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Paul Lester

Paul Lester

Paul Lester has been Features Editor of Melody Maker and Deputy Editor of Uncut. He went freelance in January 2007. Since then he has written books on Gang Of Four and Wire, and interviewed over 200 musicians (plus a few authors and actors) for the Guardian, the Sunday Times Culture section, Telegraph Arts & Books, the Mail On Sunday Live Night & Day, the Daily Express, Record Collector, the Scotsman and the Jewish Chronicle. He also writes reviews for Q, composes the Guardian's daily Critics' Picks and has introduced more than 530 new acts via his Guardian online New Band Of The Day feature. He is currently writing a book on Pink.

The Guardian New Band of the Day

List of articles in the library by artist

10cc: "It was a tragedy we didn't stay together"

Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, November 2012

They made some of the cleverest and most inventive music of the 70s, but split up at the height of their success. 10cc come together ...

ABC: Beauty Stab

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, February 1998

The Lexicon Of Loathe: ABC's flawed second LP, reissued with one extra track ...

ABC, Heaven 17, The Human League: ABC/Human League/Heaven 17: Hammersmith Apollo, London

Live Review by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, December 2008

THERE ARE QUEUES around the building for the Sheffield groups who brought electro-funk (Heaven 17), orchestral disco (ABC) and synth pop (the Human League) to ...

Alpha: A Profile

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 2001

BRISTOL, LIKE Manchester, was once synonymous with nervy, wired, dark white funk – The Pop Group, Rip Rig & Panic. Then the drugs changed (skunk, ...

Altered Images: Clare Grogan

Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, March 1998

Clare Grogan "arrived" in 1980, with Gregory's Girl and Altered Images – the group had a series of hit singles ('Happy Birthday', 'Don't Talk To ...

Alt-J: New Band of the Day: Alt-J

Report by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, May 2012

This Cambridge four-piece not only write clever music and boast more references than a jobs agency, they've also set tongues wagging with their rapturously received ...

Adam & The Ants: Adam Ant: Adam And The Fall

Interview by Paul Lester, Daily Telegraph, April 2005

STUART GODDARD is one of the most gifted – and most troubled – pop stars this country has ever produced. ...

Anthrax, Public Enemy: Read My Apocalypse: Public Enemy/Anthrax: The Apollo, Manchester

Live Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, January 1992

IF POWER is a turn-on and intelligence is an aphrodisiac, then Public Enemy are surely one of the sexiest groups on the planet. ...

Aphex Twin: Tank Boy: Aphex Twin

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, October 2001

From Limp Bizkit to Madonna, everyone wants to work with the Aphex Twin. But those high-paying jobs aren’t important, he tells Paul Lester. He’d only ...

Asian Dub Foundation: Rappers With A Cause: Asian Dub Foundation

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, January 2003

They helped secure the release of the warehouse worker Satpal Ram from prison. Now they're tackling domestic violence, asylum, the war on terror and the ...

The Associates, Billy Mackenzie: The Bizarre Life And Lonely Death Of Billy Mackenzie

Retrospective by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 1997

TOP OF THE POPS, MARCH 3, 1982. A relatively unknown band from north of the border are about to do what David Bowie, Roxy Music ...

Burt Bacharach: Bacharach to the Future

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, October 1995

As grey-haired, 67-year-old composers go, Burt Bacharach is pretty f***ing cool. Paul Lester interviews the melodic inspiration behind Oasis, Stereolab and Pulp. ...

The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson: Brain Wilson: Endless Bummer

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 1998

"HI, I'M BRIAN WILSON." You do not expect this. You do not expect the head of America's most important ever rock band to have to ...

Beck: I'm a Muso, Baby: Beck

Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, September 2002

Beck's new album, written after a nasty split with his fiancee, is so forlorn that the music press is afraid for his health. But, he ...

Big Star: The Best of Big Star

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, January 2000

Fourteen cuts from troubled pop-rack demigods' first two LPs, remastered, at mid-price ...

Alex Chilton, Big Star: Big Star: 'Whatever Was There, I Drank It Or Took It...'

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, August 1993

...So says Alex Chilton, inspirational genius behind Seventies legends BIG STAR, whose brief but influential career embraced three classic albums and more drugs, booze and ...

