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Rock's Backpages

Rock's Backpages podcast

They were so much older then, they're younger than that now: Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns reel in the years and riff on all that's new this week in the world's biggest library of music journalism – definitive interviews with legends of the last 60 years by the pop press' greatest writers ... and much much more.

Every week, Mark and Barney pick their highlights from the 50+ new pieces added to the database, and present an exclusive excerpt from the week's new audio interview.

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Episode 10: Earth, Wind & Fire + special guest Mark Sinker on the underground music press

Joined by special guest Mark Sinker, RBP's Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle discuss A Hidden Landscape Once A Week, an anthology on the "unruly curiosity" of the UK's music press from the late '60s to the '80s. Moving on to the week's free feature, goth-punks the Flesh Eaters and their contemporaries the Gun Club spark a discussion of the L.A. scene in the early '80s. The tres hombres then talk about Earth, Wind & Fire's metaphysical funk and the philosophical ramblings of mainman Maurice White (as heard in clips from a 1979 interview by Cliff – no relation – White). Further topics include Liverpool's legendary Cavern club, the Temptations dissing Motown, "pop's public intellectual" Brian Eno and Millie Jackson's self-proclaimed status as "one of the rudest b****** around".

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 9: The Absurdities of Bros + Kenny Rogers audio + Oz Rock

Chatting about Bros and how appallingly they come out of the After the Screaming Stops doc, RBP podcast hosts Mark & Barney agree that Matt Goss is a "grotesque parody of overweening ego". Moving seamlessly on to Kenny Rogers, the duo hear a clip from John Tobler's 1989 audio interview with the man and discuss his uneasy status as a country icon and his true roots in rhythm & blues. Your hosts then pay tribute to RAM founder/editor Anthony O'Grady, who died in December, and discuss his writing on Australian rock from AC/DC to Radio Birdman. They also consider Paul McCartney & Wings, legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones and Ecstasy's role in the Second Summer of Love.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 8: Keith Richards on drug busts + Mick Jagger in Performance

Featuring exclusive clips of an increasingly intoxicated Keith Richards during a 2002 interview by Adam Sweeting, this week's RBP podcast could be described as a Rolling Stones special if there weren't so many other things being discussed. Lauding Keef as the band's heart and soul and asking "how has this man made it to 75", Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns wax lyrical about the brilliant Performance. Directed by the late Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell – with a Jack Nitzsche soundtrack Barney describes as one of the "creepiest, weirdest, but most mesmerising" he's ever heard, Performance sums up the transition from '60s flower power to something altogether darker and spookier, with the Stones themselves at "the centre of a vortex of social change". Other topics under consideration include Elvis Presley, the Beastie Boys, Paul Weller, Fleetwood Mac, Ice Cube and Gary Barlow's envy of of Robbie Williams...

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 7: Be-Bop Deluxe, Wu-Tang Clan + Tim Cooper on David Bowie

In this week's podcast, hear Be-Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson reminiscing (in February 1978) with Ian Ravendale about starting bands in school and working on the Futurama album with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker... followed by your hosts Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns discussing Staten Island hip hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan. Attention then turns to featured writer Tim Cooper and his Heathen-era interview with David Bowie. New library pieces under the spotlight include a 1962 letter to Record Mirror from Frank Sinatra fan Fred Dellar; Paul Morley's 1977 NME live review of Little Feat; the return of jazz giant Dexter Gordon; and an unsavoury encounter with the Prodigy.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 6: Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry + the birth of Americana + NYC in the 70s

Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music talks about interpreting the music of others, resents being called a country gent and loves vinyl. Your hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle debate whether For Your Pleasure or Stranded is the better album, contemplate country and Americana and explore featured writer's Susin Shapiro's New York escapades, which include an interview with Patti Smith about Horses. Next, Barney and Mark consider Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man, recorded at Muscle Shoals, and Joe Zawinul of Weather Report, probably their favourite 'fusion' band. Returning to New York, they reflect on New Wave in response to Robert Duncan's piece describing Television as being 'possessed of all the manners of an oyster', before rounding off with discussions of punk vs. prog, the rise of female sexuality in pop music, and the infamous Kim Fowley.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 5: Led Zeppelin + Kate Bush with special guest John Mendelssohn

Welcoming special guest and featured writer John Mendelssohn, RBP's Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle present an excerpt from an interview with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and discuss the finer points of rock criticism with John, including the glamour of being threatened by Led Zeppelin from the stage at one of their gigs. Ahead of the publication of a new book of Kate Bush's lyrics, the three of them consider Wuthering Heights (John liked it, Barney didn't, and Mark hated it so much that he didn't listen to her music again for two decades) and discuss Mendelssohn's own book on the singer, Waiting for Kate Bush. Their guest also regales Barney and Mark with tales of finding David Bowie 'really pretty' and how 'deeply appalling' he thinks Richard Meltzer is.
Find John's own podcast at bit.ly/john_mendelssohn, his blog at johnmendelssohn.blogspot.com and visit his band's website at www.freudiansluts.co.uk.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 4: Etta James talks in 1978 + Marc Bolan + Willie Nelson

Etta James considers her life in RnB up to 1978—'Roll With Me Henry', Johnny Otis, Chess Records and working with Rick Hall. Your hosts Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns in turn consider her impact on singers from Janis Joplin to Adele and discuss featured writer Rob Partridge, raunchy and/or art-rock Royal Trux, and Jobriath. Their attentions then turn to Burl Ives, Marc Bolan and the joy of seeing Willie Nelson live, before they start disagreeing about Portishead as well as The Fugees, with Barney stubbornly refusing to be snobbish about their album The Score

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 3: Exclusive Sex Pistols interview + Chic + David Hepworth

Berating "idiot" Malcolm McLaren and "poxy" Vivienne Westwood, Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious hold forth, slagging off everyone under the sun, or at least everyone they can think of, in a 1977 interview with John Tobler. RBP podcast hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle do some holding forth of their own, about the Sex Pistols (naturally) but also about Chic, featured writer David Hepworth, Nico, Gene Clark and Luther Vandross. Hailing Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards as "two of the greatest players of any musical instrument in any musical medium", Barney and Mark enthuse about disco, discuss the state of electronic music in the 1980s and question whether or not music can enact political change (spoiler: it can't). 

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 2: Massive Attack + Rosanne Cash + the night Johnny Thunders died

"Massive Attack [...] bores me to tears", says Mark Pringle ahead of their 20th-anniversary tour of Mezzanine. Following some discussion of the Bristol Scene, he and Barney Hoskyns consider this week's featured writer Terry Staunton. They then present an excerpt from a 2014 interview with Roseanne Cash in which she talks to Adam Sweeting about revisiting the south of the USA, which plays at the end of the podcast. Talk then turns to Joan Baez, Steve Marriott of The Small Faces and Marianne Faithfull, the latter of which turns out to be the starting point for a conversation about addiction and drug abuse, further fuelled by Susin Shapiro's withering review of Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 1: Freddie Mercury on Bohemian Rhapsody + Joni Mitchell + the Wu-Tang Clang

Hear an excerpt from a 1976 interview between Freddie Mercury and Robert Duncan of Creem about 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (among other things). Your hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle then consider this week's additions to the Rock's Backpages archive, including pieces on Joni Mitchell, Lionel Richie, Randy Newman and the Rolling Stones at the height of their devilish mythology. While discussing Neil Kulkarni's rave review of Wu-Tang Clan's Forever, Barney and Mark recall the time they met Wu-Tang's U-God at San Francisco airport.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie