The boxes have arrived containing the fourth book of a project designed to put my interview archive in the public realm. And it’s 200 COPIES ONLY, so likely this will get as far as my mailing list and that’s it.
As I said in my letter to you asking to vote which genres to do, it’s been bugging me forever that I’ve got this interview archive of all these interviews I’ve done that will never wind up in any of my books, and thus likely never see the light of day... unless I made books out of them, of course!
And voters, thank you for all the input and picking a few or even saying you would take them all. It’s possibly these only go so far as these respondents.
Again, very important: if you have a pile of my books, don’t worry about overlap—this is material I haven’t used in my books, with minor exceptions, a quote here or there. I don’t want to give you material you already have from me. The idea is also that in the future, I pretty well given up doing books on these bands.
So I’ve compiled these raw transcripts, in Q&A form, with a little background info and historical context to each chat, into book form. Popoff Archive - 4: Classic Rock got a ton of votes from you guys. I guess that’s why they call it classic—these are my interviews with the most famous dudes, right? So this one should sell out near the top of the list, as we work our way through the dozen planned, possibly with a box to put them all in once I’ve got done.
In this edition, we have the following. I’ve included an excerpt from my reminiscence/introduction for each.
Dave Peverett, Foghat, 1996
I was fortunate to talk to Foghat legend Dave Peverett four years before his death from cancer on February 7, 2000. One of the greats, Dave was guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter of the classic boogie rock band and for his service to happy music, me an’ dozens of my friends will forever be grateful.
Bobby Ingram, Molly Hatchet, July 17, 1998
Love this guy’s positivity and steadfast helmsmanship of Molly. Inspiring guy, additionally in light of his wife dying of an accidental drug overdose in May of 2004, and the way he soldiered on. Bobby joined Molly Hatchet at a bad time, when every southern band was trying to hitch to the hair metal wagon.
Ken Hensley, Uriah Heep, Blackfoot, solo, 1999
Ken Hensley is the only rock legend I’ve ever spoken to who has articulated this philosophy that giving interviews readily and being a good explainer in the process is one of his ways of giving back to the business.
Jakson Spires, Blackfoot, 1999
This was an interesting interview because not only did we talk a fair bit about the great Blackfoot catalogue, but we went over a fair bit of southern rock history in general.
Dan McCafferty, Nazareth, February 1999
Not sure if this is my first interview with Dan (there would be a few more over the years), but it would certainly be an early one.
Sammy Hagar, Montrose, Van Halen, solo, March 3, 1999
There are some amusing looks here into the guy’s personal life philosophy, and also his competitiveness.
Dave Hlubek, Molly Hatchet, October 1, 1999
My favourite thing about Dave is something I wasn’t even there for, and it’s a image from my good buddy Michael Hannon from American Dog, who told me a story about a drunken party at his house, at which Dave (who’s been known to pack more than a few extra pounds) got drunk and fell and rolled down the riverbank.
Paul Rodgers, Free, Bad Company, solo, August 2000
Great guy to chat with though, albeit charmingly sort of blissful sounding, if you get my drift, like a guy who’s been a rock star all his life and everything is just amusing in life. He was even more like this in person, and frankly it’s pretty infectious.
Frank Marino, Mahogany Rush, October 3, 2000
Frank is a great interview, animated, intelligent, but yes, there’s a chip on his shoulder against this thing he’s been fighting all his life, against those who wished he would be more like Ted Nugent and Aerosmith and Derringer, to keep it in the Epic and Columbia house!
Tommy Shaw, Styx, Damn Yankees, October 10, 2000
Interviewing these guys was like making new friends, as was going to the band’s shows, where they proved themselves to be one of the most professional of heritage acts, giving it their all like the fancy-pants thespian rockers they are.
Sammy Hagar, Montrose, Van Halen, solo October 27, 2000
As always, the guy will give you the goods with efficiency and honesty—Sammy doesn’t treat the process as a chore, but as an opportunity to connect and talk tunes.
Ricky Hirsch, Wet Willie, November 27, 2000
I’m still scratching my head why we had this talk, but I’m sure glad we did. What I mean is, from a few different guys, I was getting a bit of an oral history of southern rock, and for the life of me, I’m not sure what the plan was.
