Rob Ellis possesses the dynamic touch of a concert musician, the ferocity of a punk rocker, and the compositional sense of a New Music luminary; but it's Rob's extraordinary capacity for musical empathy that make him the perfect collaborator for iconic songwriters ranging from PJ Harvey to Marianne Faithfull. Rob tells Joe about his early memories in 1960s California; his Navy officer father, whose death at an early age cast a shadow on Rob's personal development; attending an elite public (boarding) school, wherein he was head choir boy; helping Polly Harvey become PJ Harvey; and the process of mending strained relationships with his family.
In this bonus mini-episode, Rob Ellis discusses his struggles with alcohol and the decision to become sober. Be sure to check out Rob's introspectively intense full-length episode, also available this week.
We're hard at work on new episodes, so this week, we're revisiting one of our favorite conversations with Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips. Steven has a new podcast of his own called Sorcerer's Orphan. See you next week!
Brendan Buckley’s omnivorous musical taste, disciplined approach, and granular attention to detail make him well-suited for work with artists such as Tegan and Sara, Roberto Carlos, Volumen Cero, JJ Lin, and—for the last 20 years—Shakira.
Brendan tells Joe about: growing up in New Jersey, his tiger mom, what it takes to play a choreographed pop gig night after night, improvising with Damien Rice, how losing his sister at a young age shifted his outlook on life, and his permissive but careful style of parenting.
Bill Bruford’s instantly identifiable sound and brilliant sense of composition made him the defining drummer of the progressive rock movement; but at age 60, after four decades in the music business, Bill unceremoniously walked away.
Bill tells Joe about: being a young jazz elitist; "leveraging himself sideways" from an upper-middle class family to the seedy life of a musician; doing a lot with “a modest amount of talent”; the creative dynamics of Yes and King Crimson; how he achieved his signature snare sound; retirement; and earning a doctorate from The University of Surrey. During the course of the conversation, Joe and Bill also christen a new band, Wongford. This is a can’t-miss episode with one of the all-time greats.
Rat Scabies and his influential band, The Damned, were integral members of the fledgling UK punk community. Rat's controlled bombast earned him comparisons to Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell. He and Joe met in Soho to discuss: Rat's post-war childhood in the outskirts of London; his father's job as an underground soft porn merchant; his theory on geography's key role in bands; the inner workings of The Damned; and his quest for The Holy Grail.