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Ian Ravendale

Rick O'Shea is a pseudonym for Ian Ravendale
Ian Ravendale

Ian Ravendale began his career in broadcasting and journalism in the 1970's interviewing hundreds of rock stars including Paul McCartney, Debbie Harry, The Clash, Marc Bolan, Kate Bush, Queen and The Shakin' Pyramids for BBC Radio Newcastle and local music mags where he was able to use his real name of Ian Penman as the NME guy of the same name hadn't yet surfaced. Subsequently adding national music journalism to his bag of tricks for Sounds and Kerrang! and features for Radio 1 Ian needed come up with an alternative byline so that bands would stop asking him to put in a good word with Paul Morley. Being the era of Billy Idol and Rat Scabies he toyed with re-branding Himself Ian Neon but ultimately decided on Ian Ravendale, taken from East Ravendale, a small village a few miles outside of Grimsby that hadn't christened any other rock journalists.

Having got the hang of the pseudonym game when writing for the short-lived Pop Star Weekly Ian became Rick O'Shea. He resurrected this later to pen a music column for The Sunderland & Washington Times. Music features for the Northern Echo regional daily appeared under the more sedate Chris Coupar.

Moving into broadcasting full time for ITV, Channel 4, the independent and business sectors Ian has worked on hundred of local and national television and radio programmes including The Tube, Bliss, Get Fresh, The Works, Rock On Saturday and First Edition. He's written a television drama about 1960's pirate Radio, directed music and corporate videos and DVD's and worked with Carol Vorderman, Muriel Gray, Janet Street Porter, Gilbert the Alien and many others.

Always involved in some aspect of the music business including promotions, PR, mentoring, lecturing or consultancy Penman has now re-donned the mantle of Ian Ravendale to write for the colourful monthly music magazines that have replaced the inky weeklies. Included are Classic Rock, AOR, The Word (RIP), Record Collector, Vive Le Rock, Iron Fist, Fireworks, American Songwriter and several online music sites. He still isn't the guy who used to write for the NME

47 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

Michael Nesmith: Mike Nesmith (1974)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, May 1974

The erstwhile Monkee on being as a producer; his relationship with, and departure from RCA; his friendship with steel player Red Rhodes; a swift look back at the Monkees; songwriting and covering others' songs, and his relationship with his live audience.

File format: mp3; file size: 26.3mb, interview length: 28' 46" sound quality: *****

America's Dewey Bunnell (1975)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1975

Dewey talks about meeting at school in London; the pleasures of working with George Martin; deals with the CSN&Y comparisons; on appearing on a David Cassidy album, and refutes the accusations of blandness.

File format: mp3; file size: 9.1mb, interview length: 9' 54" sound quality: *****

Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne (1975)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 18 October 1975

The Sabbath frontman rails against bouncer-on-fan violence; describes his feelings toward the band; explains the stress and fatigue behind the band's break, and voices his frustrations with the recording process.

File format: mp3; file size: 9.6mb, interview length: 10' 26" sound quality: *****

Marc Bolan (1977)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 10 March 1977

The T. Rex frontman talks about his current tour with the Damned, his new album Dandy in the Underworld, and about his (sadly to be unfulfilled) future plans.

File format: mp3; file size: 3.6mb, interview length: 08' 54" sound quality: *****

The Subway Sect: Subway Sect (1977)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 20 May 1977

"The blankest of the blank generation": the pioneering punks attempt to answer the question, what is punk, why punk had to happen, the importance of lyrics and the anger at the heart of it all.

File format: mp3; file size: 10mb, interview length: 10' 54" sound quality: *****

The Clash's Mick Jones (1977)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 20 May 1977

The lanky plank-spanker in a wide-ranging conversation about politics, phlegm and – after Don Letts drops in – white reggae.

File format: mp3; file size: 14.3mb, interview length: 15' 37" sound quality: ****

Harry Chapin (1977)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 11 September 1977

The late singer-songwriter talks about unreleased tracks recorded with Michael Nesmith; his relationship with Elektra; how hits such as 'W•O•L•D' are representative of his work, and about his stage show and relationship with his audience.

File format: mp3; file size: 9.9mb, interview length: 10' 45" sound quality: ****

John Cooper Clarke (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1978

The Punk Poet talks about comic writing versus being a comedian; writing poetry; putting his words to music and his place in the music business.

File format: mp3; file size: 8.2mb, interview length: 9' 00" sound quality: ****

Talking Heads (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 27 January 1978

Messrs. Frantz, Harrison and (mostly) Byrne talk about the early days in NYC, the CBGBs scene, Harrison joining from the Modern Lovers, their first album and its (and their) reception.

File format: mp3; file size: 8.8mb, interview length: 21' 52" sound quality: *****

Be Bop Deluxe: Be-Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 6 February 1978

From his school band the Cosmonauts through to latest Be Bop Deluxe album Drastic Plastic, Nelson tells the whole story: teen bands; conversion to Pentecostal Christianity; forming the band, signing to EMI and recording debut Axe Victim; changing the band's line-up, and record producers... not forgetting his perpetual self-doubt.

