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Simon Witter

Simon Witter

A freelance NME writer for much of the ‘80s, Simon Witter was assistant editor of i-D in 87 and later a contributing editor at SKY. As a TV journalist he has interviewed everyone from Bowie to the Backstreet Boys. Since '94 he has primarily directed arts documentaries for German/French TV, and now also works as a new media producer for V-On.com while contributing occasional features to the broadsheets. Witter has written and directed a number of highly-regarded documentaries in recent years for DoRo Films (Vienna). One of them – Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story – won the "Press Prize" at the 2001 Montreux Rose D'Or and was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 (best longform video). His recent series, Get Up Stand Up – The History of Pop And Politics, made it to the last 8 in the 'Best Documentary' category at the International EMMY Awards 2004 and won Gold World Medal for "Best Direction (Documentary/Info)" at the 2005 New York Festival of TV Programming and Promotion. A two-hour edit of the series, narrated and hosted by Chuck D, was broadcast on PBS channels across the US on Sep 28 2005 – as a thematic follow-on from Scorcese's two-part Dylan opus - and described by The New York Times as: "one of the most daring, and perhaps the hippest, program in the recent history of PBS". His 4-part series On The Trail Of Easy Rider, celebrating the cult film as a way of examining social change in America over the intervening 40 years, won Gold World Medal in the "Cultural Issues" category at the 2012 New York Festival of TV & Film. In June 2012 ARTE broadcast his latest work, London Calling: The Untold Story of British Pop, a 4-part series that tells the story of British music through the prism of the related art forms that gave the music its context: photography, art school, fashion, graphic design and management.

List of articles in the library by artist

King Sunny Ade: King Sunny Adé (1983)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages, January 1983

Nigerian giant Adé talks about juju music, tribalism and politics, the talking drum and much more.

File format: mp3; file size: 61.1mb, interview length: 1h 06' 43" sound quality: ***

Aerosmith: Anatomy of a Rock Biography

Interview by Simon Witter, Times, The, 1997

While the rich and famous broker deals to keep their lives private, rock hellraisers Aerosmith decided that if there’s cash to be made from dirt, ...

Alabama 3: The Brixton Connection

Interview by Simon Witter, Times, The, January 2001

The theme tune for the hip gangster drama The Sopranos is set to shoot into the UK charts this month and catapult the band behind ...

Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer: The Sound of Speed, Thrash & Death Metal

Overview by Simon Witter, i-D, April 1987

In 1987, against all odds, HM has become an issue again. i-D dives into the Metal underground to find out about moshing, skateboards, and the ...

Aswad (1983)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1983

Brinsley Forde, Tony "Gad" Robinson and Drummie Zeb discuss the sufferation of Brit reggae acts, Rastafari and much more.

File format: mp3; file size: 45.1mb, interview length: 49' 19" sound quality: ***

Eric B & Rakim: The Motormouths Speed On!

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, July 1988

With the American music biz finally embracing hip hop, Eric B & Rakim – contract expired – have been able to cash in their uncompromised ...

Afrika Bambaataa (1984)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1984

The hip-hop and Electro Funk pioneer talks about the Zulu Nation, Shango, Soulsonic Force and more.

File format: mp3; file size: 28.2mb, interview length: 33' 50" sound quality: ***

Björk: A Quiet Storm

Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times Magazine, February 1993

A brief interview piece from early '93, just before her album Debut came out. Nobody, least of all her, had any idea how huge it ...

The Black Crowes: Afghan Rebels

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1992

It's late night in Dallas and the Black Crowes are partying in rock's most happening dressing room, an Aladdin's den of fairy lights, Afghan rugs ...

Black Flag: 9.30 Club, Washington DC

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, July 1985

THE INTENSE energy with which they maliciously rioted across the grooves of Damaged inevitably doomed them to an early burn out, and tonight's show was ...

Blind Melon

Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, February 1994

After 18 months on the road, supporting Guns N’Roses, Neil Young and Lenny Kravitz, platinum-selling slackers Blind Melon break for a curry in London, and ...

