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Roy Trakin

Roy Trakin

ROY TRAKIN is a pop culture critic, pop and rock music aficionado, published author and online talk show host, not to mention diehard Mets/Knicks/Jets fan. Since 1992, this Brooklyn-born, L.I.-raised Jewish American prince has been exiled in the depths of the San Fernando Valley (north of the Boulevard, natch), paying off the SBA loan on the earthquake-damaged, still-hasn't-recovered-its-full-value house he shares with his indispensable wife of 26 years, Jill Merrill, and two auteurist theory offspring, Taylor, 19, and Tara, 17.

He graduated from Colgate with a degree in philosophy following a senior thesis titled, "Showing the Fly The Way Out of the Fly Bottle," a comparison of Wittgensteinian language theory with the dialogic method of Freud, which brought together two sponsoring professors who hadn't spoken to one another in 10 years. He then received an MFA in Film from Columbia, where he studied under legendary film critic Andrew Sarris and made a now long-lost student feature, "Mystery Girls" (based on the New York Dolls song of the same name and starring a blow-up doll, years before Lars and the Real Girl), which was praised by Hitchcock biographer Raymond Durgnat as "looking like a dog had directed it."

Trakin was also briefly the lead singer in the New York-based punk-rock group The Geeks, who played at CBGBs, broke up shortly after the Sex Pistols and have influenced everyone from the Plasmatics to the Beastie Boys and Marilyn Manson. During the influential mid-to-late ‘70s in New York, he served faithfully as Minister of Information for Marty Thau’s historic Red Star Records, where he took it to the street, doing guerilla marketing and publicity for the likes of Suicide, the Fleshtones, Real Kids and others.

Trakin also served as chief copywriter for the MTV Corporate Relations Dept., Director of Public Relations for the Recording Industry Association of America and Head of Promotion for AEI Music, a leading foreground music programmer now owned by Liberty Media.

Since 1986, Trakin has been a Senior Editor of HITS magazine, the music industry's influential trade magazine/tip sheet/money-laundering operation. Trakin has contributed to every rock magazine that ever mattered, but no longer exist, including Musician, BAM, Creem, Details, New York Rocker, Soho Weekly News, and several distinguished dailies such as the L.A. Times, L.A. Herald Examiner, Newsday, N.Y. Daily News and USA Today. Other publications for which he’s written–both online and traditional hard copy–include the Village Voice, Grammy magazine, React, PopSmear, Addicted to Noise and Stuff. He is a voting member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the MTV Video Music Awards, as well as one of the writers asked to vote on Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Albums of All Time.

He has previously written the biographies Sting and the Police (Ballantine Books '84), Tom Hanks: Journey to Stardom (St. Martin's Press '95) and Jim Carrey Unmasked (St. Martin's Press '95). He also served as an editorial assistant on John Lennon Remembered: Strawberry Fields Forever (Bantam Books '80) with Vic Garbarini and Barbara Graustark. He penned Malcolm McLaren’s famed speech at the New Music Seminar in 1984, and has written speeches for the likes of Virgin’s Richard Branson.

Trakin also hosted the world's first online interactive pop music chat show/pickup area, "Rant & Roll," for Prodigy and America Online's L.A. Digital City (which USA Today called "one of the new wave of online talk shows.")

He is currently co-host of the KLSX-FM L.A. music radio talk show, "Media Whores" with Wire Image's David Adelson, where his guests have included everyone from Brian Wilson to Limp Bizkit, Randy Newman to Orgy, Mike Stoller and Earl Palmer to Alice Cooper and Al Martino.

In his spare time, he adopts the identity of Meshugge Knight to manage L.A. Magazine's "best Jewish rap duo," M.O.T. (Members of the Tribe), featuring MCs/tummlers extraordinaire Ice Berg and Dr. Dreidle, whose critically acclaimed Sire/Warner Bros. album, "19.99," can be ordered from Amazon.com. They (and he) are available for weddings and bar mitzvahs. He has also been quoted extensively as a music and entertainment business expert on CNN, A&E, VH1 and MTV. He also was an on-air music correspondent for E! Entertainment and covered West Coast news stories as a segment producer for MTV.

