Alligator Records founder/president Bruce Iglauer joins the Blues Rock Show to discuss the 50th anniversary of Alligator Records and 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music, discovering Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, how record labels are adapting to technology changes in the music business, and more.
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Live music is back in the States and Chip Z’Nuff is one of the first out on the road. With the soon to be released ‘Never Enuff’ Box Set just about to drop there’s also 40 vintage Enuff Z’Nuff Demos for fans to savor.
For those that know me, they’ll know home much I love Enuff Z’Nuff who over the years have put out some wonderful albums. Both Chip and Donnie of course still continue to make great music and it’s always a pleasure to catch up with them. We managed to get hold of Chip a couple of days ago as Enuff Z’Nuff were preparing to hit the stage with Faster Pussycat from Fort Worth on the Quarantine Tour. We got to talk all about what it’s like to be back on the road and also about the new collection.
Look out for the review of ‘Never Enuff’ coming later today! The album hits August 27th!
Watch the interview here
From the vault of bassist Chip Z’nuff and vocalist Donnie Vie comes this long buried treasure of early ’80s demos that chronicle the very birth of melodic glam rockers Enuff Z’nuff. Never Enuff – Rarities & Demos, officially scheduled for release on August 27, features high-quality studio recordings consisting entirely of unreleased, original material written by Z’nuff and Vie as they honed their songcraft in the years leading up to their 1989 Atlantic Records self-titled debut album, which featured the massive hit singles “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle.” All of the band’s elements were present in these early days – the Beatles-esque melodies, the dynamic harmonies, and the feel-good, hippy-vibe energy – all of which have served to make Enuff Z’nuff one of the longest lasting acts to emerge from the glam metal explosion. Just give a listen to the melodic rocker “Bye Bye Love” that the band shares today on digital platforms. No, it’s not a cover of The Everly Brothers well-known song but its melody is just as effervescent and unforgettable, and but a taste of things to come!
Stream/download “Bye Bye Love”: https://orcd.co/enuff_znuff_bye_bye_love
The Never Enuff box comes in both physical formats, as either a 3CD set or 4LP vinyl set with spectacular psychedelic colored vinyl. Both formats include a deluxe booklet featuring numerous rare and unseen photos of the band, many of them shot by veteran photographer Paul Natkin, as well as fan submitted photos from over the years. The booklet’s liner notes were penned by Z’nuff and Vie themselves sharing details about their early struggles in making a name for themselves, defining and refining the band’s sound, and surviving their hard-partying youth!
Pre-order the CD: https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/enuff-znuff-never-enuff-rarities-demos-3cd/
Pre-order the Vinyl: https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/enuff-znuff-never-enuff-rarities-demos-4-lp-box/
Pre-order/pre-save the digital: https://orcd.co/enuff_znuff_never_enuff
The Loving Belly is a unique collection by artist Courtney Whitman relating to the therapeutic benefits of combining food and music. Through personal essays and photography, the intersection of food, music, literature, and mental health is celebrated through unique culinary valentines to honor food and musical nourishment.
All meals, recipes, and food scenes in the blog are inspired by goth, industrial, and darkwave bands, from the 4AD catalogue to Drab Majesty to Hante., NIN to Clan of Xymox, Joy Division to Fields of the Nephilim.
“I’ve also created recipes/memoirs that are inspired by dark books in relationship to my experiences with mental health and traumatic experiences,” says Whitman. “Not music per-se, but would likely still resonate with…fans of post-punk. The photo series that accompany these projects are consistent with the dark aesthetic that runs across the rest of my work.”
Post-Punk interviewed Courtney Whitman about the blog and the meaning behind it.
When and why did you start The Loving Belly?
I started dreaming of having a food blog when I was in my early 30s, back in 2012. That was the year my digestion really started to fall apart, and I had to drastically change my diet in order to try to manage it. This involved lots of time spent hacking conventional recipes, looking for a way to prepare them that was compatible with those new dietary restrictions. I wanted to share those hacks with other people who were struggling with the same digestive challenges, and offer comfort.
