The Great Song Adventure

By Louise Goffin & Paul Zollo

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Description

The Great Song Adventure is a podcast hosted by Louise Goffin and Paul Zollo featuring in-depth conversations about songs and the songwriters who write them.

Episode Date
Episode 23. Carole King, Part 3.
01:03:26

Episode 23

Carole King

Part Three

 

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 Photo by Elissa Kline.

 

 

 

The Great Song Adventure is happy to present this, the third part of our five-part series of episodes with Carole King. 

  

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 Photo by Elissa Kline.

 

Conducted in her daughter Louise's home right before Thanksgiving, 2018, Carole King opened up about all aspects of her life and work more than she ever has before. There is much here on working with her husband and Louise's dad Gerry Goffin, and both the greatness and challenges inherent in their partnership. And much more. 


The first episode premiered on the eve of February 9th, Carole's 77th birthday, a perfect time to present this expansive and intimate conversation, and to celebrate one of the great lives in songwriting. 

 

 

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 With James Taylor. Photo by Elissa Kline.

 

In this episode, she also expounds on a subject started in Episode 1, which began with Carole playing the beautiful chord progression and singing the melody of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Hello Young Lovers," from The King & I, which leads into an intimate discussion of how she creates music, and her love of beautiful complex chords with rich melody. One of the great melodists of our time, she speaks about what makes a melody sturdy and lasting. And she delves into the mechanics of music, and even confirms the presence of the "Carole King chord" as it's known (also called here "C over K,"  a IV chord with a V in the bass.)  When you hear it, you recognize that sound. It's simple, soulful and sophisticated all at the same time, which is the essence of her musical signature.  

 

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As much of the world knows, even before her two-sided hit “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” went to number one in 1971, Carole King had already written eight other number one records with Gerry. Together they wrote a rich bounty of hit records (though both confirm they wrote a lot of lesser songs before reaching the great ones) - songs which are now modern standards, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" "Up On The Roof," "Locomotion," "Don't Bring Me Down" and so many others. 

 



She was one of the first to walk that bridge from being a hit songwriter for other artists to being a singer-songwriter herself, and making one of the most essential and beloved albums of that era, Tapestry, produced by Lou Adler. And her songs continued to be defining records for others, most notably "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor, and "Natural Woman," written with Gerry to a title by Jerry Wexler, recorded by the Queen of Soul, of course, Aretha Franklin.     

 

 

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Louise and Aretha at the Kennedy Center Honors

 Photo by Sophie Kondor.

 

 

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 Carole and Louise, November 2018. Photo by Paul Zollo.

 

It was Carole's idea to do the show. "Knowing of her reticence to do any performances or interviews," Louise said, "I didn’t ask her to be involved. But she  especially enjoyed the interview with Chrissie Hynde. She said she liked it because it was a real conversation, not just a series of questions, like most interviews."

 

 

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Sherry & Louise Goffin in Laurel Canyon, from the Carole King Family Archives.

 

"So when she was in Los Angeles to visit me and my kids, Carole took the time to do an interview with Paul and me. But first she went to the piano and started sounding out a standard by Rodgers & Hammerstein - “Hello Young Lovers,” from The King and I. Though she didn’t know it, I recorded the song."

 

 

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 Little Eva with little Louise, Brooklyn, 1963.

 

 

 

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Stay tuned for the next part of this Adventure: Parts 4 and 5 of our interview with Carole King. 

 

 

Paul Zollo, Carole King, Louise Goffin
Paul Zollo with Carole & Louise

 

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 The Great Song Adventure header image 1

 

 

Feb 18, 2019
Episode 22. Carole King, Part 2.
53:40

Episode 22

Carole King

Part Two  

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Photo by Mark Baptiste

 

Carole King is  explaining that long before writing famous songs with Gerry Goffin, she wrote a lot of "bad songs" first. As an example, she offers this lyric she wrote herself:  'I know I am the right girl, the right girl for you, ooh ooh ooh, and you, ooh ooh, are the right boy for me too.'" 

She then added, "I needed help. And God sent me Gerry Goffin!" 

 

 

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The Great Song Adventure is happy and proud to present this, the second episode of a remarkable five-part series of episodes with Carole King, which is without question the most expansive and unguarded interview she's ever given. 

 

Episode 1 premiered on 2.8.19, the eve of Carole's 77th birthday, the ideal time to present this expansive and intimate conversation, and to celebrate one of the great lives in songwriting.

 

Conducted in her daughter Louise's home right before Thanksgiving, 2018, Carole opened up about all aspects of her life and work. In this episode she shares more about the charms and challenges of working with her husband, Louise's father Gerry Goffin, writing "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for The Monkees and more about them., as well as her decidedly mixed feelings about the musical based on their life and work, Beautiful. She also discusses her friend and collaborator James Taylor, and their great musical chemistry.

 

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"It's been that way since the moment I sat down to play with him for the first time," she says. "There's something incredible about our musical connection that transcends time, or who we are, or where we are... When we sat down to play, it was like we were one instrument... and that has remained true every second of our musical life... Even if we don't see each other for years," Carole said, "we sit down and we know exactly where we're supposed to be. It's a magical, inexplicable thing." 

"But I must add, my writing with Gerry was also a magical, inexplicable thing." 

  

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Carole & Gerry at the National Academy of Songwriter's Salute to Goffin & King, Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles, December 3, 1988. Photo by Mark Blake/SongTalk

 

That magic has only seemed to increase over the years, as their songs - and ones Carole wrote on her own and with others - have become beloved, modern standards. 

 

 

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Goffin and King, 1960.

 

 As students of songwriting know, even before her two-sided hit “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” went to number one in 1971, Carole King had already written eight other number one records with Gerry. Together they wrote a multitude of great songs and made many hit records (though both confirm they wrote a lot of lesser songs before reaching the great ones) - songs which are now modern standards, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" "Up On The Roof," "Locomotion," "Don't Bring Me Down" and so many others. 

 

 

Aretha Franklin Carole King Natural Woman
Carole reacting to Aretha Franklin's amazing performance of
her song "Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.

 

 

She was one of the first to walk that bridge from being a hit songwriter for other artists to being a singer-songwriter herself, and making one of the most essential and beloved albums of that era, Tapestry, produced by Lou Adler. And her songs continued to be defining records for others, most notably "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor, and "Natural Woman," written with Gerry to a title by Jerry Wexler, recorded by the Queen of Soul, of course, Aretha Franklin.     

 

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It was Carole's idea to do the show. "Knowing of her reticence to do any performances or interviews," Louise said, "I didn’t ask her to be involved. But she  especially enjoyed the interview with Chrissie Hynde. She said she liked it because it was a real conversation, not just a series of questions, like most interviews."

 

"So when she was in Los Angeles to visit me and my kids, Carole took the time to do an interview with Paul and me. But first she went to the piano and started sounding out a standard by Rodgers & Hammerstein - “Hello Young Lovers,” from The King and I. Though she didn’t know it, I recorded the song, which opens the first episode."

 

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Carole & Little Eva

 

 

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Carole King & Gerry Goffin at their West Orange, New Jersey home

 

 

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Goffin & King with Paul Simon

 

 

 

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Photo by Jim McCrary

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Louise Goffin & Carole King, photo by Elissa Kline Photography

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Feb 11, 2019
Episode 21 Carole King, Part 1
46:59

The Great Song Adventure header image 1
Episode 21

Carole King

Part One

 

 The Great Song Adventure is happy and proud to present this, the first of a remarkable five-part series of episodes with Carole King. 

 

Today is the eve of Carole's 77th birthday on February 9th, a perfect time to present this expansive and intimate conversation, and to celebrate one of the great lives in songwriting.

 

Conducted in her daughter Louise's home right before Thanksgiving, 2018, Carole opened up about all aspects of her life and work, including much on working with her husband and Louise's dad Gerry Goffin. 

 

Because, as students of songwriting know, even before her two-sided hit “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” went to number one in 1971, Carole King had already written eight other number one records with Gerry. Together they wrote a rich bounty of hit records (though both confirm they wrote a lot of lesser songs before reaching the great ones) - songs which are now modern standards, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" "Up On The Roof," "Locomotive," "Don't Bring Me Down" and so many others. 

 

 

Image result for Goffin and King
Goffin and King

 She was one of the first to walk that bridge from being a hit songwriter for other artists to being a singer-songwriter herself, and making one of the most essential and beloved albums of that era, Tapestry, produced by Lou Adler. And her songs continued to be defining records for others, most notably "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor, and "Natural Woman," written with Gerry to a title by Jerry Wexler, recorded by the Queen of Soul, of course, Aretha Franklin.     

 

 

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It was Carole's idea to do the show. "Knowing of her reticence to do any performances or interviews," Louise said, "I didn’t ask her to be involved. But she  especially enjoyed the interview with Chrissie Hynde. She said she liked it because it was a real conversation, not just a series of questions, like most interviews."

 

"So when she was in Los Angeles to visit me and my kids, Carole took the time to do an interview with Paul and me. But first she went to the piano and started sounding out a standard by Rodgers & Hammerstein - “Hello Young Lovers,” from The King and I. Though she didn’t know it, I recorded the song, which opens the first episode."

Happy birthday! 

 

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Carole & Little Eva

 

 

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Carole King & Gerry Goffin at their West Orange, New Jersey home

 

 

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Goffin & King with Paul Simon

 

 

 

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Photo by Jim McCrary

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Louise Goffin & Carole King, photo by Elissa Kline Photography

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Feb 08, 2019
Episode 20 Fred Tackett, Part II
30:37

Episode 20


Fred Tackett

Part Two

 

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Born in Arkansas, Fred Tackett is best known for being a member of Little Feat. A remarkable musician - he plays guitar, mandolin and even trumpet - he’s also performed with many other great artists, including Bob Dylan during his Born Again tour, and on his albums Saved andShot of Love.

 

 

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Fred at home. Photo by Louise Goffin.

 

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Fred (on the left) with Bob Dylan on his Born Again tour, 1980. Photo by William McKeen.

 

The list of other great artists with whom he’s performed and recorded is voluminous, and includes Tom Waits, Harry Nilsson. Ringo Starr, Rickie Lee Jones, Jimmy Webb, Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, Rita Coolidge, Nicolette Larson, Aaron Neville, Van Dyke Parks, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart and The Wallflowers.

 

 

Born on August 30, 1945 in Arkansas, he was not a founding member of Little Feat, but gradually became folded into this band distinguished for their great and soulful musicianship. He became friends with Little Feat genius, the late great Lowell George, and contributed a song, “Fool Yourself” and acoustic guitar to Dixie Chicken, their third album. He also played guitar on Time Loves A Hero, their sixth album. 

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When Lowell decided to do a solo album (Thanks I’ll Eat It Here, 1978), he invited Fred to write songs with him. Lowell recorded one of these songs, “Honest Man” and also a song Fred wrote himself, “Find A River.”  Lowell went out on tour to promote his album, with Fred in his group. Less than ten days after the start of the tour, Lowell overdosed on heroin and died in his Arlington, Virginia hotel. 

 

Thanks I'll Eat It Here

 

 

“We were driving down the New Jersey Turnpike,” Tackett remembered, “in this bus and we stopped at this pizza joint off the highway. Everybody in the band shared a cheese pizza but Lowell bought a large pizza with everything on it, carried it to the back of the bus, and he ate the entire pizza by himself. He died two or three days later. So, when people ask me, 'What really killed Lowell?' I say, 'It was a pizza on the New Jersey Turnpike.” 

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Patricia and Fred Tackett. Photo by Louise Goffin.

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Photo by Louise Goffin

  

Little Feat disbanded during this dark time of Lowell’s death, but reunited - with Fred now as a full member of the band - in 1988 -with former members Paul Barrere, Richie Hayward, Bill Payne, Kenny Gradney and Sam Clayton, and also new member Craig Fuller. In 1993 Fuller was replaced by Shaun Murphy. 

 

Not only does Fred play guitar on their albums since joining, he also plays mandolin and trumpet, and also has written many of their songs. including several written with Paul Barrere, such as “Marginal Creatures” and “Night On The Town.” On Kickin’ It at The Barn, Fred sings his first lead vocal on a Little Feat album, on his song "In A Town Like This," which also became the title song of his 2003 solo album. In 2011 he released another solo album, Silver Strings. He and Paul also toured as a duo and made album as Paul & Fred.

 

 

 

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These days he lives with his wife in a beautiful old house in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon, and it’s there that Louise went to conduct this interview. 

