Tony Scherman has been a journalist and non-fiction author since the early 1980s. A former boss, Bill Flanagan, now Executive Vice President of MTV, wrote that "Tony Scherman is one of the best pure writers ever to come out of music journalism". He has written for dozens of magazines, and his two books are Backbeat: Earl Palmer’s Story (1999) and POP: The Genius of Andy Warhol (2009). His work has been widely anthologized.
List of articles in the library
Report and Interview by Tony Scherman, Rolling Stone, 10 October 1985
THERE'S NO MONEY IN BEING A ROOTS-MUSIC VIRTUOSO, BUT THIS GUITARIST'S CAREER TURNED THE CORNER WHEN HE STARTED WRITING SOUNDTRACKS. ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, January 1987
The folk revival's elder statesman pays tribute to Folkways founder Moe Asch: talks about the label's evolution, its principles and modus operandi, and its value as a preserver of marginal musical forms. Plus he speaks about Asch's relationship with Woody Guthrie and the EP This Land is Your Land; about Asch's business practices and the issues of royalties and copyrights. Finally, Seeger sums up Asch the man...
File format: mp3; file size: 55.5mb, interview length: 57' 46" sound quality: ***
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, January 1987
Charters talks about his friend, colleague and mentor Moe Asch: about starting to release his field recordings through Folkways; the importance of the label; the Harry Smith anthology; Sam Goody's support for the label; the label's bankruptcy and tax problems; Asch's brilliance, but being a difficult man to work with; the magnificent catalogue, and the scene surrounding the label.
File format: mp3; file size: 56.8mb, interview length: 59' 08" sound quality: **
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, November 1987
Wherein a dangerous redneck weirdo becomes studio godfather to post-punk's finest. ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, March 1988
The three stooges of the studio get the last laugh. ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, August 1990
The hirsute guitar wonder starts off with memories of recently-deceased fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan, then discusses the new ZZ Top album Recycler... plus the trio's return to a rootsier sound; the technology used on preceding albums Eliminator and Afterburner; the place of the blues in today's music; and getting to play cards with Muddy Waters.
File format: mp3; file size: 23.8mb, interview length: 24' 48" sound quality: ***
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, November 1990
DID YOU ever play with Stevie Ray? Of course. [ZZ Top's] Frank and Dusty grew up with him in Dallas, and just this morning we ...
Retrospective by Tony Scherman, Musician, November 1990
"STEVIE WAS on it. Playin' great, kickin' butt," says Robert Cray, and when Double Trouble was done, everybody — the Vaughan brothers, Cray, Buddy Guy ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, Fall 1990
The ZZ Topper talks about his enduring love for bluesman Robert Johnson: on first hearing Columbia's 1961 release King of the Delta Blues Singers; the dark impact of his music; the aspects of mystery surrounding Johnson; his favourite songs; Johnson's superb technique and delivery; the "pact with the Devil" myth, and being given dirt from that crossroads; the newly discovered photograph of Johnson, and his hands; his impact on ZZ Top, and the blues psychogeography of the Mississippi Delta.
File format: mp3; file size: 32.9mb, interview length: 34' 18" sound quality: ** (phoner)
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, June 1991
Can't stop worrying, can't stop growing. The world's best drummer turns to composing. ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, December 1991
WHAT'S THE best way for you to write? I pick up things from people on the streets, in airports, at parties. The night before last ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, December 1991
Before Storyville, before the Band, a Toronto street punk headed down the Crazy River. ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, Fall 1991
Robbie looks back at his days as a teenage guitar-slinger with Ronnie Hawkins: why Ronnie hired him; the dreadful gigs they played; fitting in down south; his mother's Indian roots; holding up a craps game; learning from Levon; not being allowed girlfriends; rousted by the cops with Sonny Boy Williamson; the genius of Garth Hudson, and much more...
File format: mp3; file size: 56.9mb, interview length: 59' 14" sound quality: ***
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1992
The blues veteran talks about his roots outside Clarksdale, Mississippi; the influence of his stepfather Will Moore; how his style evolved into the "boogie" rhythm; his memories of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Sonny Boy Williamson; his first big hit 'Boogie Chillen’; hanging out with Bob Dylan in early ’60s New York; his latest album Mr. Lucky and his experiences in the studio; covering ‘I'm in the Mood’ with Bonnie Raitt; his friendship with Van Morrison... and what he's up to next.
File format: mp3; file size: 46.1mb, interview length: 47' 59" sound quality: ** (phoner)
Retrospective and Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, January 1992
From Bessie Smith to Elvis Costello, the Amazing Life and Perfect Time of a Great Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Musician, May 1992
The bedroom secrets of a drummer's hands ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1993
Between demonstrations of drum techniques and expositions on the philosophy of drumming, Cobham talks about his African and Caribbean roots; his Panamanian family background, and their move to New York City; starting out drumming and listening to big band jazz; his education in drum & bugle corps, and marching bands in Queens; his education at the High School of Music & Art in New York, and joining the military and his time at the Naval School of Music.
File format: mp3; file size: 100.5mb, total interview length: 1h 44' 42" sound quality: ***
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, August 1993
Interviewed in his Brill Building office, Simon looks back at his early days as a songwriter and guitar player: the small labels at 1650 Broadway; his dad's band playing at the Roseland ballroom; his R&B and doo wop roots, and the demos he cut with Carole King. He talks about his experience of the Greenwich Village folk scene; his move to England and the influence of English folk; the evolution of his songwriting... and the beauty of Art Garfunkel's voice.
