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Ira Robbins

Ira Robbins

IRA ROBBINS was born in New York City in 1954. He first discovered rock music when his big sister made him listen to the Beatles on WABC-AM in 1963. The following summer, he was introduced to folk music at a left-wing summer camp (where the music counselor was one of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's orphaned sons), and went on to develop an abiding enthusiasm for blues and bluegrass alongside rock and roll. Hearing The Who Sell Out in 1968 made him a lifetime Who freak.

Robbins' first published piece of music criticism was a Doug Sahm record review in Good Times in 1972, for which he received the princely sum of $2. He continued by writing album and concert reviews for Zoo World, then Circus, Crawdaddy (Feature), The Music Gig, Creem and, later still, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, New York Post, Tower Pulse and numerous other periodicals.

While completing a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1974, he co-founded Trouser Press magazine and kept that going for a decade, drifting from a writing/editing role to a writing/publishing role, learning in the process that no skills necessary to criticism apply to running a business, other than resolute cynicism.

He was involved in the fledgling New York rock scene of the mid-'70s, as a fan, supporter and incidental participant and is exceedingly proud of being cited in a Pete Frame family tree thanks to a genealogical connection of his little-known band Knickers to Blondie.

In 1983, Trouser Press magazine spun off the first of a series of five well-received record guides, which Robbins edited and contributed to. He has also worked in some capacity on a number of other music books, either as a contributor, consultant, editor or researcher.

The Trouser Press Record Guide, which was published in five editions, is online at www.trouserpress.com.

Robbins later worked as software editor at Video Magazine and pop music editor and critic at Newsday. Since 1997, he has been employed in syndicated radio.

In the early '90s, he returned to dilettante music-making by forming Utensil, a new wave cover trio, with journalist Michael Azerrad and publicist/writer Jim Merlis, and a recording-only side band called Heather Has Two Mommies.

Ira Robbins lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Kristina Juzaitis, a graphic designer and magazine creative director, and their two cats.

Trouser Press online

List of articles in the library by artist

10,000 Maniacs: The Wishing Chair (Elektra)

Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, March 1986

LEST 10,000 Maniacs be mistaken for members of the SoHo establishment, check your map: the sextet's home base, Jamestown, New York, is roughly the same ...

Bryan Adams: Geek Love

Interview by Ira Robbins, CMJ New Music Monthly, January 1999

The music editor at Rolling Stone thought I was kidding when I pitched a cover story on him. The guy at the Sunday New York ...

Bryan Adams: The Ritz, New York City

Live Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, March 1992

THE BIRTH OF ROCK & ROLL WAS A messy business. With an instinctive need for communication that just couldn’t wait for formal language, the baby ...

Aerosmith: Joe Perry Meets The Press

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, November 1978

"I don't care if we never make another album as long as we can play live." "I've never tried to be a guitar hero." ...

Rockpile, Willie "Loco" Alexander: Nick Lowe's Rockpile, Willie Alexander: The Bottom Line, New York NY

Live Review by Ira Robbins, New Musical Express, June 1978

THE HEAVY rain outside did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the audience inside. With a majority of those in attendance being press and record ...

Brian Eno, John Cale, Kevin Ayers, Nico: Kevin Ayers/John Cale/Eno/Nico: June 1, 1974 (Island)

Review by Ira Robbins, Zoo World, October 1974

LIVE ALBUMS have become an abundant nuisance which bands seem to feel an obligation to produce every few years, often with no redeeming content. The ...

Backstreet Boys: 50,000,000 Backstreet Boys' fans can be wrong

Essay by Ira Robbins, salon.com, June 1999

THE SWEAT-DRENCHED rock 'n' rollers of the '50s knew all about good and evil. Forty years later, the Backstreet Boys are singing love songs to ...

Lester Bangs: Did Lester Bangs Die In Vain?

Book Review by Ira Robbins, salon.com, April 2000

Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic By Jim DeRogatis, Broadway, 256 Pages ...

Be-Bop Deluxe: Be Bop Deluxe: Drastic Plastic (Harvest)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1978

For a while there, Be Bop was one of the great post-glitter hopes from Britain. The first trio of albums displayed Bill Nelson as a ...

Be-Bop Deluxe: Be-bop Deluxe: Futurama

Review by Ira Robbins, Circus Raves, December 1975

FIVE YEARS AGO in the bleak Northeast England town of Wakefield a guitar player named Bill Nelson sat around rapping with some friends who owned ...