 

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Louise & Fred. Photo by Patricia Tackett

  

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Feb 04, 2019
Episode 19 Fred Tackett
35:12

 

Episode 19
Fred Tackett
Part One 

 

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Born in Arkansas, Fred Tackett is best known for being a member of Little Feat. A remarkable musician - he plays guitar, mandolin and even trumpet - he’s also performed with many other great artists, including Bob Dylan during his Born Again tour, and on his albums Saved and Shot of Love.

 

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Fred at home. Photo by Louise Goffin.

 

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Fred (on the left) with Bob Dylan on his Born Again tour, 1980. Photo by William McKeen.

 

The list of other great artists with whom he’s performed and recorded is voluminous, and includes Tom Waits, Harry Nilsson. Ringo Starr, Rickie Lee Jones, Jimmy Webb, Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, Rita Coolidge, Nicolette Larson, Aaron Neville, Van Dyke Parks, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart and The Wallflowers.

 

 

Born on August 30, 1945 in Arkansas, he was not a founding member of Little Feat, but gradually became folded into this band distinguished for their great and soulful musicianship. He became friends with Little Feat genius, the late great Lowell George, and contributed a song, “Fool Yourself” and acoustic guitar to Dixie Chicken, their third album. He also played guitar on Time Loves A Hero, their sixth album.

Image result for fred tackett

 

 

When Lowell decided to do a solo album (Thanks I’ll Eat It Here, 1978), he invited Fred to write songs with him. Lowell recorded one of these songs, “Honest Man” and also a song Fred wrote himself, “Find A River.”  Lowell went out on tour to promote his album, with Fred in his group. Less than ten days after the start of the tour, Lowell overdosed on heroin and died in his Arlington, Virginia hotel.

 

Thanks I'll Eat It Here

 

 

“We were driving down the New Jersey Turnpike,” Tackett remembered, “in this bus and we stopped at this pizza joint off the highway. Everybody in the band shared a cheese pizza but Lowell bought a large pizza with everything on it, carried it to the back of the bus, and he ate the entire pizza by himself. He died two or three days later. So, when people ask me, 'What really killed Lowell?' I say, 'It was a pizza on the New Jersey Turnpike.”

IMG_8312-2.jpg
Patricia and Fred Tackett. Photo by Louise Goffin.

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Photo by Louise Goffin

  

Little Feat disbanded during this dark time of Lowell’s death, but reunited - with Fred now as a full member of the band - in 1988 -with former members Paul Barrere, Richie Hayward, Bill Payne, Kenny Gradney and Sam Clayton, and also new member Craig Fuller. In 1993 Fuller was replaced by Shaun Murphy.

 

Not only does Fred play guitar on their albums since joining, he also plays mandolin and trumpet, and also has written many of their songs. including several written with Paul Barrere, such as “Marginal Creatures” and “Night On The Town.” On Kickin’ It at The Barn, Fred sings his first lead vocal on a Little Feat album, on his song "In A Town Like This," which also became the title song of his 2003 solo album. In 2011 he released another solo album, Silver Strings. He and Paul also toured as a duo and made album as Paul & Fred.

 

 

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These days he lives with his wife in a beautiful old house in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon, and it’s there that Louise went to conduct this interview.

 

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Louise & Fred. Photo by Patricia Tackett

  

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Jan 28, 2019
Episode 18 Joachim Cooder Part 2
29:09

The Great Song Adventure header image 1
Episode 18

JOACHIM COODER

Part 2

Jan 22, 2019
Episode 17 Joachim Cooder Part 1
33:10


Episode 17

JOACHIM COODER

Part 1

 

 

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Parenthood, as Joachim Cooder explains, means a lot to him, and has informed all his music. It's the same for his father - the legendary Ry Cooder - who not only raised his son in a remarkable house of music, where living legends came constantly to make music, but specifically set up his most recent tour to provide Joachim with sufficient income to raise his two little kids. 

 

Joachim has not only played drums live and with his dad on many projects, including Ry's recent and remarkable The Prodigal Son, he also helped co-produce that album. He brings his decidedly new school sensibilities to his father's old school music. Whereas daddy Ry plays all his elegiac slide-guitar lines in real time, just like records have been made for decades, Joachim employs exotic sonic loops, which they fold into the tracks. 

 

So when not gainfully employed working with his famous father, Joachim's been busy building his own tower of song with new materials. Last year he released the glorious EP Fuschia Machu Pichu (named after a local plant), with beautifully hypnotic songs such as the title track, as well as "Everybody Sleeps in the Light" and the tender, haunting "Gaviota Drive." 

 

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Image result for joachim cooderFather & Son in Cuba, making The Buena Vista Social Club

 

Lest you think he is being noticed only because of his lineage - an easy assumption to make - listen to the dimensional beauty of these tracks, and the poignant lyrics (almost all inspired by Joachim's own parenthood) and beautifully heartfelt vocals. It's music far different and more modern than that his father makes. Yet it shares an essential element: it is real. Genuine. From the heart. Not contrived. 

 



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Joachim's music possesses the single attribute Ry finds missing in most modern music: artistry. As he said, too many players he hears these days have developed no artistry, no style or grace, only urgency. “Can’t they hear that they’re flat?” he asked with disbelief. “If you don’t feel it,” he said, “Fine. Do something else. Go get a sandwich.”

 

 

Timeless music, as Ry has shown by example over these decades, is all about a  purity of intention, of stripping it down to essentials. It's not about how many notes you play but by how deeply one note can make you feel. It's a lesson Joachim, born in the summer of 1978, learned well. 

 

Of course, Ry was not the only legendary teacher around. Drummer-extraordinaire Jim Keltner kept a set of drums at the Cooder home, and showed Joachim just enough to get him started. Perhaps sensing that his father owned much of the map of modern guitar playing already, Joachim knew he needed to walk his own musical path. It started with drumming - as well as co-producing with his father and other artists (including their great Buena Vista Social Club celebration of Cuban music) - and branched off into creating his own sonic collages, which led to his own songs and style. 

 

 

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 Photo by Amanda Charchian

 

 

Nowadays father and son blend their approaches effortlessly and without question. When I asked Ry if he ever looped his guitar, he laughed and said, "No! Never. That is my son's thing. I just play."

 


Not only did Joachim bring  deeply soulful, creative drumming to this album,  he also created many of the sonic landscapes – “tone centers,” as Ry put it – on which these tracks were built. 

 

After the album was complete, father and son assembled a new touring band. None of which would have happened if not for Ry's love for his son and their work together.

“I wouldn’t do it if [Joachim] wouldn’t do it," said Ry. "He’s got a new baby. Four days old. And my little granddaughter’s 2 ½.  And we have to leave them behind. Gonna go out and make some money. Put some beans in the pot.”

 

  

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The collaboration evolved gradually, as Ry tried to figure out the best way to make a record about both of them. But how to connect that new school with the old one?

 

The revelation came when Ry realized that he could solve two problems at once. Wanting to make an album about now, this moment in our history some 18 years into the 21st century, with so much madness, hatred and sorrow streaming through America, he was drawn to the redemptive, hopeful glory found in the timeless gospel songs he loved. He felt an album of his favorite spirituals, mixed in with some fresh originals, could be right for now. Yet he knew a traditional approach to classic gospel songs would not conjure the magic he wanted.

 

And that’s when he tried singing the old Pilgrim Travelers’ beautiful “Straight Street” over one of Joachim’s tracks. The result was unexpected, and beautiful. And the journey of Prodigal Son had begun.

 

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Ry Cooder, 2018.

 

It's an album of great sonic beauty, a rich, fertile fusion of Joachim’s grooves and sound collages with Ry’s exquisitely poignant guitar work on these new and old spirituals is stunning.

That spirit is very much alive in Joachim's haunting and inspired song cycles, and the beauty of his soul that shines through in each on Fuschia Machu Pichu. Wisely, he employs his dad to play guitar on his music as well.


We were happy to talk to him about all of this and more, his own music, being raised by Ry and how much his kids have inspired his songwriting.  We spoke this past summer over the phone just days before he embarked on a national tour with his dad.

Fuschia Machu Pichu, he said, is "probably the thing I've been most excited about. I feel like this is the most real thing I've ever done, the most representative of who I am. I feel like it's not part of any other thing. It's very just me with my influences I've had since I was really young, growing up around people like Ali Farka Toure or seeing John Lee Hooker live at a really young age. There's certain things about this record that makes me think about all those things and how I've come up through these things."

This is Part One of our two-part talk, conducted by Paul Zollo, with Joachim Cooder. 

 

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Jan 21, 2019
Episode 16. Josh McClorey of The Strypes
38:27


EPISODE 16 

Josh McClorey
of The Strypes

 

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Josh McClorey

 (photo by Jude Palmer)

 



The Strypes started when they were still pre-teens. They grew up in love with American rock & roll and blues in Cavan, Ireland, where they started playing music at the age of 12. Their first performance was at a school Christmas party when they were only 15. But they had tremendous energy, reverence for the real blues, knowledge, passion and drive. Soon they were performing all over town, wowing audiences with their raw intensity and deep-pocket blues. 

 

They were always a  four-piece band revolving around Josh McClorey on guitar. After a few changes, they found a line-up that worked, with Pete O'Hanlon on bass, Evan Walsh on drums and Ross Farrelly on lead vocals and harmonica. 

 

  

The Strypes
 Josh McClorey (2nd from left) with The Strypes.

 


Like many great British bands, they were drawn to the authentic spirit of American blues and early rock & roll. They recorded a self-produced EP called Young, Gifted & Blue of four blues songs. Their record of "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" (written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Bo Diddley) became a hit on Irish radio.
They also performed a Leiber & Stoller song, "I'm A Hog For You Baby," which was the flipside to "Poison Ivy" by The Coasters.  (Mike Stoller is our featured guest on Episodes 14 and 15. Our archival interview with Willie Dixon will be featured later this year). 



That EP lead to much attention, and gigs in and around London, where Elton John discovered them. And was seriously impressed by their musical authority. 

 

"They have a knowledge of R&B and blues at 16 years of age," he said, "that I have only amassed in my 65 years. They're just like a breath of fresh air."

 

Soon several labels heard their EP and wanted to sign them. They ultimately went to Elton's own company for management - Rocket Music - and signed a record deal in 2012 with Mercury. All the British music mags, such as MOJO and NME, did stories celebrating the band, and The Strypes were on their way.

 



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Their first single, released in 2013, was "Blue Collar Jane," which the band wrote together, and became a popular iTunes download on the Blues and Alternative charts. Their debut album was Snapshot, which came out later that year, produced by Chris Thomas - famous for his work with The Beatles and Sex Pistols. The title was a reference to the band's intention of presenting a "snapshot" of their live set. 

 

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Josh & Louise at Pennard House, Somerset, England. 
 
 

Their second album, Little Victories, was released in 2015 and went to the very top of the Irish charts, and close to the top of the British ones. 
 



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The Strypes have released two subsequent EPs: The Demos EP features acoustic versions of tracks. Almost True came in late 2017 with three new originals and one live cover, "Summertime Blues."

 

This past November of 2018, the band announced their breakup on their Instagram page. Josh, who is influenced very much by Prince, whom he discusses in the interview, has just embarked on new solo projects.

 

Having been a busy member of a popular and busy band at such a young age, Josh had no time to establish any kind of normal life. His challenge now, reflected in this interview, is to strike a balance between a real home life and a life in music.

 

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This interview was conducted in June, 2018 by Louise Goffin at Pennard House, where they both participated in their friend/mentor Chris Difford's song camp in Somerset, UK in a "beautiful room with high ceilings."  You can hear Louise's interview with Chris Difford in Episode 9. 

 


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Jan 07, 2019
Episode 15 Mike Stoller, Part 2.
50:40

Episode 15
Mike Stoller

Part 2.




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Mike Stoller at Home, August 2018.

All Photos by Paul Zollo

The Great Song Adventure had the glorious privilege of interviewing Mike Stoller, one of the world's most legendary living songwriters, at his beautiful home high in the hills above Los Angeles, summer of `18. 


With his partner, Jerry Leiber, who mostly wrote lyrics as Mike mostly wrote the music (though this overlapped at times), he's the writer of countless classic songs, songs which are all modern standards now, including "Stand By Me" (written with and performed by Ben E. King), "Spanish Harlem (written with Phil Spector), "Is That All There Is?", "Love Potion # 9," "Jailhouse Rock," "Kansas City," "Hound Dog" and more. Much more. 