As HITS Sr. Editor, he was responsible for putting together the Web site www.hitsdailydouble.com, cited as one of the most popular and influential music sites on the web and recently broke the exclusive jailhouse interview with imprisoned rap entrepreneur Suge Knight.

Roy is equally adept at personality stories, new stories, trend stories, behind-the-scenes stories, opinion pieces, concept pieces, think pieces and just plain filler, quick with a quip, and capable of representing Star magazine in various form of media, including television, radio and online.

References: Judy McGrath, MTV Networks; David Adelson, Wire Image; Irving Azoff, Azoff Management; Larry Solters, Scoop Marketing; Lori Berger, Teen People Magazine; Shirley Halperin, Entertainment Weekly, Allen Kovac, 10th Street Entertainment
 

Hits Daily Double

List of articles in the library by artist

ABC, Culture Club, The Thompson Twins, Yazoo: New Romantics: Sweat & Ice

Report and Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, March 1983

THE NEW BRITISH DANCE ROMANTICS: ABC, THOMPSON TWINS, YAZ, CULTURE CLUB ...

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, January 2009

ACTUALLY, IF YOU haven't picked up on these guys by now, you haven't been surfing the online music blogosphere, which has been blathering about this ...

Adam & The Ants, Bow Wow Wow, Malcolm McLaren, The Sex Pistols: Malcolm McLaren: Innovation Or Exploitation?

Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, February 1982

Malcolm McLaren, the shaker and baker of British punk, turned the Sex Pistols into an epochal event, turned Adam Ant around and now plays Svengali ...

Autograph: The Writing's On The Wall

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1985

LIKE FELLOW METAL popsters Ratt and Night Ranger, L.A.'s Autograph is an overnight sensation which took 10 years. ...

Bad Religion Try To Sell Out

Interview by Roy Trakin, Addicted To Noise, 1996

YOU COULD SAY Bad Religion have something to prove. The veteran L.A. punk band are survivors of the West Coast's second great wave, the early ...

The Bangles: Making Pop Her-Story Or It's A Girl's, Girl's, Girl's World

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, June 1986

YOU CAN almost hear the buzz of excitement in the air at Mike Gormley's L.A.P.D. (for "personal direction") management offices in Hollywood. ...

The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson: SMiLE When Your Heart Is Breaking: Brian Wilson

Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, October 2004

"Come about hard and joinThe young and often spring you gaveI heard the wordWonderful thingA children's song" ('Surf’s Up') ...

The Beat Farmers: Beat Farmers: Tales Of The New West

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, July 1985

ROOTS? DID I HEAR somebody say roots? These grizzled nugget-miners have wandered in from the San Diego desert town of El Centro with an impressive ...

The Beatles, George Harrison: By George: Harrison's Post-Beatles Solo Career

Retrospective by Roy Trakin, Capitol Vaults blog, June 2009

MOST PEOPLE THINK of George Harrison as "the Quiet Beatle," the spiritual one, the first to turn the band on to transcendental meditation, but the ...

Divinyls, Pat Benatar: Pat Benatar: Seven the Hard Way; Divinyls: What A Life!

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, April 1986

CHRYSALIS'S TRIED-and-true formula for reforming bad girls has always been to call for producer Mike Chapman, with his updated Spectorisms, and songwriter Holly Knight, with ...

Big Country: Steeltown

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, March 1985

SOMETIMES GOOD INTENTIONS aren't enough. In rock 'n' roll, the importance of being earnest must take a back seat to that of being entertaining. ...

Black Flag: My War

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, July 1984

WHAT HAPPENS to hardcore bands when they get old? They turn into Hawkwinds, that's what. Redondo Beach's finest have let their skinheads grow out and ...

Alvin Lee, Blodwyn Pig, Robin Trower: Is There Life After Rock Guitar Godhead?

Overview by Roy Trakin, Musician, 1994

ALVIN LEE HAD reached the pinnacle of rock guitardom. Of course, by the time Woodstock was over, his "I'm Going Home... by helicopter" histrionics would ...

