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.
Luther Russell may not be a household name, but he’s managed to put together an impressive body of work over the last 30 years. He played in a pre-Wallflowers band with Jakob Dylan called The Bootheels; got signed to a major label in the 1990’s with the roots-rock outfit, The Freewheelers; worked with former Black Crowes’ guitarist Marc Ford in Federale, and is currently in a band with Big Star drummer Jody Stephens called Those Pretty Wrongs. He’s also done several solo albums where he’s played all the instruments himself.
The highlights of his multi-faceted career have been cobbled together in Selective Memories: An Anthology, just out from Hanky Panky Records.
Tommy Keene was a gifted songwriter and guitarist who unexpectedly passed away in November of 2017 at the age of 59. His melodic, hook-filled songs, made him a staple of college radio during the 1980’s, and influenced many musicians that came after.
Keene was a guest on the Icon Fetch podcast on five separate occasions. These interviews reveal a musician who was dedicated to his art, but was also a passionate music fan himself (with a great sense of humor).
We’ve culled the best moments of these interviews, where Keene talks about the many twists and turns of his career, plus he reflects on many of his influences.
We’ve also recorded new tributes to Tommy from R.E.M’s Peter Buck, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Ted Niceley (who played in Tommy’s early band), and Dwight Twilley. Plus, we talked with Josh Grier, who signed Tommy to Dolphin Records in the early days, and Stephen Judge, where Tommy put out a string of fantastic albums during the last years of his life.
Nona Hendryx started her musical career as part of the Bluebelles, which also featured Patti Labelle, Sarah Dash & Cindy Birdsong. The quartet hit in 1962 with “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.” Eventually, trimmed to a trio, the group changed their name to Labelle and hit pay dirt with “Lady Marmalade” in 1974, before breaking up a few years later.
Since then, Hendryx has forged a solo career with many twists and turns. Her latest project sees her teamed with guitarist Gary Lucas for The World of Captain Beefheart, a tribute to one of the most underrated musicians of all time. We chat the origins of this project, what attracted her to Beefheart’s music, and the enduring legacy of “Lady Marmalade.”
In 1984, right when the world was embracing the synthesizers and funny haircuts of New Wave, the Flat Duo Jets emerged from Chapel Hill, bringing everything back to basics – Dexter Romweber on vocals and guitar, and Chris “Crow” Smith on drums.
Daniel 13 is issuing Wild Wild Love, a two-disc set that brings together the band’s first full length, 1990’s Flat Duo Jets, along with 1984’s cassette-only In Stereo EP and a second disc of bonus material.
We talk with Romweber about the band’s origins, what led to the reissue of these recordings, and the band’s appearances on both MTV and Late Night with David Letterman.
Founding member and vocalist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim Wilson, has enjoyed hit albums, sold out concerts and even videos on MTV, but his latest project takes him back to where it all started – Blues and Boogie Volume One is a collection of raw blues, done the old-fashioned way. The 16 tracks give Wilson a chance to honor some of his idols, like James Cotton, Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson, while also throwing in some of his originals which fit perfectly with the mood.
He reveals how he was able to channel that vintage sound on his new material. Plus, he talks the crazy success of the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ hit “Tuff Enuff.”
Colin Hay was the lead singer of Men At Work, who sold an unbelievable 15 million copies worldwide of their debut, Business as Usual, yielding hits like “Down Under” and “Who Can it Be Now.” After three albums, the band called it quits. Since then, Hay has forged a solo career, showing an ability to write songs with incredible depth. He’s recently issued his 13th solo platter, Fierce Mercy, and it’s a diverse affair, with some songs featuring a heavy Americana feel, while another has a strong Phil Spector influence. We chat about the inspiration for some of the new songs, plus he looks back on that incredible popularity of the early Eighties.
Chris Barron is the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, who after much perseverance, enjoyed massive success in the early Nineties with hits like “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and the accompanying album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, which went five times Platinum. Barron took some time out from the band to start work on his second solo record. During the process, he dealt with a paralyzed vocal cord, and the fear that he might never sing again. Thankfully, Barron’s voice returned, and with the help of a bevy of New York’s finest musicians, he’s put together an eleven track song cycle titled Angels and One-Armed Jugglers.
Barron takes us through the stories behind several songs, including one about his neighbor who inspired the title of the album. Plus, he talks about the massive success the Spin Doctors enjoyed, as well as the story of “Two Princes.”
A reissue of Big Star’s Third was their very first release, so in a way, things continue to come full circle with the release of Big Star founder Chris Bell’s only solo album, I Am the Cosmos, in its most complete form, containing six previously unreleased tracks. This is whetting everyone’s appetite for a Complete Chris Bell collection, containing every known recording the enigmatic singer/guitarist put to tapebefore and after Big Star, coming later in the year on vinyl.
We also chat how the label obtains the rights to certain reissues, like the Complete Rockin’ the Fillmore from Humble Pie.