So as to ensure their songs would be well-produced, they became producers - even before that term was used. ("We preferred 'director' to 'producer'," Mike said. "But we were over-ruled."  )


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This is Part 2 of our two-part interview, recorded in August, 2018. 

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Mike with Louise Goffin


All Photos by PAUL ZOLLO
Paul Zollo Photography 

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Dec 31, 2018
Episode 14. Mike Stoller Part I
42:42


Episode 14

Mike Stoller
Part I

 

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August 7, 2018. 
Interview by LOUISE GOFFIN & PAUL ZOLLO
All Photos by PAUL ZOLLO

 



"Stand By Me," "Is That All There Is," "Kansas City," "Poison Ivy," "Jailhouse Rock," "Spanish Harlem," "Love Potion #9," "Hound Dog." All songs by Mike & Jerry. Better known as Leiber & Stoller. 

 

 

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Mike & Jerry in their office on Sunset Boulevard, 2006.

 



"Well, you know," Mike Stoller said back in 2006,  "sometimes when you're being interviewed you give a very quick answer." He said this about one of the many prevalent and inaccurate Leiber & Stoller myths. Which is why we're especially grateful to Mike for taklng the time to talk unrushed about his remarkable life and work, and to not only correct the record, but add so much more to it.

 

 

We conducted this interview with his at his home on a beautiful August day in the beautiful home high in the Hollywood Hills he shares with his wife, the legendary harpist-singer Corky Hale. With two grand pianos, Corky's harp, beautiful giant paintings, photographs, sunlight streaming and a stunning view of Los Angeles glimmering in the distance all around us, it was a joyful and luminous setting for a talk with Mike Stoller. 

 

  

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Especially poignant was to hear him talk in great depth about the brilliance, whimsy, and prodigious talent of his late great partner, Jerry Leiber, who died in 2011. Jerry wrote the words, and Mike the music, and they came together just as Ira and George Gershwin did a couple of decades before them, to write songs for America and the world to revel in. But unlike the Gershwins, the most famous songs that Mike and Jerry created were part of a new era. They were the architects of a new sound, a new craze, a new era of wild rhythm and bluesy tunes. It was rock and roll. It was a bridge from the blues – in which both Leiber & Stoller were well-versed – to popular music, a bridge they built themselves. 

 

 

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It is true, though, that, as reported, Mike didn’t like the idea of writing songs with Jerry when they met in 1950. It’s not true, though, as has often been quoted, that he said he didn’t like songs. What he said he didn’t like were popular songs. He preferred jazz and blues. The hip stuff. But when he realized that the young Jerome Leiber had written not pop songs but blues, a bridge was built between them that stood for six decades of work, and is solid forever.



Then, of course, they went onto write and produce a remarkable bounty of hit records - and many of the most famous hit records of all time. But it all started, as related here, with the blues. They weren't aiming for the pop stars. They wanted the kings and queens of the blues to sing their songs. They wanted Big Mama Thornton. And their dream came true. 

 

 

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They were the first independent record producers to be officially designated as producers – ‘producer’ being a title they invented themselves (they wanted ‘director’) – but they started producing records only in self-defense, as they explain it, to ensure that their songs wouldn’t be wrecked.

 

He also expounded and extended some of the famous stories he told with Jerry, adding dimensions previously unspoken. One amazing example is a story about a movie he and Jerry had set up to star Elvis for which they'd write all the songs, and it would be directed by Elia Kazan. The Colonel's response, as Mike relates, was less than positive, and says so much about the wrong choices he made, and their impact. 

 

 

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Louise has known Mike for years - and he knew her parents well, another legendary songwriting team - Goffin & King. He speaks about both in our talk with much love. That warmth extended through our whole conversation - towards Jerry,  to his wife Corky, and their life. He also spoke about something rarely discussed - how many of their songs were informed and inspired by their politics, and their ongoing effort since the start on behalf of social justice. 

 

 

We're proud to present part one of our two-part series with Mike Stoller. Part II will post on New Year's Eve. Till then, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, with dreams forever for Peace on Earth. 

 

 

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All Photos by Paul Zollo. 

Leiber & Stoller together taken on September 11, 2006 in their offices.
Mike Stoller alone taken on August 7, 2018 in his home. 
Image result for copyright symbol 2018 PAUL ZOLLO PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 24, 2018
Episode 13. Chrissie Hynde Part II
37:20

Episode 13:
Chrissie Hynde
Part II. 

From the archives, recorded in 2009.

 

Image result for chrissie hynde

 

Now the reason we're here
As man and woman
Is to love each other
Take care of each other


When love walks in the room
Everybody stand up
Oh it's good, good, good
Like Brigitte Bardot

From  “Message of Love”  

 

“I just didn’t want to be a waitress,” she said in answer to why she chose this path. It’s a path she followed from the concrete climes of Akron to England, where she started The Pretenders. Asked if her music would have been vastly different had she never left America, she said, “Yeah, because I would have killed myself.”

 

Some songwriters are  happy to talk about the greatness of their great songs, and how they wrote them. Others openly ackowledge the greatness, but ascribe its birth to a source beyond them. Many don’t doubt the spiritual aspects of songwriting, and for that reason are careful not to examine it too closely, so as not to scare it away.

But with very rare exceptions, none have denied they are songwriters. Chrissie’s that rare exception. Many times during our talk, which took place in 2009, she suggested she’s not even a real songwriter.  

And I understood why. This is Chrissie Hynde, after all, who has always defied easy definitions.

 

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Not only is she no diva, she’s an anti-diva. Because, like Mose Allison (whose name comes up in regard to her assertion that much of British rock was stolen from him), she’s simply one of the coolest people around. Like him, she’s written many masterpieces over the years. Yet will be the last to sing their own praises. Let people make up their own mind.

 

Image result for chrissie hynde  

In fact, she’s so extremely reticent to affect any pretension, any sort of “and then I wrote” songwriterly pride, that she repeatedly dismissed praise through our conversation to exclaim, “This sounds so lame…”

And when our conversation was interrupted the second time by someone at her door, she came back and said, “You’re gonna think I have a life. I don’t.”

 

And when pressed to divulge the secrets of her process, she said this: “It depends on how much pot I’ve been smoking, how many bottles of wine I’ve drunk. It’s usually just in a puddle on the floor in the morning, and is a waste of time. But once in a while, it works.”

 

Image result for chrissie hynde

 

Jesus Christ came down here as a living man
If he can live a life of virtue then I hope I can
Do unto others as you would have a turn
Come back here and repeat until you learn, learn, learn…”

From “Boots of Chinese Plastic”
She is, of course, the writer of not one but several songs that have become rock standards, beloved and undisputed rock hits. Yet this steadfast refusal to  take herself too seriously as a songwriter spoke to a fear that any light shone too directly into that realm from which songs emerge might destroy it. She did, however, have nothing but pure praise for her fellow Pretenders, past and present, especially James Honeyman-Scott, who died for a heroin overdose in 1982.

 

The only real test of a song is that of time. Her songs have passed that test. Though she emerged in an era of booming drum machines and synth pads, she steered the Pretenders always with a purist’s respect for the traditions of rock & roll. She wasn’t here to rewrite the rules. She was here to write great songs, songs a great singer can sink her teeth into, songs that have lasted far beyond the era in which they were written. Whether she wants to admit it, she’s not only a great songwriter, she’s a hit songwriter. But every now and then, due to polite persistence, she gave in, and talked about how she’s done it. She even indulged my desire to name many of her songs for her immediate response, demurring at first before saying, “Okay, whatever. Go ahead and do your thing.”

 

So I did. And she gave a wonderfully expansive answer to “Brass in Pocket” that was beyond expectations, proving so poignantly how deep these songs do go, in her psyche and her history. Though I know she’d never admit it, it became evident these songs felt like her children, and so taking credit for them songs was like a parent taking credit for the success of a child. It’s the kid who is great, not the mom.

 

 

 

Image result for chrissie hynde

 

She was born in Akron, Ohio in September of 1951. Her dad worked for the Yellow Pages. She wrote her first song at the age of 14 after learning two guitar chords, recognizing even then that limitations create possibility. “You only need one chord to write a song,” she explains. “Look at all those James Brown songs.”

 

She hated high school and all it entailed, partly because her eyes were already set firmly on a musical future: “I never went to a dance, I never went out on a date, I never went steady,” she remembered. “It became pretty awful for me. Except, of course, I could go see bands, and that was the kick. I used to go to Cleveland just to see any band. So I was in love a lot of the time, but mostly with guys in bands that I had never met. For me, knowing that Brian Jones was out there, and later Iggy Pop, made it kind of hard for me to get too interested in the guys that were around me. I had… bigger things in mind.”

       

She went to Kent State to study art, and was there during the tragic shooting of students by the Ohio National Guard. Jeffrey Miller, who was shot and killed that day, was one of her friends. She wanted out of Ohio, out of America. Discovering the Brit music mag NME, she saved enough money to move to London. She landed a writing gig with NME but it didn’t last long – her next job was in Malcolm MacLaren’s SEX shop. It’s there she met Syd Vicious, and tried – according to legend – to persuade him into marriage, so she could become a British citizen. He passed.

 

She joined a series of bands – first as singer in The Frenchies, then guitarist in Masters of the Backside, and the Johnny Moped band. Mick Jones invited her to join a nascent pre-Joe Strummer incarnation of what would be the Clash, and they went on a British tour together, but Chrissie wasn’t happy. She wanted her own band. But it would take time.

 

Her visa ran out and she had to go back to Ohio, but returned as soon as possible. In 1978 she succeeded at last in realizing her dream, and formed The Pretenders in Hereford with three Brits: James Honeyman-Scott on lead guitar and keyboards, Pete Farndon on bass and Martin Chambers on drums. Everyone in the band sang. Their first single was the Nick Lowe-produced “Stop Your Sobbing,” a Kinks song. In 1980 came the eponymous debut album, a critical and commercial success both in the US and the UK – which led to a great succession of amazing songs penned by Chrissie: “Brass In Pocket,” “Kid,” “Back On The Chain Gang,” “Middle of the Road,” “Message of Love” and so many more.

 

Image result for the pretenders

 

 

But tragedy hit the band fast and early – first Honeyman-Scott’s death, then Farndon’s subsequent bathtub drowning, after having being fired from the band for being too messed up on drugs. Here was one of the greatest new bands on the scene, launching the ’80s with the promise of great rock to come, and suddenly half of the group was gone.

     

But she never was derailed for long. She also never had any desire to establish a solo career – and chose instead to reinvent the Pretenders many times over the years – even replacing Chambers, but later bringing him back as on the recent tour. “I know that the Pretenders have looked like a tribute band for the last 20 years,” she said at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, “and we're paying tribute to James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon, without whom we wouldn't be here. And on the other hand, without us, they might have been here, but that's the way it works in rock & roll.”

Image result for chrissie hynde       

A circumstance beyond our control
The phone, the TV and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies

Put us back on the train
Back on the chain gang

From “Back On The Chain Gang”
By Chrissie Hynde

 

The ostensible purpose of this interview was to discuss The Pretenders Live In London, a DVD of a passionately joyful live show with the current line-up: Martin Chambers on drums, James Walbourne on guitar,  Nick Wilkinson on bass and Eric Heywood on pedal steel. Her punk ethic still comes across when talking about it – as opposed to her peers that involve themselves in all angles of marketing and commercial calculations, she had no inclination to even view the DVD, and tried to beg out of it. But when she finally did view it, she was surprised by how great it was. And she was happy.

 

“You have to keep digging deeper over the years,” she said in regard to parenthood’s tendency to soften the edges of a rocker. Yet she remains  one of rock’s most fiercely gifted songwriters, and, as evidenced by the great songs she wrote for Break Up The Concrete, she’s still very much at the top of her game. Of course she won’t cop to it. And adds that she still feels like a sham – a pretender, if you will – who someday might be found out. “Compared to Dylan and Neil Young,” she says, “I’m still in the minor leagues.”

 

Yet few songwriters have talked about the sad suburbanization of  America with more poignancy than this ex-patriate, who often returned to Ohio – even opening a Vegan restaurant there – and yet found her homecomings laced always with increasing sorrow at the sight of her hometown’s decimation. It’s a subject that has recurred many times in her work, most notably in “My City Was Gone” but also in more recent songs like “Break Up The Concrete,” a great example of outrage being projected, not unlike Neil Young’s “Ohio” about the Kent State massacre, with the assist of a great rock groove.