But for years, the blog remained a fantasy and nothing more. I was undiagnosed bipolar type 2, and I was crumbling under the pressure of modern, mainstream, adult life: the office job, the grueling hours, the unsustainable levels of stress. It wasn’t until 2017, when a repetitive strain injury forced me to stop, taking me out of work for 8 months, that I was able to rest, recover, and reevaluate my life, creating space for The Loving Belly to emerge.
I couldn’t use a computer during that time, so most of my activities involved embodiment, and the kitchen was where I came back to life. I spent hours there each day, listening to music, working with my hands, and dancing while I cooked. The great reward would come at the end of the day, when I would sit on the floor in front of my stereo with a bowl of stew, put on a record, close my eyes, and eat slowly, giving the food and the music my full attention. It was a deeply restorative practice.
Do you think food and music are similar in the way they stir the soul and emotions?
In terms of stirring the soul, I think that both music and eating can be a form of meditation, a nourishing refuge in which to shelter from the pressures of modern life. A way to tune out the noise, ground into being, and alter one’s state of consciousness without taking a drug. Sharing a meal with someone socially can be special, but I’m also very fond of taking meals in solitude, where the only focus is the act of eating…And at the end of the day, one of my favorite things to do is to lay on the floor and do nothing while listening to music that I love, and just dissolve into it. Music is the easiest access gateway to the divine for me.
What were your favorite bands growing up?
As a little kid, I really liked the B52s and The Thompson Twins, and also the music of The Minneapolis Sound, that fusion of funk with synth-pop. My father was really into ‘80s New Wave when I was little so I was exposed to a lot of interesting music through him. But he was also a flower child of the ‘60s who had grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area and had the opportunity to see some incredible shows. He taught me about Pink Floyd, and that was something very special that we shared together. As a teenager in the ‘90s, I was obsessed with Nine Inch Nails, which paved the way to discovering the world of goth and industrial. I loved Skinny Puppy and Wax Trax! I loved all the 4AD bands, like This Mortal Coil, Dead Can Dance, and Cocteau Twins. But I also loved Sonic Youth, and more mainstream bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, which primed me for getting into shoegaze and psychedelic music later on. As a teenager, my sister was really into ambient music. She would take me for night drives down foggy country roads and play me songs like “In Dark Trees” by Brian Eno. I still remember those musical drives vividly and hold them close to my heart.
Who are your favorite new bands?
I think the post-punk genre is experiencing a renaissance of quality music, and it’s an exciting time to be alive as a music lover. There are so many new bands that I love, but the ones I have the most meaningful connection to are Drab Majesty, Tamaryn, and Automelodi. Another new darkwave band that I’m looking forward to hearing more from is Ruin of Romantics…I’d also love to give a shoutout to a beautiful EP many people might not have heard of: Sapphire and Steel by Primal Wound…they describe their sound as “Enyacore.”
Are there any synaesthetic associations between music from your favorite bands, and your favorite foods? What bands if any would you pair with listening to some of your favorite foods and albums?
I love this question, but honestly, it’s only ever happened a few times. Hearing “Dream on Fire” by Bohren & Der Club of Gore always makes me want a nice glass of red wine, and to just sit down, sip, and take in the decadence of that track. When I listen to Unknown Rooms by Chelsea Wolfe I want to binge drink ginger tea.
Can you tell us about your Joy Division recipe?
The Joy Division project was about my experience with orthorexia, which is a form of eating disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with eating healthy food, and that obsession becomes destructive. I fell into orthorexia innocently, as most people do: I needed to follow certain dietary restrictions in order to manage some chronic health problems I was dealing with. But as treatments failed to produce results, and those health problems worsened, food began to seem like the only chance for a cure. I made the dietary restrictions more extreme, and my orthorexia spiraled out of control. My life became dominated by restriction and fear, especially fear of food. It was a confusing and solemn place to be, for someone who had always taken such pleasure from food.
