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Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins began writing for Melody Maker in 1985, soon after leaving university, initially as their regional correspondent in Birmingham. After moving to London, he worked at MM in the halcyon late '80s/early '90s period that many regard as the paper's best ever years. In 1992 he took a detour away from music when a love affair led him to Novosibirsk, Siberia, from where he contributed articles to Moscow Times, The Daily Telegraph and The New York Times.

He returned to London, and Melody Maker, in 1993 and also wrote for The Independent, Time Out and MTV before being deputy editor of a classy but sadly short-lived arts and lifestyle magazine, Ikon.

After a severely misguided spell editing a south-east Asia music industry trade magazine, he became senior music editor at Virgin Books, where he commissioned and edited major biographies of David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Blur, Manic Street Preachers, The Charlatans, Bush and Creation Records, and survived a week in the company of Ike Turner.

He returned to freelancing in 2000, and now writes features and reviews for The Guardian as well as contributing to a host of national and international magazines and websites. He is the co-author with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe of the New York Times bestseller The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star (MTV Books, 2007) and also penned Top of the Pops: Mishaps, Miming and Music (BBC Books, 2007), an official yet profoundly flippant history of the long-running TV music show.

List of articles in the library by artist

Air: Roundhouse, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, February 2010

WHEN Air first appeared with their 1998 debut album, Moon Safari, the French duo seemed to define the musical zeitgeist. ...

The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson: Brian Wilson: The Strife Of Brian

Profile and Interview by Ian Gittins, Man About Town, Spring 2011

IN THE 1991 Steve Martin movie L.A. Story, which dates from the days when he was still spasmodically funny, Martin played Harris K. Telemacher, a ...

Beck: Mutations (Geffen) ****

Review by Ian Gittins, Q, December 1998

New album which isn't the new album, but which still has a certain genius. ...

Beck: The Town Hall, New York NY

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Q, March 1999

He's released an odd new album. Oddly, he's only going to play it once. ...

Big Country: Talk About The Passion

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, January 1989

Big Country are on tour again, playing to more people in bigger places, taking Peace In Our Time to the masses. Ian Gittins catches up ...

David Bowie: Bowie In America 1972/73

Retrospective by Ian Gittins, MOJO, January 2007

MORE THAN 30 years after the event, Ziggy Stardust remains one of the most inventive and flamboyant productions in rock history. Yet when Bowie took ...

David Bowie: Bowie in Berlin

Retrospective by Ian Gittins, MOJO, January 2007

BY THE END of recording Station To Station in Los Angeles in 1975, David Bowie was in meltdown. Strung-out, paranoid and at war with his ...

Busted: You Are So Busted!

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, May 2003

THE WORDS ARE TALL, luridly colourful and carefully stitched onto a bed sheet, and the sentiment is unambiguous. As Busted guitarist Matt Jay’s eyes alight ...

Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting

Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, July 1990

HOW TOUGH is Johnette Napolitano? Maybe here's a clue. Bloodletting, as Mat Smith noted, is an intensely personal LP, cruelly close to her, but for ...

The Darling Buds: Confetti Junction

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, February 1989

Saturday11:20 IT'S SATURDAY MORNING kiddie time, and The Darling Buds are shining out of the telly. After Bruno Brookes and the Red Arrows display team, ...

Deacon Blue: The Reluctant Tourist

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, April 1989

AFTER THE SUCCESS OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM, RAINTOWN, AND A STRING OF HIT SINGLES INCLUDING THE RECENT 'WAGES DAY', RICKY ROSS AND HIS BAND LOOK ...

Dirty Pretty Things: Astoria, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, May 2008

EVER SINCE THE Libertines split in 2004, Carl Barât has been regarded as the more responsible of their two co-vocalists. ...

Dizzee Rascal: Dizzee Heights or The Year Of The Rascal

Interview by Ian Gittins, Wonderland, November 2009

"I wake up, every day is a daydream/Everything in my life ain't what it seems..."– 'Bonkers', Dizzee Rascal ...

Drake: Hammersmith Apollo, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, January 2011

DRAKE was one of 2010's more singular success stories. ...

The Fall: Funfair For The Common Man

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, March 1990

IN A CHEAP INDIAN RESTAURANT IN LONDON'S BRICK LANE Mark Smith's eyes begin to glint. His bony figure leans forward and stiffens. From deep in ...