Bon Jovi: Yankee Noodle Dandies: Bon Jovi

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, December 1988

HE'S ONLY NINE months older than me, but last year Jon Bongiovi - a 26-year-old American of Sicilian extraction - made more money than you ...

David Bowie (1995)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, October 1995

The Great Dame talks at length about art, role playing, Eno, successes and failures, and his place in the greater scheme of things.

File format: mp3; file size: 56.9mb, interview length: 1h 02' 09" sound quality: *****

Garth Brooks: A Life In The Day Of Garth Brooks

Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times, 1992

Original version of piece for The Sunday Times Magazine ...

Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, Experience Unlimited (EU), Redds And The Boys, Trouble Funk: Go Go Not Gone!

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, June 1986

Go Go all gone? Washington DC all fini? Not on your Nelly, argues Simon Witter, Go Go guru of the King’s Roadeo. The deaths of ...

James Brown

Profile by Simon Witter, Sky, 1990

THE FIRST PHASE of James Brown's tempestuous career was as a '60s soul screamer in a suit at least two sizes too small for him. ...

James Brown at Wembley Arena: Back And Proud

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, April 1986

IT'S A tribute to the unbelievable power of James Brown's music that it has always managed to overwhelm our reservations about this dodgiest of superstars. ...

Buckwheat Zydeco: The Gospel Accordion To Buckwheat

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, March 1989

Down in New Orleans SIMON WITTER met squeeze-boxer Stanley 'Buckwheat' Duval ...

Jerry Butler: The Ice Man Cometh

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, October 1986

JERRY BUTLER – Chicago crooner, beer businessman and local politician – meets cool SIMON WITTER ...

Cameo: Debunking the Funk

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, Summer 1985

"YOU’VE GOT to be a part of what the goal is, to be selfless. We’re all warriors in our organisation, and we’ll go down to ...

Cameo's Larry Blackmon (1985)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, July 1985

The Cameo frontman goes back and forth over his influences, the band's formation and changes over the years, philosophy, race and all kinds of fascinating stuff!

File format: mp3; in 3 parts, total file sizes: 85.7mb, total interview length: 1h 33' 37" sound quality: ***

Cameo: Tied Up In Notts

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 1985

Cameo: Nottingham Rock City ...

Neneh Cherry: A Life In The Day Of . . . Neneh Cherry

Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times, September 1992

Born of a West African father and a Swedish mother, Neneh Cherry, 28, takes her name from the American jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, whom her ...

Neneh Cherry: Raw Nerve: Neneh Cherry

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, November 1989

In 1989 Neneh Cherry ruled the airwaves, her eclectic dance masterpiece Raw Like Sushi yielding a fistful of UK chart smashes. She also caused havoc ...

Alex Chilton: London, Mean Fiddler

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, October 1985

ALEX CHILTON – one-time Box Top, Big Star, Cramps producer, etc. – is possibly rock’s greatest cult hero. Like many, I’ve been aware of this ...

George Clinton & The P-Funk Allstars: Hammersmith Odeon, London

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, February 1990

GEORGE CLINTON once said, explaining his orchestration of an 18-piece band, "Offer great musicians the possibility of order and anarchy on the same plate, and ...

George Clinton: Taking Funk Over The Hump

Profile by Simon Witter, i-D, May 1988

EXCUSE ME if I gush here, but this is a subject very close to my heart. In these days of political defeatism, sexual paranoia and ...

Funkadelic, George Clinton: George Clinton: Fried Brains To Go

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, April 1986

"GEORGE WILL be with you in a minute, he's just playing with a raygun." (Clintonesque PR person). ...

Robert Cray: Stax 'N' Blues

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, December 1987

With the highest charting blues album ever under his belt, soulful Robert Cray is laughing as he brings "my parents' music" into the '80s, and ...

Sheryl Crow

Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times, November 1993

WHEN HER STUNNING DEBUT album Tuesday Night Music Club was released, critics rushed to compare Missouri-born Sheryl Crow to everyone from Rickie Lee Jones to ...

The Cure: The Art of Falling Apart

Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, June 1989

The Cure's Robert Smith has been worrying about the meaning of life since he was only 13. So have his armies of fans - Cure ...