Be-Bop Deluxe, Ian Hunter, Steve Harley: Be Bop Deluxe: Live! In The Air Age/Steve Harley: Face To Face/Ian Hunter: Overnight Angels

Review by Ira Robbins, Crawdaddy!, November 1977

Every British band knows it: only American success buys the Bentleys. Be Bop Deluxe, Steve Harley and Ian Hunter have all had their stateside ups ...

Blondie Around The World

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, November 1977

They like to think of themselves as "pop punks." In America most of the attention paid Blondie is focused on namesake Debbie Harry, whose blonde ...

Blondie: Autoamerican

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, February 1981

THE GENERAL PUBLIC is no doubt familiar with the Blondie story: from Bowery pop-punks to mid-American Euroschmaltzers and product endorsers. What was once a band ...

Blondie: Plastic Letters

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1978

It would be a laughable understatement to say that lots has happened to Blondie (the group) since their previous album appeared slightly over 12 months ...

Marc Bolan, T. Rex: A Wizard, A True Star

Retrospective by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, May 1980

Marc Bolan's brief blaze of glory ...

Bonzo Dog Band, Vivian Stanshall: Viv Stanshall: Bonzo Bounces Back

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1979

Perhaps, as the curse of King Tut suggested, some legends are best left uninvestigated. Rock heroes tend to have warts, just like everybody else, and ...

David Bowie: Heroes (RCA)

Review by Ira Robbins, Crawdaddy!, January 1978

SMARTS AND KRAFTWERK ...

David Bowie: Outside (Virgin)

Review by Ira Robbins, Addicted To Noise, 1995

Had it not been for the stiff on line in front of me at the microphone in Avery Fisher Hall at September's CMJ convention in ...

Bronski Beat: The Age of Consent (London/MCA)

Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, March 1985

NOW THAT FRANKIE HAS PROVEN TO BE a remote-controlled sham with less depth (not to mention stage presence) than its sloganeering T-shirts, the gay-rock mantle ...

Cheap Trick, Van Halen: Cheap Trick: One on One (Epic FE38021); Van Halen: Diver Down (Warner Bros. BSK3677)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, August 1982

Wherein two highly anticipated albums refuse to be what was expected of them, proving neither fans nor skeptics correct in their assumptions. ...

Cheap Trick

Sleevenotes by Ira Robbins, Sex, America, Cheap Trick (Sony Legacy), May 1996

AT A TIME WHEN AMERICAN ROCK'N'ROLL was sinking under the commercial weight of glitter-ball beats, arena bombast and California no-cal, Cheap Trick blew out of ...

Cheap Trick: Heaven Tonight

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1978

FOR ANYONE COUNTING, this is the third Trick LP to be released in a smidge under fourteen months. In that time, the band has played ...

Cheap Trick: Greetings From Rockford, Ill.

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, December 1980

Rockford, Illinois (population 140,000) has made two notable contributions to the entertainment world: John Anderson and Cheap Trick. While there is little similarity between the ...

Cheap Trick: Sight Gags For Simps

Profile and Interview by Ira Robbins, Creem, August 1977

It all started innocently enough. There I was, sitting in the office of an ordinarily credible marketing honcho at Epic Records discussing Marc Bolan and ...

Cheap Trick: Smart, Sleek and Debonair

Profile and Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, February 1978

AMERICA'S A FUNNY place for rock music. Just when you assume that the well of talent that unleashed classic outfits like the Velvet Underground, Doors ...

Cheap Trick: Presenting Cheap Trick: A Musical In Eleven Years

Profile and Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, August 1978

Without a doubt, Cheap Trick has definite shortcomings as a band. They're certainly not perfect. However, they've now got three albums in their catalogue and ...

The Clash: Clash City Talkers: New York Meets Jones And Co.

Report and Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1979

There's nothing quite as frustrating to watch as the hypocrisy of press, radio, and record companies rushing to get behind some new band that has ...

The Clash

Book Excerpt by Ira Robbins, The Big Takeover, 1994

Even if the basic impetus for punk rock was just traditional teen needs like pissing off parents and claiming a cultural identity, some of the ...

The Clash: Give 'Em Enough Rope

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1979

THE CLASH HAVE been through a lot since they last released an album, almost 19 months ago, and so has the scene that they emerged ...

The Clash: Sandinista!