 

And when you hear “Boots of Chinese Plastic” from Concrete, with its distinctive blend of Buddhism, bravado and a taut Buddy Holly beat, you hear a songwriter engaged, as inspired as when The Pretenders first emerged.  

 

Illusion fills my head like an empty can
I spent a million lifetimes lovin the same man
Every drug that runs though the vein
Always makes its way back to the heart again
And by the way you look fantastic
In your boots of Chinese plastic

From “Boots of Chinese Plastic”
By Chrissie Hynde

 

 

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 Louise_and_Paul_Logo_2.jpg

 

 

 

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Image result for chrissie hynde

Oct 08, 2018
Episode 12. Chrissie Hynde
40:57

Episode 12:
Chrissie Hynde

 

Image result for chrissie hynde

 

From the archives, recorded in 2009.

 

Now the reason we're here
As man and woman
Is to love each other
Take care of each other


When love walks in the room
Everybody stand up
Oh it's good, good, good
Like Brigitte Bardot

From  “Message of Love”  

 

“I just didn’t want to be a waitress,” she said in answer to why she chose this path. It’s a path she followed from the concrete climes of Akron to England, where she started The Pretenders. Asked if her music would have been vastly different had she never left America, she said, “Yeah, because I would have killed myself.”

 

Some songwriters are  happy to talk about the greatness of their great songs, and how they wrote them. Others openly ackowledge the greatness, but ascribe its birth to a source beyond them. Many don’t doubt the spiritual aspects of songwriting, and for that reason are careful not to examine it too closely, so as not to scare it away.

But with very rare exceptions, none have denied they are songwriters. Chrissie’s that rare exception. Many times during our talk, which took place in 2009, she suggested she’s not even a real songwriter.  

 

And I understood why. This is Chrissie Hynde, after all, who has always defied easy definitions.

Image result for chrissie hynde 

Not only is she no diva, she’s an anti-diva. Because, like Mose Allison (whose name comes up in regard to her assertion that much of British rock was stolen from him), she’s simply one of the coolest people around. Like him, she’s written many masterpieces over the years. Yet will be the last to sing their own praises. Let people make up their own mind.

 

Image result for chrissie hynde  

In fact, she’s so extremely reticent to affect any pretension, any sort of “and then I wrote” songwriterly pride, that she repeatedly dismissed praise through our conversation to exclaim, “This sounds so lame…”

 

And when our conversation was interrupted the second time by someone at her door, she came back and said, “You’re gonna think I have a life. I don’t.”

 

And when pressed to divulge the secrets of her process, she said this: “It depends on how much pot I’ve been smoking, how many bottles of wine I’ve drunk. It’s usually just in a puddle on the floor in the morning, and is a waste of time. But once in a while, it works.”

 

Image result for chrissie hynde

 

Jesus Christ came down here as a living man
If he can live a life of virtue then I hope I can
Do unto others as you would have a turn
Come back here and repeat until you learn, learn, learn…”

From “Boots of Chinese Plastic”



She is, of course, the writer of not one but several songs that have become rock standards, beloved and undisputed rock hits. Yet this steadfast refusal to  take herself too seriously as a songwriter spoke to a fear that any light shone too directly into that realm from which songs emerge might destroy it. She did, however, have nothing but pure praise for her fellow Pretenders, past and present, especially James Honeyman-Scott, who died for a heroin overdose in 1982.

 

The only real test of a song is that of time. Her songs have passed that test. Though she emerged in an era of booming drum machines and synth pads, she steered the Pretenders always with a purist’s respect for the traditions of rock & roll. She wasn’t here to rewrite the rules. She was here to write great songs, songs a great singer can sink her teeth into, songs that have lasted far beyond the era in which they were written. Whether she wants to admit it, she’s not only a great songwriter, she’s a hit songwriter. But every now and then, due to polite persistence, she gave in, and talked about how she’s done it. She even indulged my desire to name many of her songs for her immediate response, demurring at first before saying, “Okay, whatever. Go ahead and do your thing.”

 

So I did. And she gave a wonderfully expansive answer to “Brass in Pocket” that was beyond expectations, proving so poignantly how deep these songs do go, in her psyche and her history. Though I know she’d never admit it, it became evident these songs felt like her children, and so taking credit for them songs was like a parent taking credit for the success of a child. It’s the kid who is great, not the mom.

 

She was born in Akron, Ohio in September of 1951. Her dad worked for the Yellow Pages. She wrote her first song at the age of 14 after learning two guitar chords, recognizing even then that limitations create possibility. “You only need one chord to write a song,” she explains. “Look at all those James Brown songs.”

 

Image result for chrissie hynde

 

She hated high school and all it entailed, partly because her eyes were already set firmly on a musical future: “I never went to a dance, I never went out on a date, I never went steady,” she remembered. “It became pretty awful for me. Except, of course, I could go see bands, and that was the kick. I used to go to Cleveland just to see any band. So I was in love a lot of the time, but mostly with guys in bands that I had never met. For me, knowing that Brian Jones was out there, and later Iggy Pop, made it kind of hard for me to get too interested in the guys that were around me. I had… bigger things in mind.”

       

She went to Kent State to study art, and was there during the tragic shooting of students by the Ohio National Guard. Jeffrey Miller, who was shot and killed that day, was one of her friends. She wanted out of Ohio, out of America. Discovering the Brit music mag NME, she saved enough money to move to London. She landed a writing gig with NME but it didn’t last long – her next job was in Malcolm MacLaren’s SEX shop. It’s there she met Syd Vicious, and tried – according to legend – to persuade him into marriage, so she could become a British citizen. He passed.

 

She joined a series of bands – first as singer in The Frenchies, then guitarist in Masters of the Backside, and the Johnny Moped band. Mick Jones invited her to join a nascent pre-Joe Strummer incarnation of what would be the Clash, and they went on a British tour together, but Chrissie wasn’t happy. She wanted her own band. But it would take time.

 

Her visa ran out and she had to go back to Ohio, but returned as soon as possible. In 1978 she succeeded at last in realizing her dream, and formed The Pretenders in Hereford with three Brits: James Honeyman-Scott on lead guitar and keyboards, Pete Farndon on bass and Martin Chambers on drums. Everyone in the band sang. Their first single was the Nick Lowe-produced “Stop Your Sobbing,” a Kinks song. In 1980 came the eponymous debut album, a critical and commercial success both in the US and the UK – which led to a great succession of amazing songs penned by Chrissie: “Brass In Pocket,” “Kid,” “Back On The Chain Gang,” “Middle of the Road,” “Message of Love” and so many more.

 

Image result for the pretenders

 

 

But tragedy hit the band fast and early – first Honeyman-Scott’s death, then Farndon’s subsequent bathtub drowning, after having being fired from the band for being too messed up on drugs. Here was one of the greatest new bands on the scene, launching the ’80s with the promise of great rock to come, and suddenly half of the group was gone.

     

But she never was derailed for long. She also never had any desire to establish a solo career – and chose instead to reinvent the Pretenders many times over the years – even replacing Chambers, but later bringing him back as on the recent tour. “I know that the Pretenders have looked like a tribute band for the last 20 years,” she said at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, “and we're paying tribute to James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon, without whom we wouldn't be here. And on the other hand, without us, they might have been here, but that's the way it works in rock & roll.”

       

A circumstance beyond our control
The phone, the TV and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies

Put us back on the train
Back on the chain gang

From “Back On The Chain Gang”
By Chrissie Hynde

 

The ostensible purpose of this interview was to discuss The Pretenders Live In London, a DVD of a passionately joyful live show with the current line-up: Martin Chambers on drums, James Walbourne on guitar,  Nick Wilkinson on bass and Eric Heywood on pedal steel. Her punk ethic still comes across when talking about it – as opposed to her peers that involve themselves in all angles of marketing and commercial calculations, she had no inclination to even view the DVD, and tried to beg out of it. But when she finally did view it, she was surprised by how great it was. And she was happy.

 

“You have to keep digging deeper over the years,” she said in regard to parenthood’s tendency to soften the edges of a rocker. Yet she remains  one of rock’s most fiercely gifted songwriters, and, as evidenced by the great songs she wrote for Break Up The Concrete, she’s still very much at the top of her game. Of course she won’t cop to it. And adds that she still feels like a sham – a pretender, if you will – who someday might be found out. “Compared to Dylan and Neil Young,” she says, “I’m still in the minor leagues.”

 

Yet few songwriters have talked about the sad suburbanization of  America with more poignancy than this ex-patriate, who often returned to Ohio – even opening a Vegan restaurant there – and yet found her homecomings laced always with increasing sorrow at the sight of her hometown’s decimation. It’s a subject that has recurred many times in her work, most notably in “My City Was Gone” but also in more recent songs like “Break Up The Concrete,” a great example of outrage being projected, not unlike Neil Young’s “Ohio” about the Kent State massacre, with the assist of a great rock groove.

 

And when you hear “Boots of Chinese Plastic” from Concrete, with its distinctive blend of Buddhism, bravado and a taut Buddy Holly beat, you hear a songwriter engaged, as inspired as when The Pretenders first emerged.  

 

Illusion fills my head like an empty can
I spent a million lifetimes lovin the same man
Every drug that runs though the vein
Always makes its way back to the heart again
And by the way you look fantastic
In your boots of Chinese plastic

From “Boots of Chinese Plastic”
By Chrissie Hynde

 

 

Related image

 Louise_and_Paul_Logo_2.jpg

 

Oct 01, 2018
Episode 11 - John Parish Part Two
34:09

Episode 11

 

1_1_11_parish.jpg

JOHN PARISH

Part Two

This is the second part of our two-part interview with producer-songwriter John Parish, conducted by Louise this past June in England.

Picture

An accomplished composer, solo artist, producer, collaborator, and multi-instrumentalist, John is best known for his work with PJ Harvey, as well as with Eels, Giant Sand, his own bands, and more. In the past twenty years he’s contributed to more than fifty albums, and written scores for movies, TV and theater.

He plays a multitude of instruments, but mostly guitar, and as a guitarist he started  his career in the new wave band Thieves Like Us. In 1982, he formed the band Automatic Diamini, which is when he met  PJ Harvey, who joined the band for a short time.

 

 13johnparish_2.jpg

 

He went on to produce many albums with her, including the award-winning Let England Shake (2011), followed five years later by The Hope Six Demolition Project, which was the first album she did that went to number one album in the UK. He co-wrote all of the songs with her and produced Dance Hall at Louse Point  (1996) and A Woman A Man Walked By (2009), and with Eels he co-wrote and produced Souljacker (2001).

 

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He’s released four albums as a solo artist: How Animals Move (2002), Once Upon A Little Time (2005) a compilation of his film music, Screenplay, (2013), and most recently, Bird Dog Dante (2018), his first full-length album of songs since 2005. It features cameos by Marta Collica, Aldous Hardin and PJ Harvey.

  

13johnparish_1.jpg

 

He started writing for film, theater and contemporary dance in the late ‘90s when his first score for Rosie won the Jury Special Appreciation Award at the 1999 Bonn International Film & TV Music Biennale. His score for Little Black Spiders (2012) was nominated for an Ensor.

 

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John at home in Bristol, June 10, 2018. Photo by LOUISE GOFFIN. 

 

He also wrote the music for Ursula Meier’s L’Enfant D’En Haut.which won the special Silver Bear at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.  His other productions include Sparklehorse, Tracy Chapman, 16 Horsepower, This Is The Kit.

  

Backyard_in_Bristol_lower1.jpeg
Lovely summer day, the backyard, June 10, 2018. Photo by LOUISE GOFFIN.

Louise conducted this interview with John on June 10, 2018 in at his home in Bristol. She was on her way to Chris Difford’s Songwriting Retreat, and took a slight detour to see old friend and collaborator, who picked her up at the Bristol train station. They did the interview in his garden,  after lunch with his family. This is the second part of this two-part conversation. 

 

Bath_Station_.jpegBath station on the way to Bristol, June 10, 2018. Photo by LOUISE GOFFIN.


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Sep 24, 2018
Episode 10: John Parish, Part One
32:26

Episode 10

JOHN PARISH

Part One

Picture

 

An accomplished composer, solo artist, producer, collaborator, and multi-instrumentalist, John Parish is best known for his work with PJ Harvey, as well as with Eels, Giant Sand, his own bands, and more. In the past twenty years he’s contributed to more than fifty albums, and written scores for movies, TV and theater.

