mick jones

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Various: The Future is Unwritten/Joe Strummer (Sony)

Various: The Future is Unwritten/Joe Strummer (Sony)

True story. Earlier this year after a classical concert in Auckland's Aotea Centre I was introduced to a guy who, in the course of a free-ranging conversation, said he'd met Joe Strummer -- and Joe had written a song about him. Bullshitting is fun, but this guy was serious and quoted the following Strummer lyrics: "Well, I was walking...

Nikki Sixx: A very dim light (1991)

Nikki Sixx: A very dim light (1991)

To tell truth, out of the many hundreds -- indeed thousands -- of musicians I have interviewed very few have been downright stupid. Sure some fumbled for words, others said slightly silly things, and most just blathered on about The Album or whatever. But that's fine. We shouldn't ask anything of musicians other than they make...

Billy Joel: A New York state of mind

Billy Joel: A New York state of mind

Billy and I were introduced while he was having his lunch. He gestured for me to join him and help myself to the generous pile of sandwiches on the table, multi-level affairs held together by long plastic toothpicks with odd little flags on top. As we spoke Billy never even glanced at the spectacular vista of Sydney Harbour and the Opera...

UB40: Just another labour of love

UB40: Just another labour of love

It was a few years ago now, but UB40 were back for another New Zealand tour. Well pardon my lack of enthusiasm. It's not that, like most critics, I don't have much time for their MOR reggae. I don't, but with me it's much more personal . . It was my misfortune to spend a day with the band in Birmingham many, many years ago. But the...

Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and Billy Joel: Bad cop, good guy

Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and Billy Joel: Bad cop, good guy

It was bluesman Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown who taught me a valuable lesson very early on: it was possible to like a man's music and not like the man who made it. Billy Joel confirmed the opposite: I liked him very much but have never felt an ounce of emotion for his music. But first, let me tell you about a big bag of dope. When...

Neil Young: Out to lunch

Neil Young: Out to lunch

Nothing showy here, but I've spoken to Neil Young three times. And the man was boring and awkward every time. But that's just my opinion. I've never understood why musicians -- especially those with as many track miles as Neil Young -- bother with interviews if they don't want to talk. Why do they subject themselves, let alone anyone else...

Jethro Tull, Al Stewart: Hanging on the telephone.

Jethro Tull, Al Stewart: Hanging on the telephone.

Rock journalists in this country need little reminding that we live a long way from the action. But the reminders come every time a record company or promoter says that deathless phrase, "We've got you a phoner". The phone interview has largely killed any last flicker of spontaneity that rock might have had left. These are set...

Mick Jones of the Clash: Career Opportunities

Mick Jones of the Clash: Career Opportunities

Years later someone brought it to my attention: in Marcus Gray's book about the Clash, Last Gang in Town, there is mention of -- and a quote from -- my December 93 interview with Mick Jones. By the time I got to Mick the Clash was well behind him and he was in Melbourne with his band Big Audio Dynamite II opening for U2. It was a good...

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Back at the dawn of time -- for two periods in 1980 and 1981 to be precise -- I had a programme on Radio Pacific on Saturday evening, sandwiched between the Rugger Buggers sports show and, of all people, Hollywood gossip David Hartnell. It was all free-format music (not a term used in radio these days, it means you could play what you liked)...

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