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1981

THE FIRST TIME the Clash ventured into a recording studio they emerged with a concise blockbuster 45 ('White Riot') that deliv-ered the goods in under ...

The Clash: From Here to Eternity

Review by Ira Robbins, salon.com, October 1999

ON PAPER, the October 1982 pairing of the Clash and the Who at Shea Stadium in New York should have been historic. And maybe it ...

The Clash’s Greatest Hits: Clash City Rockers

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1983

"In 1977 I hope I go to heaven'Cos I been too long on the doleAnd I can't work at allDanger stranger — you better paint ...

The Clashmen Meet The Pearlman

Report and Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, February 1979

"It wasn't the easiest thing I've ever I done, that's for sure." I had Sandy Pearlman, Record Producer, on the phone from some unnamed restaurant ...

Cockney Rebel: The Psychomodo

Review by Ira Robbins, Phonograph Record, February 1975

COCKNEY REBEL is a figment of Steve Harley's semi-sane mind. ...

Cockney Rebel: The Psychomodo (Capitol)

Review by Ira Robbins, Zoo World, November 1974

WITH A LOT more guts than sense, Steve Harley dissolved Cockney Rebel in late July, causing their second album, The Psychomodo, to fall like a ...

Cockney Rebel, Steve Harley: Steve Harley Interviewed

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1975

Ever since the first rumblings came across the Atlantic about Cockney Rebel, they've generated quite a bit of curiosity and debate among American Anglophiles who ...

Julian Copes

Interview by Ira Robbins, Spin, May 1987

But sometimes it has been touch and go.   ...

Elvis Costello & The Attractions: Get Happy!!

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, May 1980

The first draft of this review, written on the basis of an American pressing, had to be discarded when an English copy arrived. Sound quality ...

Elvis Costello Live

Live Review by Ira Robbins, Face, The, June 1984

ELVIS Costello’s 1983 American tour was so boring that even longtime fans found it difficult to remain alert for an entire set of pseudo-cabaret runthroughs. ...

Elvis Costello: Armed Forces (Columbia)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1979

When Bob Dylan broke up with his wife, Sara, a few years ago, the world was treated to the introspective and bitter Blood on the ...

Elvis Costello: This Year's Model

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, May 1978

I WAS SOMEWHAT HESITANT about falling in love with My Aim Is True. It didn't make my 1977 Top Ten LP list because the songs ...

Elvis Costello: When He Was Cruel

Review by Ira Robbins, salon.com, April 2002

MICK JAGGER HAD A POINT when he announced "it's the singer not the song" – the young Rolling Stones were perfectly content to beg, borrow ...

Elvis Costello’s Brutal Truth

Interview by Ira Robbins, Newsday, 1994

Like an old flame breezing back through the door with no more than an indolent shrug and a sly wink, Elvis Costello has returned from ...

Roger Daltrey: One of the Boys

Review by Ira Robbins, Crawdaddy!, August 1977

DALTREY'S FOUR-YEAR solo career, apart from his personal excess/success as a matinee film idol, has certainly left much to be desired by anyone with more ...

The Darkness: Permission to Land (Atlantic)

Review by Ira Robbins, trouserpress.com, 2003

TRUE AWFULNESS, a state as difficult to achieve with a straight face as greatness without arrogance, is truly something to behold. Behold the Darkness. ...

The dBs: Seasoned Native Sons Follow Their Own Muse: The dB's

Interview by Ira Robbins, Musician, 1984

"THERE'S NOTHING WRONG with honest American music," says Peter Holsapple, guitarist, keyboard player and main songwriter of the dB's. He goes on to cite Elvis ...

Denim: Back in a Dream/Denim on Ice

Review by Ira Robbins, trouserpress.com, 2002

ENDING A LOW-KEY decade of Felt that produced a sizable catalogue of atmospheric pop in stylistic tribute to Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, ...

Devo

Comment by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1979

AS BILLY MARTIN once put it, "I feel very strongly both ways." Although Devo's cosmic significance may truly compare with that of yesterday's toast, they ...

The Dictators Look For The Perfect Wave

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1978

The Record Plant, one of New York's top pro recording studios, is located in a fairly anonymous office building just west of Eighth Avenue in ...

Dr. Feelgood: Dr Feelgood: Be Seeing You

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, December 1977

FINALLY THE DEBUT of a Wilkoless Feelgoods is upon us. Even more than that, it's the Nick Lowe-produced debut of a Wilkoless Feelgoods. ...

