This week I sat down with Jim Sullivan to discuss his new book, Backstage and Beyond Vol. 2: 45 Years of Classic Rock Chats & Rants.
Jim Sullivan spent 26 years writing for the Boston Globe and two decades more writing for national publications. He has interviewed and reviewed countless musicians, many of them multiple times.
Access to such A-list stars is hard to come by in the first place, but Sullivan got to know many of them well enough to engage on a far more intimate level than journalists usually can or do.
The first volume of his music-writing anthology focuses on artists who came to prominence in the 1950s and ’60s. Twenty-one of them are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rather than simply collect up previously published articles as they originally appeared, Sullivan combed through his archive to find everything he wrote about each artist and worked them together into a more expansive time-passages view that chronicles their changing situations, outlooks and experiences.
Over the course of 350 pages, Backstage & Beyond Volume 1 includes fascinating, entertaining and occasionally hair-raising profiles of Jerry Lee Lewis, Ian Hunter & Mott the Hoople, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Nico, Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music, Robert Fripp & King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Warren Zevon, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies & the Kinks, Dave Davies, Ginger Baker, Leonard Cohen, Marianne Faithfull, John Fogerty, Tina Turner, Neil Young, Richard Thompson, Darlene Love, Alice Cooper, Peter Wolf & the J. Geils Band, Joe Perry & Aerosmith, Lemmy & Motörhead, George Clinton, Tangerine Dream, Joan Baez, k.d lang and Roy Orbison.
In the preface, Sullivan writes, “My hope is that the recollections contained here … trigger some memories, bring you back to where you wanted to be — backstage and beyond, as it were. And if you weren’t around then, I hope this transports you back to several golden ages of rock and roll.”
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Transcript – Please note, this Transcript is AI Generated. It has not had the discerning ears of a real human to edit it, as such, there are bound to be a few errors
Jimmy Tingle 0:06
Hey everybody, this is Jimmy. Welcome back to the Jimmy tingle show. We are so excited today to welcome Jim Solomon, writer for The Boston Globe, great arts editor, music critic, and also, so helped the comedy community over the last 30 years. So it’s a real pleasure and an honor to be able to speak to Jim and talk to you folks about his new book. Now check this out. The new book is backstage and beyond 45 years of classic rock chats and rants. Jim Sullivan spent 26 years writing for the Boston Globe and two decades more writing for national publications. He’s interviewed and reviewed countless musicians, many of them multiple times, the first volume of his music writing anthology focused on artists who came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s 21 of them. That’s right, 21 of them, I mean, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And I just gotta say, I love the intimate conversations with these Hall of Fame rockstars from backstage, or after a show or before a show or over dinner or over the phone. Because unlike most of our critics, or most critics, they don’t get to know the people intimately. And Jim has maintained relations with a lot of these folks over the years. So the the articles that are the each chapter of the book is these intimate conversations with people at that time in their career, he might be talking to Warren Zevon from the mid 80s. And then, you know, Jerry Lee Lewis, from the 90s. I mean, it’s pretty wild. So you get a real window into rock and rollers and the, and the lifestyle they lived and the challenges that they have. And it’s, it’s a great read. So Jim, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for doing it. And congratulations on the book.
Jim Sullivan 1:50
Thank you for having me. And thank you for the congratulations.
Jimmy Tingle 1:54
Well, Jim, I want to know, how do you break the ice with Jerry Lee Lewis, Joan Baez, people you’ve never met before. Neil Young. How do you break the ice with these folks?
Jim Sullivan 2:04
Well, it varies obviously, depending upon who the person is. But I think the key thing is, Well, for one, do your research, know what you’re talking about who you’re talking to, and where you want the conversation to go. And then very importantly, try to figure out what their wavelength is. And what works best in terms of the engagement. Humor often works. Pretty much everybody has a sense of humor, or says they do. There’s no particular one thing that I’ve done, but I do find that I’m pretty comfortable with people at various levels of stardom, if you will, and not terribly intimidated by it. Thus, there’s not a lot of hemming and hawing. And, you know, kind of, you know, what Chris Farley did on that Paul McCartney interview on Saturday Night Live The fifth thing about where he just goes, everything is so great. I can’t believe I’m talking to you that kind of thing. You know, I mean, if I talk to a farmer, currently, that could happen, actually. But I think part of it is just letting them know or hoping to think grass, that you’re a professional to you know, what they’re worried about. It’s not a fly by night thing. They’re gonna get questions that are going to be good probing. You know, some will be right on track for what they’re trying to promote, of course, concert album, whatever it might be. But others will go further afield. Yes, it did say with Bowie or Lou Reed, or many of them actually ever, Jerry Lewis. So it’s, it’s it’s something that I guess I’ve learned to do pretty well over the years. Unfortunately, that’s one of the skill sets I guess I have?
