Episode 193 - Brian Vander Ark of the Verve Pipe/SoloThe Hustle add
After building a devoted fanbase in their native Michigan for a few years, the Verve Pipe struck gold in 1996 when a song they'd been playing for years called "The Freshman" totally changed the game, catapulting their third album (first on a major label) Villains into double platinum territory. The world was their oyster. Unfortunately, the follow-up tanked on an epic level and they never quite regained their footing. For better or worse, the songcraft has only improved over the years, including 2017's excellent Parachute. Along the way, frontman Brian Vander Ark did his very best to stay afloat with solo albums and revolutionizing the house concert. In this chat we discuss all of it including working with producers like Jerry Harrison, Adam Schlesinger, and Bill Szymczyk, what he purchased when he finally hit it big and the impact of constantly being confused for UK band The Verve. Brian's about as down to earth as it gets and the Verve Pipe are currently on tour so catch them while you can!
Recap v.6: The Year In ReviewThe Hustle add
Jon and Jan recap the episodes from November and December and countdown their top 10 episodes of the year, as well as the listener's top 5. We also answer some listener questions AND we announce a new sidecast for 2019 that listeners should really love. 2018 turned out to be a great year for us thanks to all of you. Hopefully we can keep it going!
Episode 192 - Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel/The Slim KingsThe Hustle add
It’s time to set the record straight. Liberty DeVitto is not merely the former drummer for Billy Joel. He is a collaborator in the sounds that shaped popular music in the latter 20th century. Here we not only touch on his complicated relationship with the Piano Man; moreover, we showcase “Lib’s” immense talent on tunes that weren’t necessarily the hits.
Things to listen for:
* The song that contains percussion played on Billy’s bare chest.
*The timeless classic that cemented its place on "The Stranger" only after Linda Ronstadt & Phoebe Snow guaranteed it would help the band get girls.
*The “Glass Houses” simplistic ditty that’s covered by other artists more than any in Billy’s oeuvre.
*And finally, a never before told story about these Liberty imagined lyrics for the hit “My Life” that, once heard, can NEVER be unheard!
PS: Check out Liberty’s current gig with The Slim Kings. It’s young, fresh and far from a tired tribute band.
Episode 191 - Emilio Castillo of Tower of PowerThe Hustle add
Tower of Power have been one of the landmark r&b outfits for 50 years now. From humble beginnings in the East Bay of Northern California, co-founders and sax players Emilio Castillo and Doc Kupka started something very special that carries on today, arguably better than ever. In fact, TOP put out one of their best albums ever in 2018 called Soul Side of Town. While there have been ups and downs and stops and starts along the way (not to mention too many band members to count!) the quality has never waned and the power has never diminished. In this conversation, Emilio and I discuss all of it including his getting sober, hanging out with Sly and the Family Stone back in the day, his many 80s collaborations, and his spiritual life. We also discuss his relationship with his controversial former band member, Victor Conte. Few have ever done what they do better than TOP. They're national treasures.
Episode 190 - Chris Dunn of City BoyThe Hustle add
City Boy was a band that was almost impossible to classify. Imagine if ELO, Queen and Yes got together and decided to get weird and you're in the ballpark. They did manage to hit the pop charts once when the epic "5705" off their third album Book Early reached #27 in the states in 1978. Unfortunately, that was it in terms of the charts, but then again chart success was never the highest priority. This week we talk to bassist Chris Dunn about what fueled their quirky creativity, as well as what it was like having a young, up-and-coming producer named Mutt Lange produce their first five albums. Chris also brings a unique perspective to the show because once the music career ended, he started a successful music equipment rental business that supplied studios and producers with the exact keyboards, mics, compressors, what have you, they needed. Get to know a congenial guy with some great stories and rediscover City Boy!
Episode 189 - Derry Grehan of Honeymoon SuiteThe Hustle add
Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite might be the most undervalued melodic rock band of the 80s. Though always maintaining a profile up north, the band deserved more attention in the states and around the rest of the world. Hits like "New Girl Now," "What Does It Take" and "Feel It Again" from their 1986 masterpiece The Big Prize (produced by Bruce Fairbairn) are perfect examples of the very best that genre had to offer. Like most 80s rock bands, the 90s weren't kind to HMS and the spotlight moved on, but guitarist and primary songwriter Derry Grehan explains that today they are able to continue to tour around their native Canada. We also discuss the songs they've had in movies, working with luminaries like Bruce, Bob Rock, and Ted Templeman, and last year's excellent return to form Hands Up. Please rediscover this excellent band!
