Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
Rock's Backpages

Fred Shuster

Fred Shuster

Veteran music reporter and critic Fred Shuster launched his writing career at age 14 in 1969 with a letter published in Melody Maker berating the editor for "wasting space" on such "meaningless rubbish" as Led Zeppelin instead of writing about Albert King. Fred still stands by that opinion.

Growing up in London, the first gig Fred attended was the Mothers of Invention at the Royal Albert Hall, followed by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Blind Faith in Hyde Park, and the 1969 Isle of Wight festival. Among cherished musical memories: Taste at the Marquee, small-venue dates by Free, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, and the Jeff Beck Group, and — at Charlie Gillett's recommendation — pub gigs by Bees Make Honey, Roogalator, Ducks Deluxe, Frankie Miller, Dr. Feelgood and Kokomo. 

Fred, currently based in Los Angeles since 1984, has been syndicated in newspapers throughout North America, acted as West Coast editor of Down Beat, and freelanced for the NME, MOJO, and Rolling Stone online.

A guitarist for four decades, Fred has driven interview subjects Steve Cropper, Cornell Dupree, Larry Carlton, Ernest Ranglin, Andy Gill and Jeff Beck to distraction with obsessive questioning about guitar strings used on decades-old recordings even they can't remember.

Fred currently covers the Federal Court in downtown L.A. for a news wire service, and wishes he could magically return to the Roundhouse in 1973.

List of articles in the library by artist

Albert King: Blues Guitarist Albert King Left An Indelible Legacy

Report by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, December 1992

AT LEAST as it applied to blues and rock artists, Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns got it right when he said the late Albert ...

Aretha Franklin Getting Plenty Of Respect

Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, September 2004

Soul Survivor On Her First Tour In 21 Years ...

Elvis Costello takes up Position of Artist in Residence at UCLA

Report and Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, June 2001

Elvis Costello prepares for a year in Westwood ...

Crosby Stills Nash & Young: Still politically outspoken, CSNY brings its message to L.A.

Report and Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, July 2006

AGE IS SUPPOSED to make you more accepting. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young apparently didn't get the memo. ...

John Fogerty: The Guitars of John Fogerty: How Creedence pioneer learned to love the Les Paul

Report and Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles, November 2007

AT A TIME when most American rhythm guitar players were using utilitarian Fender Telecasters or Stratocasters, John Fogerty chose a black Gibson Les Paul, pictured ...

Freddie Hubbard: When Your Chops Are Shot

Interview by Fred Shuster, Downbeat, October 1995

TRUMPET GREAT Freddie Hubbard greets a visitor to his cozy split-level Hollywood Hills home with a friendly handshake that belies the worry in his eyes. ...

Gov't Mule: Guitar wizard Haynes leads Gov't Mule to Fillmore

Report by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, November 2007

BLUES GUITAR that doesn't insult the intelligence is a dying art these days, but some, like Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers, ...

Johnny Winter: After A Long Drought, Winter Blows Into Town

Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, November 2006

THE CALL comes just before midnight on election night — a Texas accent thick as T-bone steak and as lived-in as the frets on T-Bone ...

The Memphis Horns: Two-Man Memphis Horns Keep Punching Those Sounds

Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Times, January 1989

QUESTION: What do recent hit albums by Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood and Robert Cray have in common with earlier best sellers by Otis Redding and ...

Pat Metheny endures, creating his own musical challenges

Report and Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, February 2008

WHEN JAZZ PIANIST Herbie Hancock recently won the Grammy Award for album of the year for a set of reimagined Joni Mitchell songs, musicians and ...

Robert Palmer Likes Being In Funk

Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, 1996

NATTILY DRESSED CROONER Robert Palmer admits his most interesting work was found on his first three albums cut in the mid-'70s with members of Stuff, ...

List of genre pieces

Satellite radio has arrived

Report and Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, December 2001

REMEMBER THE first stirrings of cable? The general feeling was nobody would pay for television. ...

For CD Guru, Masters Are His Domain

Profile and Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Times, October 2000

SOME PEOPLE have the best jobs. ...

back to LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT NOTICE