It was a turning point in popular culture. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were arrested in early 1967 on drug charges stemming from a party that Richards held for close friends. Local police, tipped off by an opportunistic newspaper, raided the festivities, setting off a series of events which led to a media frenzy, and the arrest and eventual temporary imprisonment of both band members. What was supposed to be a show of force by the old guard establishment on the young hedonistic hippies, ended up with an entirely different outcome.
Author Simon Wells chronicles the events down to every lurid detail in his new book, Butterfly on a Wheel – The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust. Wells talks with Icon Fetch about dispelling many of the rumors surrounding the affair, including the legendary Marianne Faithful Mars’ bar incident. He also touches on how he obtained his evidence, and the lasting impact that the overturned charges had on popular culture.
That cool music you hear in the movie Pulp Fiction – that’s surf music, and here’s how it all happened.
When most people hear the words “surf music,” they immediately think the Beach Boys, yet there’s so much more to that under-appreciated style. During a span of about five years between the late Fifties and early Sixties, surf music was king – helping literally shape the sound of the electric guitar, a crucial element to all the rock music that followed, while also producing durable songs like “Wipe Out,” “Miserlou,” and “Pipeline,” that have continued to be included in movies and commercials. Author Kent Crowley has written a new book called Surf Beat – Rock n’ Roll’s Forgotten Revolution, which chronicles the rise and fall of this genre, as well as it’s resurgence in the Nineties with the movie Pulp Fiction. Icon Fetch talks to the author about the long process of gathering information for the book, and some of it’s unlikely heroes, including Frank Zappa, Ritchie Valens, and Bobby Fuller.
How on earth do you whittle down a list of the Greatest Guitarists of the 1970s to fit in one book?
Mike Molenda has been the editor of Guitar Player magazine since 1998. He’s just put together Guitar Player Presents Guitar Heroes of the 70’s, a collection of classic interviews with 40 of the most influential guitarists that helped shape that decade. Included in the book are familiar heavyweights like Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Pete Townshend. Also featured are lesser-known axemen like Mick Ronson, Larry Coryell, and Lenny Breau. Icon Fetch talks with Molenda about how he whittled the list down to just 40, how he chose which interviews to use, and his personal favorites
Any time anyone mentions “#1 hit,” they’re using his research
Joel Whitburn is the undisputed expert on hit singles. His extensive research of the Billboard charts has been used by DJs and music fans all over the world. He’s compiled over 200 books, from pop and rock to R&B, country and big band chart data. His latest book, Top Ten Pop Hits: A 70-Year History of Every Top Ten Hit 1940-2010, is the first to cover the entire history of the singles chart, from the 1940’s big band era, to the pop music of today. Icon Fetch talks to the avid record collector about his new book, how he got started chronicling hit songs, and the upcoming release of his latest edition of Top Pop Singles, which is in its 13th edition.
Ernie Rideout, the former editor for Keyboard magazine, has just put together a new book, Keyboard Presents: Synth Gods, which profiles 20 of the most influential keyboard pioneers in music. From the early inventions of Robert Moog to the trailblazing sounds of Brian Eno, Rideout shows how each artist would take the ideas from the past and give them their own personal touch. Icon Fetch talks to the author about meeting many of the musicians in the book, including getting to hang out and play basketball with the reclusive Prince.
Larry Harris was the executive vice president of Casablanca Records – home to Kiss, Donna Summer, Parliament, and the Village People, among others. The record label became a symbol for the extreme excesses of the late 70’s, eventually imploding in a haze of drugs and over-spending. Harris wrote a book documenting the rise and fall of the record company in And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records. Icon Fetch talks to the author about his humble beginnings, what he thought the first time he saw the band Kiss live, and what led to the end of the good times.
We all love music, but most of us run in the other direction when anyone mentions music theory; the actual nuts and bolts of it are enough to make most people’s head explode. Until now that is. Author John Powell remedies the situation with his new book “How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond.” Powell does the impossible: he explains the science behind music in terms that anyone can understand. Plus, he interjects enough humor to turn this into a real page-turner. Icon Fetch talks to the author, who is also a physicist, about what distinguishes music from noise, what makes an “A” note, and why ten violins playing together is only about twice as loud as a single violin.
You hope it never happens, but there are times when things go horribly wrong during a show. Patricia Shih has compiled some of the best stories in her new book, “Truly Rotten Gigs From Hell.” We talk with her about tracking down these great tales from a wide array of performers. Especially entertaining is her own story of playing Woodstock ’99.
John Lennon Tribute Week continues as we talk with Keith Elliot Greenberg, author of “December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died” (Backbeat Books). Greenberg digs deep into that day, chronicling not only what Lennon was doing, but also what the other Beatles did during that day. In addition, he profiles each person who played a role in that day, from the photographer and journalist who were in his Dakota apartment in the morning, to the producer who was working in the studio in the afternoon, to policemen, doctors and others who were all directly involved. He also gives an extensive background of Mark David Chapman, who would ultimately murder Lennon outside his apartment.
John Lennon Tribute Week kicks off with author Ken Sharp, who has just penned “Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy” (MTV books). Sharp talks with a wide array of people who were involved with Lennon’s comeback album, including Yoko Ono, David Geffen, the session musicians, the producer, engineer and photographer. All of them paint an interesting picture of what would end up being the singer’s final studio album released during his lifetime. We also talk to Sharp about his own infectious music.