Episode 188 - Jeffrey OsborneThe Hustle add
Jeffrey Osborne is one of the greatest balladeers in r&b history. Who can ever forget his amazing performance on 80s standards like "On the Wings of Love," "We're Going All the Way," and "You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)." After leaving his first band L.T.D. he teamed with the legendary producer George Duke to become one of the most successful singer of the 80s with additional hits like "Stay With Me Tonight" and "The Borderlines." By the 90s he took a step back, but has never gone away and even released a new album this year called Worth It All. We discuss the stories behind many of his biggest hits, what it was like working with George, why he became a vegan, and what he's up to today. He's one of the best there's ever been!https://www.jeffreyosborne.com/
Episode 187 - Kevin ArmstrongThe Hustle add
Kevin Armstrong has been a go-to guitarist for some of the greatest artists of the last 35 years. After first tasting success playing with Thomas Dolby during the Golden Age of Wireless era, Kevin went on to partner with David Bowie for several years, including backing him at Live Aid and being the "unofficial" 5th member of Tin Machine. This also lead to a partnership with Iggy Pop, which continues to this day. We talk about several other artists he met along the way including Morrissey, Peter Murphy, Propaganda, Sinead O'Connor and Prefab Sprout. He was even asked to replace Johnny Marr in the Smiths at one point! He's seen and done a lot and continues to work with the best around. Also, he has a solo album coming out next month, so follow Kevin Armstrong Guitar X on facebook for details.
Bonus - Chris White of the ZombiesThe Hustle add
In this special bonus episode we chat with Zombies bassist Chris White about the resurgence the band has enjoyed over the last 15 years or so leading to them being nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a fourth time! This rediscovery is largely thanks to generations getting turned on to their excellent 1967 album Odessey and Oracle, which was a bomb at the time (though it did include the hit "Time of the Season"), but is now called out as being one of the greatest albums of all time. Chris talks about how this all has affected his life, the story behind several of his songs, why he made the decision to stop touring and remain behind the scenes, and what being inducted in the Rock Hall would mean to the band. Fans have until Friday, November 30th to vote, so time is running short!
Vote for the Zombies!
Episode 186 - Brian James of The Damned/Lords of the New Church/SoloThe Hustle add
Brian James doesn't like to sit in one spot for too long. In the mid-70s he joined up with Rat Scabies and the gang to form the pioneering punk band The Damned. That band holds many firsts - first punk band signed to a major label, first punk band to release a single with "New Rose" in 1976, and the first to tour America. But, after an ill-fated second album, the band broke up and Brian went on to play guitar with his hero, Iggy Pop. After a couple years doing that, he joined forces with the great Stiv Bators to form the gothic pop/rock band Lords of the New Church which kept him busy through the 80s until Stiv's untimely death. Since then he's released solo albums, formed super groups like the Racketeers, and collaborated with everyone from Stewart Copeland to Duff McKagan. In here he tells stories about all of it, what punk means to him today, his gratitude for his family and even how Guns n Roses covering "New Rose" changed his fortunes. Enjoy!
Episode 185 - Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks/SoloThe Hustle add
The Buzzcocks remain one of the greatest punk bands in history. Their mixture of punk's aggression with pop's hooks set them apart from their contemporaries with standards like "What Do I Get," "Autonomy," and "Ever Fallen In Love." Co-founder Steve Diggle lays out the history of the band, the effects of punk on his young psyche, the story behind the big hits, how David Bowie influenced male sexuality, and what solo projects he has coming up. Steve is still punk through and through and the band remains as vital as ever. Enjoy!
Episode 184 - Steve Barton of Translator/SoloThe Hustle add
Translator were one of those great polyglot bands of the early 80s - a little new wave, a little power pop and a lot of genres like "jangle pop" and "college rock" that hadn't even been invented yet. They released four album in the 80s and are probably best known for one of the best singles of the decade, 1982's "Everywhere That I'm Not." Eventually the band went on hiatus and Steve and his impressive songwriting skills lay dormant for a many years until 1999 when he kicked his solo career into gear. That, and the occasional Translator reunion, has been going strong ever since. Earlier this year he released his most ambitious album yet, the 3-disc (!) Tall Tales And Alibis, which shows a much darker, moodier side of this pop master. In here we talk about him starting out in music at 11 years old, the Bay Area scene Translator flourished in, what he did during those down years, and what motivated this new album. If you aren't already familiar with Steve and Translator's work, hopefully you'll hear some stuff you like!
Recap v.5: September and October and Top 3 Songs that Should've Been #1s with Special Guest Sonny PooniThe Hustle add
Jon and Jan are happy to be joined by the great Sonny "Hollywood" Pooni of the Growin' Up Rock Podcast Rock City podcasts to recap the last couple months of episodes. We also discuss the Rock n Pod Expo, how he got into podcasting, and the possible future of The Hustle. Sonny has suggested a deliciously fun topic to discuss - Top 3 songs that we wish had hit #1 between the years 1983-1989. Songs get played, names get dropped, and tastes are debated. Enjoy!
Episode 183 - Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats/SoloThe Hustle add
Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker is going to be busy for a while. Not only did his original band announce recently they were reuniting for a 40th anniversary tour in 2019 AND releasing their first album of new material in many years, Lee himself is about to release a new solo CD/DVD in December called The LOW Road! In fact, there is a Pledge Music campaign associated with the release and you can get involved at the link below. In this conversation, Lee discusses what details he can about the reunion, the current dynamic with Brian and Jim, his feelings about the new music as well as the classics even some more obscure stuff, working with Nile Rodgers, and even the illustrious side-project Phantom, Rocker and Slick. Enjoy this chat with a legend!
