself playing shows in the Northeast and releasing several critically acclaimed albums, even being nominated as “Best New Artist” by the Blues Foundation.
Yet, it’s been awhile since we’ve heard from him – seven years in fact. He’s broken his silence with Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, an album full of his gritty guitar and signature atmospheric blues sound. He’s backed by a stellar lineup of musicians, including Spooner Oldham and Luther Dickinson.
We discuss what took so long between releases, how some potent moonshine entered the recording process, and what he thinks of being referred to as “innovative and old.”
Jethro Tull issued their debut album, This Was, back in 1968 to little fanfare. Few knew that this mix of blues, folk and psychedelia would usher in one of the most successful careers in all of rock. Now, a staggering 50 years later, leader Ian Anderson is celebrating that half-century mark by hitting the road with his venerable band for 50 Years of Jethro Tull, promising to not only cover the high points throughout the years, but also dig back into some of the very early material as well.
We chat the early days of the band, what’s in store for the new tour, and the continued reissue campaign of their catalog (Heavy Horses is the latest in the batch). We also discuss a little-known fact – that Tommy Iommi of Black Sabbath briefly joined Jethro Tull in the early days.
Kinky Friedman is an American original. The cigar-smoking, self-proclaimed “Jewish cowboy” has done it all – he’s toured with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue and been onstage at the Grand Ole Opry. He’s hobnobbed with John Belushi and Willie Nelson. Then, when his music career waned, he became a novelist, penning numerous mystery novels and non-fiction books.
He also ran for governor of Texas (garnering a whopping 1/2 million votes) and is an advocate for animal rights. Truthfully, there’s so many layers to the man who’s real first name is Richard. Author Mary Lou Sullivan tries to uncover things in Everything’s Bigger in Texas – the Life & Times of Kinky Friedman from Backbeat Books.
Sullivan talks about the similarities and differences between Friedman and her other biography subject, the late Johnny Winter. Plus, she reveals some of the obstacles she had to overcome to complete the book and get the real story of a man shrouded in myth.
John Mayall is one of the finest living ambassadors to the blues. His bands have been proving grounds for countless musicians, many of whom he’s outlived – and yet, he’s showing no sign of slowing down. He’s played a slew of recent live dates, and his latest studio album, 2017’s Talk About That, is one of the finest of his career.
But, never one to stay in one place too long, Mayall threw everyone a curveball when he went out on the road without a guitarist, allowing Mayall, his bassist and drummer, plenty of space to make music, and turning the spotlight on his harmonica and piano playing skills. Three For the Road is a live document of that unique tour, and it’s out from Forty Below Records.
Mayall talks about the challenges and freedoms that come from just playing in a trio, plus he reveals what’s on the horizon for him – a new album with an all-star lineup of guitarists.