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Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as my back pages.

Tom Petty: Village scribe, meet the village idiot

Tom Petty: Village scribe, meet the village idiot

For more years than I can recall when people have asked me what I did I have variously answered “I‘m a writer“ or, when Customs officials look difficult I would say “I’m a journalist” -- and oddly enough that would work better than the more amorphous description “writer“. Often, for my...

THE SMALL FACES; UNDER REVIEW (DVD, Chrome Dreams/Triton)

THE SMALL FACES; UNDER REVIEW (DVD, Chrome Dreams/Triton)

While it may be fair to consider the Small Faces out of London's East End to be one of the most interesting and even musically inventive groups of the Sixties, it is pushing it -- as one commentator does here -- to claim that they were right there behind the Beatles and the Stones. That not only ignores the Kinks, for example, but fails to...

McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

Mostly when I travel I don’t much care about the room I stay in other than hoping for a decent bed and a functioning shower. If you are doing your travel right, you never spend any time in the room anyway. But in Liverpool I set some kind of world record for transience. I’d barely been in the room a minute when the phone...

The Quireboys: White trash rhythm'n'booze

The Quireboys: White trash rhythm'n'booze

The press didn't rate them at the time, they had a solid and loyal following of largely uncool fans, and they themselves seemed to take it all as a joke. It was only rock'n'roll, but they liked it. My friends either didn't know of them and didn't care to, or did and hated them. I liked 'em. They were the Quireboys and we met in a...

Christy Moore: The story teller and me

Christy Moore: The story teller and me

Car dealers certainly. Lawyers and politicians of course, when it best suits them. But musicians? I know they gild the truth or embellish it for some self-aggradisement, but I never really expect them to fib directly, and in this case so convincingly. The great Irish Republican singer-songwriter Christy Moore was in wet Wellington...

Bon Jovi: Having a bar of it

Bon Jovi: Having a bar of it

My knowledge of Bon Jovi has always been limited, and even more so back in the early Nineties when all I could conjure up for a pub quiz would have been "New Jersey, the cover of their Slippery When Wet album, big hair and " . . . Actually that would be about it. Except for their song I'll Sleep When I'm Dead which -- for a...

Tom Petty: Chair man of the bored

Tom Petty: Chair man of the bored

They say you should never meet your heroes and so it has been for me and Tom Petty. In more recent years I did a numbingly boring phone interview with a man I took to be a numbskull and prior to that I had endured a dreadful concert when he and Dylan went out on the road, were clearly out of it and were rehearsing in public. Whadda shit. But...

The Gin Blossoms: Memphis in the meantime

The Gin Blossoms: Memphis in the meantime

Sometimes just getting to a gig can be a mission -- and I don't mean waiting for a cab to get you across town. My cab arrived exactly on time, it was the rest of it which was haywire. Just as the taxi pulled into the driveaway to take me to the airport so did the courier with my airline tickets and rock'n'roll itinerary for a sprint around...

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...

Al Stewart: Clarence Frogman Henry, Audrey Hepburn and The Year of the Cat (1980)

Al Stewart: Clarence Frogman Henry, Audrey Hepburn and The Year of the Cat (1980)

He may be a bit of a bore in interviews (see here), but Al Stewart did tell a great shaggy-dog story in concert -- and of course wrote Year of the Cat among many other fine songs. So here you get both as he tells a bizarre story then swings into a sharp version of that huge hit live at the Roxy. You had to take your hat off to Stewart:...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

My take on Tom Petty -- most of whose albums in the first decade or more I cherished with a passion, but had misfortunes with the man -- is that when he hooked up with the Traveling Wilburys he became prematurely geriatric and he lost his rock edge. This is a theory which doesn't bear much serious scrutiny perhaps (I was "wrong"...

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

When Jim McGuinn changed his name to Roger in ’67 during a period of chaos without and within for The Byrds, there were those who thought it was an elaborate hoax. Jim had taken off to Rio and been replaced by his lookalike brother, said Paul-is-Dead paranoids and conspiracy theorists. Hence the wry in-joke title on his album Back...