He plays a multitude of instruments, but mostly guitar, and as a guitarist he started  his career in the new wave band Thieves Like Us. In 1982, he formed the band Automatic Diamini, which is when he met  PJ Harvey, who joined the band for a short time.

 

IMG_8271-3.jpeg
John at home in Bristol, June 10, 2018. Photo by LOUISE GOFFIN. 

 

 

He went on to produce many albums with her, including the award-winning Let England Shake (2011), followed five years later by The Hope Six Demolition Project, which was the first album she did that went to number one album in the UK. He co-wrote all of the songs with her and produced Dance Hall at Louse Point  (1996) and A Woman A Man Walked By (2009), and with Eels he co-wrote and produced Souljacker (2001).


 



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John Parish & PJ Harvey

 

 

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He’s released four albums as a solo artist: How Animals Move (2002), Once Upon A Little Time (2005) a compilation of his film music, Screenplay, (2013), and most recently, Bird Dog Dante (2018), his first full-length album of songs since 2005. It features cameos by Marta Collica, Aldous Hardin and PJ Harvey.

 

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He started writing for film, theater and contemporary dance in the late ‘90s when his first score for Rosie won the Jury Special Appreciation Award at the 1999 Bonn International Film & TV Music Biennale. His score for Little Black Spiders (2012) was nominated for an Ensor.

He also wrote the music for Ursula Meier’s L’Enfant D’En Haut.which won the special Silver Bear at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.

His other productions include Sparklehorse, Tracy Chapman, 16 Horsepower, This Is The Kit.

 

 

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Lovely summer day, the backyard, June 10, 2018. Photo by LOUISE GOFFIN.

 

Louise conducted this interview with John on June 10, 2018 in at his home in Bristol. She was on her way to Chris Difford’s Songwriting Retreat, and took a slight detour to see old friend and collaborator, who picked her up at the Bristol train station. They did the interview in his garden,  after lunch with his family. This is the first part of that conversation. 

 

 

Bath_Station_.jpegBath station on the way to Bristol, June 10, 2018. Photo by LOUISE GOFFIN.


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Sep 03, 2018
Episode 9: Chris Difford
31:43


EPISODE 9

Chris Difford

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He’s most famous for being half of the great Difford-Tilbrook songwriting duo of Squeeze, a collaboration born more than four decades ago in Blackheath, England, and which has generated a thick songbook of infectiously sophisticated pop rock storytelling, from "Pulling Mussels from a Shell," through "Black Coffee In Bed," "Cool for Cats," "Annie Get Your Gun" and so  many more. 

 

 

It’s a collaboration that was initially sparked by Difford and his delight in telling stories. With five stole pence from his mother, he posted a card  in the tobacconist’s window seeking a guitarist. A band about to get a record deal and go on tour, it said, had a guitarist slot needing to be filled. Although this was entirely a fabrication, it worked. Only one musician  answered, but that was enough. It was Glenn Tilbrook.

 

”It was a complete bluff,” Difford said in a 1999 interview,  “I was just lonely, looking for a friend.”

Tilbrook said it was Difford’s stated influences which caught his attention. “Chris put down Kinks Glenn Miller and Lou Reed,” said Tilbrook. “I thought that was interesting.” Also interesting was Difford’s spy-novel instructions for their first meeting: “Meet me at the Three Tuns in Blackheath village at six o'clock. I'll be carrying a copy of the Evening Standard under my arm.” When Tilbrook arrived he met a long-haired young man in a  lurex coat of many colors, with the Evening Standard under his arm. “Why he didn’t just tell me about the coat,” Tilbrook said, “I’ll never know.”

 

 

 

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But that mystery was quickly supplanted with delight when he first encountered the vivid, mythic tales Difford told in song, and with a distinctive linguistic flair and grace.  Though Glenn had been writing both words and music to his own songs up to then, soon as he realized the expanse of Difford’s abilities, he left the lyrics to him.

“I felt tremendous admiration for his lyrics,” said Tilbrook, “which outstripped anything that I was capable of. The first things he showed me were like Jacques Brel songs - tales of sailors and whores, the like of which I'd never heard before. He had, and has, a turn of phrase that leaps out of the page. Within two or three times of meeting up, we felt we would like to try and write together.”

 

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Difford & Tilbrook.

Their very first song was called “'Hotel Woman.”  It wasn't particularly great,” said Tilbrook, “but it defined our roles straight away. I took over the musical side and Chris took over the lyrical side exclusively.”

 

They also started performing their music. Unlike Bernie Taupin with Elton, who wrote words but never performed them, Chris was a part of the band. Since his voice is naturally low, he and Tilbrook never sang harmony, they sang in unison an octave apart.

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They wrote a lot of songs before they started Squeeze, for about three years, during all incarnations of the band, and also after Squeeze, for their Difford-Tilbrook project and for other artists such as Elvis Costello, Helen Shapiro and Billy Bremner.  He also wrote songs for his own solo albums, started in 2003 with I Didn't Get Where I Am.

 

In 2017, he published his autobiography, Some Fantastic Place: My Life In and Out of Squeeze.

 

Twice the recipient of the UK’s most prestigious songwriting award, the Ivor Novello Award, Difford also has famously shared his wisdom and love of songwriting in an annual songwriting retreat at Pennard House in Somerset. Songwriters from all around the world attend, including our own Louise Goffin, who recorded this interview there at the retreat, and shares the following about her friend Chris.

 

 

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Chris & Louise

 

LOUISE GOFFIN: When I was 24 years old I was invited to come to London for ten days by Dave Robinson of Stiff Records to meet with producers about making an album for Stiff. It was mid-December and it was a rare winter in that it snowed on the streets of London that year.

There was something magical about the anonymity of spending the holidays in West London where I didn’t know a soul. I felt like it was the beginning of my adulthood, finding my own sandbox in the world. I kept extending my stay. Eventually ten days became ten years a Londoner! My first email address was “anexile.”

It was definitely a great song adventure. I’d take the tube to Chiswick to Dave Robinson’s office. He was running Island Records that year for Chris Blackwell and Stiff Records was also run from the same office.

After a few months of restlessness, bursting at the seams to collaborate, I heard from Dave Robinson’s wonderful assistant, Annie Holloway, who said, “You and Chris Difford ought to write some songs together.”

I thought, “You mean that could happen?" I must be doing the right thing staying in the UK because things were looking up. "I can write with Chris Difford?” 

 

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I think it was February that I took a bus down south to Blackheath where Chris invited me, and there was rain whipping at the bus windows the whole journey. Conversing with locals on the bus they would ask, “Where are you from?” And when I said California, with shock they’d ask, “What on earth are you doing here in this dreadful weather?”

Chris gave me lyrics about a Blue Guitar, one about the Algonquin Hotel, and another was words he’d written to music I had, for which I only had the title “Can’t Trust A Memory.” I’d have to dig deep into boxes of cassettes and pages to find them. That'd be a worthy scavenger hunt. 

 

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Shooting the video for "Paris, France" in England.

As it happened, a mere twenty-four years went by before Chris and I reconnected (over the internet) and another eight years for me to get to one of his songwriting retreats. Both figuratively and actually, we met again in person for much sunnier days. I was making an album, one I consider my best so far, and he had been hosting and facilitating Chris Difford’s Songwriting Retreats for twenty-five years in a row.

 

I remember saying to him, “Chris you seem so much sunnier than when we first met.” He said his journey of recovery may have had something to do with it. I feel honored to have been part of the abundance Chris has created with his songwriting retreats and the community that surrounds it. And simply joyous and grateful that I had the opportunity to sing a duet with him.

 

This last June, I went back for my second songwriting retreat and wrote so many good songs I went straight to adding them to my live set, skipping the recording part. But it is more than songs that I take home from his retreats. The newfound friends and shared experiences are enriching for years beyond the mere four days all the songwriters are gathered together.  I felt lucky that Chris managed to set aside a little time in the hustle and bustle of the retreat to talk to me about his songwriting process, how he’s managed to sustain a four-decade-plus professional relationship with Glen Tilbrook, and his love of cross-pollinating creative skillsets.

 

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Aug 28, 2018
Episode 8: Lou Adler, Part Two.
38:47

LOU ADLER
Part II.

 

The Great Song Adventure is proud to present Part Two of our interview with the legendary producer-songwriter-manager-visionary Lou Adler.

 

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Lou Adler at Home, 2018. Photo by PAUL ZOLLO


Welcome to Part II of our Great Song Adventure conversation with Lou Adler.

Lou was a special guest for many reasons, not only for his historic career of such wide ranging accomplishment, from writing "What A Wonderful World" with Sam Cooke, who he also managed, to producing classic albums such as Tapestry to discovering and producing the movies and records of Cheech & Chong.

But special also for personal reasons;  he and Louise have known each other since she was a kid and her mom was making Tapestry and other albums at A&M Studios in Hollywood. Louise & her sister were even enlisted as kids to sing along with many luminaries on Cheech & Chong's record "Basketball Jones" (when Carole King joined the session to play electric piano). Most recently they were together at the historic concert her mom gave in London's  Hyde Park, and Louise opened. She sang a duet on "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Where You Lead" in her mom's set, and played a guitar solo on "Smackwater Jack", as related herein.
 

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An outtake from Tapestry, Carole King with daughters Louise & Sherry, 1971, photo by JIM McCRARY.


Talking to Lou was also especially poignant because he worked with the late great P.F. Sloan, the genius songwriter of "Eve of Destruction" and so many songs. Phil - as he was known - was a very close friend of Paul's and Louise and got to play an intimate show with him just months before his passing, so discussing his history with Lou, who so impacted it, was especially moving.
 

That discussion begins this episode. 

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Louise & Lou, 2018, with poster of Carole at his home. Photo by PAUL ZOLLO 

 

Although he’s one of the most successful and legendary producers of all time, Lou  attributes little of this glory to himself, but to the great fortune of working with genius songwriters.

“I was so lucky,” he said. “I worked with Carole King, John Phillips and Sam Cooke! I mean, how lucky can somebody be?”

In his spacious home on the ocean, big waves crashing outside under endless blue skies, he still marvels at the wonder of getting to be the guy who worked with these three remarkable songwriters.


“And they’re all such different kinds of writers,” he said. “Carole, who was from that Brill Building-Tin Pan Alley songwriter, John Phillips, who was writing vocal arrangements cause he wrote for a group, and Sam Cooke, who was just a pure poet.”

In truth, it was more than luck. Lou Adler had an uncanny knack for recognizing the full potential of an artist before the rest of the world caught on. Artists who not only were ideal for that moment in time, but who were making timeless work which would have a lasting cultural impact.

 

It started with Sam Cooke, who he managed, produced and even co-wrote songs, including “What A Wonderful World.” Then came The Mamas and The Papas fully-formed already with their classic song that he produced, “California Dreamin’”. When Carole King began recording her own songs after years of writing them, with Gerry Goffin, for others, Lou saw the potential - long before most of the industry did - of what became the advent of the “singer-songwriter” movement: great songwriters like Carole or her friends James Taylor and Joni Mitchell performing their own songs, and delivering them with a soulful intimacy sent directly from their hearts and minds to their listener. Lou and Carole did three albums of her songs, but it was the third - combining brand new classics like “It’s Too Late” and “So Far Away” with Goffin-King gems such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Natural Woman.”

 


Tapestry became one of the most beloved and successful albums of all-time, even outselling Sgt. Pepper at its peak. It won four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Record of the Year and Album of the Year.

 

But at its heart, as with all his other musical projects, was the key ingredient: great songwriting. That is the constant through all his work, and which led him to work extensively with the late great P.F. Sloan and his songwriting partner, Steve Barri. Lou produced the song “Eve of Destruction,” written alone by Sloan one night with four other songs, and which Lou transformed into a number one hit for Barry McGuire.


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P.F. Sloan, 2005. Photo by PAUL ZOLLO

 

 

It’s also the reason why he signed The Mamas and The Papas, as he discusses. They came in with those voices, sound and harmony. But most importantly, they came with the song “California Dreamin’.” A classic from day one.

 

Lou was also the guy behind other cultural phenomena, such as two Latino comics named Cheech & Chong he heard at hootenanny night at the Troubadour. He produced all their albums and movies. And when he saw a oddly provocative musical at a local theater called The Rocky Horror Picture Show he had the vision to know the whole world had to see it, and turned it into a movie. It’s become a cult-classic.

 

 

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Lou & Carole, 2014. Photo by ELISSA KLINE.