DAF: 02 Academy, London

Live Review by Simon Witter, Daily Telegraph, April 2009

IN A YEAR in which it would be almost easier to count the bands not reforming, and in which a startling percentage of pop newcomers ...

Evan Dando, The Lemonheads: Evan Dando: Deeply Dippy

Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1992

SINKING INTO the bar-room sofa of one of Kensington's more sterile, demi-swank hotels on the morning after America re-bombed Baghdad, Evan Dando smiles with a ...

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy: Loudmouths: The Disposable Heroes Of HipHopRisy

Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times, 1992

It grew out of raw anger. Can rap turn politically correct? ...

The Doors: a profile of Jim Morrison

Profile by Simon Witter, Sky, 1991

IN THREE YEARS Jim Morrison went from being a rock icon to dying a bloated alcoholic at just 27 years old. But in that time ...

Double Dee & Steinski: Masters Of Mixed Fortunes

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, June 1985

2009 NOTE: hip hop, humour and catholic taste collided in a cloud of mad skills on Double Dee & Steinski's mastermixes. ...

Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Rattlesnake Annie, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Earle: Nashville Cats: Country Music In 1987 - Goldmine Or Shaft?

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, June 1987

Simon Witter travelled to Nashville to find out if there's any substance to the media'slatest rediscovery. ...

Earth Wind and Fire: Earth, Wind and Fire's Maurice White and Philip Bailey (1988)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, Fall 1988

Maurice White and Philip Bailey talk about latest album Touch The World, changes in the band, outside producers and record company politics. Plus a treatise on Egyptology!

File format: mp3; file size: 22.6mb, interview length: 24' 40" sound quality: ***

Earth Wind and Fire: Elemental: Earth Wind & Fire

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, Fall 1988

Monarchs of mind expansion and celestial 70s grooving, EW&F were the world's biggest pre-Wacko black superstars. Now they're back, as a 'people band', with a ...

EPMD: Corporation of Two

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, October 1989

Within three weeks of it's release, EPMD's first album had reached the No. 1 spot on America's black chart. With its follow up Unfinished Business ...

Faith No More

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1993

Mike’s pierced eyebrow epitomizes Faith No More’s finger to the world. With a trail of trashed hotels and hospitalized fans behind them and a singer ...

Falco: Brahms, Lizst and… Falco?

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 1986

"Sophisticated" schmuck FALCO keeps the bottle from his lips just long enough to entertain Simon Witter, who (heh, heh) understands these Austrian insults.... ...

The Fall's Mark E. Smith (1983)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, May 1983

Accompanied by blushing bride Brix, the splendid Mark E. Smith talks about all things Fall: getting the band together, being the 'leader', songwriting, performing, the north v south debate and much more.

File format: mp3; in 2 parts, total file sizes: 53.3mb, total interview length: 58' 13" sound quality: ***

The Fatback Band (1985)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1985

NYC's favourites talk about the genesis of the band, releasing THE first rap record, 'King Tim III', and how the band have survived and thrived with the funk.

File format: mp3; file size: 23mb; Interview length: 25' 09"; sound quality: ***

Fingers Inc.: Another Side

Sleevenotes by Simon Witter, Jack Trax/Indigo Music, 1988

2009 NOTE: I wrote a few album sleevenotes in the 80s, but none that I was more chuffed to have been asked to do than ...

Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Paul Rutherford (1988)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, October 1988

Rutherford talks about the end of Frankie and life after, his move into dance music and clubbing, and working with ABC.

File format: mp3; file size: 47.6mb, interview length: 52' 02" sound quality: ***

The Fugees, Lauryn Hill: Miss Education: Lauryn Hill

Interview by Simon Witter, Times, The, June 1999

With five Grammies on her mantelpiece, two children and a charity to her name, singer Lauryn Hill has achieved an awful lot at the tender ...

General Kane: Slamming The Crack

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, January 1987

Crack may have killed Applejack but GENERAL KANE leader Mitch McDowell won't touch the stuff: "I'm no saint, I've done a lot of things in ...