EDGEPLAY; A FILM ABOUT THE RUNAWAYS by Victory Tischler-Blue (Shock DVD, 2004)

EDGEPLAY; A FILM ABOUT THE RUNAWAYS by Victory Tischler-Blue (Shock DVD, 2004)

Clearly timed to ride the coattails of the film The Runaways about this seminal all-girl band of the the Seventies which launched the careers of Joan Jett and Lita Ford and (based on the memoir Neon Angel by lead singer Cherie Currie), the re-presentation of a doco made by the band's former bassist Vicky Blue should be an object lesson in...

GRAHAM REID, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? In search of my name in Scotland

GRAHAM REID, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? In search of my name in Scotland

When I was in primary school, at least once every year, I’d be teased about my name. Not the unexceptional one on this article, but my full name which some sneaky kid would discover by going through the teacher’s roll. For a couple of days after, there would be finger-pointing kids in the playground, and me running...

ROD STEWART, STORYTELLER: The easy case for the defense

ROD STEWART, STORYTELLER: The easy case for the defense

It was always easy for me to forgive Rod Stewart his excesses and mistakes. His graduation from soulful r’n’b singer through frontman impersonations with the boys-night-out Faces band and into a solo career was a pleasure to watch. When he wasn’t being entertaining, he was tearing your heart out with his singularly...

IAN McLAGAN INTERVIEWED (1999): Face, the music

IAN McLAGAN INTERVIEWED (1999): Face, the music

Ian McLagan bangs away at the hotel piano and, without missing a beat, offers an unpublishable aside. Politely translated, the music business being what it was then, he wasn’t financially rewarded for his tenure in the Small Faces, one of the classic British bands of the Sixties. The Small Faces enjoyed a string of hits and,...

CLIMIE FISHER INTERVIEWED (1988): Studio changes everything

CLIMIE FISHER INTERVIEWED (1988): Studio changes everything

The rock music thing used to be quite straightforward. A few people got together, practiced a few covers, wrote some original material and the band honed its act in pubs and clubs and on the road. Somewhere down the line a record company appeared and the band made records. These days that process can be reversed. Noel Crombie of...

Climie Fisher: Here today and gone . . .

Climie Fisher: Here today and gone . . .

Climie -- or maybe it was Fisher -- almost had me. The conversation was, in the late Eighties, about why so many pop duos were turning up with little or no live experience, and why record companies were signing them. Climie -- or Fisher -- said that, if you thought about it, the Beatles were essentially just two guys and so were the Rolling...

Neil Young: Cocaine Eyes (1989)

Neil Young: Cocaine Eyes (1989)

Given his tendency to release as much music and as often as he can, it's increasingly hard to make the case for anything by Neil Young as being rare. His Archives Volume 1 scooped up vast tracts of early material, and when Vol 2 rolls around (no one would dare put a date on that, the first volume was spoken about for decades) then maybe...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Neil Young: Le Noise (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Neil Young: Le Noise (Warners)

A preference declared: I've never been as smitten as many by Neil Young's acoustic albums -- never had a copy of Harvest for example, although I hardly needed it, everybody else played it incessantly. But I have always cranked up his rowdy albums with Crazy Horse (most of them) and believe albums like Rust Never Sleeps and Arc-Weld are among...

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2 may have reverted to musical type with stadium anthems and those long chiming chords which roll towards singalong or bellicose choruses, but around the time of Achtung Baby and Zooropa they were a genuinely innovative band. And much of the music of that period lent itself to remixing and mashing.  Their fan magazine Propaganda issued...

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

At the fag-end of the Seventies, the sound of the Sex Pistols explosion in Britain had faded and in the place of furious punk anger came the more intellectual and cooler sound of post-punk: bands like Magazine, Wire and Joy Division. Across the Atlantic the Ramones' flat-tack energy was faltering and the names to note were Talking...

Odetta: A legend ignored

Odetta: A legend ignored

To be honest, I had largely forgotten about Odetta until she died in 2008 at the age of 77. I imagined her as much older actually as she seemed to have been around since Biblical times, or at least all of my life. The great folk singer and activist had been an influence on the young Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, had sung in small halls and cafes,...

