Episode 77 : Geoff Travis on Rough Trade + Scritti Politti's Green Gartside
22 June 2020
In this week's episode, we welcome legendary Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis into RBP's virtual cupboard. Averse to nostalgia though he is, Geoff looks back on the musical odyssey that took him from suburban north London to San Francisco's City Lights bookstore — and then back to Notting Hill Gate, where the Rough Trade story started in 1976. Mark and Barney ask him about the label's many remarkable artists (from the Fall to the Smiths), the Cartel distribution network he set up, and the company's second coming with the early Noughties signings of the Strokes and the Libertines.
A timely segue takes us into discussion of early Rough Trade postpunks Scritti Politti, whose frontman Green Gartside is heard in clips from a 2006 audio interview by Adam Sweeting. Geoff shares his memories of — and deep respect for — Green, answering questions about the singer's return to Rough Trade after Scritti's major-label successes of the '80s and '90s.
After a passing nod to pieces by RBP's featured writer of the week Pat Blashill — author/photographer of the splendid new Texas is the Reason — Mark leads us gently through his highlights of the week's library additions. Most pleasingly, he welcomes the work of the late Lillian Roxon to RBP in the form of her 1967 report on the new creatures dubbed "Hippies". Other pieces picked out include Isaac Hayes talking about Shaft in 1971 and a 1977 live review of Sylvester performing at San Francisco's Old Waldorf club. Jasper brings the episode to a conclusion by quoting from pieces about Corinne Bailey Rae and North Carolina's electronic duo Sylvan Esso before a final clip of Mr Gartside in full flow takes us out…
Many thanks to special guest Geoff Travis; visit Rough Trade at roughtrade.com.
Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.