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.
Power pop legends Shoes have released their first new album in 18 years called Ignition. It’s their best album yet, full of melodic hooks that will make you wanna crank your volume knob up to eleven. In addition, the guys recently helped compile 35 Years – The Definitive Shoes Collection, their first-ever career-spanning best of.
If that weren’t enough, Mary E. Donnelly, a devoted fan of the band, is putting the finishing touches on Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes. We talk with guitarist Gary Klebe about many of the troubles the band went through that caused the long wait between albums. He also talks about Shoes getting heavy airplay on early MTV, despite their record label being oblivious to that network’s influence.
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dwight Twilley teamed with Phil Seymour in the Dwight Twilley Band, hitting gold with their very first single, 1975’s “I’m On Fire” – lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as “The best debut single by an American rock band ever.” But, a combination of dumb label decisions and bad luck prevented the band’s career from properly taking off.
That didn’t stop Twilley – he’s into his fifth decade of making melodic rock n’ roll – and he’s just released a brand new record called Soundtrack. Inspired by a movie that’s currently in production about his life, Twilley turned inward to write 12 new songs about his long journey and ups & downs in the music business. Icon Fetch talks with the “father of power pop” about his band’s experience playing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the personal nature of these new songs, and the passing of longtime friend and guitarist Bill Pitcock,IV.
Guitarist Wally Bryson was a member of the Raspberries who had an enduring hit with “Go All the Way.” The band released four albums in the early Seventies before breaking up in 1975. Those records are now regarded as early examples of “power pop,” mixing the melodic sense of the Beatles, the intensity of the Who, and the summery harmonies of the Beach Boys. His son, Jesse Bryson, has forged a music career all his own, showcasing his excellent singing with a knack for writing hook-laden melodies. The father / son duo have teamed up to form the Bryson Group. Icon Fetch talks to them about both of their unique musical paths, and also the impact that John Lennon had on both of their careers.
Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus have mixed garage rock, psychedelia, Motown and punk into their own brand of catchy tuneage for the last 30 years. Some of their alternative-rock hits include “Come Anytime,” and “Miss Freelove ’69”. They’ve just released their first new album in six years. Purity of Essence finds them doing what they do best: rocking out and having fun. Icon Fetch talks with singer Dave Faulkner about the new CD, managing to keep the same group of guys together, and recording one of their classic songs with the Bangles.
Tommy Keene has been making his brand of melodic rock for almost 30 years now. His early independent releases garnered high praise from critics, and when he jumped to a major label, big things were expected. Through a series of industry blunders and bad luck, Keene’s rock star ship never came in. Despite the numerous setbacks, the excellent quality of his songs has never wavered. He’s just released his first-ever career spanning collection called Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009. Icon Fetch talks to the influential songwriter about his many pitfalls, as well as how he assembled his new collection, and teamed up with Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices.
Dwight Twilley is best known for a pair of #16 hits: “I’m On Fire,” from 1975, and “Girls,” from 1984, but he’s been making songs with catchy hooks his entire career. He’s set to release a brand new disc called “Green Blimp.” Icon Fetch talks with the power pop master about his notorious struggles with record companies, and how, with the support of his devoted fans, he’s been able to finance his latest project on his own. Click below for the Dwight Twilley interview.
The Gin Blossoms had one of the biggest albums of the Nineties in New Miserable Experience, which yielded the hits “Hey Jealousy,” and “Found Out About You.” The band has just put the finishing touches on their fourth full-length, No Chocolate Cake, which is full of the jangly, melodic pop that helped them sell over five million records to date. Icon Fetch talks with guitarist and founding member Jesse Valenzuela about the recording process, how Badfinger helped influence one of the songs, and how he’ll NEVER play “Mustang Sally,” no matter how many requests he gets for it. Click below for the Jesse Valenzuela Gin Blossoms interview.
Squeeze has made some of the greatest pop music of the last 30 years, with gems like “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Tempted,” and “Black Coffee in Bed.” These days, there’s a great deal of money in song placement in commercials and films. Problem is, with the lousy contract the boys signed in their teens, they have no say in the placement of old songs, nor do they receive any money for them. Here comes Spot the Difference to the rescue; 14 of Squeeze’s best-known classics meticulously re-recorded to painstaking detail…so much so, that they dare you to Spot the Difference. Click below for the Chris Difford Squeeze interview.
Justin Currie hit the top ten as lead singer of Del Amitri with 1995’s “Roll to Me.” That 2 1/2 minute Beatles knock-off merely scratched the surface of his talent. Currie is a prolific songwriter who has a gift for writing incredibly melodic songs that refuse to leave your head. He’s just released his second solo set called The Great War (Rykodisc). Currie talks with Icon Fetch from his home in Scotland on the eve of a tour of the US. He talks about his new CD, how he almost drowned shooting the underwater front cover, and also gives his feelings on the social networking craze.