Al Green: “I May Be From Another Planet…”: Al Green

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, July 1988

2005 note: I was in New Orleans in April/May 1988, filming items for German TV, when I heard that Al Green would be playing at ...

Al Green (1988)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, May 1988

Interviewed at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans after a storming performance at the Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Rev. ruminates on the conflict between the spiritual and the secular, his own return to the church, and the two Al Greens.

File format: mp3; file size: 35.4mb; Interview length: 38' 39"; sound quality: ***

The Gun Club: Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce (1983)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, April 1983

The Gun Club head honcho talks about the revolving door band membership, the Death Party EP and more, accompanied by yawns, drumming of fingers and spinning coins on the table.

File format: mp3; file size: 23.2mb, interview length: 25' 19" sound quality: ***

Guns N' Roses: Guns' N' Roses

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1991

ONLY DAYS INTO Guns N' Roses' world tour and there was trouble. At a St Louis stadium Axl Rose jumped into the audience to snatch ...

Audrey Hall: Dance Hall Revolution

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, March 1986

"WE'VE HEARD what the men can do, it's time to hear the women. You can't keep us in the background for ever. There are loads ...

Happy Mondays: Is Shaun Ryder Really A Sex Symbol?

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, Summer 1990

He's no oil painting but the Happy Mondays' grubby lead singer Shaun Ryder is deluged with love letters from admiring teenage girls. Now the group's ...

PJ Harvey: P.J. Harvey: Come On Down

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, Fall 1993

She’s been called the indie Madonna, but Polly Harvey is not famous for upbeat frivolous pop tunes. So raw and angst-ridden is her music she ...

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson (1988)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1988

The ever-articulate Maiden frontman talks about his early influences, his cynicism towards the rock'n'roll lifestyle, songwriting, the cathartic qualities of heavy metal and...fencing!

File format: mp3; file size: 51.4mb, interview length: 56' 10" sound quality: ***

Iron Maiden: Welcome To The Machine: Iron Maiden

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, March 1988

MUCH AS WE may laugh at the blustering antics of its ambassadors, HM is no joke. As a kind of musical Rollerball, exorcising taboos and ...

Rick James: Glow (Motown)

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, June 1985

POOR RICK has never been taken very seriously - a self-obsessed prima-donna of sophistifunk, as lascivious as Richard Pryor’s ear-screwing monkey. But the slick Dick ...

Jane's Addiction: On Tender Hooks: Jane’s Addiction

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, January 1989

From beneath the bloated carcass of LA rawk crawl Jane's Addiction, kissing to be clever and determined to prove that Metal can be different. Simon ...

Marshall Jefferson: Let's Get Spiritual – Deep House

Report by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, December 1988

As House approaches its third birthday, and the classical club sound of Deep House and Garage Music asserts itself on Acid-fatigued dancefloors, SIMON WITTER reports ...

Marshall Jefferson (1986)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, July 1986

The 'Move Your Body' man on the people and clubs that beget House music, the endless Trax Records rip-offs, and a definition of House itself.

File format: mp3; file size: 38.9mb; Interview length: 42' 30"; sound quality: ***

JM Silk (1986)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages, July 1986

The Chicago House pioneers Steve 'Silk' Hurley and Keith Nunnally on the form's origins, the rip-offs of Rocky Jones and DJ International, Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk's kleptomania, and th linksback to NYC via Frankie Knuckles.

File format: mp3; file size: 47.8mb, interview length: 52' 12" sound quality: ***

JM Silk: Moving House

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, June 1987

2008 NOTE: It's a cruel irony that JM Silk now seem like a footnote in music history, given that they were the act that broke ...

JM Silk, Frankie Knuckles, Jamie Principle: Time To Jack: The House Sound Of Chicago

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, Summer 1986

Is House music the latest in a long line of Urban American dancefloor explosions – or the latest in a long line of record company ...

Jesse Johnson: "Prince Is An Asshole"

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, November 1986

OF ALL THIS last decade's superstar black bands, which do you think has spawned the most solo success stories? The Jacksons? Earth Wind & Fire? ...