Birth: Gotten Bold

Review and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, January 2000

ONE OF the extra songs on Birth's debut EP Sweet Idol, is a cover version of perennial summer radio hit 'Groovin' by The Young Rascals, ...

Björk: “In England they think I'm one of the Teletubbies”: Björk

Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, October 2002

Björk looks back on two decades of music, fame and scrapping with the media. ...

Blur: Think Tank

Review and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, April 2003

Backstage at L'Espace Clacquesin, a former brewery 20 minutes from the centre of Paris, Blur are relaxing. The band has just performed for 200 invited ...

The Buzzcocks: Part-time Punks: The Buzzcocks

Retrospective and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, March 2002

The Buzzcocks were one of punk's most influential bands. Now, 25 years on, Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto are recording together again. Paul Lester meets ...

Cheap Trick: Cheap Trick

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, August 1997

Cheap Trick: meta-metal power pop ...

Chic: Bernard Edwards 1952-1996

Obituary by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, May 1996

BERNARD EDWARDS of CHIC died last week. Paul Lester celebrates the life and work of a massively influential musician, producer and songwriter ...

Chic: Le Freak Scenes

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, March 1992

As massive an influence on modern dance as Kraftwerk and James Brown, CHIC have finally come back after years producing records for likes of Madonna ...

Chic, Norma Jean Wright: Norma Jean Wright: Norma Jean

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, December 2000

FIRST RELEASE on CD for Chic-album-in-all-but-name from 1978 ...

The Chimes: Ringing In The Changes

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, May 1990

WITH THE TOP 10 SUCCESS OF THEIR COVER OF U2'S 'I STILL HAVEN'T FOUND WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR', THE CHIMES LOOK SET TO JOIN SOUL ...

Daft Punk's robots aren't the only ones rocking the multiplex

Report by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, December 2010

AT THE END of the trailer to forthcoming movie Somewhere, we are given just two pieces of information: 1) that the film was written and ...

The Darling Buds: Buds-U-Like

Interview by Paul Lester, Sky, August 1990

BEHIND THEIR pop outlaw image – which recently earned them a modelling assignment for The Gap – The Darling Buds have a crowd of hardcore ...

The Darling Buds: International, Manchester

Live Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, January 1989

FROM SIMON Reynold's held-back vituperative vitriol to Chris Roberts' rapturous rivers of rhapsodies, there's no denying the sheer weight of wise or wondrous words that ...

Earth Wind and Fire: Earth Wind & Fire: Royal Albert Hall, London

Live Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, September 1997

NO ONE levitates tonight. Nor are there any Sphinxes. And the sequinned Egyptological-spaceman costumes are conspicuous by their absence. But we do get 12 instrumentalists ...

Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips: At War with the Mystics

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, April 2006

THERE WAS SOMETHING so ultimate about the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin, emphasized by its release in the last year of the 20th Century, you ...

Fleet Foxes: America's Next Great Band

Report by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, February 2008

HOMETOWN: Xachua'Bsh, Washington.THE LINEUP: Robin Pecknold, Nicholas Peterson, Skyler Skjelset, Christian Wargo, Casey Wescott. ...

Fleetwood Mac: Excess Baggage: Fleetwood Mac

Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, April 2003

Mental illness, drug abuse, affairs, breakups - it's a miracle that Fleetwood Mac are still alive. But here they are with a Rumours-era lineup, and ...

Fleetwood Mac Go Their Own Way

Live Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, March 2004

There's a hip young gunslinger of Uncut's acquaintance in the audience tonight who normally writes about futuristic electronic dance music for a well-known weekly music ...

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Times, The, October 2009

Paul Lester remembers the two years when the band ruled the world ...

Free Kitten: Question: Whaddya Get if you Cross Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth with Julie Cafritz of Pussey Galore? Answer: Free Kitten

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, January 1993

FREE KITTENEXACTLY 12 MONTHS AGO, blonde terrorist Kim Gordon of avant-grungers Sonic Youth and white panther Julie Cafritz, once the glamour and guitars in Pussy ...

Kenny Gamble: "Philadelphia was the party with a tormented soul"

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, March 2011

Philly Soul's sweet sound hid masked warnings about growing chasms in 1970s American society ...