The story of the road to recovery from that period in my life is a long one, and I get into that extensively in the memoir I published to my blog, “I’m Not Afraid Anymore: Healing From Orthorexia With Potato Leek Soup + Embracing Unknown Pleasures.” But in short, as the medical problems faded away, so did my Orthorexia, and during that recovery period, while walking to work, I listened to Insight by Joy Division. It was a song I’d heard a thousand times before, but that day, it was different. When Ian Curtis sang “I’m not afraid anymore,” I felt the emancipation of those words in a way I never had before, practically skipping down the street with euphoria. That experience was special to me, and why I wanted to create a recipe to honor it.
Part of healing from orthorexia is beginning to gradually test the waters with the foods you are afraid of. For the Joy Division recipe, I worked with 2 ingredients I had previously brainwashed myself into fearing: dairy and potatoes. I wanted to reclaim them, and also use them to discuss food pleasure in conjunction with happy memories I had of eating potato leek soup when I was on a road trip through Ireland with my husband. The Ireland trip haunted me throughout the orthorexia period, because it was a time in which I seemed to be able to eat anything without suffering health consequences. The recipe was about letting go of fear, embracing things I had forbidden myself to enjoy, and finding pleasure in food again.
Can you tell us about your Drab Majesty recipe?
The Drab Majesty recipe was a way for me to honor what discovering their music meant to me during a time in which I was in a social media hell hole. I published the recipe to my blog alongside a memoir called “Instagram, Capitalism, and Vampires: Confessions of a Food Blogger + A Gluten-Free Venetian Feast for Drab Majesty’s Modern Mirror.” The memoir was about my negative experience using Instagram to try to make The Loving Belly be the way I earned a living, how that affected my mental health, my relationship to my art practice, and why I decided to go back to my day job.
Letting go of that dream was a long and painful process, and something I avoided for an extended period of time. Running away took various forms, one of which involved me going out alone to dance at a goth club right before Covid lockdown. The club had a glorious sound system, and it was there that I heard Drab Majesty’s “Oxytocin” for the first time. It was one of the most potent and transcendent music-listening experiences of my life, and I wrote about dancing to it in real time, and how it facilitated my catharsis. I became a massive Drab Majesty fan after that experience, starting with Modern Mirror since Oxytocin had been my gateway to their music. I was excited to learn that Modern Mirror is a concept album inspired by the myth of Narcissus, set within a contemporary digital landscape…The recipe I created, “Spaghetti Alle Vongole with Lemon, Saffron, Thyme, and Pinkish Wine,” is an homage to the wonderful cloaked Venetian gondolier photos of Drab Majesty that were taken by Muted Fawn in Venice for Modern Mirror, Spaghetti Alle Vongole being a popular dish in Venice, and the first meal I had when I was in Venice long ago.”
Can you tell us about the Nine Inch Nails Recipe?
There are actually two Nine Inch Nails recipes: “Roasted Cocoa Spice Pork Shoulder With Bleeding Heart Beet Relish + Love Letter To The Downward Spiral,” and “Stale Incense Old Sweat And Thighs Thighs Thighs: Persian-Spiced NIN Chicken With Forbidden Black Cardamom Rose Rice.” Ultimately they were excuses for me to have fun playing with visual influences that had made a big impression on me at a formative age, like the “Closer” video and the collection of videos for Broken, giving a BDSM treatment to food photography, while writing about my deep love for NIN.
For The Downward Spiral, I created a pork recipe to be in harmony with motifs of pigs that run across the album, with a heart beet relish on the side as a nod to the iconic beating heart in the Closer video. I published it alongside a short memoir about how validating and empowering TDS was for me as a troubled middle schooler, seeing NIN on The Self Destruct Tour in tandem with starting high school, and how magical that experience was, because it was my first rock concert, I had managed to get to the front of the stage, and Trent Reznor was my hero.The recipe I created for Pretty Hate Machine, “Stale Incense Old Sweat And Thighs Thighs Thighs: Persian-Spiced NIN Chicken With Forbidden Black Cardamom Rose Rice,” is more tongue in cheek, just a fun, line-by-line interpretation of some of the lyrics “Sin,” expressed through a food photography series. The spice blend for the chicken thighs is meant to evoke incense and is based on “Advieh,” a Persian spice mix made with cumin, cloves, cinnamon, rose petals, black pepper, turmeric, and cardamom. The forbidden black cardamom rose rice was a way to evoke taboo desire through food, and is cooked in a sweaty bath of rosewater, cardamom, pink salt, raisins, and ghee.