Bob Dylan: At Budokan

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1979

AFTER 16 YEARS IN the public eye, growing and developing, quick-cutting and dodging, Bob Dylan carries his catalogue of songs behind him like a bevy ...

Echo & The Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch (1990)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, January 1990

The gobby scouser talks about his old band, its gradual implosion, and his fledgling solo career.

File format: mp3; file size: 87.4mb, interview length: 1h 34' 32" sound quality: ***

Echo & The Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch: Ian McCulloch

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, February 1990

AN HOUR BEFORE Echo and the Bunnymen went onstage in Osaka, Japan for the final date of a world tour in April 1988, singer Ian ...

Electric Light Orchestra: Afterglow

Sleevenotes by Ira Robbins, Sleevenotes, 1994

The Electric Light Orchestra, for most people, exists as a memorable collection of hit singles, carefully crafted production numbers that defined an entire rock genre ...

Eurythmics: Revenge

Review by Ira Robbins, Creem, December 1986

I CAN VAGUELY recall learning something in high, school biology, an explanation why molecular goosh flows out of, rather than into, an amoeba under certain ...

Rory Gallagher: TOTP meets Mr. Gallagher: The Story on Rory

Interview by Dave Schulps, Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1976

LET'S START AT the beginning. Your first band was the Fontana Showband. What exactly is a showband? ...

Generation X: Generation X

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1978

FROM THE VERY start of their recording career, it was obvious that Generation X had some rather unparochial ideas about their role as a punk ...

Generation X: Valley of the Dolls (Chrysalis CHR 1193)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, May 1979

THIS, GEN X's second outing, is not very good compared to their first, but it does serve a useful function by pointing out two phenomena ...

Grand Funk Railroad: The Band that Killed Rock 'n' Roll

Essay by Ira Robbins, salon.com, April 2000

AMONG CULTURAL HISTORIANS, it has long been an article of faith that the '60s dream died in an ugly bar fight at Altamont Speedway in ...

Green On Red, Rain Parade: Green On Red: No Free Lunch; Rain Parade: Crashing Dream

Review by Ira Robbins, Creem, July 1986

I HAVE ALWAYS attempted to give Los Angeles the benefit of the doubt as regards music. All right, so maybe I've never quite gotten over ...

George Harrison: And Life Flows On

Obituary by Ira Robbins, salon.com, December 2001

HE COULD HAVE BEEN Charles Dickens' idea of a rock star, a dry-witted gentleman whose faith, and fate, left him isolated but satisfied, living his ...

Hawkwind: Hall Of The Mountain Grill (United Artists)

Review by Ira Robbins, Zoo World, December 1974

FOR THEIR first four albums, public approval of Hawkwind was in direct proportion to how seriously one considered the music. The question of quality or ...

The Heavy Metal Kids: Heavy Metal Kids: Heavy Metal Kids

Review by Ira Robbins, Zoo World, October 1974

THERE ARE LOADS of ways for a rock band to make themselves interesting. All that is required is either a brilliant songwriter, a unique vocalist, ...

John Hiatt: All Of A Sudden

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1982

JOHN HIATT'S career has been hampered by unfortunate business liaisons ever since lift-off. ...

Horslips On (Almost Everyone But) Horslips

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1978

THE FOLLOWING HORSLIPS interview was done in New York in mid-October. It has very little to do with the group or its music, but consists ...

The Human League: Human League: Crash

Review by Ira Robbins, Creem, January 1987

I HAVE GRAVE trouble imagining what sort of people would describe themselves as real fans of certain swill that's on the market today. Casual or ...

The Jam: Rickenbacker Rock: The Jam

Profile by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, December 1978

Try calling Paul Weller of the Jam a punk rocker, and finds out how icy a cold stare can be. The intense young man who ...

The Jesus & Mary Chain's Jim Reid (1986)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1986

Jim Reid talks about their live show; guitar noise and pop noise; their treatment in the UK pop press; recording plans, and visiting the USA.

File format: mp3; file size: 23.8mb, interview length: 26' 02" sound quality: ***

Jethro Tull On The Road

Interview by Ira Robbins, Circus, January 1976

"JETHRO RETIRE HURT!" blared the headline in a major British magazine just over two years ago, when a spokesman for the group announced an "indefinite" ...