File format: mp3; file size: 48.9mb, interview length: 50' 53" sound quality: *****

Blue Öyster Cult (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 30 April 1978

In which the band debunk myths, largely spread by Richard Meltzer, about the band's formation; discuss songwriting formulae for success and dispute the latent satire in their music; and talk about the role of producers and, specifically, Sandy Pearlman's relationship to the band.

File format: mp3; file size: 22.9mb, interview length: 25' 03" sound quality: ****

Kate Bush (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, June 1978

Ms. Bush talks about parental concerns over her career; about being objective as a writer; images of childhood in her songs, and about sex as a subject (and being a sex object).

File format: mp3; file size: 5mb, interview length: 5' 24" sound quality: ****

Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 20 June 1978

The Lizzy front man talks about the current tour; the Live and Dangerous album; his solo plans, and ruminates on the meaning and effects of fame.

File format: mp3; file size: 13.8mb, interview length: 15' 01" sound quality: ****

Blondie's Debbie Harry (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 12 September 1978

Ms. Harry is quizzed about the band's success in the UK relative to the US; are they more pop than "new wave"?; the changes introduced by Mike Chapman on Parallel Lines; and on her public persona and the public's response to her.

File format: mp3; file size: 2.9mb, interview length: 7' 07" sound quality: ****

The Ramones (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 28 September 1978

Johnny, Joey, Tommy and Dee Dee talk about what got them together; making records; being "Ramones"; playing live, and the true meaning of Gabba Gabba Hey!

File format: mp3; file size: 11.9mb, interview length: 12' 58" sound quality: *****

Siouxsie & The Banshees (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 30 October 1978

Messrs Severin, Morris, McKay and Soux slag off their contemporaries, whinge about their record company, dismiss half their fans and generally have a good old moan.

File format: mp3; file size: 14.7mb, interview length: 16' 05" sound quality: *****

The Clash's Joe Strummer (1978)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 2 December 1978

Backstage at Newcastle Polytechnic, the Clash's frontman on the problems surrounding that night's gig; becoming part of the "rock establishment" and selling out; the production of Give 'Em Enough Rope; and Sid Vicious and the coincidence of 'Drug Stabbing Time'.

File format: mp3; file size: 5.8mb, interview length: 14' 27" sound quality: *****

Labelle: LaBelle's Nona Hendryx (1979)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1979

Ms Hendryx looks back at the formation, encouraged by Vicki Wickham, of LaBelle from the ashes of the Bluebelles; their new image, stage show, and groove. She also talks about going solo and her first album.

File format: mp3; file size: 9mb, interview length: 19' 42" sound quality: *****

Penetration (1979)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1979

Pauline Murray and Robert Blamire announce the band's split, and the reasons behind it: the relentless pressures of touring and recording and consequent internal tensions.

File format: mp3; file size: 23.9mb, interview length: 26' 03" sound quality: *****

David Bowie: The Spiders from Mars' Trevor Bolder (1979)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 4 March 1979

The Spider from Mars bass-man talks about his roots (and Rats) in Hull with Mick Ronson and getting together with David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust, glamming up and the end of the band.

File format: mp3; file size: 13.6mb, interview length: 14' 51" sound quality: ****

The Only Ones: Newcastle Polytechnic

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 7 April 1979

Of serpents and session men ...

Judas Priest: City Hall, Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 2 June 1979

IT'S A CHARGE that most of 'em would dispute till the cows come home, but heavy metal fans and heavy metal bands are incredibly conservative. ...

Gary Numan: City Hall, Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 29 September 1979

Are pin-ups electric? ...

Fischer-Z: live in Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 6 October 1979

WHO'D BE a rock'n'roll star? The strategy and balance needed to make the thing work to a maximum effect is enough to make the slyest ...

The Buzzcocks: City Hall, Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 13 October 1979

Same old rubbish in a different theatre ...

Queen's Roger Taylor (1979)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 4 December 1979

The regal sticksman talks about why they did a live album; 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love'; plans for the next album; their rep for perfectionism; keeping to the original line-up, and refutes rumours of a split.

File format: mp3; file size: 7.2mb, interview length: 7' 49" sound quality: *****

Emerson Lake & Palmer: ELP's Carl Palmer (1980)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1980

The ELP sticksman somewhat testily describes the break-up of the band; talks about how UK press criticism meant other members refused to tour the country, and about his new (and it turns out short-lived) band PM.

File format: mp3; file size: 14.1mb, interview length: 17' 33" sound quality: *****

Wishbone Ash (1980)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, February 1980

Andy Powell, Martin Turner and Laurie Wisefield discuss playing older Ash material onstage; moving to America, and then coming back; the U.S. influence on their music; management problems, and the impact of New Wave.

File format: mp3; file size: 12mb, interview length: 13' 05" sound quality: *****

Rockpile: Newcastle Polytechnic

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 2 February 1980

Piles of cheap beer and bingo ...

The Vibrators live in Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 15 March 1980

BACK WHEN the world was young, punk was an expression of individuality, rather than a life style followed by those who feel so insecure that ...