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Aside from meeting some interesting (and ocassionally odd) people, interviewing musicians gets you into some different places. In another life I doubt I would have ever been backstage at the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall in New York, inside Abbey Road, in expensive hotel rooms in places like Tokyo or Los Angeles, or sitting in a BBC studio...

World Party: You're All Invited to the Party (1990)

World Party: You're All Invited to the Party (1990)

Because he wrote She's the One which became a hit for Robbie Williams in 1999 -- and more so because he was sidelined for four years by a brain aneurysm in 2000 -- little has been heard of Karl Wallinger (who is the sole constant in World Party) since his creative peak in the mid Nineties. At that time he'd cracked the Grammy-nominated album...

The Newbeats: I Like Bread and Butter (1964)

The Newbeats: I Like Bread and Butter (1964)

This should come with a consumer warning: It's one of those songs you wake up with nagging away in the back of your brain, the song you can't shake and sticks with you all day. So you have been warned. The Newbeats from Shreveport, Louisiana were never destined for greatness or longevity. There was only so much you could do after a...

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: A Treasure (Reprise)

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: A Treasure (Reprise)

While many of us would wish Neil Young release the next long-awaited installement of his Archives series (ho ho ho, like that'll happen any time soon), in his wilful and non-chronological release schedule it was almost expected a follow-up to the terrific and raw Le Noise would be . . . a country music album. But even so, A Treasure is a...

Neil Young and the Bluenotes: This Note's For You (1988)

Neil Young and the Bluenotes: This Note's For You (1988)

An artist, sportsperson or public figure who doesn't accept, let alone solicit, corporate money these days is a rarity, possibly even considered somewhat odd -- and maybe even suspect. But back when people like Michael Jackson and Madonna were lining up for Pepsi/Coke dollars and rap stars were schilling for shoes, Neil Young stepped out and...

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

In Dublin, at the end of the final U2 concert on the Lovetown tour in 1989 -- broadcast to 200 million in a live radio link up -- Bono said they would now “go away and dream it all up again”. From a scrappy post-punk band at the start of the decade they had delivered half a dozen albums which connected them with a global...

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...

Rod Stewart: Singer, believe it or not

Rod Stewart: Singer, believe it or not

When Rod Stewart came to New Zealand in 1992 he wasn't doing any interviews. He was sick of questions about his then-wife Rachel Hunter. And so the shutters went up. I spoke with him. It was easy. I simply let it be known I couldn't give a toss about his wife, I wanted to talk to him as a singer and songwriter (an aspect of Rod which is too...

Henry Rollins: The power and the passion

Henry Rollins: The power and the passion

There are some musicians you don't want to meet. For me Neil Young is the never-again category for rudeness, and Henry Rollins just as matter of personal safety. He was a nice guy actually, but he almost broke my hand. Deliberately. It was on his first tour to New Zealand and he was in his ranting-poet mode rather than fronting some...

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Ray Columbus seldom rang me at the Herald unless he had something to say. I liked him for that, he wasn't a time waster. But once he called and said he had an American friend in town that I might like to meet, the guy who was the lead singer for the one-hit wonder 60s band the Newbeats. Before we go any further let me tell what I know about...

U2: My unforgettable fire

U2: My unforgettable fire

It was quite a few years ago now but I'll never forget it. U2 damn near killed me. Them, the Arizona sun, a famous architect and tequila actually. It was during their Pop-Mart tour -- the one with the giant Spinal Tap-like lemon -- and I happened to be driving around America. They were scheduled to play at the huge Sun Devil Stadium in...

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...

Mark Knopfler: Why the long face, son?

Mark Knopfler: Why the long face, son?

When former Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler came to New Zealand to play in 2005 I read the interview in the Herald about his terrible motorcycle accident . . . and burst out laughing. Not because of his injuries but about how he was described. He sounded like he was still the same miserable, awkward cuss I had met a few years previous....

Quincy Jones: The professional in the pissoir.

Quincy Jones: The professional in the pissoir.

So there I was at the urinal when Quincy Jones walks and says, "Hi Graham". It was awkward to shake his hand so I just nodded and asked him if he was enjoying his evening. Now Quincy -- who famously said "You can't shine shit", but that was before boy bands and Dido -- didn't get where he is by being rude, so said he was having a fine...

