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Steven X Rea

Steven X Rea

Born in London, England, and raised in New York City, Steven Rea moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. His work as a music journalist - mostly under the byline Steven X. Rea - included contributions (from 1976 to 1982) to Crawdaddy, Music World, Phonograph Record Magazine, High Fidelity, Folk Scene, Los Angeles, New West, Trouser Press, Oui, Chic, Record World, Wax Paper (the innovative Warner Bros. Records in-house publication) and, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, where he also wrote a weekly column called "Simple Pleasures."

In addition to filing heaps of record and concert reviews, Steven interviewed many artists during this time, including Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Townes Van Zandt, Marshall Crenshaw, Nicolette Larson, Aaron Neville, Jesse Colin Young, Tom Petty, EmmyLou Harris, Tom Waits, Mark Knopfler, Bonnie Raitt, Nick Lowe, Talking Heads, Leonard Cohen, Joan Jett and the Incredible String Band.

In the latter part of the 1970s, Steven worked at Island Records, writing artist bios and press materials for a roster that included Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Steve Winwood, Brian Eno, Bruce Cockburn, Robert Palmer, Michael Nesmith and Richard Thompson. In the early 1980s he was an associate editor at Oui magazine, then a part of Hugh Hefner's Playboy publishing empire. Steven edited the arts section at Oui.

Since 1982, Steven has been on the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer, first as a general assignment writer covering popular music, movies, books and whatnot, and, since the mid-1990s as one of the Inquirer's film critics.

Steven Rea at

Steven Rea's blog

21 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

The Incredible String Band: Liquid Acrobat As Regards The Air (Elektra)

Review by Steven X Rea, Phonograph Record, April 1972

THIS IS THE Incredible String Band's ninth album (tenth, if you include the soundtrack to their film BE GLAD...), and their first in over a ...

The Incredible String Band Ascending To The Stars

Profile by Steven X Rea, Music World, April 1973

God made a song when the world was new, waters' laughter sings it true, O, wizard of changes, teachme the lesson of flowing — Robin Williamson ...

Jesse Colin Young: Trying To Be A Good Highway

Interview by Steven X Rea, Music World, November 1973

WE DROVE our '54 Chevrolet along the road to Inverness on the Point Reyes peninsula quickly, somehow feeling threatened by the grey, heavy clouds that ...

Steely Dan: Countdown To Ecstasy

Review by Steven X Rea, Music World, November 1973

THIS IS BASICALLY just a review of one song on Countdown To Ecstasy. I mean, the rest of the record is fine, the lyrics are ...

Joni Mitchell: Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee

Live Review by Steven X Rea, Phonograph Record, May 1974

JONI MITCHELL has finally accepted stardom and all the craziness that goes with it. During her Memphis appearance she still revealed her female submissiveness on ...

John Martyn: One World (Island)

Review by Steven X Rea, Crawdaddy!, April 1978

JOHN MARTYN'S music is a blur of blues and jazz and rock: Bessie Smith's emotiveness, Hoagy Carmichael's mellowness, Skip James' growl and bellow, and Martyn's ...

Plastic Bertrand: Ça Plane Pour Moi

Review by Steven X Rea, Waxpaper, 11 August 1978

The Intricate, Tongue-Twisting Babble That Is Plastic Bertrand ...

Wild Man Fischer: Look Out, Las Vegas

Profile and Interview by Steven X Rea, Chic, December 1978

"I'LL BET YOU that if I played Las Vegas, Don Rickles, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Hackett, everybody in that place would look up to me and ...

The LA Music Scene

Report by Steven X Rea, Oui, 1980

The City of Angels has become a Dada delight ...

20/20 Looks Sharp

Profile and Interview by Steven X Rea, Trouser Press, March 1980

LAST SUMMER, holed up in Sound City Studios in the industrial pits of the San Fernando Valley, four musicians known collectively as 20/20 were deep ...

The Commodores: 'Easy' like $60 Million

Profile and Interview by Steven X Rea, High Fidelity, April 1980

TOMMY McCLARY, his white Adidas pressed up against the sound-booth glass, sits in an insulated cubicle adjoining the studio control room eliciting a succession of ...

Cindy/Cidny Bullens: Cindy Bullens can take it or leave it

Interview by Steven X Rea, Trouser Press, May 1980

"IT WAS Mick Jagger when I was 14 years I old." Cindy Bullens, almost twice that age now, took her rock 'n' roll baptismal by ...

The Motels: Growing Up In Motels

Interview by Steven X Rea, Trouser Press, July 1980

"THERE'S SOMEONE on the Ameche for you, Mom," chimes in Maria Davis, 13-year-old daughter of Motels lead singer/songwriter/sometime rhythm guitarist Martha Davis, 29. Ameche? "The ...

Emmylou Harris Buys Back the Farm

Interview by Steven X Rea, High Fidelity, August 1980

A GIANT cement mixer blocks the road, halfway up the snaking cul-de-sac that ends at Emmylou Harris' rented ranch house. Nestled in a leveled out ...

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: Elliott is Still Rambling

Profile and Interview by Steven X Rea, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 31 July 1981

30 years of storytelling and Elliott is still ramblin' ...

Rodney Crowell: Crowell's Got Cash But He Has His Own Career

Interview by Steven X Rea, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 18 September 1981

A favorite of Willie and Emmylou, he's a family man with wife Rosanne ...

Nick Lowe: Life Among "Witless Clods"

Interview by Steven X Rea, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 12 March 1982

IT'S 1:30 IN the afternoon when Nick Lowe pries open the sliding door of his West Hollywood hotel room and peers up at the sky ...

Split Enz: This May Be The Beginning Of The Enz

Interview by Steven X Rea, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 7 May 1982

BACK IN the '70s, the members of Split Enz sported sky-high pyramids of multicolored hair, decked themselves out in Fellini-esque clown suits, plastered their faces ...

Bonnie Raitt: Backbeat: Bonnie Raitt Lightens Up

Interview by Steven X Rea, High Fidelity, June 1982

Her new album is straight-ahead rock & roll. Has the California air gone to her head? ...

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Backbeat: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Interview by Steven X Rea, High Fidelity, August 1983

His first album is just hitting the streets, but Vaughan and his blues guitar are already well-known among rock's elite. ...

David Byrne, Talking Heads: Backbeat: David Byrne

Interview by Steven X Rea, High Fidelity, September 1983

Talking Heads leader Byrne is a songwriter, video producer, theater composer, artist, and a part-time member of the 20th century literati. And some people think ...

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