The Fall, Inspiral Carpets: Insprial Carpets and Mark E. Smith: Manchester United

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, February 1994

Inspiral Carpets team-up with Mark E. Smith! For a one-off collaboration called ‘I Want You’! Psychedelic optimism meets psychedelic miserabilism! ...

Florence and the Machine: Academy, Birmingham ****

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, September 2009

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE'S musical ascent has been remarkably precipitous. ...

Florence and the Machine: Florence and The Machine: Mental Machine Music

Interview by Ian Gittins, Wonderland, November 2009

POP SHOULD ALWAYS be poetic, not prosaic. ...

Al Green: Royal Albert Hall, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, June 2007

AL GREEN IS the last of the American southern soul giants of the 1960s and 70s, a survivor where Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam ...

Grizzly Bear: Hyde Park, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, June 2010

NOW IN ITS SECOND YEAR, the Serpentine Sessions festival is the absolute obverse of Glastonbury's sprawling eclecticism. With audience numbers capped firmly at 3,000, this ...

The Jesus & Mary Chain: Jesus & Mary Chain: Barrowlands Ballroom, Glasgow

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, May 1988

APOCALYPSE NOW! ...

Elton John: How Sir Elton Recovered His Cool

Comment by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, 2004

WHEN THE VERY first psychedelic rock star, William Blake, declared that the fool who persists in his folly shall become wise, he hit on a ...

Justin Bieber: Believe ***

Review by Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, June 2012

This time around, Justin Bieber wants us to know that he is all grown up. He is a man. ...

Kelis

Interview by Ian Gittins, Wonderland, September 2010

THE SINGER ON BALANCING MUSIC, MOTHERHOOD, CLUBBING AND COOKING ...

Ke$ha: Shepherd's Bush Empire, London ****

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, December 2010

IT'S EASY TO dismiss Ke$ha as a Primark take on Lady Gaga, but such an appraisal disregards the fact that 23-year-old Kesha Sebert this year ...

Alicia Keys: "I love Chopin… He's my dawg": Alicia Keys

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, November 2001

Stevie loves her, Oprah's after her and Prince is always on the phone. As Alicia Keys prepares to storm the UK charts, Ian Gittins meets ...

The Killers: Royal Albert Hall, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, November 2008

THE KILLERS have sold 12m albums worldwide yet still find themselves at a crossroads. ...

The Kills: Jamie Hince

Interview by Ian Gittins, Man About Town, Spring 2009

THE QUIET Primrose Hill pub is tucked away down a discreet side street, and that is just the way Jamie Hince likes it. It looks ...

Marilyn Manson: Mechanical Animals (NOTHING) ****

Review by Ian Gittins, Q, November 1998

Return of the Thin White Berk. ...

Ian McCulloch: Africa Centre, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, February 1992

SO MAC'S BACK. Again. ...

Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Track-By-Track Review

Review by Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, October 2013

PROVOCATIVE. That seems to be the word we are contractually obliged to use in relation to Miley Cyrus nowadays. Her provocative new musical direction. Provocative ...

Miley Cyrus: Can't Be Tamed *

Review by Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, June 2010

Smiley Virus bumps along on autopilot ...

Mötley Crüe: Ban this Sixx filth!

Report by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, October 2007

Thought Mötley Crüe's biog The Dirt was the ultimate rock read? Pah! Ian Gittins helped bassist Nikki Sixx write his gruesome journals. Those of a ...

Mötley Crüe's Titty-Cam

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, May 2005

I HAVE JUST SPENT two weeks on the road with Mötley Crüe. Our sweep through Canada and the US Midwest took in Edmonton, Des Moines, ...

M People: People Get Ready!

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, March 1994

M PEOPLE are the darlings of hip clubbers and pop kids alike, recent Brits winners, and THE crossover band from club culture who can simply ...

My Bloody Valentine: The Excellence of Ecstasy

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, January 1988

WHERE SHALL WE BEGIN? "When we first started we had this image thing, right, all Sixties haircuts and really setting out to do the pop ...

Nasty Rox, Inc., Pop Will Eat Itself: Pop Will Eat Itself/Nasty Rox Inc: Town & Country Club, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, February 1989

NASTY ROX INC look like slobs but have a beat which cuts it. Their rock/hip hop amalgam makes all the right moves, yet never manages ...

