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Simon Warner

Simon Warner

Simon Warner is a writer, broadcaster and researcher in popular music at the University of Leeds. A live rock reviewer with The Guardian from 1992-95, he was a featured contributor to the webzine Pop Matters, penning the "Anglo Visions" column from 2001-2006, and makes frequent contributions to BBC radio and online.

Warner takes a particular interest in the ways the Beat Generation writers – Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and others – helped to shape subsequent rock culture. His 2013 book Text and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture (Bloomsbury) was followed by a co-edited collection, with Jim Sampas, entitled Kerouac on Record: A Literary Soundtrack, also issued by Bloomsbury, in 2018.

In 2005, he staged Howl for Now, a 50th anniversary commemoration of the first reading of Ginsberg's poem ‘Howl', in Leeds, an event which also spawned a book of the same name. In 2015, a 60th anniversary performance, Still Howling, was presented in Manchester. In 2013 and 2014, Warner was a founding curator of the inaugural festival of popular music writing, Louder than Words. Recent media appearances include an interview for BBC Four’s Rhymes, Rock & Revolution: The Story of Performance Poetry, first broadcast in 2015.

Books

Rockspeak: The Language of Rock and Pop (Blandford, 1996)

Howl for Now: A Celebration of Allen Ginsberg’s Epic Protest Poem (Route, 2005)

Text Drugs and Rock'n'Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture (Bloomsbury, 2013)

Kerouac on Record: A Literary Soundtrack, co-edited with Jim Sampas (Bloomsbury, 2018)

University of Leeds

31 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

Tasmin Archer: St George's Hall, Bradford

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 9 March 1993

A BLACK WOMAN based in Yorkshire, singer-songwriter Tasmin Archer might be seen as a figure on the margins in almost every sense. Add to that ...

Beck: Manchester University

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 28 November 1994

IS THIS the age of the neurotic self-obsessive? Sold out signs at Beck's debut UK gig suggest that his curious blend of twitchy unease and ...

Jeff Beck: Blow by Blow/Wired

Review by Simon Warner, PopMatters, 26 March 2001

IN THE ANNALS of British rock guitarists it is hard to escape the spectre of Clapton, Page and Beck, a great triumvirate, linked not just ...

Chaka Demus and Pliers: Chaka Demus & Pliers: Maestro's, Bradford

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 10 March 1994

AFTER THE brooding intensity of Shabba Ranks and the controversies engulfing ragga and dancehall generally, it is easy to forget that while reggae has frequently ...

The Clash, Joe Strummer: Less Rotten Than Reasonable: Joe Strummer and My Punk Damascus

Memoir by Simon Warner, PopMatters, 27 December 2002

ALTHOUGH I saw Joe Strummer in action many times, I only met him once and, embarrassingly, confused him with someone else. ...

Cocteau Twins: The Cocteau Twins: Manchester Academy

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 15 February 1994

THE CORE TRIO, more triplets than twins, have become weary of the media tag locating them as other-worldly beings, cult objects disconnected from the realities ...

Crosby Stills Nash & Young: CSN&Y '74: A Long Long Time Ago

Film/DVD/TV Review by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, 12 February 2010

TO USE THE phrase deja vu in the opening sentence of a reflection on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young runs the serious risk of incarceration ...

Destiny's Child: Survivor (Columbia)

Review by Simon Warner, PopMatters, May 2001

POP HISTORY IS as slippery as a Tom Parker, as mysterious as a Brian Epstein, as mercurial as a Malcolm McLaren. Like its great managerial ...

D:Ream: Metropolitan University, Leeds

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 5 February 1994

THE EARLY weeks of this year have seen D:Ream catapulted from the lower reaches of the Top 30 to the pinnacle of the charts with ...

Rory Gallagher: Town & Country Club, Leeds

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 2 November 1992

IT WAS ALWAYS likely to be a heavy onus for the guitarist Rory Gallagher to bear when it was confirmed that he would be the ...

Journey's trend: Why this band don't stop believin'

Comment by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, 16 December 2009

IN THE CLOSING moments of Glee, the newest US smash to creep on to our TV screens, an ensemble of high school singers and musicians ...