Joan Jett: I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, March 1982

JOAN JETT'S first solo album, Bad Reputation, suffered from a number of flaws, I pointed out in my review of the time; listening to it ...

Billy Joel Gets the Blues

Interview by Ira Robbins, Newsday, August 1993

John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful was all of 22 when he sang, "I think I've come to see myself at last." ...

The Kinks

Retrospective and Interview by Ira Robbins, Hall of Fame, November 1989

In a packed concert hall somewhere, a delighted audience sings "L!-O!-L!-A!, Lola!" at full power while the song's author watches silently from the stage. ...

Kirsty MacColl (1990)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, April 1990

The much-missed singer-songwriter talks about, well, everything: her love of collaboration and those she has worked with; her family; the UK Poll Tax riots and politics; the epiphany of 'Good Vibrations' and so much more.

File format: mp3; file size: 70.8mb, interview length: 1h 17' 16" sound quality: ****

Wayne Kramer (1985)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1985

The Detroit City axeman on working with Was (Not Was); meeting Red Rodney in prison; hanging with Johnny Thunders and, of course, memories of the MC5.

File format: mp3; file size: 25.7mb, interview length: 28' 03" sound quality: ** (phoner)

Lester Bangs, R.I.P.

Obituary by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, August 1982

LESTER BANGS, whose writings probably influenced the style and outlook of countless rock critics, died in his New York apartment on April 30 at the ...

Let's Active: Big Plans For Everybody

Review by Ira Robbins, Creem, August 1986

WHEN MITCH EASTER, Chris Stamey, Don Dixon and their fellow travelers in the North Carolina Sneakers-cum-dB's axis drifted north 10 years ago, one characteristic they ...

Phil Manzanera, Roxy Music: Phil Manzanera

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1982

PICTURED ON THE first Roxy Music album with bizarre fly-glasses, long hair and unkempt beard, Phil Manzanera looked like left-field weirdness incarnate. That image was ...

Motorhead: Motorhead

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, December 1977

I'VE FELT A LOT of things about a lot of bands over the years, but pity isn't one of the most common. ...

New York Dolls: The New York Dolls: The New York Dolls (Mercury)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1980

This seminal slab of early-70s punkitude, produced by unlikely Todd Rundgren, defines the sound and style of New York’s contribution to new wave: a raunchy ...

Nirvana: Nevermind (DGC)

Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, November 1991

DESPITE THE hand-wringing the fanzines do each time an indie-rock hero signs a major-label deal, righteous postpunk stars from Hüsker Dü to Soundgarden have joined ...

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: Two Guys And A Tape Deck Become A

Interview by Ira Robbins, Musician, 1985

Only one of the following two statements is true. Which? A) Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark is a synthesizer duo, a pair of chilly intellectual ...

Graham Parker: The Parkerilla

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1978

GRAHAM PARKER'S a nice guy, writes great songs. He leads a tight, exciting band full of talented players, and his stage presence looms larger than ...

Pavement

Interview by Ira Robbins, Pulse!, March 1997

IT'S DECONSTRUCTION time again. Right now, there's a sophomore somewhere hunkered down on the floor of his dorm room, a cigarette in one hand and ...

The Pink Fairies: Pink Fairies: Kings Of Oblivion (Polydor)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1980

It must have taken a lot of guts to name a band "Pink Fairies". But considering the amount of mind alteration practised by its British ...

Pink Floyd’s Heart Of Darkness: A Crash Course in Pig Latin

Overview by Ira Robbins, Creem, October 1977

IT DIDN'T SEEM like a bad idea at the time I accepted this assignment. Just because Pink Floyd hate the press and won't be interviewed ...

Professor Griff, Public Enemy: Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet ; Professor Griff and the Last Asiatic Disciples: Pawns in the Game

Review by Ira Robbins, Request, April 1990

IN THE 1960s, youthful poets, inspired by radical politics and Woody Guthrie, took up acoustic guitars to deliver topical commentary in a folk music setting. ...

Queen: The Game (Elektra)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, September 1980

OVER THE course of eight albums Queen has scaled all the heights and plumbed all the depths. ...

The Ramones: Joey Ramone: Hail, Hail To The King

Obituary by Ira Robbins, MOJO, June 2001

JOEY RAMONE WASN'T WHAT YOU'D CALL A PUNK. According to the movies, punks are snarling juvenile delinquents well versed in sucker-punches, concealed weapons and grievous ...