Can you tell us about the Fields of the Nephilim Recipe?
The heart-shaped “And-There-Will-Your-Heart-Beet-Also Muffins” made with freshly grated beetroot were created in tribute to my favorite FOTN album, Elizium, and the album’s final track, “And There Will Your Heart Be Also.” I published the recipe to my blog alongside a short essay about the beauty of the album and its metaphysical narrative of romantic love after death, including a discussion of the influence of Richard Mattheson’s book, What Dreams May Come, on the concept of the album. It’s on the blog as “Gluten-Free And-There-Will-Your-Heart-Beet-Also Muffins, Death Anxiety + Love Letter To Elizium.”
Can you tell us more about the Cranberries recipe?
I created “The Cranberries Sauce” out of necessity because I don’t generally eat sugar, and most cranberry sauce recipes contain an absurd amount of it, which I think results in a dish that tastes more like jello than cranberries. I wanted to create something where the tartness of the fruit came through, without any sugar, sweetened instead with a handful of raisins, a little bit of orange juice, and lots of comforting warming winter spices like cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. I published the recipe alongside a short memoir about my introduction to The Cranberries while channel surfing on a rainy day back in 1993, when I caught a fleeting glimpse of the last half of the “Dreams” video. I was very taken with the imagery of Dolores O’Riordan wandering through the green fields of Ireland in her long red coat, and have wanted a coat like that ever since. I’ve yet to find the coat, but “The Cranberries Sauce” and its vibrant garnet color is a bit of an ode to that longing.
Are there bands in the future you would like to combine with a recipe?
I’m currently working on an extensive project about my father’s death that involves Ministry’s Twitch and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. I’m also working on a summertime recipe inspired by an anecdote from Trevor Ristow’s excellent Sisters of Mercy biography, Waiting For Another War.
If you could host a dinner party for musicians, who would you pair together for conversation, and what would you serve them? (You can give us more than one answer…)
I’d love to host every band I love for a wholesome and restorative meal to revive them from travel burnout whenever they pass through San Francisco on tour. I dream of passing them steaming mugs of tea and letting them pass out on my couches, wrapped in blankets, while I cook for them.
The post The Loving Belly Turns Post-Punk Bands Into Food and Flowers—Interview appeared first on Post-Punk.com.
Photo: Tony Braunagel by Laura Carbone By Martine Ehrenclou Tony Braunagel is an American drummer, producer, composer and songwriter from Houston, Texas, now based in Los Angeles, CA. Braunagel has played on many film scores and television shows as well as numerous albums as a musician, composer and producer. As a session drummer and percussionist, he’s played on [Continue]
Mike Zito joins the Blues Rock Show fresh off his two wins at the Blues Music Awards to discuss his new album, Resurrection, recording during the pandemic, his thoughts on livestreaming, working at Guitar Center with Devon Allman, how running a record label has changed his perspective as an artist, playing music with his son, and more.
Photo: Bishop Gunn by Anthony Scarlati By Tom Scarborough The annals of Rock are littered with the wreckage of bands of immense promise that hit the self-destruct button too soon. Many of us—especially those of us who are Boomers—have seen the soaring trajectories and spectacular flameouts of many talented artists who flew too [Continue]
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram joins the Blues Rock Review to discuss what prompted his quick ascension in blues rock, potentially collaborating with Gary Clark Jr., Robert Johnson’s mysterious past, whether he would be interested in being cast in a Crossroads movie reboot, and his new album, 662, available July 23.
The post The Blues Rock Show with Christone “Kingfish” Ingram appeared first on Blues Rock Review.