 

 

Born in Chicago in 1933, he became a lifelong Californian when he was still a kid, after his dad drove to Los Angeles, loved it, and drove home to fetch his family. Lou grew up in Boyle Heights, where he entertained the idea of a career as a newspaperman. When he and his friend Herb Alpert started managing music acts, they took on Jan and Dean, and while not managing, wrote songs for them and other acts.

 

Their song  “Only Sixteen,” was a hit for Cooke in 1959. And with Sam they wrote “What A Wonderful World,” a hit for Sam and then recorded years later by the trio of Simon, Garfunkel and Taylor (James Taylor). They also wrote “River Rock,” recorded by Bob “Froggy” Landers and the Cough Drops and other songs.

 

 

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Making Tapestry: Lou, Carole and Hank  Cicalo. A&M Studios, 1971. Photo by JIM McCRARY.

 

 

When he and Alpert went separate ways, Lou started Dunhill Records, where he ran the label and produced the records. P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri were his in-house songwriting team, and he created the first albums of The Mamas and The Papas, who had six major hits just between 1966 and 1967, “California Dreamin’,” “Monday, Monday,” “I Saw Her Again,” “Words of Love,” “Dedicated to the One I Love” and “Creeque Alley.”

 

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Lou, 2018. Photo by PAUL ZOLLO

 

 

His next label was Ode, where he launched another cultural milestone linked to that 1968 “Summer of Love”: Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).” Also in 1968, he changed the landscape of rock & roll festivals - with subsequent rock festival films, by starting the Monterey Pop Festival and producing one of the first epic rock movies, Monterey Pop (1968). The ongoing cultural impact of this festival still reverberates, as it launched successive iconic artists, including Janis Joplin, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix. Lou produced the Live at Monterey album which showcased the miracle guitar playing of Hendrix, as well as several other live Hendrix albums.

 

 

Then came Cheech and Chong, Rocky Horror, and a club called The Roxy on the Sunset Strip that became a L.A. institution.

                                                                                                                      1_1_11_1_GSA.jpg

Aug 14, 2018
Episode 7: Lou Adler, Part One.
51:52

LOU ADLER
Part I.



The Great Song Adventure is proud to present Part One of our interview with the legendary producer-songwriter-manager-visionary Lou Adler.

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Making Tapestry: Lou, Carole and Hank  Cicalo. A&M Studios, 1971. Photo by JIM McCRARY.

 

Although he’s one of the most successful and legendary producers of all time, Lou Adler attributes little of this glory to himself, but to the great fortune of working with genius songwriters.

“I was so lucky,” he said. “I worked with Carole King, John Phillips and Sam Cooke! I mean, how lucky can somebody be?”

In his spacious home on the ocean, big waves crashing outside under endless blue skies, he still marvels at the wonder of getting to be the guy who worked with these three remarkable songwriters.



“And they’re all such different kinds of writers,” he said. “Carole, who was from that Brill Building-Tin Pan Alley songwriter, John Phillips, who was writing vocal arrangements cause he wrote for a group, and Sam Cooke, who was just a pure poet.”

 

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Lou Adler at Home, 2018. Photo by PAUL ZOLLO

 

In truth, it was more than luck. Lou Adler had an uncanny knack for recognizing the full potential of an artist before the rest of the world caught on. Artists who not only were ideal for that moment in time, but who were making timeless work which would have a lasting cultural impact.

 

33Lou_Toni__Carole_McCrary.jpg
Lou, Carole & Toni Stern, 1971. Photo by JIM McCRARY.

 

It started with Sam Cooke, who he managed, produced and even co-wrote songs, including “What A Wonderful World.” Then came The Mamas and The Papas fully-formed already with their classic song that he produced, “California Dreamin’”. When Carole King began recording her own songs after years of writing them, with Gerry Goffin, for others, Lou saw the potential - long before most of the industry did - of what became the advent of the “singer-songwriter” movement: great songwriters like Carole or her friends James Taylor and Joni Mitchell performing their own songs, and delivering them with a soulful intimacy sent directly from their hearts and minds to their listener. Lou and Carole did three albums of her songs, but it was the third - combining brand new classics like “It’s Too Late” and “So Far Away” with Goffin-King gems such as “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Natural Woman.”

Tapestry became one of the most beloved and successful albums of all-time, even outselling Sgt. Pepper at its peak. It won four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Record of the Year and Album of the Year.

 

In this podcast, Lou details the great care and love poured into every aspect of making this album, such as the sequencing, for which he left town to focus, spending an entire month in Mexico to perfect.

 

But at its heart, as with all his other musical projects, was the key ingredient: great songwriting. That is the constant through all his work, and which led him to work extensively with the late great P.F. Sloan and his songwriting partner, Steve Barri. Lou produced the song “Eve of Destruction,” written alone by Sloan one night with four other songs, and which Lou transformed into a number one hit for Barry McGuire.

It’s also the reason why he signed The Mamas and The Papas, as he discusses. They came in with those voices, sound and harmony. But most importantly, they came with the song “California Dreamin’.” A classic from day one.

 

Lou was also the guy behind other cultural phenomena, such as two Latino comics named Cheech & Chong he heard at hootenanny night at the Troubadour. He produced all their albums and movies. And when he saw a oddly provocative musical at a local theater called The Rocky Horror Picture Show he had the vision to know the whole world had to see it, and turned it into a movie. It’s become a cult-classic.

 

Born in Chicago in 1933, he became a lifelong Californian when he was still a kid, after his dad drove to Los Angeles, loved it, and drove home to fetch his family. Lou grew up in Boyle Heights, where he entertained the idea of a career as a newspaperman. When he and his friend Herb Alpert started managing music acts, they took on Jan and Dean, and while not managing, wrote songs for them and other acts. Their song  “Only Sixteen,” was a hit for Cooke in 1959. And with Sam they wrote “What A Wonderful World,” a hit for Sam and then recorded years later by the trio of Simon, Garfunkel and Taylor (James Taylor). They also wrote “River Rock,” recorded by Bob “Froggy” Landers and the Cough Drops and other songs.

 

When he and Alpert went separate ways, Lou started Dunhill Records, where he ran the label and produced the records. P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri were his in-house songwriting team, and he created the first albums of The Mamas and The Papas, who had six major hits just between 1966 and 1967, “California Dreamin’,” “Monday, Monday,” “I Saw Her Again,” “Words of Love,” “Dedicated to the One I Love” and “Creeque Alley.”

 

His next label was Ode, where he launched another cultural milestone linked to that 1968 “Summer of Love”: Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).” Also in 1968, he changed the landscape of rock & roll festivals - with subsequent rock festival films, by starting the Monterey Pop Festival and producing one of the first epic rock movies, Monterey Pop (1968). The ongoing cultural impact of this festival still reverberates, as it launched successive iconic artists, including Janis Joplin, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix. Lou produced the Live at Monterey album which showcased the miracle guitar playing of Hendrix, as well as several other live Hendrix albums.

 

Then came Cheech and Chong, Rocky Horror, and a club called The Roxy on the Sunset Strip that became a L.A. institution.

33Lou_CK_MusicaresVIVIHD.jpg
Lou & Carole, 2014. Photo by ELISSA KLINE.

 

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Louise & Lou, 2018, with poster of Carole at his home. Photo by PAUL ZOLLO
 

 

Louise and Lou have known each other for decades- since she was a kid hanging out at A&M during the recording of Tapestry  -and most recently in 2016, when they were together at Carole King's historic concert in London's Hyde Park where Carole performed all of Tapestry for the first time ever, and Louise played a set opening for the show. It’s with a discussion of that concert that our conversation began.                                                                                                                           1_1_11_1_GSA.jpg

 

Aug 06, 2018
Episode 6: Leonard Cohen, A 1992 Archival Interview
01:40:13

Episode 6: 
LEONARD COHEN. 
A 1992 Archival Interview

The Great Song Adventure is honored to bring you this archival interview with Leonard Cohen, conducted by Paul Zollo in 1992 at Leonard’s Los Angeles home. Of all the interviews Zollo has conducted over these past three decades, with the exception of his Bob Dylan interview, none has been quoted so thoroughly over the years as this one. What follows is Zollo’s account of that interview, and reflections on the life and work of Leonard Cohen, who, after completing his final album, You Want It Darker, died on November 7, 2016. He was 82.

 


“If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.” 

 

 

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Leonard Cohen on Pico, 1994. 
Photo by Paul Zollo.

 

I remember it like it was yesterday, back when I was ten years old and learning how to play guitar. In front of me were the lyrics and chords for Leonard's song “Suzanne.”

I remember thinking, “How does someone write something this beautiful?” It seemed like a miracle to me then. And it still does.

So when receiving the great privilege of sitting down with him myself to talk about songwriting, that is where I began. With the admission that for most of my life, I have been pondering the mystery of “Suzanne,” which resounded then, and still does, as a miracle. How exactly does one write a song like that?

He smiled that warm, beatific Leonard smile when I said this, and did not demur.

“It is a miracle,” he answered. “If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.”

And in that one answer came the crystallization of this man’s greatness. With just a few words, all of Leonard is there: his humility, humor, reverence, mystery, truth and dedication. Dedication to the mystery itself, to the realm into which all songwriters reach to find their songs.

Unlike most humans who rarely finish entire sentences, he spoke in what felt more like parables than   paragraphs, with an eloquence both ancient and modern, serious and comic, conversational and poetic. His ideas were informed by religious wisdom, from Judaism, as well as other religions, and the ancient elegance of Biblical verse.  Never was this more evident than when asked about the current quality of popular song, and the widespread conviction of many that meaningful songs are no longer written. His answer is not only stunning for the beauty of its Whitmanesque language, but also for a perspective that is greater than the usual, and more generous in its understanding of how songs figure into people’s lives: .  

“There are always meaningful songs for somebody,” he said. “People are doing their courting, people are finding their wives, people are making babies, people are washing their dishes, people are getting through the day, with songs that we may find insignificant. But their significance is affirmed by others. There’s always someone affirming the significance of a song by taking a woman into his arms or by getting through the night. That’s what dignifies the song. Songs don’t dignify human activity. Human activity dignifies the song.”

 

In 1994, I interviewed Anjani, the singer-musician who loved and lived with Leonard for years and did a whole album of his words with her music. We met at a café in mid-L.A. and the great man himself, Leonard, accompanied her. Of course, being him he knew right away I would be unable to conduct a meaningful interview with him sitting there. So he immediately assured us that he would sit elsewhere while we spoke.

We did the interview, and afterwards I made an admission to Anjani. Which was that it was hard to fathom actually living a regular life with Leonard Cohen. I did know he was a man, after all. But to songwriters, I said, he is a god.

She laughed heartily when I said that, and answered, “Oh trust me, he’s a man! He is definitely a man!”

Now with his mortal life complete, it seems she must have been right. But there are very few men who have ever done what he did. Even when the industry as he knew it essentially collapsed, never did he waver from the thing that mattered most: the work. If it took him seven years to perfect a song, even to the extent of writing forty or more verses, he would take seven years. There was no rush. Nothing mattered more. When he would be up at Mt. Baldy, serving time as a Buddhist monk, he would be working on songs in his head. During his last year, when he was in severe pain and immobilized, he worked on songs. The work never stopped.

 

My ordinary state of mind is very much like the waiting room at the DMV… So to penetrate this chattering and this meaningless debate that is occupying most of my attention, I have to come up with something that really speaks to my deepest interest. Otherwise I just nod off in one way or another. So to find that song, that urgent song, takes a lot of versions and a lot of work and a lot of sweat.”

- Leonard Cohen

 

 

Songwriting was for him was, as other miracle songs such as “Hallelujah” affirm, more than a job. It was a calling. His highest calling. And he built a beautiful and indestructible tower of song, brick by brick, day by day, year by year. Like all of his songs, it has been built to last.

“It begins with an appetite,” he said, describing the way he started a song, “to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt.”

 

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Leonard Cohen & Paul Zollo at the Top of the Tower of Song, 1992.
Photo by Henry Diltz.

 “Freedom and restriction are just luxurious terms to one who is locked in a dungeon in the tower of song.” -- Leonard Cohen

That day we met remains etched in shining memory forever. Even the  recognition that Leonard lived in the same world in which we all lived, and even in the same city, was a revelation. His songs always suggested he existed in a whole other realm, separate from mundane human existence.

He answered the door like an old friend, and with great warmth, gratitude and abundant humor, he made me feel instantly at ease. His passion for songs - and for the process of writing them - was palpable and infectious. Not only did he delight in explaining how endless were his revisions, he proudly led me upstairs to where his journals were kept, and read me many of the great verses he discarded.