The Ramones: Bowery Boys

Essay by Ira Robbins, salon.com, July 1999

NOBODY DOESN'T LIKE the Ramones. They're as immortal as America's other band, the Beach Boys. Whatever punk became – ruined canvases of Mohawked body art, ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Freaky Styley (EMI America/Enigma)

Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, October 1985

AFTER NEARLY two decades of racial division, popular music is in the midst of an overdue and exciting (if modest) effort to integrate itself. One ...

R.E.M.

Interview by Ira Robbins, Pulse!, October 1992

Ten years down the road, Athens, Georgia’s little-band-that-could takes stock of fame, fortune and folk music.* ...

The Replacements: Replacements: Pleased To Meet Me

Review by Ira Robbins, Creem, August 1987

LIKE SOME STRAY dog you find in an alley, Minneapolis's Replacements are a scruffy mongrel of a band: uncontrollable and ugly, but somehow irresistable. You ...

The Replacements: Don't Tell a Soul (Sire/Reprise) ***½

Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, February 1989

The Replacements' Adult Entertainment ...

Paul Westerberg, The Replacements: Paul Westerberg Comes In From The Ledge

Interview by Ira Robbins, Pulse!, August 1993

Independence Day, 1991. Lincoln Park, Chicago. One by one, the Replacements — what's left of 'em, anyway — hand their instruments off to their roadies, ...

Keith Richards: Stone Wino rhythm guitar god Keith Richards can still rip it up

Interview by Ira Robbins, Pulse!, November 1992

Midnight at the oasis...Actually, it’s 2 a.m. at the Hit Factory, but the mood is still calm as a desert breeze. ...

Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones: Out Of The Cage: An interview with Keith Richards

Interview by Ira Robbins, unpublished, September 1988

IR: You’ve done a lot of interviews lately. It’s hard to pick questions you haven’t been asked... ...

Jonathan Richman: Back In Your Life

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1979

THE OSCAR BRAND of the now generation returns with his first studio LP in quite a while. Amid the ceaseless confusion that is Beserkley Records, ...

Jonathan Richman: Modern Lovers: Modern Lovers Live

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1978

AS A RESULT of a fairly ridiculous chain of events, the ‘Home of the Hits’ has relocated (at least for the time being) from Berkeley, ...

Ride: A Guide

Guide by Ira Robbins, trouserpress.com, 2007

INSPIRED BY THE Manchester rave scene, Oxford-to-London art-school quartet Ride – Mark Gardener (vocals/rhythm guitar), Andy Bell (vocals/lead guitar), Steve Queralt (bass) and Laurence 'Loz' ...

Roxy Music: Manifesto Destiny: The Return Of Roxy Music

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, 1979

"We Never Really Broke Up" I distinctly remember being more than a bit skeptical the first time I heard Roxy Music. ...

Roxy Music: Greatest Hits

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1978

I AM sitting here this rainy Saturday afternoon, pretending to review this, presumably the last, Roxy Music album; an obligatory collection of those tracks which ...

Roxy Music: Anarch-o-rock In Motion

Profile and Interview by Ira Robbins, Music Gig, September 1976

Following Roxy Music can be as mystifying a pursuit as a required college course that makes not one iota of sense. It is imperative that ...

The Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1978

HO HUM, ANOTHER album from the Pistols. No, seriously, this is it. After all the controversy, bannings, bullshit and speculation, the Pistols finally have something ...

The Sex Pistols: Filthy Lucre Live ***½

Review by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, September 1996

PERRY FARRELL once titled a Jane's Addiction album Nothing's Shocking. He has since spent his entire career trying to prove otherwise. John Lydon — once ...

Sham 69: Tell Us the Truth

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1978

THERE HAVE BEEN quite a few new wave bands who have a strong relationship with their audience, but not a one can compete with Sham ...

The Small Faces: Small Faces: Rock Roots: The Singles Album

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, December 1977

NOW THAT STEVE Marriot has put a version of the Small Faces back together, there's been a bit of resurgence (perhaps as a result of ...

Soul Asylum: Plaider Than You’ll Ever Be

Profile and Interview by Ira Robbins, Creem, May 1988

It might be said that Soul Asylum is just a wonderful rock 'n' roll band from Minneapolis, a rough and ready quartet embodying explosive energy, ...

