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.
Multi instrumentalist Jason Falkner played in the Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and the Grays before embarking on a solo career in the mid-90’s. He’s also played with numerous artists, including Beck, Air and even Paul McCartney.
Falkner’s latest project is an unlikely collaboration with him and low fi pioneer R. Stevie Moore. The new album, Make It Be, meets their two styles midway, with songs mostly written by Moore, featuring backing mostly by Falkner. He talks about how the pairing came about and how both of them chose which songs to record. Falkner also addresses his successful Bedtime with the Beatles series, and how soon we’ll see a new Falkner solo album.
Delbert McClinton has made a career out of doing whatever he wanted. He got his start blowing harmonica on Bruce Channel’s classic “Hey Baby” – that was 1962, before the Beatles invaded America. In fact, that little old band from Liverpool actually opened for him on an early gig.
Not long after, he began leading his own band, and creating a body of music that defies classification, all the while winning awards in Blues, Country, and Rock. Delbert’s just released his 19th album, Prick of the Litter, and it’s easily one of the best of his long career.
We talk his love of classic music of the Forties and Fifties, from Johnny Mercer and Charles Brown to Jimmy Reed and Frank Sinatra. He’s also got his autobiography coming later in the year.
Bruce Channel wrote and recorded one of the most iconic songs of the early rock n’ roll era with “Hey Baby” – a number one hit in 1962, featuring harmonica from Delbert McClinton. That one song has endured, being included in movies like Dirty Dancing, TV shows like Mad Men, and has been covered by many other artists.
During his early success, Channel had a chance to tour Europe – and played a gig where the Beatles opened for him! Channel has also written many hits on the country charts and continues to perform.
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.
Marshall Crenshaw first gained notoriety with his 1982 debut album which featured the MTV hit “Someday Someway.” A few years back, he came up with a unique way to deliver music to his fans – he set up a subscription service where, beginning in early 2013, he delivered six EP’s over the course of two years on both vinyl and digital downloads. Each EP had a formula – one new song, one cover song, and one reworked cover of an old Crenshaw composition, plus a bonus track.
Well, he completed that project, and now he’s decided to put the best of the series in an album form – hence #392 The EP Collection. We talk to Crenshaw about his thoughts on completing this project, why he decided to cover the Carpenters, and how under-appreciated Bobby Fuller’s music is.
PF Sloan wrote an impressive list of songs in the mid Sixties, including Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man,” as well as hits for the Mamas & the Papas, Grassroots, Herman’s Hermits, the Turtles and others. He met Elvis & the Beatles, and hung out with Dylan & Stephen Stills. But, like a lot of staff songwriters, he was employed by a record label run by ruthless individuals, which eventually led to Sloan leaving the music business for many years. Sloan, along with S.E. Feinberg, have just written his autobiography, What’s Exactly a Matter with Me – Memoirs of a Life in Music, from Jawbone Press. In addition, he has a brand new musical endeavor, My Beethoven. P.F. Sloan talks about writing the theme to the T.A.M.I. Show, working with Ann Margaret, and helping produce “Paint it, Black,” for the Rolling Stones
Marshall Crenshaw released his debut album right at the peak of New Wave’s popularity in 1982, when the world was embracing silly haircuts and synthesizers. Full of melodic hooks, it recalled a time when rock was a little more straight-forward, and featured the hit single “Someday Someway.” Crenshaw has parlayed that success into a career that’s lasted over 30 years, with many twists and turns along the way. His latest endeavor is perhaps his boldest yet – a series of vinyl EPs, via a subscription service, which Crenshaw plans to release over the next two years, all funded by his fans through a successful Kickstarter program. We chat with Crenshaw about why he prefers singles over albums, and how he feels about his first album 30 years later.
Ken Scott has worked on some of the most important albums of all time. He engineered Magical Mystery Tour and the White Album by the Beatles, was the producer & engineer for classic David Bowie albums like Hunky Dory & Ziggy Stardust, and worked on records by Elton John, Jeff Beck, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, the Stones, Devo & Missing Persons, just to same a few. Ken has just written Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust – Off the Record with the Beatles, Bowie, Elton and So Much More from Alfred Music Publishing.
Although there have been hundreds of books written about the Beatles, Scott takes a different approach, substantiating his claims, wherever possible with additional interviews with others who were around at the time. The result is a honest account of what it was like to work with the top musicians in rock. In part one of our conversation, the author debunks several myths concerning the Beatles, including the bad blood surrounding the recording of the White Album (which he says was blown way out of proportion). We also talk about how these amazing recordings came from such primitive technology.
Beatles’ expert Robert Rodriguez’s latest book, Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock n’ Roll, delves into the classic album, which always seems to play second fiddle to the record that followed it, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In addition to covering the writing and recording process, he delves into the band’s decision to stop touring, and the controversy surrounding John Lennon’s claim that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus” – two items that lessened the album’s impact at the time. He debunks several myths surrounding the Revolver, and uncovers some interesting tidbits – including how Paul McCartney actually quit the band during the recording of “She Said, She Said.”