Summary: What does it take to maintain a career in music? We track down members of bands that flirted with stardom and find out what their lives are like now. How did it feel to get that first big break? What was fame like at its peak? What was the transition back into normal life like? And what have you been doing since?
Jesus Jones broke big in 1991 when their second album Doubt catapulted them into one of the biggest bands in the world. Hits like the still ever-present "Right Here Right Now" have never gone away, and have provided a nice living for lead singer Mike Edwards. So, expectations were high when they released the follow-up, 1993's Perverse. Unfortunately, that album underperformed mightily and the Jesus Jones bubble burst. The band released a couple more albums, but to less fanfare. Today, Mike and the band record and release music once in a while and are currently working on a Pledge Music campaign to fund a new album. Through it all, Mike remains a pretty unaffected guy, but also grateful for the success his hits have provided. https://www.jesusjones.com/
Paul grew up in the music industry of Los Angeles where hanging out with famous rock stars was no big deal. His dad worked for Capitol Records and helped discover acts like the Beach Boys and Bob Seger while his mom was an in demand session singer. After serving a mission for the LDS church, Paul dove headfirst into his own music career with his first major break through being a fruitful collaboration with producing icon Giorgio Moroder. From there he was selected to front a band put together by songwriting legend Holly Knight called Device. They only managed one excellent album called 22B3 and one top 40 hit with "Hanging On a Heart Attack" which reached #35 in 1986. After that he was pegged to join the second installment of popular band Animotion. With them he sang on the top 10 1989 smash "Room to Move". Once Animotion fizzled out, Paul eventually decided to leave the chaotic music business for a more normal life in the network marketing industry and settled in Provo, UT. It's been a wild ride, but Paul's never lost his head.
Johnny Hates Jazz was about to get big. Real big. In 1987 their seminal hit "Shattered Dreams" just hit #2 in the US (other singles did well in the UK and other parts of the world), they had a memorable band name, sleek videos, and the future looked bright. But, suddenly front man Clark Datchler decided he needed to leave the band and venture out on his own. In this engrossing conversation, Clark details what lead him to make that decision and how it impacted his bandmates. Basically, along with global success came an awakening to the sad, dark side of life on this planet as a member of the human race. It stirred within him a desire to fix what he could and inspire others to do the same. It's motivated him personally and creatively ever since and is at the core of who he is. So, get ready to go deep with a fascinating gentleman! http://johnnyhatesjazz.com/
Happy 2nd Birthday to us! This week we celebrate by having as our guest, one of the greatest drummers of the British alternative scene, Mel Gaynor of Simple Minds! Mel's the unmistakable beat behind iconic tracks like "Waterfront", "Alive and Kicking", "Promised You a Miracle" and, of course, "Don't You (Forget About Me)". Mel is now working on his first ever solo album set for release later this year which could include a US tour! We talk about why sometimes he gets the call to be in Simple Minds and sometimes he doesn't, how the late-great Robert Palmer appears on Mel's current cover of "Addicted to Love", and what the highlights of his career have been. http://melgaynor.com/
People who know will tell you that Max Carl has one of the greatest voices of any living soul singer, white or black. Max may not be a household name, but he's pieced together a successful workmanlike career for over 40 years. He's put out a few solo albums dating back to the mid-70s, he's fronted a few successful bands, namely Jack Mack & the Heart Attack, .38 Special, and Grand Funk Railroad where he's been employed for going on 17 years. He's written songs for artists like Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Aaron Neville, and Joe Cocker and sang with legends like Rod Stewart, Elton John and Don Henley. His most recognizable legacy may be writing and singing "Second Chance", one of .38 Special's biggest hits or having his track "The Circle" featured on the Weird Science soundtrack. He's an extremely kind, sensitive and intelligent man and I love his perspective on the ups and downs of his career. http://www.maxcarl.net/
The word pioneer gets thrown around a lot, but in the case of Genya Ravan it is well-earned. Genya's career has included so many "firsts", it's a crime she isn't a household name. She went from being a virginal topless model to fronting the first ever all-girl group signed to a major label with Goldie and the Gingerbreads. From there she led the popular blues/jazz group Ten Wheel Drive before going solo in the 70s and releasing a number of stellar solo albums (especially 1978's Urban Desire and 1979's ... And I Mean It!). While recording some of her own exceptional music, she also produced one of the greatest punk albums of all time, The Dead Boys' 1977 masterpiece Young Loud and Snotty. She has seen and done it all and lived to tell the fantastic story (she also published her autobiography The Lollipop Lounge, a must-read). She's the freest of spirits and biggest of personalities. An underground legend! http://www.genyaravan.com/
The 70s were a beautiful time for earnest, heartfelt singer-songwriters. One of the most versatile was Henry Gross, whose one and only hit was 1976's "Shannon". This tune about Beach Boy Carl Wilson's dead dog reached #6 in 1976 and placed Henry alongside contemporaries like James Taylor and Jim Croce as a force to be reckoned with. Henry is also an example of perseverance because, though "Shannon" was as good as it got on the charts, he has continued to record and perform, never losing his thirst for finding another great song. His vibrant energy leaps out of the speakers in this conversation as we ruminate on everything from music careers and creativity to politics and faith. He even talks about his Woodstock experience when he was the youngest performer that weekend (18 years old) while a member of Sha Na Na. I also get to tell him an impactful story on how he kinda sorta inspired this podcast. Enjoy! http://www.henrygross.com/