Chaka Khan: Life Is A Dance - The Remix Project (Warner Brothers)

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 1989

THIS ALBUM IS simply staggering, as magnificent in finished form as its conception is bizarre. Imagine, if you will, the highlights of a singer's career ...

Kid'n Play : Kid'n Play: Rap Without The Crap!

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 1988

Lean, mean and squeaky clean, the bullshit-free beats of Kid'n Play have earned them plenty of dubious accolades, from "the yuppies of rap" to "Salt'n'Pepa ...

Frankie Knuckles

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Unique, 1987

Eighteen months after it's commercial birth, House Music is getting stronger by the week. On his first trip to England Unique spoke to the scene's ...

Derrick May, Frankie Knuckles: Back To Jack

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, August 1987

2008 NOTE: One year after the big bang of house hype, I was back in Chicago to investigate the latest developments – among them Acid ...

Kool and the Gang: Kool & The Gang (1986)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, December 1986

The Bell boys talk about the road from hard funk to pop-funk, changes of personnel, their jazz roots and describe a year in the life of the band.

File format: mp3; file size: 35.8mb, interview length: 39' 07" sound quality: **

Kraftwerk: 'Kraftwerk Are The Catalyst'

Interview by Simon Witter, MOJO, September 2005

The band's art guru and oldest friend, EMIL SCHULT, gives a view from inside the Kraftwerk project. As told to Simon Witter. ...

Kraftwerk: Autobahn

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, July 1985

THOUGH NOT a patch on their four subsequent albums, Autobahn has enormous historical significance as the album that introduced the world to Kraftwerk, one of ...

Kraftwerk: Paranoid Android

Retrospective and Interview by Simon Witter, MOJO, September 2005

2009 NOTE: This is a 9000-word "Director's Cut" version of a 5000-word piece written for MOJO in September 2005. ...

Kraftwerk: Ralf Hütter – He's More 'Aaaaaah'

Interview by Simon Witter, Dummy, Spring 2006

2008 Note: When I met Ralf Hütter in London in early 2006, it was ostensibly to hear about the release plans Kraftwerk had for that ...

Kraftwerk: Robopop

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 1991

In Düsseldorf back in ’68, a clean-cut combo of besuited squares were unaware that they were destined to change the face of dance music forever ...

Lenny Kravitz's Freedom Train

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, December 1993

Lenny Kravitz's Universal Love Tour is coming your way. So are iguanas, ritual white sage burning and Spodie the Plant Dancer. Simon Witter catches the ...

Fela Kuti: Army Arrangement (Celluloid)

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, March 1985

WITH MORE more pep in his step, and Bill Laswell by his side, Fela is back, up for the downstroke. Yes, that’s Fela Anikulapo Kuti, ...

LA Dream Team: California Dreamin'

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, December 1986

WHEN AN unknown band like The LA Dream Team put a single out on their own label, and 250,000 people buy it, they've got to ...

Lovebug Starski: Nightmare On Beat St.

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, June 1986

SIMON WITTER goes to the house on the hill to see what's bugging LOVEBUG STARSKI but he can't get a fix on the man from ...

Manic Street Preachers: Glam Rock: Manic Street Preachers

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1993

The Manic Street Preachers were wearing Boots No.17 eyeliner and women's fun-fur coats way before Brett Anderson could even spell androgyny. "Our idea of glamour ...

Mantronix: Heaven, London

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 1986

WE WENT to Heaven, and it looked like the Bronx. Wall-to-wall black B-boys, hoods, whistles, and two unprettified lads doing their thing against a tinsel-rain ...

Curtis Mayfield: Now More Than Ever: Curtis Mayfield

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, September 1987

Curtis Mayfield is the music world’s most talented unsigned superstar. A working musician since the age of eight, Mayfield’s inimitable work with The Impressions and ...

Megadeth: Deth Sells: Megadeth

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, February 1987

MEGADETH are the cream of the new Speed Metal crop. ‘Deth squaddy Dave Mustaine discusses life in HM’s fast lane with souped-up SIMON WITTER. ...