Billy Mackenzie, Paul Haig: Haig/Mackenzie: Memory Palace

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, December 1999

ON THE NIGHT of Wednesday, January 22, 1997, Billy MacKenzie, outrageously gifted vocalist with the Associates and writer of some of the most extraordinary music ...

Hall & Oates: Marigold Sky

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, January 1998

The rock'n'soul duo return with their first album for seven years ...

Nick Heyward: The Apple Bed

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, March 1998

Core, fruits you, Sir! Heyward's sixth post-Haircut 100 LP, and his debut for Alan McGee ...

The High Llamas: High Llamas: Cold And Bouncy

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, February 1998

SEAN O'HAGAN of, first, Microdisney, and now The High Llamas, has been one of our finest melodicists for 15 years. Along with Paddy McAloon of ...

The High Llamas: Hump Up The Volume

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 1998

"THERE ARE TWO STRANDS OF HEROIN rock consciousness," says Sean O'Hagan, the man who Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys, with mock reverence, has called ...

The Human League: Human Remains: The Human League

Retrospective and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, July 2001

Two decades after their synthpop assault on the charts, the Human League are back. ...

Michael Jackson: The Starman Who Fell To Earth: Michael Jackson: Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield *****

Live Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, September 1997

THE MOST FAMOUS performer on Earth has just been introduced, as per protocol, as "the King Of Pop", by the Chief Barker of the Variety ...

The Jam, Paul Weller, The Style Council: Paul Weller: Last Man Standing

Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, December 1998

"YOU SHOULD WRITE THAT LETTER," Paul Weller' is telling his press agents, Pippa Hall and Jane Wilkes of Monkey Business PR, referring to a particularly ...

The Jayhawks: Sound Of Lies

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 1997

IF, LIKE me, you thought The Jayhawks were just another bunch of New Country journeymen, then prepare to have your mind radically, brutally altered. ...

June & The Exit Wounds: A Little More Haven Hamilton, Please

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, April 2000

DEBUT ALBUM of so-normal-it's-strange pop-rock from latest American boy wonder. ...

Lady Antebellum: Grammys 2011: Why can't Lady Antebellum find success in the UK?

Report by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, February 2011

COUNTRY-POP TRIO Lady Antebellum were The King's Speech of last night's Grammys, winning six awards (compared to Firth and Co's seven at the Batfas), including ...

La Roux: 'Of course Lady Gaga's not my thing'

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, September 2009

IT IS MORNING, and 21-year-old Elly Jackson – or La Roux, arguably the biggest new pop star of the year – is on the Eurostar ...

Arthur Lee, Love: Hard Times: Arthur Lee

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, May 2002

Arthur Lee was once bigger than Hendrix or Jim Morrison. Back on the road after six years in jail, Love's frontman talks to Paul Lester. ...

Little Feat: Forum, London

Live Review by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, September 2000

THERE WERE THREE groups who vividly chronicled life in post-Woodstock America. The Band sought refuge from the psychedelic intensity of the period in the country's ...

Billy Mackenzie: Billy MacKenzie: Beyond The Sun

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, November 1997

BEYOND THE Sun is a fitting tribute to Billy Mackenzie, who committed suicide this year, although it was nearly a completely different album. This posthumous ...

Mansun

Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, October 1998

PAUL DRAPER has been inspired by some of the climactic moments of post-War culture – David Bowie's "Berlin" trilogy, mid-Eighties Prince, Talking Heads' art beat, ...

McAlmont & Butler: The Band That Likes To Play... 'YES'!

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, June 1995

DAVID McALMONT used to be in the lavishly praised but commercially unsuccessful THIEVES. The he formed the even more lavishly praised, though still commercially unsuccessful, ...

Moby: Whale Of The Century

Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 2000

This year, MOBY's Play has dominated the UK LP charts. So who is this bald man singing the techno-blues? Paul Lester met the enigmatic American ...

Morrissey: Civic Centre, Wolverhampton

Live Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, January 1989

MORRISSEY COMES to the Midlands to play eight songs, two of which receive their first airing tonight, and only 1,700 followers adorned with the Stephen ...

My Bloody Valentine: I Lost It: Kevin Shields Speaks

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, March 2004

In his first interview for 12 years, My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields talks to Paul Lester about his madness, making Alan McGee cry - and ...

My Computer: Vulnerabilia

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, September 2002

New Manchester duo fuse druggy songwriting and dance beats with astonishing results ...