This was 1992, almost ten years since his own recording of “Hallelujah” was released, yet still before it became the beloved standard it’s become, recorded by almost 300 different artists and in many languages. John Cale’s version came out in 1991, but it was not until the season of Jeff Buckley’s rendition in 2007, and subsequent recordings by kd lang, Rufus Wainwright and others,  that the song became world famous. This transformed and enervated Leonard’s career in a profound way, leading to several triumphant and glorious world tours.

Yet back in 1992, at the time of this talk, that shift had yet to commence. Few people yet knew or loved “Hallelujah,” and Leonard’s albums, though always brilliant, made little impact, especially in America. Even music videos he’d make, which were shown in other countries, rarely were seen at all in this country.

We met just after he’d finished a masterpiece, his album The Future, which reflected the turmoil of America and the world in modern times. It’s an album of remarkably epic and expansive ferocity, including astounding songs such as “The Future” and “Democracy.” In this interview, he discusses the origins of both, and shares verses that he discarded from them. Also, being Leonard, even his answer about why those verses were discarded is pure poetry, and beautiful.

More than anything, it’s his unflagging devotional diligence, and genuine love of work, which made the biggest impact on so many. His resolute determination never to settle, to never allow a lesser line to live if a better one can be found, was a great and ongoing education for so many. Songwriting, as he explained, did not come easy. It was work, and he felt artists were wrong to ever consider anything wrong with work.

“But why shouldn’t my work be hard?” he asked. “One is distracted by this notion that there is such a thing as inspiration, that it comes fast and easy. Some people are graced by that style. I’m not. So I have to work hard as any stiff, to come up with the payload.”

In what remains one of the my favorite part of the interview, both  delightfully funny and poetic, is his answer to my question of what his work entails.

“Anything,” he said, “ that I can bring to it: Thought, meditation, drinking, disillusion, insomnia, vacations. Because once the song enters the mill, it’s worked on by everything that I can summon. And I need everything. I try everything. I try to ignore it, try to repress it, try to get high, try to get intoxicated, try to get sober, all the versions of myself that I can summon are summoned to participate in this project, this work force. I try everything. I’ll do anything. By any means possible.”

So, I asked, do any of these things work better than others?

“No,” he said with a smile. “Nothing works. Nothing works.”

Yet, even with this admission, he created remarkable songs over the decades, songs which shone in a much richer,  more epic way than those written by most of his peers, with the exception of a few. Bob Dylan, though the recipient of much more worldwide reverence for his work than Leonard, greatly admired Leonard’s songs. Leonard also greatly admired Dylan, though it seems likely Leonard would have still been Leonard no matter what, unlike most contemporary songwriters. As the poet Allen Ginsberg, a friend to both, said, “Dylan blew everybody’s mind when he emerged. Everyone except Leonard Cohen, that is.”


During Leonard’s lifetime, Dylan was his stalwart champion, reminding a world that seemed not to care at times that what Leonard was doing was unlike anything else. Following the release of Leonard’s Various Positions in 1984, which contained “Hallelujah” yet was ignored by the mass of record buyers, Dylan alerted the world to what they were missing. “These are more than songs,” Dylan said.” These are prayers.”  Those words, reflecting the holy if broken hallelujah which echoes through Leonard’s entire songbook, brought multitudes to Leonard’s music.

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Leonard,1994. Photo by Paul Zollo.

 

Following Leonard’s death, Dylan extolled Leonard’s greatness. As someone who understands better than most humans what a song is, as opposed to a poem, he pushed back against the prevalent pattern of memorializing Leonard as a poet, and not a songwriter. Leonard did write books of poems, as well as two novels. But his life was dedicated, with vast devotional intensity, to being a songwriter.  

Yet because of Leonard’s  prodigiously ingenious way with words, like Dylan, he’s often celebrated not as songwriters, but as poets. As if being a poet in modern times is a higher calling in some way.  Yet as we know, in these times, it’s the songwriters who have had the greatest impact on our culture, much more so than poets. Dylan identifies Leonard’s genius as a songwriter, combining both words and music.

“When people talk about Leonard,” Dylan said, “they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius. Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music. His gift or genius is in his connection to the music of the spheres.”

Leonard also felt great and oft-expressed admiration for Dylan. In this interview he compared Dylan’s lyrics to the “unhewn stone” on which ancient Jews erected their altar, as opposed to slick, smooth stone.

“Dylan has a lot of lines that have the feel of unhewn stone,” Leonard said. “It’s inspired but not polished. That is not to say he doesn’t have lyrics of great polish. That kind of genius can manifest all the forms and all the styles.”

During the last year of his life, near death, in pain so great, said his son Adam, that he had to turn to forces much stronger than medicine, Leonard finished his final album, You Want It Darker.  Too weak to do a series of promotional interviews to launch the album, Leonard did one press event at the beautiful Canadian consulate mansion in Los Angeles.

Only invited guests were present, including friends and collaborators and Leonard’s son, Adam, who produced the album. Also invited was a cadre of  mostly foreign journalists and a few lucky Americans (including me), all of whom had expressed great love and reverence for Leonard in their work over the years. It was October 13, 2016, the same day the announcement was made that Dylan had been awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature. It was the first time a songwriter had ever earned this distinction. Many there suggested Leonard should have been the first to get it.

 

Be Thy Holy Name

Vilified and crucified

In the human frame

A million candles burning

For the help that never came

You want it darker

We kill the flame

Hineni Hineni

I’m ready, my Lord.”


From “You Want It Darker”
By Leonard Cohen

From the title song of his final album, it ends with the ancient Hebrew prayer. Hineni means “I’m here,” and is followed in English, with “I’m ready, my Lord.”

Knowing of his grave illness, and a foreboding recent statement he made suggesting he was ready to be done with this life, the press asked about this song,  which seemed to be expressing an acceptance of imminent death. His answer was startling, both in its eloquence as well as its unflinching embrace of the inevitable, and its effect on him:

“I don’t really know the genesis, the origin, enabling that declaration of readiness,” he said, “no matter what the outcome. That is a part of everyone’s soul. We all are motivated by deep impulses and deep appetites to serve, even though we may not be able to locate that which are willing to serve. So this is just a part of my nature. And I think it would also be my nature to offer one’s self when the emergency becomes articulate. It’s only when the emergency becomes articulate that we can locate that willingness to serve.”

A kind of stunned silence followed, as the crowd absorbed the fullness of what he said. Sensing this, he added, “That’s getting too heavy. I’m sorry. Strike that.”

Much laughter. Even weakened, his voice softer than ever, the man knew how to work a crowd.

When asked his opinion about the news that Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize, Leonard, with hardly a second’s hesitation, said,  “To me, giving that award to Dylan is like pinning a medal on Mt. Everest for being the highest mountain.” Though many laughed at this precise and generous metaphor, most of the foreign press was completely baffled by it, as it simply did not translate. Afterwards they crowded around, asking for an explanation. I did my best to explain, but not sure I succeeded.

At the conclusion of our last night with him, he left us all with hope that we would see and hear from him again. “Thanks for coming, friends,” he said warmly. “I really appreciate it. I really appreciated your standing up when I came into the room.  Hoping to do this again. I intend to stick around till 120.”

He also admitted to a fondness for hummingbirds. “I have always loved those magical little creatures,” he said, and recited a recently composed song about them, only words so far, no music.

Listen to the hummingbird

Whose wings you cannot see

Listen to the hummingbird

Don’t listen to me

Listen to the butterfly

Whose days but number three

Listen to the butterfly

Don’t listen to me

 

Listen to the mind of God

Which doesn’t need to be      

Listen to the mind of God

Don’t listen to me

 

After the applause faded, he added, “I would say the hummingbird deserves royalties on that one.” When he was asked if it would be on the next album, he said, softly, “God willing.”

 

That a songwriter and singer would end a long and remarkable career with the statement, “Don’t listen to me,” says everything about the soul of Leonard Cohen. At the end he pointed us all away from this light shining on him to the light inside all things, the source of all songs. The place where the great songs came from.

 

It’s where he is now.

Hallelujah.

 

Jul 10, 2018
Episode 5: Tom Petty, A 1999 Archival Interview.
01:41:15

The Great Song Adventure is proud to present Episode Five, a conversation with Tom Petty. This is the first episode using an existing interview from our archives. Conducted by Paul Zollo in 1999, it's a talk with Tom that focuses primarily on the creation of his tenth studio album, Echo, which he made with his band The Heartbreakers, and was produced by Rick Rubin. 

Though Paul interviewed Tom many times before and after this one, including over a year of interviews for the book Conversations with Tom Petty [Omnibus], we decided to start with this one. Because although it centers mostly on one album, it really gives one a genuine experience of Tom. As you can hear, he's very calm and grounded, and justifiably joyful and proud about writing the songs, and making the album, that is Echo. 

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Joy is at the very center. Yes, Echo was a sad album in many ways, as it came in the wake of his divorce from Jane, his first wife and mom of his kids, as well as the sad, gradual demise of his beloved bassist, Howie Klein, who was so far gone he didn't show for the album cover photo. They did it without him.


Yet at its heart is genuine joy. Because, as Tom's ever-expanding devoted nation of fans know well, there was nothing he loved more than making music. As he says in the interview, he was so loving the process of bringing in new songs and recording them with the band that after hours in the studio he'd go home and write a new song. Because he wanted to do it again the next day. He was having fun. And the joy of that fun is injected directly into the tracks of this album, and the others, and preserved forever. In high fidelity! 

It's true the man was remarkably productive. Not only did he write and record a considerably immense amount of music, it's all great music. He was not a guy who made albums because he was contractually obligated. Although he was. He did it because he loved it, and invested everything he had into every song, and every track.

Many stories he relates herein shine a lot of light into the essential Tom. Such as the one about how the great "Swingin'" got born. Tom fell into its chords and started playing them although the band was playing something else entirely. But he persisted. No words, just music. Gradually, they joined him, and he "ad-libbed" the entire song. 

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Tom with Mudcrutch at the Troubadour.
Photo by Paul Zollo.
Or how after writing the brilliantly dark and funny "Rhino Skin," a song about the need for one to form a rough exterior as protection from the brutal vagaries of existence - he had to stand up for the song. Everyone - Rick Rubin, the guys in the band- urged him to change the lyrics. And he tried! But ultimately he knew what he had was best. And that, despite those who felt it wrong, the lyric and sentiment remain, that "you need elephant balls if you don't want to crawl through this world on your hands." 


It's also a conversation which shows how deeply Tom was intricately involved in each and every aspect of making Echo, from the songwriting, arrangements and recording though sequencing, album art, and more. 

He also kindly delves into the origins of many of these songs. One of the main reasons he and Zollo bonded over the years was shared reverence for the craft of songwriting. Tom's genius with music itself - with those simple but ingenious chord patterns of each song - gave many the wrong impression that what he did was easy. Because he worked and worked on songs to get them so perfect that they were seamless, and seemed to have fallen out of him with no actual work. And except for a few exceptions, such as "Swingin'," this rarely happened. In truth, his use of chords was always quite brilliant, but deceptively so. Yet, as Tom said, if you think this is easy - try doing it. And he was always happy and proud to have the opportunity to discuss the music itself with a fellow musician. After all, the guy was an absolute genius at the creation of music. Yet rarely was he asked to expound on how he did it.

As his friend Bob Dylan once remarked in an interview, he was often amazed by the odd range of random subjects about which he would be asked. The interviewer said, "Well, what should they ask you about?" Dylan laughed and said, "How about music?"  


This is the first of many archival interviews to come. Future ones include in-depth creative conversations with Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, Dave Brubeck, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon and many more.

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Tom Petty on Vine Street. 
Photo by Paul Zollo.

Jun 18, 2018
Episode 4: Hop Li on Pico. A Conversation between Louise & Paul
01:30:15

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"Songwriting," said Leonard Cohen, "is much like the life of a Catholic nun. You're married to a mystery."
That mystery -- where songs come from, and how to reach them -- is one all songwriters learn to embrace. Though it's an unanswerable question, for many it is a galvanizing force.

As Leonard said, "If I knew where the good songs came from, I'd go there more often."


The Great Song Adventure is an exploration and celebration of that ongoing mystery, the source of songs. It began when Louise Goffin invited Paul Zollo to speak at one of her master-classes in songwriting. That conversation was so fun and electric, and went off in so many directions, they considered turning it into a podcast. 