Jimmy Tingle 3:49
Well, it’s really great, because you really pull out of these folks a lot of the questions that they hadn’t been asked before. Yeah, I can tell by some of their reactions and how they take a little time. Well, geez, no one ever asked me that before. So it’s a real great attribute of the book. The other thing I love being a Bostonian, is that you’re talking about all these venues that all of us have been to many, many times. And folks, if you’re listening from Boston, and you are a fan of the Boston music scene, which I hope you are, or the national international music scene, we’re talking Tina Turner, David Bowie, Roy Orbison, I mean all these folks, then this book is just a real gem. But I love hearing about the paradise I love hearing about great woods and the places that you that you interview these people that channel and I’m thinking of all the every time I hear these clubs are going geez, I opened for Warren’s Ivana I opened for Patti LaBelle that great woods, you know, so um, it’s bringing me back to,
Jim Sullivan 4:49
you know, yeah, I just wanted to go back to what you were you were starting about questions that maybe they hadn’t been asked before. Probably the best example with this book is chapter one material Louis, where I was riding in the limousine with him from an airport of the club casino in New Hampshire, Hampton Beach, to the airport where his small plane was going to take off and go back down south. And it was right after Rolling Stone had written a story a few months after the story that strongly suggested he had something to do with one of the death of one of his wives. And I knew that had to be part of the conversation. And not something you tend to ask in interviews in my world anyway, certainly. But it had to be there at some point. And I drove up with some friends and I said, when journalist said I’ll do the interview, but let’s go to the airport in the limo. Okay, sure. So I told my friends said follow that limo. And if that limo stops, you stop. Okay. Maybe getting out. And I don’t know when what shape I’ll be getting though. We got there. And I said, so I gotta bring up the Rolling Stone story. Jerry Lee killer isn’t a thing. Did you kill her? I probably wasn’t that flip. But and he was in the frame of mind to take it as a serious question and one that needed to be addressed. And he understood it needed to be addressed. And he explained himself about how he he said it could look that way. I don’t understand how people see that it might have been that way. She happened to be found in her bed with her hands like this in the the after death position in a casket by the way. And he explained how she mistook the methadone that he had in his cabinet for aspirin, and took too much. And in a few other things, it just it didn’t really add up. Now, do I know anything definitive one way or the other? I do not. He said he did not kill her or have anything to do with her death. I think the reader can read between the lines and maybe make up his or her own decision on that. And I’ll just leave it there.
Jimmy Tingle 7:09
Right. I think it was very wise to have the car following. I mean, if he can be accused of killing his wife, he could be accused of killing you.
Jim Sullivan 7:19
Yeah. What’s one more?
Jimmy Tingle 7:24
How many wives city have chip?
Jim Sullivan 7:26
I think there were six. Okay. Actually, Jimmy, this is just kind of funny asking about whether you kill somebody. I did it one other time. I mentioned this. This is actually the intro to the book. Sonny Barger the Hells Angel. Ultimate responsible. Yeah, he was doing a book tour yet a memoir. We were having dinner at paparazzi, I think it was. And I’d had a, I guess, a couple of drinks liquid courage enough to say this. And yeah, so there were two things I asked one. I said, if I were to go kick over your motorcycle outside, what would happen to me? And he said, he had voice he had cancer, throat cancer, he would get hurt. Okay, that was good. And the second question was, again, I almost can’t believe I asked this. This is so I read the book. He didn’t in the book you don’t see killed anybody? Did you kill anybody? And he just fixes me with this glare and says there’s no statute of limitations on murder. That question
Jimmy Tingle 8:29
right, right. Well, Jim, tell me about where the where does Boston fit into the Rock and Roll seen, you know, the national level, the international level because as we were talking, all these people came through town. That’s how you met them all. And many of them they obviously played these small clubs. Initially, I think I told you off off camera that I know I told you that my wife used to work at the ranch. And you know, when she was working there, the police came through this is before they’re famous, the police you to you know many other bands that since became, you know, superstars the same with the Harvard Square and the folk clubs, club 47 with Dylan and Joan Baez, and these evokes so but how does Boston fit into the national international scene? Well,
Jim Sullivan 9:18
I think one of the things that was important is important to Boston, especially considering bands from England say is that Boston is often the first stop for them before they get to the big city of New York. And it’s not a warm up city or triumph city by any means. But it is a city where it makes logical sense to play first. So we got a lot of these man’s on the way up as they were basically cutting their teeth in America. And also Boston hand W BCN. Do we eat it? It was a big rock station no longer in existence. But they played a lot of these bands and he got there exposure and interest built interest here in Ralston and Vcn, also had a national reputation. So other program directors would listen to what Vcn was doing, pick up on the cues from that. And the fame or the potential for fame or success would spread out, spread out from Boston to other cities. So I think Boston played a very pivotal role in that regard. And, you know, it was pretty much I mean, we had the rat, New York at CBGBs. Sort of right companion clubs in a way, if b if a band played one, they played the other. And the other thing about Boston as Spinal Tap, didn’t quite get right. It is a pretty big college town. And therefore, you’ve got this built in audience, if you will. And this has been forever, of people who are young, are looking to have fun, want to be out in the clubs, and some of them have enough disposable money to do that. And therefore it’s this sort of constant turnover in the clubs of young people coming to Boston discovering a great scene going out and supporting the music.