Blondie News

Report by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, August 1979

JUST A SCANT eight months ago, Blondie the group was seemingly nowhere. Their third album (and second for Chrysalis), Parallel Lines, was languishing in the ...

Blondie: If Music Be The Food Of Love Play On: Domestic Bliss with Debbie and Chris, or: “Not Tonight Dear I Have a Headache”

Report and Interview by Roy Trakin, Hit Parader, June 1981

ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, 'Rapture' will occur when Jesus Christ returns to retrieve a third of the Earth's population for the Kingdom of Heaven, leaving ...

Blondie, Debbie Harry: Debbie Harry Goes Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls

Report and Interview by Roy Trakin, Hit Parader, December 1981

WHEN WE LAST left Blondie's Chris Stein and Deborah Harry back in December, Autoamerican had just been released. Owlishly-wise Chris was predicting it would get ...

David Bowie: Never Let Me Down

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1987

THE PICTURE OF Dorian Bowie, in which the master remains young but his music begins to limp. Or the boy who cried wolf, so that ...

James Brown: Studio 54, New York City

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Melody Maker, April 1980

Despite the recent hip upsurge in his popularity, James Brown has for over a year studiously avoided playing a live gig in Manhattan. Pity that, ...

David Byrne: The Head Boy Talks

Profile and Interview by Roy Trakin, Time Out, November 1980

CENTRAL PARK, end of summer, 1980. The Talking Heads are playing to a crowd of over 5000 people who are literally overflowing a converted ice-skating ...

John Cale: Honi Soit... (A&M)

Review by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, June 1981

THE ALBUM TITLE is part of a motto on the British Royal Coat of Arms, "Honi soit qui mal y pense." "Evil to him who ...

Captain Beefheart: A Wacky Way Of Knowledge

Profile and Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, May 1983

"If you've got ears, you gotta listen," – Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart ...

Belinda Carlisle (1987)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages Audio, October 1987

La Carlisle on Solo vs Go-Go, Pop vs Rock, critics vs her, choosing songs and NOT being an actress

File format: mp3 File size: 20.5mb Interview length: 22 minutes 21 seconds Sound quality: ****

The Cars: Shake It Up

Review by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, 1982

THE CARS have achieved success the-way Henry Ford build autos – by creating interchangeable, streamlined riffs that are assemble to mass-produce pop hits. In 1982, ...

The Cars: The 50,000 Mile Tune Up

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, January 1988

DR. YOGI BUP is the alias Elliot Easton uses when he checks into a room on the road. Imagine that. It's not enough that the ...

The Cars: The Bottom Line, New York

Live Review by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, September 1978

ONE THE face of it, one is forced to admit that the Cars, Boston’s latest pop machine, are an entirely unwelcome corruption of any new ...

The Clash: Sandinista!

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, April 1981

The slapstick guerilla politics have never sounded more outlandishly unfashionable. Gone are the triple-front-line punk harmonics & amphetamine raw power. Ditto for the crunching metallic ...

The Clash, Bo Diddley: The Palladium, New York NY

Live Review by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, April 1979

DON'T EXPECT the back-Clash to start here. Since the Clash's smashingly successful Palladium debut, I have had some second thoughts, but none of these contradict ...

Kurt Cobain, Nirvana: In Utero: Kurt Cobain Speaks

Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, April 2004

NIRVANA'S ALBUM NEVERMIND was out about two weeks on Oct. 9, 1991, when I conducted the following phone interview with Kurt Cobain. ...

Coldplay: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Irvine

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Hits, July 2009

WHY DO PEOPLE CONTINUE to hate on these guys? Is it a corollary of the Sting Effect, where there's just outright jealousy over a handsome ...

Phil Collins: His Turn to Testify: An Exclusive HITS dialogue with Phil Collins

Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, 2002

JUST WHEN IT SEEMED like Phil Collins was ready to kick back and relax with his new wife Orianne and his 14-month-old son Nicholas in ...

Elvis Costello: Elvis Gets His Groove Back

Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, 2002

THE ONCE-ANGRY young man of punk-rock is now practically a pop music singer-songwriting icon. It's been more than 25 years since a bespectacled nerd with ...