Menswear: Suits You: Menswear

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, December 1995

As overnight sensations go, Menswear’s hyper-speed rise to fame makes even Julia Carling look like a beginner. Plus their music rocks. Simon Witter talks to ...

AUDIO: Misty In Roots

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1983

Walford 'Puck' Tyson and pickney dem reason with Simon Witter about Africa, Rasta, Soundsystem culture and a whole lot more. ...

Youssou N'Dour: Youssou N’dour Et Le Super Etoile De Dakar: London Venue

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, May 1984

SINCE I BOUGHT Etoile de Dakar’s Thiapathioly LP two years ago, the band have become ‘Super’ and the lead singer has achieved star status, making ...

Joey Negro

Interview by Simon Witter, unpublished, 1992

As a re-and-mastermixer, artist, label head and man of many names – too many, some might say – Joey Negro is emerging as one of ...

Paul Oakenfold: DJ Of The Month

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, August 1987

PAUL OAKENFOLD, apart from being one of the harder working men in showbusiness, is a perfect example of the late 80s London soul phenomenon: the ...

Oasis Talk!

Interview by Simon Witter, Unpublished interview for television, 1997

1) Brother Liam ...

Billy Ocean (1984)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, November 1984

From tailoring in Savile Row to 'Caribbean Queen' – Billy tells of his fight to break away from the cabaret circuit of his early days to score his mega-hits of the mid-'80s.

File format: mp3; in 2 parts, total file sizes: 55.1mb, total interview length: 1 h 00' 14" sound quality: ***

Joan Osborne

Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1995

Joan Osborne isn’t your run-of-the-mill platinum-selling singer/songwriter – this lady sings about sex. Do-it-all-night, bagsy-me-on-top, can’t-walk-next-day sex. SIMON WITTER basks in the afterglow. ...

Pink Floyd: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, July 1988

No band has ever been simultaneously as popular and as hated as Pink Floyd. Their latest album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, has spawned three ...

Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Nick Mason (1988)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, July 1988

Gilmour and Mason on just about everything – Syd Barrett etc. – but most rivetingly on the rancorous split with Roger Waters.

File format: mp3; file size: 57.9mb, interview length: 1h 03' 02" sound quality: ***

Prince Charles & The City Beat Band: Prince Charles (& The City Beat Band) Alexander

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, May 1983

From the ghetto and gangs of Roxbury in Boston to the Lyceum ballroom: Prince Charles Alexander and his trusty Lyricon move on up.

File format: mp3; file size: 48mb, interview length: 52' 27" sound quality: ***

The Proclaimers Shout It Out

Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, May 1987

"WE WERE playing a festival in Edinburgh and this guy comes up to us and says 'You were great!'. It was the guy behind the ...

Redds And The Boys: Groovin' To A Go Go

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, March 1985

CHUCK BERRY boogied on his finger, wiped it on the wall, and outraged America's upright citizens. ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Lust In Space: The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, January 1988

Stardate ’88.Warp factor 10. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are preparing to pervert the planet, "hit it to hell in the bread-basket", and, er, do ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Red Hot Chili Peppers (1985)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages, August 1985

Peppers Flea and Hillel Slovak run down the band's history, compare and contrast production methods of Andy (Gang of Four) Gill and George Clinton, chat about punk and funk, and generally rabbit on!

File format: mp3; file size: 43.3mb, interview length: 47' 18" sound quality: ***

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Red, White & Blue: The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, September 1985

2004 note: In August 1985 I got a phone call from George Clinton, saying that the P-Funk All-Stars show at Hammersmith Odeon that weekend had ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Tribal Sex-Funk! Starring the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, March 1988

Judderfunk Giants of the Hollywood Hills, and foes of all things orderly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have just released The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Uncle Sam's Revenge: Red Hot Chili Peppers at London’s Dingwalls

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, August 1985

FROM THAT catastrophe-fraught fusion chamber where funk meets guitar noise comes the world’s most crazily perfect punk-funk band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tonight Husker ...

Henry Rollins: Hooray, Henry!

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1993

HENRY ROLLINS IS the prime example of a uniquely American phenomenon, the punk turned poet (see Lydia Lunch, Exene Cervenka, etc.). ...