My Computer: MY COMPUTER: Vulnerabilia

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, October 2002

YOU COULD get the wrong impression about My Computer from Vulnerabilia, as raved about everywhere from Uncut ("the most original debut LP by a Manchester ...

N*E*R*D, Pharrell Williams: The Hit Man: Pharrell Williams

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, February 2004

He co-produced nearly 20% of tracks currently being played on British radio. But he is also a star in his own right - as a ...

New Order: The Almighty New Order

Live Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, January 1989

New Order: G-Mex Centre, Manchester ...

Laura Nyro: Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best Of Laura Nyro

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 1997

AT THE age of 21, she was the most sought-after writer in America, a one-woman hit factory, providing songs for everyone from Sinatra to Aretha. ...

Laura Nyro

Retrospective by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 1997

"This sorrow is so deep that I really can't help myself. Somehow I think she knew that we loved her as if she was our ...

Oasis: New Oasis, No Danger

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Daily Telegraph, February 2000

"I'M NOT INTO CHAOS," says Noel Gallagher, who along with his brother Liam has always appeared to be one of the last true standard bearers ...

Oasis: Titanic!

Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, March 2000

OASIS, if you hadn't noticed, have just resurfaced. But will they sink or swim? After the druggy excesses of Be Here Now, following the departure ...

Oasis: Be Here Now

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, September 1997

YOU'D THINK Oasis were at war. The sense of urgency is palpable. Be Here Now. It's all in the video to the single: Oasis, the ...

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All: Tyler The Creator In The UK: Forget Hip-Hop, We're The New Sex Pistols!

Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, May 2011

Tyler the Creator touches down to talk goblins, chillwave and the trouble with saying stupid stuff ...

Outkast: Partners in Rhyme: OutKast

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, May 2001

One of them is a blonde-wigged, teetotal vegetarian who reads Pushkin. The other breeds pitbulls in his spare time. Together they have been called the ...

Pantera: Butt Reaction

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, June 1994

Before PAUL LESTER travelled to Detroit and came into contact with PANTERA, currently America's fastest, loudest, most popular and OTT speed metal band, he looked ...

Phoenix

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, August 2000

SEVENTIES CALIFORNIA meets Y2K Paris. ...

PM Dawn: The Reality Gap

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, February 1992

They've been nominated for a Brits award as Best International Newcomers, and their new single, 'Reality Used To Be A friend Of Mine', is a ...

Iggy Pop: Iggy And The Stooges: Raw Power

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 1997

LOOK OUT, honey, cos they're using technology. Or rather, remixer Iggy Pop is.  ...

Pop Will Eat Itself: We're Not Serious Artists

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, January 1993

THE GIGTHE FIRST-TIME I see Pop Will Eat Itself, It is nine o'clock on Wednesday, Clint is wearing baggy white pyjamas, Graham is fiddling with ...

Prefab Sprout

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 1997

Absolutely Prefabulous: Far from the sonic mainstream with Paddy McAloon ...

Prefab Sprout: The Andromeda Strain

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, June 1997

Andromeda heights ...

Primal Scream: SCREAMADULLICA – Primal Scream: Give Out But Don't Give Up (Creation)

Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, March 1994

Pre-modernism! Culture pundits reckon art, architecture and literature are all trying to return to classical values. Why should rock be left out? Primal Scream wanna ...

The Primitives: Before The Crash

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, September 1989

Lazy 86-88. Paul: "WELL, THE FIRST FOUR SONGS ARE crap for starters! That first record goes for £30 now, those four songs made up our ...

R.E.M., Radiohead: Tibetan Freedom Concert: People Have The Power

Report by Paul Lester, Uncut, August 1998

MONDAY, JUNE 15, THE CAPITOL BUILDINGIt is 10 days before Bill Clinton's historic first presidential visit to China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. An ...

Todd Rundgren: Up Against It!

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, September 1997

Todd Only Knows ...

Todd Rundgren: Todd in Heaven

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, November 1997

Todd Rundgren, interactive pioneer and, For 25 years, the mad uncle of electronic pop, talks to Paul Lester ...

Scissor Sisters: Fun with Filth: Scissor Sisters

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, January 2004

They come from New York's shock art scene and they write songs about drugs, drag queens and cruising. Paul Lester meets clubland's hottest new act, ...