This week we celebrate the big 100 with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stu Cook, bassist for the legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival! Everyone knows and loves the music of CCR, but sadly the band has been fraught with tension almost from the beginning. In this intensely candid conversation, Stu lays out the reasons for much of the dysfunction. It basically comes down to lead-singer and main songwriter John Fogerty on one side and Stu and drummer Doug Clifford on the other. Thankfully, Stu and Doug have been able to soldier on for over 20 years now as Creedence Clearwater Revisited playing the songs they helped to make famous. Stu also discusses CCR's Woodstock experience, the drama behind that awkward Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and the reasons for the many legal battles that have erupted over the years. We are supremely honored to have Stu celebrate the 100 milestone with us! And there's also a giveaway, so listen til the end. http://creedence-revisited.com/
What can you say that hasn't already been said about an artist that defined a decade? We're kicking off our series on the 70s with one of the biggest musicians in history - Harry Wayne Casey, leader of KC and the Sunshine Band! They had dozens of hits you know by heart and sold 100 million records in the process. So, how does Harry look back on his career? We talk about those dark retirement years in the 80s, what inspired him to write such infectious songs, the literal fallout of the Disco Sucks movement, and what his daily routine is. Simply put - he's one of the most successful artists of all time. He also continues to release new music on occasion, such as his new song "Movin' Your Body" which will be out any day now! http://www.heykcsb.com/
Dana Dane came up in the rap game out of the Fort Green projects of Brooklyn with his best friend Slick Rick in the mid-80s. He created quite a stir in the underground with his debut album Dana Dane With Fame and lead single "Cinderfella Dana Dane". Even though the future looked bright for Dana, and with With Fame selling a promising half a million copies, two subsequent albums never quite caught on and he pretty much left recording after his third album in 1995. But, these challenges just caused him to diversify. He went on to write a bestseller and start a multi-media company. We talk about those early days with Slick Rick, how he's navigated the ups and downs of his career, what it was like opening for his favorite group Whodini, and him slowly easing back into music.
P.M. Dawn were one of the most revolutionary voices in hip-hop history and, frankly, they don't get the credit they deserve. Led by primary creative visionary Prince Be, the sibling duo brought colors and textures to rap that weren't there before and have influenced the more creative hip-hop we hear today. Sadly, Prince Be passed away last year, one of the many heart-breaking deaths from 2016, putting an end to a singular vision and voice. We are honored to have his partner and brother DJ Minutemix (aka Eternal, aka Jarrett Cordes) on this week to fill us in on how the family is doing, what Be was like and the spriritual influences of their music, the story behind giant hits like "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" and "I'd Die Without You", and why someone named Doc G is out there calling himself P.M. Dawn.
Drummer Hilly Michaels has had one of the juiciest careers in rock. Beginnig from his early teenage days making music with best chum Michael Bolton, Hilly's path has taken him from the top to the bottom and back again. In the 70s, a tight friendship with Mick Ronson paved the way for collaborations with everyone from John Mellencamp to Ian Hunter to Ellen Foley. He even joined Sparks there for a while as well as the Dan Hartman Band with mysterious recluse Vinnie Vincent. He was even invited to join Kiss - twice! He managed to release two albums of his own, the 1980 masterpiece Calling All Girls, which featured the titular single (which happened to be the 94th video ever played on MTV) and an experimental second album, Lumia, which brought an end to his recording career. Every step along the way deserves it's own conversation, but in this one you'll get some of his best stories and get to know a truly sweet man. Kamikazee!
1987 was a great year for alternative blue-eyed soul music coming out of the UK. Bands like Breathe, Swing Out Sister, the Kane Gang and Hipsway brought a highly sophisticated sound to pop and dance music with a lot of funky horns and bass. My favorite of these groups was Curiosity Killed the Cat who did well in the UK, but had only one near-miss single in the states with "Misfit" which reached #42 that year. Part of CKTC's magic was the soulful voice of lead singer Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot. Unfortunately, the band only lasted a couple albums. Today, Ben is out there performing under the CKTC name to rapt crowds on the nostalgia circuit. In this conversation, we talk about the early club days, what he does now, and how Andy Warhol got involved with the band. Ben was one of the reasons I started this podcast and he wasn't easy to find, so I'm extremely grateful he talked to me.
Does it get anymore "indelible" than maybe the most long-lasting hit of the 80s, "Walking On Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves? This #9 hit from 1985 has continued to live on for decades thanks to its use in everything from movie trailers to commercials. Kimberley Rew is the man that wrote that song, as well as most other songs for Katrina and the Waves, as well as being their guitarist. What casual fans of the band may not know is that there are dozens of primo power pop gems in their catalog and Kimberley is a top-flight songwriter. Before the Waves, Rew was a founding member of the highly acclaimed and influential post-punk band The Soft Boys. That short-lived band was fronted by the great Robyn Hitchcock, who went on to have his own successful solo career as well. So, being a trendsetter is part of Kimberley's make-up. We also talk about BMG purchasing the rights to KatW's catalog for 10 million pounds in 2015, their out-of-nowhere win in the Eurovision song contest in 1997 and his noteworthy solo career. Get to know the man behind the song! http://www.kimberleyrew.com/
Who can ever forget Musical Youth, those five cute black kids from Birmingham England who had a major worldwide smash with 1983's "Pass The Dutchie". The group, who it should be said wrote many of their own songs and played their own instruments, put out two albums before calling it quits while still in their teens. Unfortunately, some of the traps of life after child stardom crept in - financial problems, legal issues, death. Co-lead singer Dennis Seaton passes on to us some of his well-earned wisdom from those days. He also shines as an example of perseverance. Today, Musical Youth is back out there with Dennis and keyboardist Michael Grant, and they're even working on new music. As it should be! https://www.facebook.com/musicalyouthofficial/