Elvis Costello: Live in New York

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Melody Maker, April 1979

Palladium & Great Gildersleeve's, NYC ...

Cristina: Sleep It Off (Ze)

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, April 1984

THE RICH ARE different than you and me, but TV shows like Dallas and Dynasty prove that wealth doesn't necessarily equal happiness. Even debutantes get ...

Cristina, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Lydia Lunch, Suicide: ZE Night: Hurrah, New York City

Profile by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, June 1980

THE RICH ARE different from you and me, my friends. While we content ourselves with free promos and an occasional "plus-one" at a local bistro, ...

Dawn, Tony Orlando: Tony Orlando and Dawn

Sleevenotes by Roy Trakin, The Definitive Collection of Dawn, August 1998

OCTOBER 1970. The war was still raging in Vietnam. Richard Nixon was in the White House and the Watergate was still just the name of ...

Defunkt: Trax, New York

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Melody Maker, February 1980

EVEN THE decidedly old-wave, uptown industry water-hole Trax has caught the Funk Flu that's hit this borough like an epidemic. People are dancing to progressive, ...

Dexys Midnight Runners: Dexy's Midnight Runners: Too-Rye-Ay

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, April 1983

WHEN WE LAST left Dexy's pugnacious leader Kevin Rowland, he wore a knit stocking cap, a navy peacoat, a pencil-thin mustache and the leering mug ...

DFX2: Emotion

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, November 1983

"I'LL ROCK 'N' ROLL 'til I fall down." shouts Douglas Farage in his best Jaggeresque drawl, and darn if you don't believe every word. ...

The Dictators: Rock'n'Roll Made Me A Mensch: The Dictators Reach Maturity

Profile and Interview by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, September 1978

The IntroductionWHEN THE Dictators proudly declared themselves the "next big thing" on their rock ‘n’ roll-icking debut album Go Girl Crazy!, they were not, as ...

Divine Horsemen, Meat Puppets: Meat Puppets: Huevos/Divine Horsemen: Snake Handler (both SST)

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, April 1988

IF THERE'S ANY doubt that the balance has shifted in the bi-coastal rock community – in terms of talent, excitement, commitment, energy, etc. – from ...

Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction/Geffen)

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, September 2008

THIS IS THE FOURTH album from the most recent winners of the U.K.'s prestigious Mercury Music Prize and, after three releases on V2, the first ...

Everything But The Girl: Everything But The Girl (Sire)

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, April 1985

YOU GREW UP on rock 'n' roll. You listened to ‘Rag Doll’ on a tiny transistor underneath your pillow and saw the Beatles on Ed ...

Fabulous Thunderbirds: Can Rich Men Sing The Blues?

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, December 1987

THESE ARE THE best and worst of times for the Fabulous Thunderbirds. After 14 lean years and four commercial flops, the Austin, Texas-based critical darlings ...

Fishbone Swims Upstream To Spawn Its Punk-Funk Hybrid

Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, May 1991

IT'S ONLY a rehearsal in a warehouse in a desolate section of downtown L.A. ...

Andy Fraser: Free At Last

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, September 1984

NEW YORK – He was 14 when he began playing bass for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers back in '66, and 16 when he joined Paul Rodgers, ...

Fred Frith, Robert Fripp: Fred Frith: Speechless (Ralph Records); Robert Fripp: Let The Power Fall (Editions E.G.)

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, August 1981

WHEN IS A guitarist not a guitarist? What distinguishes pop music from avant-garde or classical? Why is most cerebral music purely instrumental? Can you dance ...

Marvin Gaye: Dream Of A Lifetime

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, October 1985

PRETTY STRANGE DUDE this Marvin Gaye. What's Goin' On, indeed. Lived his last days inna free base daze, died in a hard-to-believe Oedipal nightmare. ...

Genesis: Genesis

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, March 1984

IT'S THE BAND that just won't go away, the thing that wouldn't die, no matter how many limbs are cut off or obstacles put in ...