Shakespears Sister: Idol Fantasies

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, February 1992

With their single, 'Stay', high in the charts and their astonishing video fuelling pub conversation throughout the land, PAUL LESTER meets SHAKESPEAR'S SISTER, learns about ...

Shampoo: Side By Peroxide

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, October 1993

SHAMPOO are two alien teen snitches/Queen Bitches from Planet Peroxide who recently beamed down to south-east London. Their mission? To annoy the holy shit out ...

Slowdive: Dive Bomb: Slowdive: Just For A Day (Creation)

Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, August 1991

WHEN SLOWDIVE gave us their astonishingly lovely eponymous debut single in last December, it sounded, to these ears at least, like the most auspicious debut ...

Snoop Doggy Dogg: Ruff Justice

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, February 1994

SNOOP DOGGY DOGG is America's most controversial performer, taking the street-tuff credentials of previous gangsta rappers to new extremes of 4 Realness. His album, Doggystyle, ...

Spandau Ballet: Wild Boy: Gary Kemp

Retrospective and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, August 2002

Spandau Ballet did more than provide a soundtrack for XR3i-driving Essex casuals in the 1980s. At least that's what Gary Kemp, the band's creative force, ...

Spirit: The Mercury Years

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 1997

California Dreaming ...

Stereo MCs, U2: Stereo MCs: Zooropean Sons

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, June 1993

Stereo MCs are already one of the biggest (dance) bands in Britain. By the end of the summer, after touring Europe with U2, unarguably the ...

Suede: Brixton Academy, London

Live Review by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, May 1993

THIS IS happening with our permission. We wanted it to happen. We virtually willed it to happen. Suede are this season's singing saviours because we ...

Suicide: How the Godfathers of Punk Kept The Faith

Interview by Paul Lester, Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, October 2008

New Yorkers Alan Vega and Marty Rev were punks before punk was invented, known in the '70s for their violent gigs and raging synth rock. ...

Swervedriver: Chrome Sweet Chrome

Interview by Paul Lester, Melody Maker, December 1990

This year, Creation broke the mould and signed their very first kick-ass rock'n'roll animals – a hard-edged, bone-rattling death machine called SWERVEDRIVER. With their second ...

Lewis Taylor: Sweet Insanity

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 1997

"I'M FASCINATED WITH THE IDEA OF ART born of a disintegrated mind," says Lewis Taylor, all coal-black curls and kohl-kissed eyes, crouched in the semi-darkness ...

The Thrills: Weirdo Magnets: The Thrills

Report and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, November 2003

IT IS A COLD but sunny Saturday lunchtime in Capitol Hill, a boho district of Seattle full of cafes and shops with names like Natural ...

Dwight Twilley: XXI

Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, July 1997

OH, THE injustice. Had the release of Dwight Twilley's brilliant power pop debut not been delayed by a year, it would have beaten the first ...

Vampire Weekend: 'They're Attacking A Version Of Us That Doesn't Exist'

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, January 2010

VAMPIRE WEEKEND are being mobbed in California. By teenage girls. In a skate park normally frequented by crystal meth addicts. What makes this so unexpected ...

Brian Wilson: Royal Festival Hall, London

Live Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, April 2002

IT'S PRETTY impressive for a 60-year-old who's spent most of the past three decades in rock's twilight zone. A three-hour show comprising hits, album cuts ...

Zero 7: The Teaboys Done Good: Zero 7

Profile and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, March 2002

Paul Lester meets Zero 7, the recording studio flunkies turned clubbers' favourites. ...

List of genre pieces

Manchester's Music Scene Now Has Everything Everything

Overview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, January 2010

Never mind the Buzzcocks... or Stone Roses, or New Order: Manchester can stop trading on its former glories. Three new bands explain how they are ...

Rave: Countdown to Ecstasy

Book Review by Paul Lester, Uncut, September 1998

Simon Reynolds: Energy Flash – A Journey Through Rave Music And Dance Culture (Picador Books) ...

ZE Records: 'It Was Like A Fairytale'

Retrospective and Interview by Paul Lester, Guardian, The, July 2009

The extraordinary story of the trail-blazing New York label that launched Was (Not Was), Kid Creole and Suicide ...

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