File format: mp3; file size: 51.1mb, interview length: 53' 15" sound quality: ***
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, Fall 1993
The legendary songwriter/producer takes us back to his days in the Brill Building: the Shangri-Las' '(Remember) Walking In The Sand'; the people who surrounded him: Leiber & Stoller, Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich, George Goldner, Cynthia Weill & Barry Mann, and Seymour Stein; Kama Sutra and Red Bird records; the insanity of the scene, and his personal style. He also talks about his Brooklyn and Long Island childhood, his alcoholism, his break from music and surviving his aneurysm.
File format: mp3; file size: 118.3mb, interview length: 2h 03' 14" sound quality: ** (background noise)
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1994
The Bluegrass Queen talks about playing in contests; on improvising and soloing; on her encouraging parents, and learning the violin as a child; on the complexities or otherwise of bluegrass; on the difference between classical violin and bluegrass fiddle; starting to sing, and forming her band Union Station; not signing to a major label, and her relationship with Rounder; on just wanting to make great records... and the influence of Pac-Man!
File format: mp3; file size: 69.2mb, interview length: 1h 12' 02" sound quality: ****
Audio transcript of interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1994
This is a transcript of Tony's audio interview with Alison. Hear the interview here ...
Profile and Interview by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 24 April 1994
ALISON KRAUSS'S eyes bulged at the old newspaper clipping, an arrow from the past headlined, "Fiddlin' Teen Burns Up the Competition." Sitting upstairs in her ...
Profile and Interview by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 26 March 1995
THE ROCKER TODAY whose music evokes Jimi Hendrix's splendid noise more powerfully than anyone else's is Chris Whitley – an improbable claim, given Mr. Whitley's ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, American Heritage, October 1995
Wynton Marsalis believes America is in danger of losing the truest mirror of our national identity. If that's the case, we are at least fortunate ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1996
The jazz trumpeter and composer talks about his impact on the form and its current state; his involvement in teaching and his proteges; where he's at, and his ambitions; on studying composition, and the nature of compositon and improvisation; his impact as a spokesman; his involvement in the Lincoln Center Jazz Program; on why he's attacked; his current projects; his luck being surrounded by good people, and some of the turning points in his career.
File format: mp3; file size: 87mb, interview length: 1h 30' 39" sound quality: ***
Review by Tony Scherman, Entertainment Weekly, April 1996
AT FIRST you notice Neuwirth's puny vocals – he makes guest Peter Case's scrawny voice sound positively rich. ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1997
Three giants of New Orleans R&B — bandleader Bartholomew, drummer Palmer and sax player Tyler — look back on the days on the bandstand and NOLA studios: on recording with Fats Domino and Little Richard; on the characters — Lightnin' Slim, the unlucky Smiley Lewis and more; on hassles with the Musicians' Union; on Palmer leaving for L.A.; on squeezing in bebop; on the beloved Dew Drop Inn... and what made the Crescent City sound. [NOTE: The most audibly prominent voice belongs to Tyler, with Palmer's the most distant. Bartholomew's is somewhere in the middle, with the deepest register.]
File format: mp3; file size: 94.7mb, interview length: 1h 38' 35" sound quality: ***
Comment by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 26 July 1998
EVER SINCE the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame gave itself the ticklish job of anointing a rock-and-roll pantheon, one of its stated goals has been to ...
Essay by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 20 September 1998
ALTHOUGH THE great blues singer and guitarist Robert Johnson died 60 years ago, swallowed up at 27 by the rural Mississippi demiworld of juke joints ...
Review by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 29 November 1998
EMERGING IN THE late '60s as an anomaly – one of the few young black musicians to embrace the folk-blues revival – Taj Mahal flirted ...
Review by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 13 December 1998
"THE WHITE MAN cannot vocal the blues,'' said the blues singer Muddy Waters with grave finality, and his maxim has only rarely been disproved. ...
Comment by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 7 November 1999
MENTION ANDY Warhol's relationship to pop music, and the first name to crop up will be that of the Velvet Underground, the band Warhol championed ...
Profile by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 2 April 2000
WHEN THE cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the bassist Edgar Meyer and the violinist Mark O'Connor take the stage on Wednesday at Avery Fisher Hall to play ...
Retrospective by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, July 2000
SO CLOSELY IS the late Bill Monroe identified with his musical creation, bluegrass, that it's almost as if man and music called each other into ...
Report and Interview by Tony Scherman, The New York Times, 10 February 2001
IN THE 1950s and '60s, the recording studio became an instrument. From its humble origins documenting live performances, the studio turned into a music-maker itself, ...
Interview by Tony Scherman, Rock's Backpages Audio, Spring 2004
Recorded over two sessions in 2004 (the first on 2nd March, the second on 3rd April), the Velvets' bassist/viola player goes deep into the band's relationship with Andy Warhol; the effects on Lou Reed of shock therapy; New York scenesters such as Paul Morrissey, Bob Neuwirth, Billy Name and Edie Sedgwick; the Dom and Cinematheque; the band's members and the sessions for the first Velvets album... and the end of the band's involvement with Warhol.
File format: mp3; file size: 102.8mb, interview length: 1h 47' 02" sound quality: ** (phoner)
Book Excerpt by Tony Scherman, PopMatters, 12 March 2021
Our recent glimpse of Tony Scherman's biography in progress, I Gave My Heart and Soul to You: The Triumph of Aretha Franklin, told the story ...
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