Their original vision was a show that could preserve these kinds of conversations, and could extend to include intimate, expansive musical conversations with legendary songwriters they both know well and revere, such as the brilliantly eloquent Van Dyke Parks, who was their very first guest.  

And so the Great Adventure commenced, as Louise and Paul traveled all over interviewing songwriters and building content for their show. They did new interviews with legendary songwriters - and also great current songwriters - as also created new shows around interviews from the Zollo archives. The first archival ones to come are talks with Tom Petty and Leonard Cohen. 

Part of the original vision was to conduct these talks at Chinese restaurants, so as to have the fun of talking while eating good Chinese food (a great long-standing musician tradition), but also to distinguish the show with a charmingly distinctive old-time radio ambiance. To provide not only a good conversation, but a location which would be present in the fun sonics throughout.

This was a miscalculation. One built mostly on Paul's enthusiasm for the idea (which might have been inspired more by the food than the sonics). However, instead of being charmingly distinctive, as hoped, it proved to be - well - noisy! Distracting. And so, although yummy, the idea was jettisoned for sonically-pure spaces.

However, Louise & Paul did conduct a trial conversation - just between the two of them- at Hop Li on Pico in West L.A. And though admittedly too thick with audio ambiance, this historic episode has been preserved, and we are happy to present it to you now.

Hop Li Seafod Restaurant: 10974 Pico Boulevard.
West Los Angeles, California 90064
310-441-3708.  (Tell them Louise & Paul sent you.)
 
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Jun 11, 2018
Episode 3: Danny Kortchmar, aka Kootch
01:31:47

EPISODE 3: 

Danny Kortchmar
aka 
KOOTCH 


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The Great Song Adventure is proud to present a conversation with the legendary Kootch. Danny Kortchmar. Guitarist, producer, songwriter and more, he’s both a great musician and a tremendously impactful one, having provided his distinctive musicianship to countless landmark albums. These include
Sweet Baby James by James Taylor and Tapestry by Carole King, as well as classic records by Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon and more.

In fact, he’s so legendary as the guitarist on these landmark albums that people often overlook how many great songs he’s written. But there’s many famous ones, including “Honey Don’t Leave L.A.,” recorded by James Taylor, “Sunset Grill,” written with and recorded by Don Henley, “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” and “Dirty Laundry,” also recorded by Henley, “Somebody’s Baby,” recorded by Jackson Browne and “Tender Is The Night,” written with Jackson and Russ Kunkel, and recorded by Jackson.

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Born in New York, he spent summers with his family at Martha’s Vineyard. He met James Taylor there when they were in their teens, and they formed the band Flying Machine, playing songs James wrote and some they wrote together, such as “Night Owl” and “Knocking Round The Zoo.”

He became a valued sideman, playing on a wide range of albums. He knew Peter Asher from his days in the duo Peter & Gordon, and when Asher went to Apple, Danny suggested he consider his friend James Taylor for a record deal. Asher agreed, and James was the first and only American artist signed to Apple. Asher produced the first self-titled album, featuring much guitar playing by Kooch. When Apple folded, they all came to Los Angeles, where James signed with Warner Brothers and made Sweet Baby James, featuring “Fire and Rain.” In that song is a reference to their origins: “Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.”  

In 1967, he joined the Fugs. When they broke up, he followed Fugs bassist Charles Larkey to the West Coast, and with Carole King formed a band called The City, with whom he made the 1968 album Now That Everything's Been Said. When that failed to fly, he kept working with Carole,on her debut album and on Tapestry, her second album.

When Asher began producing, he enlisted Kootch and a studio band which became known as the The Section. As discussed in our interview, they were a remarkably tight, rock-solid musical unit ideal for any song - be it a tender ballad or a rocker. The Section was Leland Sklar on bass, Russ Kunkel on drums and Kootch. On James Taylor’s albums as well as her own, Carole King was the pianist/keyboardist. When she was not there, Craig Doerge took over.


Presently he’s making records and touring with an ensemble called Danny Kortchmar and Immediate Family, featuring Russ Kunkel,  Lee Sklar, Waddy Wachtel, Steve Postell and Jim Cox. He just released an album with them called Honey Don’t Leave L.A., and has embarked on a mighty tour. They’re heading to Japan - playing Billboard Live in Osaka on June 14 and elsewhere.

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May 29, 2018
Episode 2: The Motels
59:12
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Martha Davis & Marty Jourard of The Motels.

An intimate talk with Martha Davis and Marty Jourard of The Motels, who were in Los Angeles to launch their new album The Last Few Beautiful Days. It's the first new Motels album in a long time; their previous album, Apocalypto, although being released in 2011 was recorded back in 1981. Martha made several solo albums in that interim, including Policy (1987) and Beautiful Life (2008).

Her passion for songwriting, she said,  far superseded any desire to be a singer. "It was all about the songwriting," she said. "Still is." She spoke of her love of great melodies, inspired by  Broadway musicals, and about writing the beautifully melodic title song of the new album, "The Last  Few Beautiful Days," as well as Motels classics such as "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Only The Lonely." 

Marty Jourard, whose distinctive sax and keyboard riffs have distinguished their records since their self-titled debut in 1979, spent several years writing a book about the unique musical history of his hometown - Gainesville, Florida - also hometown for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers,  as well as Marty's brother Jeff Jourard, who played with The Heartbreakers and The Motels. Entitled Music Everywhere: The Rock and Roll Roots of a Southern Town, it's a compelling exploration of how one little town, not unlike Liverpool, could be the source of so much rock and roll greatness. Marty's a scholar as well as a gifted musician, and in our talk shares with us some of the history he discovered and preserved.

The Motels started in Berkeley, California in 1971 with Martha and all other musicians. For awhile they were the Warfield Foxes. They came to L.A. in 1975, and first changed the name to Angels of Mercy before settling on The Motels. But it was not until 1978 that Martha teamed up with Jeff Jourard and also invited Jeff's brother Marty into the fold. They played around town, shared rehearsal space with the Go-Gos, and eventually signed with Capitol. Jeff  left the band but Marty stayed. Several hit records ensued, including All Four One in 1982, which featured "Only The Lonely." Apocalypso, which they made in 1980, was rejected by the label for being "too weird," which derailed the band somewhat. It was ultimately released in 2012. 

We met in the west Los Angeles home of Marty's brother Jeff Jourard. The following day The Motels  met a mass crowd of their fans at Amoeba in Hollywood, where they performed, before moving onto Amoeba in San Francisco, and points beyond. They'll be touring all over America this summer. 
 

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Louise & Paul interviewing Martha & Marty.

 

May 20, 2018
Episode 1: Van Dyke Parks
01:18:58

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"A song," he once said, "should not fall apart on the street like a cheap watch." This devotion to the durability of the song, and reverence for songwriting is one of many reasons Van Dyke Parks is a hero to so many.     

When Louise and Paul first discussed doing this podcast, the same name kept coming up. Van Dyke Parks. Not only is he a legendary songwriter-composer-arranger-producer, he's famously eloquent, funny and brilliant on pretty much any subject, and especially on music and its mysteries.

He's also someone they've both known personally for years. Paul first interviewed him in 1988 for SongTalk magazine (included in Songwriters On Songwriting) just after the release of Van Dyke's album Tokyo Rose. He's also interviewed him several times since then, including once for the documentary Legends of the Canyon.

Louise has worked with him on several occasions, and most recently on "Chinatown," a song from her new album All These Hellos for which Van Dyke wrote a glorious orchestral arrangement evoking old Hollywood. We get to hear a portion of that record, which is a duet with Rufus Wainright.  

Songwriting, he said, is a “triumph of the human spirit.” It’s a feeling all songwriters know, yet few have crystalized so ideally. He’s been a luminous wordsmith since the start of his legendary career, starting with the brilliant Song Cycle in 1968 and also with the lyrics to songs such as “Surf’s Up” and “Heroes and Villains” which he wrote with another genius, Brian Wilson, for The Beach Boys.

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He’s also an astounding composer, one of the greatest melodists of our time. After Song Cycle came an unbroken chain of masterpieces, each with resplendent melodics and orchestral settings that spring not from rock and roll, but 19th and early 20th century inspirations much more about pure melody and beautifully rendered linguistics than rock and roll. In 1985 came the delightful Americana of Jump (1985), a heartwarming song cycle based on the tales of Brer Rabbit. While others were alienating us with bombast and distortion, he brought us charm and beauty.   

Then Tokyo Rose (1989), a brilliant orchestral scrutiny of America’s evolving relationship with Japan.  Next the timeless magic of Orange Crate Art, a resplendently sumptuous series of songs written for Brian Wilson to sing, delving into the California endless summer spirit born long before any of us were born. Then came Songs Cycled, consisting of the many brilliant singles he released during previous years, with songs reflecting modern times more than ever, such as “Black Gold,” about oil treasures and spillage both, and “Wall Street,” about American greed, 9-11 and more. In a time when most songs contain little content, his remind us of what songs can do, expressing content previously untouched in song, yet so vividly vital, and always contained within music of great richness.

 

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Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1943 and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he was a child star who appeared on "The Honeymooners" and other TV shows, sang at the Met, and studied music at Carnegie Tech before coming to Los Angeles and becoming the beloved Van Dyke Parks. In addition to the great albums of his own, he contributed to countless others, including those by Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Lowell George, Inara George, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Ringo Starr, U2 and many others. For a short time he was even a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, in which Frank called him Pinocchio. He's scored many movies, including Robert Altman's Popeye and The Two Jakes, the sequel to Chinatown directed by Jack Nicholson. 

Unlike many musicians and songwriters who can't, or don't want to, answer hard questions about music, Van Dyke is not only willing but brilliant in his ability to verbalize even those things beyond words. Asked what makes a melody powerful, for example, Dave Brubeck said, "The secret of a melody is a secret."

Whereas Van Dyke said this:

“A melody is at first an exposition. It goes somewhere from somewhere. A melody takes us through time. [It] indicates its harmonic development… a good melody can be evocative. It can remind you of some place that you’ve been. And if a melody jars a memory, it serves a great purpose.”

Song Cycle, to this day, is famous for its abstract, stream-of-consciousness verbiage. But from that style he soon moved on to songs of clear content, and narrative grace. “I retired from that,” he explained, “but I still think it’s a valid idiom… I still have this iconoclastic, highly individual approach to songwriting. And I enjoy it very much. It’s an honor.”

Always brilliant with the use of physical symbols, he provided one of the best for the often rudderless navigation which songwriting demands. It came from his work scoring Popeye with Robert Altman, who was shooting an object on a boat from a boat. “There were no fixed points, you see. I feel very much like I am at sea” when writing songs.

“Songwriting is a matter of self-discovery,” he explained. “I don’t think a song should fall apart like a cheap watch on the street… it’s important to make a song a renewable resource. Something that can be listened to again.”

Timeless song has fortified his spirit: “Songs have a tremendous closeness to the soul. The psalms was my first all-time favorite in the Bible. I’ve always venerated a timeless, higher power.”

But how does one maintain a good attitude when the song isn’t coming? “I don’t get my knickers twisted,” he answered. “Composure is what it’s all about. But you must go there. You must make a habit of the luxury and the sanctuary that songwriting provides. You’re creating a world that you’re subject to… It’s transcendental, beyond possession. It really is.” 

On the subject of these kinds of interviews with songwriters about songwriting, he said, "Everything is revealed, yet nothing is revealed. What is transferable is this sense of courage, of derring-do… This is infectious. And confirmational. It’s as helpful as belonging to some religious sect, to me. Hearing someone say, ‘Amen.’”

Our interview with him was conducted at his Hollywood home, where his wife Sally brought iced tea and took photos, and we watched as young lovers courted and kissed right outside his front window.

 

May 14, 2018
The Great Song Adventure Coming Soon - Teaser
01:09

The Great Song Adventure is a podcast hosted by Louise Goffin and Paul Zollo featuring in-depth conversations about songs and the songwriters who write them. Encompassing all aspects of being a songwriter and recording artist in modern times, including how best to navigate the ever-shifting music business itself, and the technologies which impact it. It features intimate and informed conversations with legendary musicians, songwriters, and producers, and explores the mysteries of music itself, and the creative process. Louise and Paul both share a lifelong devotion to the art and craft of songwriting, decades of direct experience and acquired wisdom about it, and reverence for the triumph of writing a great song which spans across generations and genres.

Join us May 14th for our first episode with the great Van Dyke Parks!

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May 09, 2018