Gladys Knight: Talent with talons

Gladys Knight: Talent with talons

Press conferences are a waste of time and no sensible journalist entertains them. Ask your best question and everyone else gets the great answer. And if you are a print journalist those lazy slime from television go to air that night with it and you can wait a day to see it in the paper. And then your mates think you copied it from...

Mick Jagger and me: Passing ships

Mick Jagger and me: Passing ships

It's a little known fact, but Mick Jagger and I are real tight. And that's not just me saying that. The last time I saw Jagger -- whom I call Mick, of course -- he shook my hand and said, "Graham, we're real tight." Of course there's a back-story here. Let me put this in the greater context. It was November 88 and Mick was in town with...

Kurt Cobain: Gun, head and Smithereens.

Kurt Cobain: Gun, head and Smithereens.

As with most people of a "certain age" I can remember where I was when I heard John F Kennedy had been shot ( I was in bed), and when I was told another Kennedy had gone the way of the gun (in bed again, there's a pattern emerging). Of course I also remember John Lennon's murder (came in with the kids from soccer and it was on...

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)...

Bob Geldof: Which one do you want?

Bob Geldof: Which one do you want?

It is sometimes easy to forget -- and you suspect at times he does too -- but Bob Geldof is actually a musician. He was in musician mode when he came to town in April 91 because he'd released an album called The Vegetarians of Love which had enjoyed favourable reviews --- but suffered from abysmal sales. And so Bob was out on the road...

Roger McGuinn: The Byrd who can't fly from his past

Roger McGuinn: The Byrd who can't fly from his past

The backstage meet'n'greet is usually an uncomfortable if not dire affair. Record company types, tour managers, promoter's flunkies and various levels of B-grade guests -- such a myself -- mill around waiting for that quick handshake with someone whose music you might like, and whom you'd probably not want to invite home for dinner. I avoid...

Ocean Colour Scene: Here in my Heart

Ocean Colour Scene: Here in my Heart

It was one of the saddest days I can recall, and yet it had started out so well in Birmingham, a place where I had been drawn to interview the Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene in their hometown. It was 1998 I think. OCS never really made an impact in New Zealand, which was a pity because the night I saw them they were spectacularly good,...

The Knack: And How To Lose It

The Knack: And How To Lose It

Okay, this is how I remember The Knack and its lead singer Doug Feiger, but it was a long time ago so the memory may be dodgy. It was August 13, 1979 to be exact and the ads boasted "biggest band in the world in NZ at their peak". They were playing at Mainstreet in Auckland. That claim was true, oddly enough: at the very...

Sheryl Crow: I'm With the Band

Sheryl Crow: I'm With the Band

For many years in the States doors would open for me when I said, "Hi, I'm Chris. I'm with the band". Apparently I look like a "Chris" and with long hair I guess it seemed feasible I might be somehow "with the band". But this ploy worked more often than not, and so through I would go, into media conferences,...

The Cranberries: Even the faithful departed

The Cranberries: Even the faithful departed

At the time, flying from London to Tokyo to interview the Cranberries seemed like a good idea. It was May '96 and they would be coming to New Zealand for a show shortly afterwards. My job -- at least in the mind of the record company and promoter who were footing the bill -- would be for me to interview the band, see the show, get excited, and...

Joan Osborne: Taking qawwali to the kids

Joan Osborne: Taking qawwali to the kids

Burlington in Vermont was just starting to take on the complexion of winter when I dropped out of the sky into its verdant beauty. Little wafts of snow were blown around the trunks of the trees and I pulled my collar in close as I left the small airport and looked for a cab. I liked the place immediately and the cab driver was a friendly guy...

Stevie Wonder: The Wonder of You

Stevie Wonder: The Wonder of You

The curious thing about going to meet famous people is sometimes you don't recognise them and end up sitting in the bar or cafe counting the ceiling fans until you realise your prey is that little bald guy over there. No such problem with Stevie Wonder, and not just because his braids are like a flag which announces his presence. Nope, I...

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