Glasvegas: Glasvegas

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, 2008

THE INITIAL, BOOMING Wall of Sound strains of 'Flowers and Football Tops' on this Scotland foursome’s promising debut are like the opening of Martin Scorsese’s ...

Green Day (1995)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages Audio, August 1995

The young pups of punk nouveau phone in about their humungous success, vast wealth, and what it means to be a punk, twenty years after the fact.

File format: mp3 File size: 33.3mb Interview length: 36 minutes 24 seconds Sound quality: **

Hall & Oates

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, April 1985

"NOW REMEMBER," the harried veteran publicist briefs me as I perch on the jump seat of the chauffeur-driven limousine cruising groovily over the 59th Street ...

George Harrison: Gone Troppo

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, January 1983

THE "MYSTICAL" BEATLE had his first hit in a long time last year with that cloying, simplistic eulogy, ‘All Those Years Ago’. On his latest ...

Heart: Bad Animals

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, October 1987

THE CAGNEY AND LACEY of rock 'n' roll are back with their increasingly polished version of Ms. Zeppelin. This is the kind of thing you ...

Material, Nona Hendryx: Nona Hendryx: Nona (RCA)

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1983

YOU KNOW Nona. Along with Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash, she was part of LaBelle. ...

John Lee Hooker (1988)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages Audio, July 1988

An avuncular (if occasionally inaudible) John Lee talks about making The Healer, doing Iron Man with Pete Townshend, his roots, and the state of the world today

File format: mp3 File size: 24.9mb Interview length: 27 minutes 12 seconds Sound quality: ***

Ian Hunter Resurrected

Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, October 1980

The '70s were dawning, and the golden age of rock 'n' roll was about to give way to terminally mellow singer/songwriters or lowest-common-denominator heavy metal ...

Janis Ian: Society's Child (Tarcher/Penguin)

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, March 2009

I ADMITTEDLY hadn't thought much about Janis Ian lately, even as my good friend Andy Schwartz kept recommending this surprisingly compelling, always-candid autobiography, going so ...

The Individuals: Thinking Aloud: The Individuals Discuss Their Fields Of Expertise

Interview by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, November 1982

VOCALIST/GUITARIST Glenn Morrow you already know about: former managing editor of the rag you hold in your hands, all-around nice guy, and one of the ...

Chris Isaak by Heart

Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, May 1991

Thrift-shop rock hits the top ...

The Mary Jane Girls, Rick James: Rick James: Glow (Motown)/Mary Jane Girls: Only Four You (Gordy)

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1985

TO CROSSOVER or not to crossover, that is the question. Just a few short years ago, it looked like Buffalo-born Rick James would parlay his ...

Jane's Addiction: Addiction By Subtraction

Profile and Interview by Roy Trakin, BAM, November 1990

PERRY FARRELL is onstage at LA's Henry Fonda Theater on Halloween night, haranguing the hippie generation for selling out its ideals, and urging his followers ...

Joan Jett

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, June 1981

TONIGHT, the smoky Rock Lounge is filled with sassy fifteen-year-old teeny-boppers in leather jackets, jeans and black Converse sneakers, looking tough, chewing gum and hanging ...

David Johansen: The Strange Case Of Buster Poindexter

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, June 1988

"WHY YA GONNA write this for CREEM?," rasps David Johansen in that gravelly Noo Yawk slang his alter ego Buster Poindexter has put to such ...

David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls: Beyond The Valley Of The New York Dolls

Report and Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, October 1981

THE FIRST TIME I ever laid eyes on the New York Dolls was New Year's Eve, 1972, at the old Mercer Arts Center, and, quite ...

Elton John: Concert in Central Park, September 1980

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, January 1981

SOME PERFORMERS just don't know when to quit — and thank goodness for that. We followed tennis star Jimmy McEnroe into Central Park's Sheep Meadow ...

Jesse Johnson: Every Shade of Love (A&M)

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, July 1988

YOU'D BE excused for mistaking one-Time guitarist Jesse Johnson for his former Twin Cities running mate, Prince. ...

