Tony Barrell is a journalist who has written for England’s “Sunday Times” and many other publications. His new book is “Born to Drum: The Truth About the World’s Greatest Drummers.” We talked Ringo, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Ginger Baker and some of the little-known “secret drummers” you may have heard of.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Vanilla Fudge has just released a new studio album, “Spirit of ’67,” which features their take on classic songs from that year. We chatted with drummer Carmine Appice and vocalist Mark Stein about the recording process for the new record, the challenges in promoting a record today (versus in 1967 when 30 million people could see you on Ed Sullivan), and bringing back the complete album as an art form.Follow @bigwakeupcall
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.Follow @bigwakeupcall
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.Follow @bigwakeupcall
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.Follow @bigwakeupcall