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Episode 129 : Deborah Frost on heavy metal + Blue Öyster Cult + Grace Jones + Foals

13 June 2022

In this episode we welcome heavy metal expert Deborah Frost, Zooming in from her native New York City, and invite her to talk about her career as a writer and musician.

Deborah reminisces about the all-girl "female Dolls" Flaming Youth, in which she drummed in the early '70s, and then explains how she came to write her first pieces for Circus in 1977. She talks about her love of hard rock and heavy metal, and about contributing to Rolling Stone and the Village Voice — including her acclaimed 1985 Voice piece 'White Noise: How Heavy Metal Rules', with its unflattering descriptions of the drug-and-groupie-addled Mötley Crüe.

From the Crüe we segue into another great "umlaut" metal band, one beloved of Deborah's co-hosts Barney, Martin & Jasper. Yep, we're talking about Blue Öyster Cult, to whose drummer Albert Bouchard our guest was once married. After Barney & Martin attempt to do justice to what made the Cult so uniquely brilliant, we hear clips from 1978 audio interviews with the group's Allen Lanier & Eric Bloom, while Deborah talks about the "rock-critical" role played in the BÖC's development by Sandy Pearlman, R(ichard) Meltzer & punk poetess Patti Smith.

An abrupt shift takes us into the amazing world of Grace Jones and her curation of the 2022 Meltdown festival in London. Guest and hosts alike celebrate the iconic Jamaican transgressor, focusing particularly on the Island albums she made at Chris Blackwell's Compass Point studios in the early '80s. Deborah also dumbfounds us with a story about getting naked in a New York sauna with Grace and her beefy boyfriend Dolph Lundgren.

There's bonus audio in the form of Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis, talking in 2015 to Coup De Main's Pip Williams. Foals fan Jasper introduces the clips and — in the week that sees the release of their new album — explains why he rates his fellow Oxonians so highly. After that, he takes us through recent RBP library pieces added by the holidaying Mark Pringle, including Max Jones' 1959 Melody Maker homage to the departed Billie Holiday and Calvin Bush's 1998 Muzik profile of Jungle king Goldie.

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest Deborah Frost. Find out more about her and her writing on her RBP writers page.