Diana Ross: Diana

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, September 1985

Diana by J. Randy Taraborrelli TALKING TO Gerri Hirshey a couple of years back, Diana Ross explained (in language not gleaned from Motown's etiquette ...

Run DMC, Whodini: Run-D.M.C.: King Of Rock (Profile/Island); Whodini: Escape (Jive)

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, February 1985

DMC: DMX + HM = OTT! ...

Sam & Dave: Sam Moore of Sam & Dave (1985)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1985

Getting together with Dave Prater; Atlantic/Stax; the Stax-Volt UK tour; meeting the Queen; working with Lou Reed: the Soul Man speaks.

File format: mp3; file size: 38.5mb, interview length: 42' 01" sound quality: ***

Slayer: To Hell And Back: Slayer

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, March 1987

Not all the old Heavy Metal cancers have been cured. SLAYER - erstwhile thashers, now adopted by the speed-metalists - have been forced to deal ...

Sly & The Family Stone: Stone Free: Sly Stone

Profile by Simon Witter, i-D, December 1987

Sly Stone, one of the first and greatest international black superstars, has survived unimaginable amounts of sex and drugs to be with us today. As ...

Sly & Robbie: Musclefunk Throwdown

Interview by Simon Witter, i-D, May 1987

i-D meets Sly and Robbie, whose communal, all-star jam sessions have produced Rhythm Killers, the year's most enjoyable, perfectly formed dance album. ...

The Specials: 02 Academy, Birmingham

Live Review by Simon Witter, Daily Telegraph, April 2009

FROM AGING ROCKERS who won’t let it be to '80s ravers going to pilled-up, Facebook-coordinated reunions, everybody these days is raging against the dying of ...

Spin Doctors: The Spin Doctors

Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, 1993

ON A RECORD-BREAKING 105-degree day, the sun is finally setting as we pull into Long Island's Jones Beach arena, amid Spinal Tap-esque musings from our ...

Station Rose: Neurodisco

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times, September 1993

SEVEN STORIES above Frankfurt, in the city's most expensive shopping centre – the Japanese styled glass colossus Zeilgalerie – Europe's most unusual monthly club is, ...

Stock Aitken Waterman: Pete Waterman: The Prat Who Calls Himself The Hitman

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, April 1989

The prat who calls himself the Hitman is how Stock Aitken Waterman's Pete Waterman describes himself. It's an admission that a 42-year-old who throws himself ...

The Stranglers: Fey Bikers On Azur

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, October 1987

THE PHONE RANG. It was the chief. "Be at the airport tomorrow morning. The Stranglers. Marseilles. Bikers' convention. JJ Burnel burning up the track on ...

Suede

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, December 1993

"HELLO! WHAT HAVE WE GOT HERE?!" asks Brett Anderson rhetorically, staring at the fluff he has just removed from his ear. "I haven't taken these ...

T-Coy: Union Jack: The British House Boom

Report by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, December 1987

If you thought House music was an imported irritation that would jack off as quickly as it came, your worst nightmare is about to become ...

Tone Loc, Young MC: Lip-Smacking LA: Delicious Vinyl

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, February 1989

New Yorkers, the creators of hip hop, have never been receptive to outside beats, and in the past only the Philly scene has given them ...

Tony Toni Toné: Sons of Soul

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sunday Times, December 1993

SAN FRANCISCO'S Oakland area has a history of producing great, energetic groups - from Sly & The Family Stone and The Pointer Sisters to Hammer ...

Allen Toussaint (1987)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1987

The First Gentleman of New Orleans on the city's music then and now, on Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey and the Meters, and on songwriting, producing and performing.

File format: mp3; file size: 66.4mb, interview length: 1h 12' 30" sound quality: ***

Allen Toussaint: The Jazz Café, London

Live Review by Simon Witter, Daily Telegraph, November 2006

THOUGH HE IS the greatest living exponent of the extraordinary New Orleans piano tradition that produced Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Huey Smith, James Booker, Dr ...

Trouble Funk: Professors Of Funk

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, November 1985

IN WASHINGTON DC, a city that has its fair share of fast-buck entrepreneurs and exploitable kids, Trouble Funk's understanding of the music machine marks them ...