N*E*R*D, Pharrell Williams: Pharrell Williams: Neptune Rising

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Man About Town, Winter 2010

PHARRELL Vs THE FASHIONISTAS ...

New York Dolls: The New York Dolls: 'Before Us, There Was Nothing'

Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, July 2006

Punk pioneers the New York Dolls imploded in a haze of heroin three decades ago. Now they're back – and this time, finds Ian Gittins, ...

No Age

Interview by Ian Gittins, Man About Town, Spring 2011

WHAT DOES the face of Los Angeles music look like? Back in the day, when Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe stalked the earth (which, ...

Paul Oakenfold

Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, June 2002

TWO YEARS AGO, Paul Oakenfold was getting profoundly bored. The original post-acid house superstar DJ, known to friends and relatives as ‘Oakey’ and to the ...

Adrian Sherwood, On-U Sound System: On-U Sound: Circus Attractions

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, April 1991

This week, the On-U Sound takes its show on the road with 36 acts and five hours of murderous rhythm every night. IAN GITTINS joined ...

William Orbit: 'People Will See My Heart And Soul'

Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, May 2007

POP MUSIC has been good to William Orbit. Two decades at the top of his game as one of dance music's leading producers and remixers ...

Ozzy Osbourne: Meet the Osbournes

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, June 2002

YOU KNOW THAT embarrassing scenario where you go round to visit a married couple and they end up having an unholy ruck in front of ...

Katy Perry: Teenage Dream ***

Review by Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, August 2010

What Katy did next — world domination! ...

The Pixies Facing The Fire Squad

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, November 1990

The pixies are the best band on the planet. Discuss. ...

Plaid: Koko, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, January 2012

IT'S 2AM on Sunday morning in this club night, but Plaid are here to move minds, not feet. ...

Plan B: 'Strickland Banks may be soul, but it's still real life': Plan B

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, December 2010

THE INTERNATIONAL lingua franca of Christmas TV is fromage and France's leading commercial channel, TF1, is no exception. Having arrived in Paris on a lunchtime ...

Q-Tip: Quality Control: Q-Tip: Amplified (Arista) ****

Review by Ian Gittins, Q, February 2000

No slacking then from implausibly busy NY rapper. ...

Queens Of The Stone Age: Monarchs of Rock: Queens of the Stone Age

Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, October 2002

"I’VE BEEN CHASING my tail trying to have a good time on this tour," grumbles Josh Homme, the towering 6’ 4" frontman of Queens Of ...

Radiohead: Powerhaus, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, June 1992

THEY'RE ALL elbows and angst, are Radiohead. They want to gouge their mark so deep into us yet don't truly know How To Do It. ...

Radiohead: The Story Of Tchocky

Report and Interview by Ian Gittins, Q, Summer 2003

ON FEBRUARY 27, 2002, Radiohead designer Stanley Donwood mounted the stage at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, to receive a Grammy for "Best Recording Package" ...

Rage Against the Machine: Finsbury Park, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, June 2010

LAST CHRISTMAS a Facebook campaign powered Californian rap-metal veterans Rage Against the Machine to the top of the singles chart, pipping The X Factor victor ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Electric Ballroom, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, May 1988

AS SIMON Reynolds said last time they tripped over here, The Red Hot Chili Peppers are totally WRONG. This alone makes them great. The mix ...

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines ***

Review by Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, July 2013

It's difficult not to view Robin Thicke as definitive proof of the age-old adage that sex sells. ...

Salt 'N' Pepa: Sat 'N' Pepa: The Showstoppers

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, November 1988

'To Know Us Is To Love Us' claim Salt 'n' Pepa, one of rap's most unlikely success stories, whose A Salt With A Deadly Pepa ...

Shaggy: It Was Him: Shaggy

Profile and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, October 2002

THE WESTIN RIO MAR hotel in Puerto Rico is a textbook playground of the rich and famous. Way beyond merely luxurious, the baroque décor is ...

The Shamen: In Gorbachev We Trust (Demon)

Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, February 1989

THE SHAMEN may indeed, as Steve Sutherland said, be a band whose time has come. For over three years now they've been drilling away, obsessed ...