Katrina and the Waves: Songs For The Common Man

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1986

IF IT'S TUESDAY, this must be...Universal City. You'll have to forgive this peripatetic foursome if they're a little disoriented. Plucked from the middle of an ...

Kings of Leon: Only by the Night

Review by Roy Trakin, Hits, October 2008

IT'S NO MISTAKE that two of America's most promising rock groups are from the South, steeped in the area's blend of goth, ghosts and guilt. ...

Lady Gaga: Staples Center, Los Angeles

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Hits, August 2010

I'VE HAD MY eye on the artist formerly known as Stefani Joanne Germanotta since May 2008, when I wrote about a local Hollywood showcase. ...

Alvin Lee: Finally Going Home: Alvin Lee

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, March 2013

This tribute piece is based on an interview conducted on the release of Alvin's 2012 album Still on the Road to Freedom, a sequel of ...

Mötley Crüe, Tommy Lee: Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee Lets It All Hang Out

Interview by Roy Trakin, Grammy Magazine, April 2005

EVEN BEFORE HE agreed to join bandmates Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Mick Mars in this year's surprisingly successful Mötley Crüe reunion tour – the ...

Let's Active: Cypress

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, January 1985

THE REGIONALIZATION of American pop continues apace, and it's about time we turned the beat around on our Brit cousins, right? ...

Little Richard (1987)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages Audio, November 1987

Little Richard, on the 'phone, talks about race, religion, Good Works, the original giants of rock'n'roll, and Prince and Michael Jackson

File format: mp3 File size: 20.3mb Interview length: 22 minutes 13 seconds Sound quality: **

LL Cool J: Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Beat Box

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1986

LL COOL J COMES on like a rap version of Muhammad Ali, taking delight in clever wordplay with a showman's sense of timing and a ...

Los Lobos: How The Wolf Survived: Los Lobos’ 30-Year Ride

Sleevenotes by Roy Trakin, Hollywood Records, 2004

"Someday I will go home /And I’ll find peace in the house/Of my heavenly father." (‘Someday’) ...

Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks: Teenage Jesus and the Jerks: Out To Lunch

Interview by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, July 1978

A Dialogue between Roy Trakin and Lydia Lunch of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks ...

The Mary Jane Girls: Mary Jane Girls Can't Help It

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, October 1985

LOS ANGELES — Ah, the pleasures of pulchritude!! To be surrounded by two members of Rick James's musical wet dream, the salacious Mary Jane Girls: ...

MC5: The MC5's Wayne Kramer (1994)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, January 1994

Detroit guitar-wrangler Wayne Kramer looks back at the MC5 and departed comrades Fred Smith and Rob Tyner, drugs and jail, and his life after the Five.

File format: mp3; file size: 39.6mb, interview length: 43' 14" sound quality: *

MGMT: Congratulations (Columbia)

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, February 2010

THESE BRAINY Wesleyan alums remain just as ironical about their rock star dreams than ever, despite a year in which they garnered a Grammy nod ...

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Listen to the Lion/EMI)

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, January 2009

FAR INTO THE post-apocalyptic future, long after people have holed up in their fallout shelters, emerging only to forage for what little edible green foodstuff ...

Morrissey, The Smiths: Not the Jones: Morrissey

Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, June 1984

AMERICA MAY HAVE been charmed by Boy George, but it's more difficult to imagine it embracing the Smiths and their poetic singer/writer Morrissey, the U.K.'s ...

Mumford & Sons: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Hits, November 2012

"CAUSE I KNOW my weakness, know my voice," sings Marcus Mumford on the title track of Babel, the spectacularly successful U.K. folk-rockers' second album. "And ...

Elliott Murphy at the Hotel Café, L.A.

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, January 2009

BACK IN 1973, this celebrated Long Island singer/songwriter and the New York Dolls were the twin toasts of the town's still-nascent rock-crit community. ...

Randy Newman: The Devil Made Him Do It: Randy Newman

Interview by Roy Trakin, Addicted To Noise, October 1995

"IT'S HARD TO keep a good man down" goes the refrain to one of the songs on Randy Newman's musical version of the Goethe tale, ...

