This Saturday night, PBS stations will be showing the “Motown 25″ special — the first time it’s been shown in its entirety on broadcast TV since its original airing. It was my pleasure to be joined by Mary Wilson from the Supremes this morning to talk about the special. We discussed the staggering lineup of stars on stage that night (it’s insane — Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Four Tops, Temptations, Supremes), her recollections of the special and the early days of Motown tours.
Ziggy Marley called in to talk about new releases and celebrations for Bob Marley’s 70th birthday year, especially an amazing new CD/DVD package, “Bob Marley & The Wailers – Easy Skanking in Boston.” We discussed how the video footage was made up of one single camera shot from a fan’s perspective and how that comes across in a very personal and intimate way, and also how the music just jumps out of the speakers. This doesn’t sound like a recording that’s almost 40 years old. This is fresh and alive. It’s time to take the legacy of Bob Marley away from the posters and t-shirts of frat boys and truly appreciate the artistry of the man.
Ted Gioia is a music historian and columnist for “Daily Beast.” His new book is “Love Songs: The Hidden History. In a very enlightening interview, I learned that love songs are basically responsible for the continued existence of humanity — in more than one way.
Peter Richardson is the author of “No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead.” We talked about the 50th anniversary of the band’s formation (including the announcement of reunion shows in Chicago), the cultural impact of the group, and what their legacy ultimately represents.
It was an honor to talk to Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer John Oates about his new TV special, “Another Good Road,” airing Saturday night at 8 Central on Palladia and also available as part of a DVD/CD set. We discussed the origins of the project, getting back to his roots and blues influences, his rhythm guitar playing (very underrated — it’s stellar), and how his songwriting royalty checks might be slightly larger than mine. John is also coming to City Winery in Chicago for a show on February 10th.
I was very excited to chat with legendary drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Marky Ramone about his new autobiography, “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as A Ramone.” We talked drummer-to-drummer about early drum lessons and the annoying 1980s trend of wanting to make live drummers sound like machines. Marky also shared his thoughts on working with Phil Spector and the 1970s CBGB scene.
Jewel is returning as a judge this season on “The Sing-Off,” returning to NBC on Wednesday, December 17, at 8:00 Central. We talked about how it’s important for her to be a mentor, the art and science of harmony singing, and what current projects she’s working on. We also casually name-dropped Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Merle Haggard and Graham Nash.
I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Ian McLagan. I’ve been a fan of Small Faces and Faces ever since I was exposed to them as a kid and their influence on me as a music fan, musician and songwriter cannot be understated. Ian’s memoir, All The Rage, is one of the best rock bios I’ve ever read (and I’ve read just about all of them).
I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to chat with Ian back in June about his most recent album. We talked about the making of the record, Chicago blues, and his plans to work with Rod Stewart again.
Graham Nash returned to the show this morning to talk about the paperback release of his memoir, “Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life.” I think Graham must have heard yesterday’s interview with Dennis DeYoung, because he also sang a few lines, busting out bits of “Bus Stop” and “Look Through Any Window” from his days in the Hollies. We also discussed the Hollies’ first tour of America, how he developed his harmony technique, and why he constantly feels the need to create.
One of the first 45′s I remember owning was “Come Sail Away.” I came home from school one day and my mom had bought it for me after hearing it on the old WLS. I wore that thing out on my little Fisher-Price record player. I’ve been a fan of Styx ever since, and was very happy to have the chance to chat with Dennis DeYoung. When he started spontaneously singing a little bit of “Lady” it gave me chills! Dennis was on to talk about his new CD/DVD, “Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx Live in Los Angeles.”