Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Michael Simmons

Michael Simmons

Michael Simmons is a musician, journalist, filmmaker, and activist. He was dubbed "The Father Of Country Punk" by Creem magazine in the 1970s, edited the National Lampoon in the '80s, and won the LA Press Club Award in the '90s. He's written for the LA Weekly, LA Times, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, High Times, Arthur, Mojo, and The Progressive.

Michael on the RBP podcast

31 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

The Breeders, Lutefisk, Paleface (US): The Breeders, Lutefisk, Paleface: El Rey Theater, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 22 May 1997

KIM DEAL of the Breeders is the anti-Madonna (and Madonna is the postmod Charo) She's so unpretentious, so lacking in showbiz guile, so kid-sisterly And ...

Wayne Kramer: Doing the Work

Interview by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 5 June 1997

Brother Wayne Kramer's automythological masterpiece ...

Negativland: Siedpsip (Seeland Records)

Review by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 11 September 1997

If the Medium is the Mess, thank the maker of Negativland. ...

The Holy Modal Rounders: Grin 'n' Spin: Millennial Yarns from the Holy Modal Rounders

Profile and Interview by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 2 September 1999

DURING THE early stages of a hallucinogenic drug trip, the voyager experiences giddiness and a vision of existence as a zany, absurdist cartoon. Eccentricity in ...

Grateful Dead, Phish: The Grateful Dead: So Many Roads (1965–1995)/Phish: Hampton Comes Alive

Review by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 26 April 2000

ONE MORE NEGATIVE remark about hippies or the Grateful Dead and you punk-rock bullies will have petunias shoved down your throats. ...

Jimi Hendrix: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Review by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 29 November 2000

Heroes are important. They make you want to stay alive when you aren't sure whether you've been left behind, or are about to be run ...

Steve Earle: Country Maverick Steve Earle vs. The Nashville Machine

Report and Interview by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 20 December 2002

"LATELY I FEEL like the loneliest man in America," writes Steve Earle in the liner notes of his most recent album, Jerusalem (Artemis). ...

Steve Earle: The Progressive Interview

Interview by Michael Simmons, The Progressive, February 2003

"LATELY I FEEL like the loneliest man in America," writes Steve Earle in the liner notes of his most recent album, Jerusalem (Artemis). ...

John Stewart: Daydream Believer: John Stewart, 1939-2008

Obituary by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 21 February 2008

JOHN STEWART – singer, songwriter, guitarist, artist, husband, father, grandfather, Californian, American – was scheduled to perform at McCabe's in Santa Monica on Saturday, February ...

John Stewart, 1939-2008

Obituary by Michael Simmons, MOJO, April 2008

American singer and songwriter John Stewart died on January 19. His friend Michael Simmons says goodbye. ...

Ed Sanders: The American Bard Takes On Katrina

Essay by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 1 April 2008

THERE IS A GIANT in our midst and his name is Edward Sanders. Ed was born in 1939 in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to ...

A Half-Century of McCabe's Guitar Shop

Report by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 25 September 2008

Little shop of adorers ...

Karen Dalton Lives

Review by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 29 January 2009

For the second year running, a new Karen Dalton record is my choice for The Album of the Year. ...

Chris Darrow, Kaleidoscope: Chris Darrow's Kaleidoscopic Vision

Profile and Interview by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 25 February 2009

HE HAS AN upcoming tribute concert and box-set release and yet the question many will ask is, "Who is Chris Darrow?" ...

Grateful Dead: Dead Without Garcia: Is It Worth the Effort, or a Waste of Time?

Comment by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 6 May 2009

"THE FIRST Prankster ruleis that nothing lasts forever," said Merry Prankster chieftain Ken Kesey in 1966, the same year the Grateful Dead, the in-house band ...

Sunny War: Songstress-Musician Sunny War

Profile and Interview by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 15 July 2009

ON THE TINY YouTube screen is a close-up of a diminutive black woman who looks about 12 but is, in the video, 16. Her hair's ...

Bob Dylan: Dylan's Christmas Album: First Listen!