Gary Numan, XTC: XTC and Gary Numan: The New English Art Rock

Report and Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, February 1981

BOTH XTC and Gary Numan express a sense of the new English isolation. Americans seem to like the car-crazy Numan, while the pure British pop ...

The Pixies' Black Francis (1989)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1989

Black Francis on the telephone, talking about The Pixies' major label debut, his influences ranging from his Pentecostal background to the movies of David Lynch, and his "Black Francis" persona

File format: mp3 File size: 23mb Interview length: 25 minutes 10 seconds Sound quality: **

Iggy Pop: The Discreet Charm of Iggy Pop

Interview by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, January 1980

Mr. and Mrs. Osterberg's favorite (and only) son learns 'tis better to consume than to be consumed, or "They call me Mister Pop." ...

Public Image Ltd.: Album

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, June 1986

I READ THE other day where Lee Abrams, the esteemed market research expert who brought us AOR radio, said he knew "snivelling Johnny Rotten would ...

The Ramones: Road To Ruin: One Small Step For Man, One Giant Step For The Ramones

Review by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, September 1978

AS THE NEW WAVE bubble bursts and explodes into a thousand tiny particles, the Ramones remain as true survivors, one of few punk acts to ...

The Ramones: Rockets Or Rubberbands?

Interview by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, November 1977

I. Punk rock’s charter band will be your mirror. ...

The Ramones, Squeeze: Radio Relief: Squeeze And The Ramones

Profile and Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, November 1981

Squeeze and the Ramones keep alive an intercontinental rivalry of rhythm for real-life people. But the Beatles and the Beach Boys?...Well, maybe not. ...

Rank and File: Rank & File: Sundown

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, March 1983

TIME WAS BROTHERS Chip and Tony Kinman were just another coupla SoCal surfpunks, bitchin' 'bout class wars and hating the rich. The Dils, which was ...

Lou Reed: New York State of Mind

Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, February 1989

Lou Reed's Sire/WB debut, New York, marks a welcome return to the wild side for the veteran Velvet Underground founder and street bard. It is ...

The Replacements' Paul Westerberg (1987)

Interview by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages Audio, August 1987

Replacements kingpin Westerberg on the making of Pleased To Meet Me in Memphis with messrs. Chilton and Dickinson, and on his family background, the Minneapolis scene, hatred of the English music press, beer, football and life on the road.

File format: mp3; in 2 parts, total file sizes: 50mb, total interview length: 44' 46"; sound quality: ***

Jonathan Richman: The Echo, Los Angeles

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Hits, July 2012

IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME since I've seen the legendary founder of the Modern Lovers, the man-child my fellow companion at a show once showered ...

David Lee Roth's Revenge

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, October 1986

THE SYSTEM OF law in New Guinea involves a concept loosely defined as "payback," which means if one village has wronged another, that village is ...

Run DMC: Run DMC (Profile)

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, September 1984

A TRIO OF STREET teens from the shadows of Shea Stadium who bear out ex-Met manager Casey Stengel's enthusiasm about the Youth of America? ...

Bob Seger: The Creem Interview: Bob Seger

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, September 1986

"My hands were steady/My eyes were clear and bright/My walk had purpose/My steps were quick and light/And I held firmly/To what I felt was right/Like ...

Tupac Shakur: Jailhouse Rap: An Exclusive Conversation With Suge Knight

Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, July 2000

MULE CREEK State Prison is the fourth jail rap entrepreneur Marion "Suge" Knight has been locked up in since he was given a nine-year sentence ...

Paul Simon: One Trick Pony

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, November 1980

"YES, THE BOY'S got a voice/But his words don't connect to his eyes," sings Paul Simon, and I couldn't describe the problem with One Trick ...

Siouxsie & The Banshees: Siouxsie and the Banshees: Hyaena

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, November 1984

ONCE UPON a time, they might've burned Siouxsie Sioux at the stake or thrown her in a lake to see if she'd float with rocks ...