Slayer: I Talked With A Zombie

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, September 1990

As Britain trembles with anticipation of the "Clash Of The Titans" tour, Ian Gittins meets the metal monsters and hears tales of death, despair and ...

Sleeper: Wener Takes All

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, January 1995

1995 is set to be SLEEPER's year. The latest leading lights in the ongoing resurgence of Britpop brightened up last year with a string of ...

Slipknot: Meet'n'Greet in Glasgow: Slipknot

Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, February 2002

IT'S VALENTINE'S SAY afternoon in Glasgow and a strange kind of love is afoot. Outside the city’s Virgin Megastore, a tearful 13-year-old boy is gasping ...

Soft Cell: The Tainted Life of Soft Cell

Retrospective and Interview by Ian Gittins, Q, 2004

IN 1973 A 16-YEAR-OLD Marc Almond travelled from his hometown of Southport to Liverpool to see David Bowie on his Aladdin Sane tour. Having suffered ...

Soul II Soul: Songs In The Key Of Life

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, December 1989

WITH A STRING OF SUCCESSFUL SINGLES AND A STUNNING DEBUT ALBUM, SOUL II SOUL HAVE SPEARHEADED THE DANCE REVIVAL OF THE LATE-EIGHTIES AND LOOK LIKE ...

Spinal Tap: Wembley Arena, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, July 2009

NO MATTER how witty they may be, few satires or novelty songs repay repeated listening. So how come a packed Wembley is rocking to the ...

Spiritualized: Take Aurally

Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, May 2008

Jason Pierce of Spiritualized gives Ian Gittins his perfect pop prescription ...

Spiritualized's Jason Pierce

Profile and Interview by Ian Gittins, The National (UAE), May 2008

JASON PIERCE is the great unsung hero of British rock music. As the singer, songwriter and philosophical pulse of his epic rock band, Spiritualized, he ...

Sting: LSO St Luke's, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, October 2006

STING'S LATEST artistic venture, despite being pregnant with pratfall potential, is a remarkable triumph. ...

Taylor Swift: Red ****

Review by Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, October 2012

IT'S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to believe that Taylor Swift is still only 22. ...

Tanita Tikaram: Say Halo Wave Goodbye

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, February 1991

AS EVERY HAIRDRESSER worth their shears will tell you, a radical change of hairstyle usually heralds an equally radical shift of persona. Tanita Tikaram's new ...

Tinie Tempah: Koko, London

Live Review by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, April 2010

THE 21-YEAR-OLD south London grime MC and rapper Tinie Tempah spent two weeks at No. 1 last month with his abrasive single 'Pass Out', and ...

Usher: From Usher With Love

Interview by Ian Gittins, Q, August 2001

He was discovered at 14 by Puff Daddy, wants to move like Fred Astaire, sing like Michael Jackson and talk like the Fonz. He sold ...

Was (Not Was): Freakshow

Interview by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, March 1988

"BOBBY Maggot was a big attorney/Through the courtroom down to hell he'd journey/Baldheaded piece of garbage that he was/He'll defend you if your money's honest/Do ...

The Waterboys: That Sinking Feeling: The Waterboys: Room To Roam (Ensign)

Review by Ian Gittins, Melody Maker, September 1990

OH DEAR. Let's establish this from the start. This is not The Waterboys' record we've been waiting for. This is not the way we wanted ...

Robbie Williams: Q Icons: Robbie Williams

Profile by Ian Gittins, Q, 2004

EVERY BRITISH comprehensive school class has its in-house clown. Tirelessly hyperactive and compulsively subversive, he (and it always is a he) leaves at 16 in ...

List of genre pieces

How To Beat The Difficult Second Album Syndrome

Comment by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, January 2007

SOPHOMORE SLUMP Or Comeback Of The Year? asked Fall Out Boy in a brilliantly prescient track on their 2005 album From Under the Cork Tree, ...

Rehab: The Funky Check-In

Report by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, September 2006

What do Pete Doherty, Justin Hawkins and Keane's Tom Chaplin have in common? All have been in rehab recently, some for the first time. But ...

Single Vision: Fierce Panda Records

Retrospective and Interview by Ian Gittins, Guardian, The, February 2009

THE NEW WAVE OF NEW WAVE was never really much cop. It was an early 1990s music press-concocted punk revival scene based around a handful ...

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