Report by Michael Simmons, MOJO, October 2009

SANTA DROPPED Bob Dylan's Christmas Album Down Mojo's chimney last night, and as we celebrated with premature mince pies and stollen it provided plenty of ...

Barry Goldberg & Bob Dylan's Secret Gem

Profile by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 18 March 2010

ONE OF THE QUIET GEMS OF 2009 was an album originally produced by Bob Dylan in 1973. Other than his own work under the pseudonymous ...

Lowell George, Little Feat: Lowell George: Time Loves a Hero

Retrospective by Michael Simmons, MOJO, May 2010

A '70s guitar visionary and genius songwriter, Lowell George of Little Feat is rock's lost star. Michael Simmons pays tribute. ...

Bob Dylan: "Bob Knew There'd Be Butting Of Heads"

Retrospective and Interview by Michael Simmons, MOJO, July 2010

HOW DYLAN'S FIRST ALBUM OF ORIGINAL MATERIAL SINCE 1990 BECAME A WAR OF WILLS, AND AN ARTISTIC TRIUMPH. AS TOLD TO MICHAEL SIMMONS. ...

Kinky Friedman: I Was a Texas Jewboy

Memoir by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 29 July 2010

MY FIRST LIVE sighting of Richard "Kinky" "Big Dick" Friedman was at Max's Kansas City in New York in 1973. He was headlining Upstairs at ...

Ronee Blakley, Bob Dylan, Kinky Friedman, Jim Keltner, Al Kooper, Daniel Lanois, Johnny Rivers: Bob Dylan Turns 70

Retrospective and Interview by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 12 May 2011

I'M 56 YEARS old. Old enough to remember one president's assassination and another's resignation, black people getting beaten for insisting on the right to vote ...

Aaron Neville

Interview by Michael Simmons, MOJO, February 2013

Shooting up with Ray Charles, blown away by Katrina, the voice of New Orleans has seen tough times. Now Keith Richards is reaching out. "I ...

Van Dyke Parks Keeps On Cyclin'

Retrospective by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 29 March 2013

Van Dyke Parks remains in forward motion despite the fickle tastes of the Entertainment-Industrial Complex. An eloquent raconteur and great wit, he's philosophical about the ...

Bob Fass and Radio Unnameable

Memoir by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 5 April 2013

"I WANNA BE a neuron – I don't wanna be the brain," said all-night radio host Bob Fass in the 1960s to his audience. "We're ...

Carlene Carter and the Unbroken Circle

Interview by Michael Simmons, Huffington Post, 8 June 2014

If there's a better hardcore country record in 2014 than Carlene Carter's Carter Girl, I haven't heard it. ...

Dr. John: Welcome to the Big Easy

Retrospective and Interview by Michael Simmons, MOJO, October 2014

FROM HIS 1968 DEBUT ONWARDS, THE MUSIC OF DR. JOHN HAS BEEN MARINADED IN THE PSYCHEDELIC VOODOO OF NEW ORLEANS. NOW, WITH A TRIBUTE TO ...

Professor Longhair: Live In Chicago

Review by Michael Simmons, MOJO, January 2016

Previously unreleased live set of the New Orleans R&B pianist at his best. ...

Joan Baez: Royce Hall, Los Angeles

Live Review by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 13 November 2018

ON SATURDAY, NOV. 10, Royce Hall at UCLA was sold out for Joan Baez's Fare Thee Well… Tour 2018. At the age of 77, the ...

Nirvana: Danny Goldberg: Serving the Servant – Remembering Kurt Cobain (Ecco)

Book Review by Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly, 12 April 2019

MUSIC BIZ macher, political activist and author Danny Goldberg's new book is Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain (Ecco), a reminiscence of his time as ...

Nick Cave, Larry "Ratso" Sloman: Ratso Has A Record (and a duet with Nick Cave)

Comment by Michael Simmons, Dangerous Minds, 25 April 2019

WHAT MOST PEOPLE dream about, Larry "Ratso" Sloman makes happen. Anyone who's read Ratso's first book, 1978's On The Road With Bob Dylan, has witnessed ...

back to LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT NOTICE