Back in the early 90’s one of the best live bands you’d see in the pubs and clubs of Australia was Nick Barker and the Reptiles. They toured relentlessly and always put on a memorable show. It’s been 30 years now since the second of their two great albums ‘After the Show’ and now they’re back! It’s not a huge tour though to celebrate but just the two select dates one at The Bridge Hotel in Sydney on Saturday 16th October and the other a couple of weeks later at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on Saturday 30th October. It’s pretty much unmissable if either you remember them back in the day or have heard the legends! We caught up with Nick to remember the great days when shows were full and strange cocktails were invented for the occasion! Did we mention card games? They invented one of those too!
Nick: Hey Mark!
Mark: Hey Nick how are you?
Nick: I’m good man, I’d be better if I could work this out!
Mark: There you’ve got it! I was sat here trying to remember the last time I saw you live, it must have been three or four years ago in Melbourne.
Nick: Oh you’re in Melbourne?
Mark: No, I was then but I’m sadly over here now in Perth in the beautiful West.
Nick: I’m not sure if it’s ‘sadly’ with the lockdown! I think you’re sitting nicely there in the Republic of Western Australia!
Mark: (laughs) We may still devolve if things continue!
Mark: It’s great to read you’re playing some shows. It’s the 30th Anniversary this year too of that second album ‘After the Show’ which I think just shades it as my favourite ‘Reptiles’ album.
Nick: I didn’t even think of that. It’s so funny you get to this point in your career and you can pretty much pluck an anniversary! (laughs)
Mark: Yeah there’s a few! I remember back in the day when I lived in Sydney seeing you guys quite regularly out in the pubs.
Nick: I was thinking about that the other day, you know. With Sydney someone sent me an old tour schedule thing. With Sydney you could go and play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then go back home, and there might have been a Wollongong in there or something but that’s what you could do – there might be Carringbah, North Ryde, a show in the City – there’s no way you could do that now, you’d be pushing it to do one show in town!
Mark: Yeah, sadly the live music scene has changed considerably over the last 20 years but it’s good to see you back.
Nick: It’s funny you find yourself saying “I’m never gonna do that again, look at all these people reforming and stuff” and then you think “I kind of miss those guys” you know, we were all in our early 20’s and it’s such a big part of your life that it’s hard not to get a little nostalgic.
Mark: I know what you mean.
Nick: It’s funny talking of Anniversaries we did another show three years ago for the anniversary of ‘Another Me’ being released and we probably had four or five hundred people come out – I just sort of forgot what a good bar band ‘Reptiles’ was.
Mark: It’s was great! Always a great night out, great music and the only band alive to have done justice to an Alex Harley song! He’s a hard man to cover.
Nick: (laughs) I’ve been listening to a lot of that lately, Alex Harley. I was talking to Angry Anderson of all people and he was telling me about the time he met Alex Harley, it’s a really great story, he’s a real raconteur Angry! But he also told me another story about how he got onto Alex Harley – he was at a bar and he was talking to Bon Scott and Bon pulled out a cassette out of his jacket and pushed it into Angry’s front pocket – it was The Sensational Alex Harley Band album, and he said “Just Listen to that!” Angry told me years later when he got to meet Alex he told him that story – so there you go!
Mark: That’s a great story I know when Angry and I chat we always end up talking about music and usually of that era and normally The Faces as he’s a huge fan!
Nick: Boy is he! And he’s really exploring that side of himself when he’s doing his solo album, I hope he gets that out soon as he’s working with some really good young cats that I know down here.
Mark: That sounds pretty cool.
Nick: Ask him about the Alex Harley story though – he tells it better than me!
Mark: I will, we’ll have to touch base with him to chat about the album. And I’ve got a story I want to get out of you a little later, so we’ll leave that for now. The main reason of course we’re having a chat is you’re playing just the two dates at two of my favourite venues in Australia I think – I’ve had many a good might out at both, and you must have some great memories of those two venues?
Nick: The Corner Hotel I remember because it was one of the first places The Reptiles ever sold out on the door. It probably held about 900 people back then, and this was just after ‘After the Show’ came out. I remember being upstairs and it was just like dirty single mans quarters up there when we played!
Nick: The promoter at the time had given us, and it was a sold out show, we’d sold a lot of tickets it was packed, and he’d given us a case of West End. I don’t know if you know what West End beer is?