Spandau Ballet: True (Chrysalis)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, August 1983

I USED TO think Spandau Ballet bit the boot. The band's first two albums seemed little more than gussied-up disco, a rip-off of various cultures, ...

Sparks

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, November 1982

After 11 albums over a decade of stylistic evolution, Sparks — that is, Ron and Russell Mael with collaborators — have achieved legendary status despite ...

Sparks: A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing (Bearsville)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1980

The all-time weird American art-rock LP, Spark’s second album was, at first encounter, impenetrably arcane and smug. After cranking up the volume, adjusting to the ...

Sparks: Angst in My Pants

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1982

SPARKS' HIT STREAK in the mid-'70s produced America's best Anglophiliac rock ever – so good, in fact, that English teenyboppers made them tops of the ...

Dusty Springfield: The Dusty Trail

Interview by Ira Robbins, New York Post, May 1989

As the closing credits roll on Scandal, the new film about Britain's infamous 1963 Profumo affair, a familiar woman's voice – airy and sensuous – ...

Bruce Springsteen: The River (Columbia)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1981

A SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE sketch of a few seasons back poked fun at Roy Orbison by reducing him to a caricature: motionless stance and ever-present ...

The Stranglers: La Folie

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, March 1982

WANT TO FEEL prematurely old? This, if you can believe it, is the Stranglers' seventh British album. While most alumni of the '77 punk explosion ...

The Stranglers: No More Heroes

Comment by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, December 1977

IT'S SO HARD to decode the Stranglers. After you've gone through the easy observations about Dave Greenfield's keyboard sound and its relationship to Ray Manzarek, ...

The Strokes: Is This It (RCA)

Review by Ira Robbins, trouserpress.com, 2001

IS IT VU? IS IT TV? Is it Superband? Nope, it’s just the Strokes, for whom outsized – and musically misinformed – hype made media ...

Tears For Fears: Tears for Fears: Fear of Finishing

Report and Interview by Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone, November 1989

Songs From The Big Delay: How Tears For Fears Took Four Years To Sprout The Seeds of Love ...

Television

Retrospective and Interview by Ira Robbins, MOJO, February 2001

TELEVISION ENDED PRETTY much as they'd begun, with a show at a small Manhattan club. It was July 29, 1978, on a night Television myth ...

Johnny Thunders: Go, Johnny, Go: Thunders' So Alone

Sleevenotes by Ira Robbins, Sire Records, February 1992

AMONG THE LIFETIME residents of abyssville are those rock'n'rollers whose faith in the liberating rebellion of mangy guitar music gets crossed up into a personal ...

Pete Townshend: What Came Next: Pete Townshend Goes It Alone

Sleevenotes by Ira Robbins, Who Came First, August 1992

As spiritual epiphanies go, Pete Townshend's public acknowledgment of his personal rebirth was made with remarkable understatement for a major celebrity. ...

Pete Townshend, The Who: Pete Townshend

Interview by Ira Robbins, Cleveland Live, November 1996

SHORTLY BEFORE THE reunited Who began its month-plus Quadrophenia tour of North America in Portland, Oregon on October 13th, guitarist, singer and composer Pete Townshend ...

Pete Townshend, The Who: Pete Townshend

Interview by Ira Robbins, San Francisco Chronicle, 1997

"Roger [Daltrey] speaks a lot about the magic that happens when the three of us get together to play," says Pete Townshend, who spent two ...

The Undertones: A Better Mousetrap: The Undertones Beat A Path To America’s Door

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, September 1980

Back in the primordial '70s, a rash of groups moved into the British 45 charts to occupy the places formerly inhabited by the Beatles and ...

The Undertones: Hypnotised (Sire)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1980

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING special about the Undertones. They're a motley gang of Irish kids with typical imperfect faces and no visible charismatic presence as ...

The Undertones (1980)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, June 1980

The mumbling Derry boys talk about pop and punk, translate their lyrics for American listeners and ruminate on what it takes to break big in the USA.

File format: mp3; file size: 45.7mb, interview length: 49' 57" sound quality: **

Uriah Heep: After A Bum Reality, The Return To Fantasy With Wetton On Bass

Interview by Ira Robbins, Circus Raves, September 1975

"IT'S A WINE and roses situation," quoth Ken Hensley, speaking of the hand-in-glove way that Uriah Heep's new bass player, John Wetton, has fit into ...

