Parlour to Parlour, Episode 15: Norfolk & Western

When I was in junior high, I had a gym teacher who used to talk a lot about “life’s embarrassing moments” as a way to put her students at ease. Whether the situation involved repeatedly missing a goal, completely ...

Caught on Tape: New Orleans, Van Halen Style

The weekend began on a deceptively subdued note, but this would change.

My alarm clock performed its temporal duty, jolting me a deep slumber at the unearthly hour of 5:30 A.M. A shower washed the crunchy crystals of sleep ...

Caught on Tape: Slash and Burn

The interview is set for 2:00 PM. At a quarter ‘til, the black hat, cascading curls, and nose ring saunter through the management office’s front doors. The receptionist raises eyes from a computer monitor and is momentarily stuck to her chair. She ...

Caught on Tape: Jimmy Page and the Plane Truth

Chicago, Illinois, April 1977 — I knew what I was in for ten seconds after Guitar Player said to me: “We want you to interview Led Zeppelin.” My head filled with the clarion call of screaming guitars and in a moment of ...

Caught on Tape: Ritchie Blackmore — Happiness Is a Warm Bun

November 1974, St. Paul, Minnesota – In the fall of 1974, Creem magazine flew me out to the Twin Cities to interview Ritchie Blackmore. There had been a renewed interest in Deep Purple after they made a killer appearance at the Cal ...

Caught on Tape: Paul Kossoff, Free Man at Last

January 1976, Hollywood, California – The first time I saw Paul Kossoff play was back in 1969. Free were opening for Blind Faith on their first (and only) US tour. They were appearing at the 17,000-seat Inglewood Forum, a huge arena where ...

Caught on Tape: Joe Perry, Guitar God in Training

December 1973, Hollywood, California – Back in 1973, before he was Joe “Fucking” Perry, the Aerosmith guitarist was just another kid in a hard rock band from Boston. Thirty-five years ago, he hadn’t racked up album sales in excess of 150 million ...

Caught on Tape: Pete Townshend and Who’s Text

March 1979, New York, New York: When discussions started turning serious about the real possibility of interviewing Pete Townshend, I began shaking. Exhilaration and trepidation battled for headspace and left me sleepless for three nights. I kept running the scenario through my ...

Caught on Tape: Jeff Beck and the Sounds of Silence

For more than 30 years I’ve been interviewing and writing about guitar players. I was a mediocre guitarist and had flunked out my first year as a UCLA English major, but I read every music magazine I could find. I figured I ...