Episode 182 - Chris Barron of the Spin DoctorsThe Hustle add
In 1992 the Spin Doctors had an era-defining, cultural touchstone of an album on their hands when their debut, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, finally took off after months of release. It went on to sell over 3 million copies on the back of perennial hits like "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong." Unfortunately, as is often the case, the curse of the Sophomore Slump hit them pretty hard when the follow up, 1994's Turn It Upside Down, failed to take hold. Though momentum stalled, the band has carried on releasing great albums over the next 25 years. On November 8th, the band is celebrating 30 years together with a special show at the Brooklyn Bowl in NYC that is sure to make fans very happy. In this chat, frontman Chris Barron discusses the many highs and lows he's experienced over these 30 years, partially being inspired to make music by school chum John Popper of Blues Traveler, what his life is like now, and his recent solo album, 2017's Angels and One-Armed Jugglers. He's a wonderfully funny and frank guy who's totally down to earth. Enjoy!
Bonus - Joyce Hyser star of Just One of the GuysThe Hustle add
In this fun bonus episode we chat with Joyce Hyser Robinson, star of the classic 1985 movie “Just One of the Guys”. She talks about her experience making the movie, who else was up for the part, her career afterwards, and other things she’s done like being almost completely cut out of “Spinal Tap.” She also explains the important non-profit she’s a part of, the Harold Robinson Foundation. Enjoy!
Episode 181 - Tony Brock of The BabysThe Hustle add
The Babys were one of the great British rock bands of the late 70s. They released five albums between 1976 and 1980 and scored a number of hits like "Every Time I Think of You" and "Isn't it Time" which were a perfect showcase for the vocal chops of frontman John Waite. But, in 1981 the band broke up when Waite went solo and keyboardist Jonathan Cain joined Journey. This week we talk with drummer Tony Brock who also scored a sweet post-Babys gig drumming for Rod Stewart as well as collaborating with Jimmy Barnes. Eventually, Brock and some of the original members put the Babys back together and have been touring successfully for many years. Here Tony and I discuss the legacy of the Babys, his time with Rod and Jimmy, his feelings about not being invited to join Bad English, and what it's like being a Baby again. And, of course, we talk about how he got the part in the classic 80s teen movie "Just One of the Guys." Enjoy!
Episode 180 - Bob Rock of the Payola$The Hustle add
Bob Rock is one of the most successful producers in rock history. Run down some of the benchmarks on his resume and your jaw will drop (Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation, Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, The Cult's Sonic Temple and of course Metallica's black album). But before all that he and musical partner Paul Hyde were young punks in Vancouver, British Columbia fronting the excellent new wave band The Payola$. Perhaps best known for the classic tune "Eyes of a Stranger" from the Valley Girl soundtrack, the band went through a few changes in names and styles chasing that elusive mass audience. Sadly, it never quite happened outside of their native Canada. While this is happening, Bob starts working at what becomes a prominent studio in BC where hits from Loverboy and Honeymoon Suite attract bigger and bigger clientele allowing Bob to define the sound of rock music in the 80s and 90s. Here Bob and I discuss the history of the Payola$, his love of all kinds of music, working with Mick Ronson, and he shares stories from his production career. Enjoy!
Episode 179 - Robin Scott aka MThe Hustle add
In the late 70s, artist Robin Scott adopted the moniker "M" and created one of the most enduring pieces of pop art in history with his 1979 global #1 "Pop Muzik." This piece of profound simplicity wrapped in the guise of fluffy, disposable pop art took the world by storm and showed in neon what the next decade of music would sound like. As Robin continued to push the boundaries of pop music, his sound became more and more challenging and the hits never came again. But, hits are not what Robin was about. He ventured into world music, painting and anything else that tickled his fancy. Last year, he released his first album in years called Emotional DNA and it's a return to the pop music of his M days. This chat is a conversation in its truest form - we discuss the challenges of putting creativity out in the world, competing for people's attention, and staying true to yourself. Get to know the man behind the Muzik.
Episode 178 - Alan ShacklockThe Hustle add
The music career of Alan Shacklock reads like a history of British rock and roll. He started out rocking as a pre-teen hobnobbing with other future luminaries and eventually made it big as the guitarist and creative force for the 70s blues band Babe Ruth. They may be best known for their hit "The Mexican" which has become one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history. In the last 70s he decided to pursue production and among the people he worked with that we talk about are Dexys Midnight Runners, JoBoxers, The Alarm, Meat Loaf, Roger Daltrey and Dennis DeYoung with tangent stories about everyone from Jeff Beck to Andrew Lloyd Webber! Pound for pound there may be more stories and name-dropping in this conversation than anyone we've featured so far. Just stand back and let him go! Enjoy!