Carl Stalling: The Carl Stalling Project: Music from Warner Bros. Cartoons 1936-1958

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, December 1990

MOST PEOPLE have probably never heard of the late Carl W. Stalling, but they've undoubtedly heard his music. As the chief composer for cartoons at ...

Suicide Commits Itself

Profile by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, May 1980

EVERY NOW and then, we critics drop our objectivity – believe it or not – become emotionally involved with a band. For slightly over a ...

Donna Summer: The Wanderer

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, February 1981

THE WANDERER is disco diva Donna's Inferno, a trip that will take us through her cold hell, up against fiendish temptation and out the other ...

Supertramp: Famous Last Words

Review by Roy Trakin, Musician, January 1983

THESE ART-ROCKERS ward off chaos with an armor of meticulously conceived pop songs that cloaks its creators' identifies even as it showcases their talents. ...

Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food

Review by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, July 1978

Head and Shoulders Above ...

Talking Heads: Speaking In Tongues

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, September 1983

WITHOUT THE ANCHORS of either longtime producer Brian Eno or the general pancultural ideology expressed on their last few records, the Talking Heads' latest album, ...

U2: Time Has Come Today

Live Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1987

U2: Los Angeles Sports Arena, April 17-22, 1987 ...

Ultravox: Quartet

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, June 1983

ALL YOU NEED Is Synth. Producer George Martin sez these guys are the most musical band he's worked with since you-know-who. So, what'd you expect ...

Vampire Weekend: Contra

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, January 2010

THERE'S NOTHING more gratifying for a rock music fan than to witness an act suddenly seize the moment, feel its oats and begin to break ...

Alan Vega: Life After Suicide

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, February 1984

ONCE UPON A time, in the early '70s, long before currently voguish "new music" outfits like Soft Cell, Yaz and Human League, there was Suicide. ...

Tom Verlaine Without TV: The New Season

Review and Interview by Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, September 1979

THE BREAK-UP of a band, in the wake of our experience with the Beatles and countless others, should no longer be a traumatic event, but ...

Was (Not Was): Was Not Was: Born To Laugh At Tornadoes

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, January 1984

THE WOODWORK SQUEAKS...and out comes Ozzy Osbourne, rapping? Ex-Knackster Doug Fieger making fun of himself? Mitch Ryder barking like a dog with Good Golly Miss ...

Stevie Wonder: Characters

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, March 1988

THIS IS ALMOST as satisfying a return to form as Sugar Ray Leonard's victory over Marvelous Marvin Hagler and practically as much of an upset. ...

Stevie Wonder: In Square Circle

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, February 1986

IT BUBBLES, it gurgles, it coos. You were maybe expecting ‘Fingertips Part III’? In Square Circle is a seamless piece of synthetic aural gratification that ...

The xx: xx (Young Turks/XL Recordings)

Review by Roy Trakin, Rock's Backpages, March 2010

THIS LONDON-BASED QUARTET-turned-trio is fronted by a pair of precocious 20-year-olds in Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sims, who share vocals with an intimacy that’s ...

Yes: Dinosaurs

Interview by Roy Trakin, Creem, February 1988

"YES, WE ARE five individuals. That's what makes it what it is, how good it is and as complicated as it is. Each of us ...

Dwight Yoakam: Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.

Review by Roy Trakin, Creem, August 1986

THE PURIST LET loose a thin stream of tobacco juice between his teeth and into the brass spittoon. "Not another 'Next Gram Parsons,"' he harumphed, ...

List of genre pieces

A Special Time In Rock: 1966 On The Sunset Strip

Retrospective by Roy Trakin, Los Angeles Times, 1991

THE SUMMER of 1966 on L.A.'s Sunset Strip was a time when many young musicians thought anything was possible. A teenager from the San Fernando ...

Holland-Dozier-Holland: They Wrote The Songs

Profile and Interview by Roy Trakin, Hits, May 2003

An exclusive HITS dialogue with Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland by Roy Trakin ...

Sleeping With The Enemy: When Musicians Become Record Executives

Report and Interview by Roy Trakin, Musician, March 1995

YOU WOULD think Gary Lemel is one of the luckiest guys around. As President of Music for Warner Bros, films, he gets to pal around ...

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