The Vibrators: V2

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1978

THE VIBRATORS' first album, over a year ago, was a great disposable album of lasting significance. The short songs contained all the elements of great ...

Sid Vicious: Max's Kansas City, NYC

Live Review by Ira Robbins, New Musical Express, October 1978

ON AN unusually busy New York rock night, the attraction of an ex-Pistol was apparently sufficient to pack Max's out for a couple of sets ...

Violent Femmes: The Blind Leading The Naked

Review by Ira Robbins, Creem, June 1986

TWO LINES ON Violent Femmes' wrenchingly raw, largely acoustic debut album stand unequalled in the rock 'n' roll hall of fame for forthright candor in ...

Vivian Stanshall (1979)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, January 1979

The world-class eccentric talks about the old days with the Bonzo Dog Band; demonstrates some of his favourite instruments; explains his love of Dada; recounts some adventures with Keith Moon; expresses his ambivalence towards Monty Python's Flying Circus and chats about Sir Henry at Rawlinson End.

File format: mp3; file size: 53.8mb, interview length: 58' 46" sound quality: ***

Wanda Jackson (1985)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1985

The erstwhile Fujiyama Mama talks about combining singing rock'n'roll with her deeply held religious beliefs; considers cover versions of her hits, and recording her recent rockabilly album in Sweden!

File format: mp3; file size: 18mb, interview length: 19' 38" sound quality: * (phoner)

Barry White (1985)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1985

The Walrus of Love talks about releasing himself and other acts on own label, and the advantage of being independent; the state of R&B today; praises Jackie DeShannon and Brenda Holloway, and talks about new album Sho You Right.

File format: mp3; file size: 14.6mb, interview length: 15' 58" sound quality: * (phoner)

The Who Movie

Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1979

Kids Are Allright Director Jeff Stein Tells TP All About It ...

The Who: Face Dances (Warner Bros.)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1981

ONCE UPON A TIME, the Who was a guiding force in the life of many people (myself included). The wisdom of Chairman Pete Townshend, as ...

The Who: Hooligans

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1982

From a fan's point of view, there is nothing worse than a compilation album put together by either a group, whose nearness to the material ...

The Who: Who Are You

Review by Ira Robbins, Crawdaddy!, October 1978

Ever since Pete Townshend immortalized teenage rebellion with the phrase "Hope I die before I get old," he has been haunted by the obvious ramifications ...

Brian Wilson: Reassessed

Essay by Ira Robbins, salon.com, April 2001

AT THE BRIAN WILSON tribute concert in New York in March, a short film explained that Wilson had lived his whole life in fear and ...

Wire: Pink Flag

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1978

As the fallout from new wave continues to turn up on plastic, a few gangs of rockers have chosen (wisely I suppose) to see how ...

List of genre pieces

The Best of Broadside 1962–1988

Review by Ira Robbins, salon.com, September 2000

BROADSIDE PUBLISHED SONGS by writers who wanted to change the world – including a young Bob Dylan. A five-CD set marches through the great folk ...

Trouser Press: The Story Behind The Legendary Zine

Retrospective by Ira Robbins, Perfect Sound Forever, June 1997

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the reasons that our zine started up was because there were other music nuts before us who wanted to tell the ...

A Power Pop Primer

Guide by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, April 1978

If one may hazard an absurd guess based on no real information, it will probably be around November of this year when some smart punk ...

Birth of the Blues: Touring the Mississippi Delta

Guide by Ira Robbins, unpublished, 1991

"YOU MAY BURY MY BODY DOWN BY the highway side...so my old evil spirit can catch a Greyhound bus and ride." ...

Remember Those Fabulous Seventies? A Musical Stroll From Woodstock To Punk-rock

Overview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1980

The best characterization of rock'n'roll's third decade is that of 10 years spent revising, refining and recalling the music of the '60s. While '50s bands ...

Strolling Down Punk-Rock Lane: Legs McNeil

Profile and Interview by Ira Robbins, New York Times, The, July 1996

THE CLASS OF 1976 held a reunion in the lobby of the Gershwin Hotel late last month. While inspecting a photography exhibition documenting their youth, ...

The New Wave Washes Out

Overview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, October 1977

After A Glorious Year, British Punks Are Now Absorbed Into The Music Biz Money-go-round ...

UK New Wave

Essay by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, October 1977

IT MAY COME as a bit of a shock, especially if you were just getting used to the idea, but Britain's new wave movement is ...

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