Dexys Midnight Runners: Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 5 April 1980

From the vaults ...

Medium Medium, Prince Far I: Prince Far I, Medium Medium: Rock Garden, Middlesbrough

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 5 April 1980

Prince Far I 'a joke' claim ...

The Psychedelic Furs: Psychedelic Furs: Rock Garden, Middlesbrough

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 5 April 1980

A bad trip, man ...

The Moody Blues' Justin Hayward (1980)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, June 1980

The Moody Blues' guitarist/singer talks about the current state of the band; about Mike Pinder's departure; his solo work; his association with Jeff Wayne and The War of the Worlds album; the Moodys' live show, and working with 10cc and Lonnie Donegan.

File format: mp3; file size: 9.8mb, interview length: 24' 27" sound quality: *****

Dexys Midnight Runners: Mayfair, Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 5 July 1980

Ram Jam repercussions ...

Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Ozz: City Hall, Newcastle

Live Review by Ian Ravendale, Sounds, 27 September 1980

Old dog fails to learn new tricks ...

Dr. Feelgood's Lee Brilleaux (1981)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 8 February 1981

The Feelgoods' frontman on how the band has developed in the studio, choosing producers, and the respective virtues of Mike Vernon and Richard Gottehrer.

File format: mp3; file size: 8.7mb, interview length: 09' 31" sound quality: ****

Motörhead (1981)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 29 March 1981

The classic Lemmy, Fast' Eddie Clarke, Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor line-up talk talk about getting hammered in the press (and the studio!), staying close to their fans, and their friendship with the Damned.

File format: mp3; file size: 8.5mb, interview length: 10' 35" sound quality: *****

Robert Fripp (1982)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, June 1982

The always interesting art-rocker on Frippertronics and the artist/audience dynamic; his work with other artists (Gabriel, Bowie, Daryl Hall); on production, his Exposure album... and disco!

File format: mp3; file size: 17.1mb, interview length: 18' 39" sound quality: *****

Aimee Mann (1994)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 18 April 1994

Ms. Mann talks about her first band Til Tuesday; record company indifference; songwriting collaborations past and future (but not Ray Davies!); and working with Jon Brion on Whatever.

File format: mp3; file size: 18mb, interview length: 19' 41" sound quality: ****

Nils Lofgren (2011)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 9 July 2011

The diminutive picker looks back on his lengthy, fascinating career: the struggles of Grin; playing on Neil Young's After The Gold Rush, Tonight's The Night, and further Young-led adventures; going solo, and his lengthy association with Bruce Springsteen.

File format: mp3; file size: 52.6mb, interview length: 57' 30" sound quality: ** (phoner)

Diane Warren (2012)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 14 July 2012

The fabulously successful songwriter talks about her inspirations (Brill Building, Motown); not wanting to be a performer; breaking into the business, and the artists — from Laura Branigan to Aerosmith — who've covered her songs.

File format: mp3; file size: 33.4mb, interview length: 36' 31" sound quality: ** (phoner)

Terry Reid on Led Zeppelin (2012)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 14 September 2012

Terry can't remember if his band supported "the New Yardbirds" at Newcastle's Mayfair Ballroom, but he remembers Jimmy Page and manager Peter Grant planning to fill the vacuum left by Cream and Hendrix. He also reminisces about having to turn down Page's offer to become Led Zeppelin's frontman... and instead recommending Robert Plant and John Bonham to Page and Grant.

File format: mp3; file size: 18.2mb, interview length: 18' 55" sound quality: ** (phoner)

Suzanne Vega (2014)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 5 February 2014

The singer/songwriter talks about her first album in seven years, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles; her writing process and collaboration with Gerry Leonard; the influence of spiritualism and the Tarot, and sampling 50 Cent!

File format: mp3; file size: 12.7mb, interview length: 13' 54" sound quality: ** (phoner)

The Skids' Richard Jobson (2014)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 7 November 2014

The Skids' co-leader on forming the band in Dundermline; support from John Peel; issues over Nazi imagery; the complexities of Stuart Adamson; The Absolute Game and evolving faster than their audience; recording Joy and Adamson's departure, and on his life after the Skids and Adamson's death.

File format: mp3; file size: 55.6mb, interview length: 57' 57" sound quality: ** (phoner)

The Church's Steve Kilbey (2015)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 2015

The veteran Australian rocker looks right back to the formation of the band; the success of 'The Unguarded Moment'; being forced to tour with Duran Duran; endless struggles with record companies; being a confontational individual; the albums Starfish and Priest=Aura; and the Church today.

File format: mp3; file size: 47.1mb, interview length: 51' 27" sound quality: ** (phoner)

Chvrches (2015)

Interview by Ian Ravendale, Rock's Backpages Audio, 22 November 2015

Iain, Martin and Lauren talk about how the band evolved; the development of their writing style; the influence of '80s electropop; dealing with the focus on Lauren, and the broad nature of their audience.

File format: mp3; file size: 30.2mb, interview length: 31' 29" sound quality: ***

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