Kingmaker, Pulp, The Wedding Present: Wedding Present/Pulp/Kingmaker: The Leadmill, Sheffield

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 7 April 1993

THE STEEL CITY, commemorating its centenary and celebrating soccer success, turned rock capital as a week of music events, including concerts, seminars and workshops, got ...

Lady Gaga: Transvision Vamp: Lady Gaga

Comment by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, January 2010

THE POWER OF Lady Gaga has been one of the most scintillating features of 2009: three number one UK singles, a sprawling debut album and ...

Lush: Manchester University

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 8 June 1994

CHALLENGED TO a drinking contest by their support band, noise merchants Blessed Ethel, Lush claimed they had chosen the easier option by returning to the ...

Manic Street Preachers: Manchester Academy

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 18 October 1994

IF EMPTY intellectualism has been etched on pop's calling card, there has always been the odd renegade determined to transform rock into an intelligent medium. ...

Pulp: Metropolitan University, Leeds

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 29 April 1994

IN A MORE just world it would now be time to set aside the macho posturings of the rock burn-out and the dead-ends of the ...

Radiohead: Manchester University

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 27 May 1994

"THERE ARE A LOT of people out there who want to tear us to pieces," Radiohead's vocalist Thom E. Yorke told the churning, cheering hordes ...

Shabba Ranks: Ragga Bragger — Shabba Ranks: Maestro Club, Bradford

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 28 May 1993

Shabba Ranks, the bad boy of ragga, in Bradford ...

Rare Earth: The Best of Rare Earth (Motown)

Review by Simon Warner, PopMatters, 6 February 2001

MOTOWN'S GOLDEN decade – over 100 US Top Ten hits in the Sixties – was as steady and profitable as the Detroit auto plant conveyor ...

Saint Etienne: St Etienne: Hacienda, Manchester

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 14 September 1993

BRITAIN'S NATIONAL popular music convention In the City, Manchester's five-day jamboree of industry chatter and on-stage over-drive, adds weight to the argument that the place, ...

John Shuttleworth: Buzz Club,  Manchester

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 28 April 1993

ONE-TIME PUNK parodist in the guise of Jilted John, actor Graham Fellows has emerged in a new incarnation – a singer-songwriter of dubious pedigree by ...

Simple Minds: Sheffield Arena

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 23 March 1995

IT'S OFFICIAL. Rock, that huge, lumbering beast we thought had been exiled to the sports stadiums of the American Midwest, is alive and almost kicking, ...

Patti Smith, Television: The Mapplethorpe Effect: Patti, Polaroids and Punk

Retrospective by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, 15 January 2010

IT WOULD NOT BE outrageous to propose that the two greatest albums of the punk tsunami featured cover images by arguably the most important post-war ...

The Stranglers: Leeds University

Live Review by Simon Warner, Guardian, The, 8 February 1993

IN THE SUB-CULTURAL flow, punk rushed headlong in a bid to create the spontaneous, ephemeral and disposable. Some irony then, that 15 years on, the ...

Rufus Wainwright: Prima Donna: The Palace Theatre, Manchester

Live Review by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, July 2009

Wainwright or wrong? No rock in Rufus opera ...

Wendy And Lisa: Wendy & Lisa's impressive post-Prince parade

Comment by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, 8 January 2010

TWO US TELEVISION shows with little in common beyond the fact that they have made their mark on the viewing public and garnered critical warmth, ...

List of genre pieces

Birthdays of the Cool?

Essay by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, December 2002

Simon Warner on Dazed & Confused at 10 – and The Wire at 20! ...

On Lloyd Cole Knew My Father

Review by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, February 2003

"WHAT WOULD entice social misfits from provincial hellholes like, say, Northampton, Wigan and Exmouth to join the world of sex, drugs, travel and free records ...

Out of His Pen: The Words of Richard Williams

Interview by Simon Warner, rockcritics.com, September 2002

IN U.S. CULTURE, the rock critic is valued, even venerated. From Lester Bangs to Dave Marsh, from Ben Fong-Torres to Greil Marcus, the voices that ...

Pop and the Press

Book Review by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, November 2002

Simon Warner peruses a fresh academic take on rock journalism ...

Rock's Future Pages

Overview by Simon Warner, Rock's Backpages, March 2003

Why new music titles keep coming despite uncertain times. ...

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