Donnie Van Zant, 38 Special, Van Zant, February 19, 2001
I took this one because rarely did I have any reason to talk with southern rock bands, and here was an opportunity to learn a little about 38 Special, of which I class myself a moderate fan.
Johnny Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Zant, February 20, 2001
Skynyrd did the smart thing in never, ever wavering from Johnny in that front man spot, and he’s done the job splendidly all these decades. Ha ha, I hate to get into this here, but I argue with lots of folks and in a few ways an’ dimensions, I get more out of the last five Skynyrd albums than the first five.
Rickey Medlocke, Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd, May 10, 2001
Always a great interview, Rickey seems to real and honest, but then there’s always that undercurrent, that dark side of… why the major venom between the rest of Blackfoot and Rickey?
Myles Goodwyn, April Wine, February 5, 2002
Like any good Canadian kid, I grew up with April Wine always present, weaving in and out of a rock ‘n’ roll life, even if as militant metalheads, we spent more time complaining than listening.
John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin, February 26, 2002
He’s an introspective guy and a musician’s musician, so it feels like, the whole time, you’re talking to this polite scion of the upper crust.
Joey Kramer, Aerosmith, June 5, 2002
It wouldn’t be out of line to call Aerosmith my favourite band of all time, once in a while, at any given point, although it’s best that that point be 1990, given that every full record past Pump is seriously flawed or worse.
Tom Scholz, Boston, October 8, 2002
What is most instructive about any chat with Tom, however, is how his obsession with perfect sound—exactly like Def Leppard—blinds him to how once you go over the top, or down the rabbit-hole, it only gets worse.
Don Brewer, Grand Funk Railroad, January 8, 2003
Don is a drummer/leader in the same mode as Phil Ehart and Scott Rockenfield, but more forthcoming than either of those cats, who are a little guarded with what they say, well aware that there are band secrets that gotta stay that way.
Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule, The Allman Brothers, February 13, 2003
I believe this was an in-person down at The Opera House at my usual time for these, known in email requests as “around load-in/soundcheck.” I was no expert on Gov’t Mule, but Warren put me at ease, being very gracious and polite and humble.
Jim McCarty, The Yardbirds, Box of Frogs, February 24, 2003
The Yardbirds were from well before my time, but I jumped at the chance to talk to rock royalty, especially given the ties to the birth of heavy metal, through the distinguished British blues boom legacy of the band.
Tommy Shaw, Styx, Damn Yankees, March 15, 2003
Hey look, I’m just well chuffed that this band that was always on the periphery for me as a kid growing up, and even resented and quite disliked, now is a group that adds to my happiness.
Dave Davies, The Kinks, April 23, 2003
This interview with the Kinks legend took place the year before his stroke, which slowed him a bit. The chat was secured based on Bug, his first solo album in pretty much 20 years, and the tour for it.
Mick Ralphs, Mott the Hoople, Bad Company, May 1, 2003
Always been a peripheral Bad Company fan, respectful sometimes, finding it a little thick at other times, even though simplicity was always something deliberate with these guys. Had met Paul and Simon and interviewed them, so was gathering some of the story for myself (and now for you).
Dusty Hill, ZZ Top, February 10, 2004
Dusty turned out to be a great chat, and I’m glad I got him, because the interviews would get less and less over the ensuing years, beers and steers, on account of his being deaf in one ear and 20% left in the other.
Rick Nielsen, Cheap Trick, September 26, 2004
It appears this chat was for the From Tokyo to You DVD, meaning throw the doors open and talk about anything you want, may favourite kinda interview.
Bill Payne, Little Feat, November 10, 2004
This was an in-person, as Little Feat came and put on one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen, packing out The Phoenix, here in Toronto. And you know what? I don’t think they’ve ever been back. I was also a little intimidated to be talking to these legends, but they were all pretty relaxed cats.
Paul Barrere, Kenny Gradney and Ritchie Heyward, Little Feat, November 10, 2004
As we talked, Kenny and Richie joined in, which gave me an opportunity to talk a little Robert Plant, given Richie’s association with Plant on the experimental Shaken ‘n’ Stirred album (speaker is Paul until specified).
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