Mark: (laughs) from Adelaide!
Nick: Yeah (laughs) and we were big beer drinkers and this was just nun’s piss! It was horrible! And warm! (laughs) And I remember because Chris told me when we were talking that I must hold the record for throwing a case of beer at somebody because he was at one end of the hall – the promoter and we were at the other and I threw the case of beer down the hallway upstairs at The Corner and he reckons I must have thrown it about 15 feet! “We’re not drinking this piss!” So he went out and got us a case of cold VB!
Mark: It should be an Olympic sport! (laughs) Great venues though, I’ve spent so much time in places like that watching great music!
Nick: They’re dirty pubs you know, and I don’t mean that in a hygiene sense, I just mean they haven’t really been… They haven’t had the guts sucked out of them by trendy renovations and they’ve managed to retain.. and you know I’ve played at the Corner hundreds of times and The Bridge quite a lot too. We played at The Bridge a few years ago doing something and it hasn’t changed, it’s still got that pub feel. And that’s what The Reptiles were – we were just a good bar band and so if we were going to do a show we wanted to just pay homage to us and also those pubs. Let’s face it those type of rooms are the ones that have suffered the most during this lockdown. It’s the in-between rooms that have really copped it.
Mark: They definitely have. Now let’s get to that story because I’ve never heard it but it mentioned it in the press release – what was the card game you invented?
Nick: (laughs) It’s not as intriguing as it sounds! It kind of speaks to how much we used to tour and how boring touring is, you know. You’re just sitting around a lot of the time. If you read any biography of any musician they talk about that ‘time in-between’! Charlie Watts famously said “It’s 5 years of touring and 20 years of sitting around! One day we got a whole big pile of, and we were playing at The Great Northern Hotel the one in Sydney, and they just had all of these drink coasters and we got 52 of them, They had all these things on them that were available at the pub – bar and bistro, live music 5 nights a week, something, something, something! (laughs) There was just a list of things and we circled things and paired them, and we’d deal them out someone would shout “I’ve got 4 – ‘5 days bar and bistro’” – that beats ‘fine dining’! It was the most ridiculous game, but we carried these coasters round with us for years and years and we’d be sat around and someone would say “Do you want a game of ‘Northers’?” We used to call it ‘Northers; because it was the great Northern Hotel! (laughs) So we’d all sit around in a circle and deal out these flea-bitten old beer coasters! It was stupid! And we’d bet on it! It was ridiculous, just one of those stupid things – pretty much like the cocktail we invented! That was Vodka and ‘Staminade’ because we worked out that we needed to be healthy as well so we decided we were going to mix our vodka – so we used to get a big thing of ‘Staminade’ on our rider – so we’d mix up this ‘Staminade’ and tip the vodka into it and take these big schooners of vodka and ‘Staminade’ on stage! (laughs)
Nick: With the reasoning that we were somehow benefitting ourselves!
Mark: So are you going to revisit those two things on these dates?
Nick: Oh I am!
Nick: I’m trying to get the Corner to do a cocktail on the night – ‘The Reptile’ which is just vodka and ‘Staminade’! It’s disgusting! (laughs) We’ll see!
Mark: (laughs) Have you picked the setlist? Have you decided what you’re gonna do?
Nick: Well, we did a show three years ago for ‘Another Me’ Anniversary and I picked the setlist out of that and it was just a beauty – you’d be surprised how much we covered – there was a lot of ‘After the Show’ in there. ‘After the Show’ – the sound of it wasn’t how I’d imagined it. We did it in Memphis at Ardent Studios where Big Star and The Replacements and Steve Earle and Georgia Satellites – all those bands recorded. And I kinda wanted it to sound like a Georgia Satellites record and we even had the same producer that did their last record ‘Land of Salvation and Sin’. So that’s how I wanted it to sound but it just never came out like that, but the songs when you play them kind of lend themselves to that. But the setlist is pretty much half of each and a couple f songs off the EP, but it’s a good one.
Mark: Sounds like it will be a fantastic night.