Roger Troutman (1986)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, June 1986

He disapproves of drugs! He digs Yes! From being pushed by his father as a kid, via the P-Funk connection and the Ohio funk scene to his mad recording methods, Zapp frontman Roger Troutman tells all.

File format: mp3; file size: 56.5mb, interview length: 1h 01' 41" sound quality: ***

Roger Troutman, Zapp: The House Of Zapp

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, September 1986

WHAT DO you give a man who’s got everything? ...

Ultramagnetic MCs: Ultramagnetic MC's

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, April 1988

THE EXPLANATORY enthusiasm of New York's most impressive, left-field rap newcomers cuts the crisp late-winter air like a drum solo in a public library. ...

WASP: Lyceum, London

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, October 1984

THEY DON’T MAKE metal mutants like they used to. Whilst WASP obviously consider themselves the baddest muthas to walk this earth, many of their audience ...

Weezer

Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, February 1995

Weezer are a bunch of weird blokes who wear nerdy clothes, nerdy specs and sing nerdy songs. Which is why we love them, says Simon ...

The Who's Pete Townshend (1994)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1994

The man with the windmill arm goes way back to the early days of the Who, the band's politics and personalities, the Madness of Moon, the awfulness of Woodstock, Kit Lambert and Mods, and rock as art and the rock opera.

File format: mp3; file size: 52.7mb, interview length: 57' 35" sound quality: *****

Whodini (1984)

Interview by Simon Witter, Rock's Backpages Audio, March 1984

The Brooklyn rappers Ecstasy and Jalil on working with Thomas Dolby, touring Europe, and their loathing of the UK music press!

File format: mp3; file size: 37.6mb, interview length: 41' 05" sound quality: ***

The Winans: The Divine Music Of Protest…

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, January 1986

SIMON WITTER has a new calling – to spread the word about THE WINANS, a hot Gospel sound that just won't let go. ...

Stevie Wonder: The Woman In Red (Motown)

Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, September 1984

SO HERE'S a new Stevie Wonder album, but not THE new Stevie Wonder album, the one we've stopped holding our breath for (makes Aswad and ...

ZZ Top: Wembley Arena, London

Live Review by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, November 1986

WHERE IS Tushmobile? On the basis of this show I'd guess it got lost somewhere in the mix. Lord knows I've waited to see ZZ ...

List of genre pieces

Is Acid's Mr Big Really All Bad?

Report and Interview by Simon Witter, Sky, November 1989

Twenty-three-year-old gambler and whiz-kid entrepreneur Tony Colston-Hayter has been called Acid's Mr Big, Acid's Mr Fixit and The Acid King by the tabloid press because ...

Acid Crackdown: Sunrise III, Greenwich

Report by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, November 1988

2003 note: Sunrise III, which took place in November 1988 on an industrial wasteland that would later house the Dome, was a pivotal event in ...

If It Don't Go, It Ain't Go-Go!

Report by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, February 1985

IT'S RARE FOR AN excellent musical style to remain unknown for long, yet Washington's Go-Go scene has done just that despite us running Richard Grabel's ...

MCA Records: Strip Mining

Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, January 1989

OVER THE PAST 12 months Universal City – the five square miles of North Hollywood dominated by the MCA/Universal studios – has yielded a crop ...

New York Noise: Anarchy in the USA

Book Review by Simon Witter, Daily Telegraph, December 2007

PERUSING THE WEALTH of multi-disciplinary artistic talent beaming out of the 400 black and white images in New York Noise (Soul Jazz Publishing), it's hard ...

Party Town: New Orleans

Overview by Simon Witter, unpublished, May 1988

2002 note: I went to New Orleans to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Dec 87, took a week's holiday there with photographer Chris ...

Walking With Panthers: Hip Hop and the Legacy of Black Power

Essay by Simon Witter, Sky, 1992

Rap chic, radical chic, Hollywood chic. In 1992 everyone wants a belated piece of the Black Panther Party’s guerilla chic. Simon Witter cuts through the ...

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