Nick: The band is sounding good, I’m a hard task master and because we’ve slowed down a bit and we don’t play them as fast they’ve got a lot more of that Southern Rock in them now than probably they ever had, which works, you know. I mean that’s all we ever wanted to be – Jason and the Scorchers!
Nick: And they tried to turn us into Guns ‘n’ Roses a bit, and it just failed. We were never that good of a band. Anything outside of a pub we just weren’t that good! (laughs) We were good in a pub with a litre of ‘Staminade’ and a game of weird card – that pretty much sums Reptiles up! (laughs)
Mark: (laughs) How has lockdown been for you? Have you find yourself being more creative or has it hampered things?
Nick: It’s funny you know because I did one show in 12 months and that’s funny for me because I’ve ben playing gigs since I was 17. But I wrote and recorded a record that is sort of three-quarters done. I mean I don’t want to say lockdown is good but everybody’s had their own epiphanies during it right? And you’ll get that, but for me because I want chasing my tail playing – you get in a bit of a mouse wheel doing gigs – you think you’ve got to keep doing them… And when you can’t, or when you don’t do them the record that I wrote was just has a different take on it with live music out of your mind. It’s a really good record, I’ve played a helluva lot more guitar on it, overdubbed a lot more and it has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever written. And I don’t know if that has anything to do with it but there’s certainly.. It’s strange, it’s weird thing when you take away something you’ve always done, I don’t know, its strange.
Mark: A lot of people have been saying that it’s gone one of two ways. I was talking to Billy Gibbons the other day…
Nick: (laughs) It just so happens!
Mark: (laughs) Sorry for the name-dropping! But he said it was great for him he got away from it all to the desert and just spent months making a record whereas before he’d be writing when he was playing and he’d probably get just a few weeks to put things together.
Nick: I reckon for people like that it would have been a real eye-opener because I reckon they would have people breathing down their neck to get recording and to finish songs. With me it was just more about stepping out of the loop and…. the problem with music, it doesn’t matter how old you get is that if you’re still in it you’re still trying to stay relevant all the time and even if you don’t realise it at the time you’re constantly going “I should be doing this, I should be doing that… and what if I?” And I think “Gee whizz man you’re 56, you’re not that relevant, but you’re not irrelevant!” So there’s a nice middle ground that I’ve just slipped into. And that’s 50% self realisation and 50% just being appreciative of what I have done and where I fit. And that was kinda good for me. And that’s probably why we’re doing Reptiles shows because I realise that I did miss those guys and that part of me was a real huge part of my life. So I thought don’t ignore it, embrace it and don’t cringe every time someone sends you a video of ‘Make Me Smile’ or something like that. You’ve got to take it on board a bit more.
Mark: And hopefully you’ll bring back a lot of great memories for a lot of people and also maybe get some young kids in there too to check it out. When I told people I was talking to you I got a flood of emails which is always a great sign, some the usual ones like “Why aren’t you playing Perth and Adelaide” and all that…
Mark: Which we’ll ignore but we do hope to see you over one day.
Nick: It’s just a financial thing with Perth, it always has been. I mean I’d love to come to Perth – you used to be able to come over and you could do five pub shows and we did so well in Perth, it’s an amazing Rock and Roll Town, it always was, but nowadays trying to base it around one gig is difficult.
Mark: It is. And I guess one thing about lockdown and people not coming to see us from over East is that the local scene is getting rediscovered.
Nick: Perth was always like that. I’ll never forget going to Perth and seeing cover bands like The Jets! They had their own truck! These bands were big! Because Perth was essentially by tyranny of distance was always sort of in its own lockdown, and this goes right back to Bon Scott and The Valentines – you get this sense of bands leaving Perth and going to the East Coast was like going to another country! SO Perth always had this really happening live scene that you never realised till you got over there. I remember when we came over it was like going to Rock and Roll wonderland – we used to come over and play those big Bikie Festivals and then you could do five gigs in town! Man we loved it!
Mark: It is and now we also have to contend with the Covid lottery too! Jon Stevens the other week he was over and played a few dates… if he’d been to Bluesfest the shows would have been cancelled!
Nick: Yeah it’s a worry, and they have those winery shows too – the old people’s Big Day Out! They sell serious tickets too! There’s a real appetite for it.
Mark: There is – the latest sold out.
Nick: Well that’s pretty much the catalyst for our latest shows – we got offered a similar show in the Hunter Valley – it’s with Tatts and James Reyne, Baby Animals, all those guys! And we play about 8.30 in the morning for about ten minutes!
Nick: But it was enough for us to then do The Bridge and then we were up and running an doing The Corner. So if there’s any promoters in Perth who want to chuck us on one of those we’ll be there!
Mark: Just a few quick questions to close if that’s OK, the last person I asked these was of course Billy Gibbons!
Nick: (laughs) Good company!
Mark: (laughs) And there is a connection I do believe?
Nick: Yes Joe Hardy who produced Nick Barker and the Reptiles ‘After the Show’ he did a few ZZ Top records too and that was one of the reasons we wanted to use him.
Mark: Yes Joe ‘Party’ Hardy as Billy refers to him who sadly died recently.
Nick: Yes, what a guy! Lovely guy.
Mark: So what started it off for you Nick? Was it a defining moment or a gradual realisation that music was going to become such an important part of your life?
Nick: I guess all teenagers try music at some point I had a friend and we started playing Neil Young covers in High School and then I split up with this girlfriend that I had and I wrote this kind of nasty song, well not nasty but a song about her and I remember we did this gig at the local youth centre and I played this song and she kind of bust into tears and ran out, there was all this drama. And I guess at that point I kind of thought – you know what I can actually write songs! And I sort of drifted into it from there. I was always a bass player for years and played in a lot of Post-Punk bands in Melbourne in the 80’s. Music was kind of my way in. There was a real ‘tribe’ mentality in Melbourne in the early 80’s and everybody played in bands. I played in 5 bands at once when I was sort of 17,18 – it just sort of rolled on from there really.
Mark: If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ for the creation of any great album, just to see how the magic happened in the studio – what’s the album you would have liked to have been there for?
Nick: Ooh, you know at some point I would have loved to have been a ‘fly on teh wall’ for ‘Tonight’s The Night’ by Neil Young. I would have been a fly with a tiny tumbler of tequila and a tray of honey sliders! (laughs)
Mark: That would have been the Neil Young album I would have chosen as well, there’s just something magical about that record.
Nick: We got together and played that album start to finish for the Anniversary. I put a band together down here and it’s a fun record! You know you think that record would be really difficult to play, but it’s so loose and so much fun!
Mark: I would have loved to have seen that! And let’s leave you with an easy one! What is the meaning of life?
Nick: (laughs) The meaning of life? The meaning of life? What is the meaning of life? I haven’t got a clue, I can tell you what though it’s not being locked in your lounge room I can tell you that much.
Mark: But it could be playing cards and having cocktails on the 16th of October.
Nick: (laughs) The meaning of life is playing a card game of your own making with your friends and drinking vodka and Staminade!
Mark: Brilliant! That’s the most original answer I’ve ever had Nick. Thank you so much for your time mate!
Nick: Yeah thanks man! It’s been great.
Mark: Take care stay safe!
Nick: See you mate! Cheers.
The post INTERVIEW: Nick Barker and the Reptiles talks about new shows for the Aussie Icons appeared first on The Rockpit.
When it comes to modern day blues rock, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a name that immediately comes to mind. Still in his 40s, Shepherd has been a professional musician for three decades. In 2020, Shepherd released his first live album, Straight To You Live, which was voted Blues Rock Review’s #1 Live Album of the Year.
After being off the road for over a year because of the pandemic, Shepherd is now back on tour. Blues Rock Review caught up with Shepherd while on tour to go in-depth on a variety of topics including his return to the road, what he learned from the pandemic, his thoughts on livestream concerts, whether blues and blues rock has a marketing problem, teaming up with Shemekia Copeland to address divisiveness in the blues community, the next Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band studio album, what makes a great guitar player, his proudest accomplishment, and more.
Watch the complete interview below.