Jimmy Tingle 11:12
Right. And tell us about Wu, who would you say, is among the most influential that have the homegrown talent, who weren’t just coming from England or someplace else? But from here? I know, you talked to Aerosmith and Joe Perry, who would you say are among those folks? Well, top notch in the
Jim Sullivan 11:31
in the first book? Yeah. Aerosmith. Jaigarh ELLs are in there. In the second book, coming out October 19. We’ve got the Pixies who came here from Northampton and kind of broke out of Boston. We have mission of Burma, very much of Boston and got national and international attention. There. There’s a chapter on Burma. I would say, the cars, obviously, the biggest man to break out of the you know, if you will, upon the waiver fryston. And there’s a chapter in Book Two about them as well. So we have seen I mean, I had been asked this question many times over the years to read the Boston scene. And to also say, well, it never had the hip cache that Minneapolis had at one point or Athens, Georgia had maybe Cleveland or Akron at some points. But I have said and maintained throughout many years, it often was up, you know, if you’re going to great, it was often up at the A Level A minus level and never went below like a B plus level. There were always pretty great bands here. And you look back at some of the old flyers for advertisements at the channel, the route wherever it’d be like four or five, maybe six nights a week where you go, God, I want to be there or maybe you were there. Or maybe I was there. There was just so much available all the time. You really had to make choices about can I go out tonight? Do I have it within me another night?
Jimmy Tingle 13:11
I’m sure you remember night stage? I do. Yeah, I actually opened up for Gil Scott Heron, Gil Scott Heron. Oh, yeah. And that was pretty wild. That was a lot of fun. And that was the first time I ever did an hour was opening up for Gil Scott Heron, because he was late. So I’m supposed to do 15 minutes. And the owner, the owner comes up to me, I’m on stage. You know, this is like, I don’t know, 8384 or something. The owner comes up on stage and he goes Jimmy, Jimmy, stretch stretch. I guess he missed the vote. He missed the boat from miss the ferry from the vineyard him in the band. And you know how that is, and they will come in from the hot tin roof, which is another venue you talk about? And I think that’s where you met Jerry Lee Lewis
Jim Sullivan 14:02
was the last time I saw Jerry weather. Yeah, that was that was the final sort of goodbye, if you will, from our relationship. I was just gonna say very guilty of here. And there was also a drug problem that may have impacted his ability to show up on time, too.
Jimmy Tingle 14:18
Yeah, yeah. And that’s one of the tragic up through lines of some of these folks, not all but some of them. Certainly. Warren Z. Vaughn, you elaborate on that a lot in that chapter. I was really intrigued by that chapter was again, I was attracted to the people that I kind of met myself and and, you know, had an encounter with all opened up for which I did a couple of times to remember loopholes down in Providence. Yeah. Yeah. Another great club. Jim, what would you say that where would you say the places are now that are the that are happening in terms of music? I mean, is the scene what it was in terms of venues or it has it diminished like many other things.
Jim Sullivan 15:01
I mean, do clubs come and go, we know that the Paradise has existed forever continues to be the site of my launch party on October 3, again, but the MGM Music Hall in Fenway House of Blues, Roadrunner. Clubs go down and Great Scott went down. The route, of course, went down quite some time ago, Spirit went down, access went down, Avalon went down. So it’s a constant, you know, shifting scene, if you will. Right. In, you know, it changes the only constant right, you know, you know, I won’t ask you something, generally, when you’re talking about you as a comic opening up for these rock artists. How did that go over in general? I mean, I know that was sort of common back in the day. But I mean, you’ve got a crowd paying to see a rocker and all of a sudden there’s a comic, they may or may not know how to heckle and situation or were the people like,
Jimmy Tingle 16:01
Jim. Let me just say this warranty one one great, because it was at the paradise and it’s intimate. And this what does it hold? I don’t know. 400 550 or something? Yeah, yeah. It wasn’t 10,000 people. Okay, so you could you know, it, he was on it like eight so I’d go on before that or maybe right at eight or something. So that one went really well. And actually, my wife and her brother were in the audience that night before we had ever met with for Catherine I’ve ever met. So that one went well. But I did Patti LaBelle at great woods. Okay. And that let me so I get out there and they put me up there as people are coming in. Okay. And there’s like 8000 people there. So now we have Patti LaBelle. Everybody’s excited. But first, we have comedian, local comedian, Jimmy tingle. So they bring me out. And I’m up there doing it. You know, it’s 120 degrees. I’m sweating. I’m like a boxer in the ring. I’m trying to keep them right. And all of a sudden I hear everybody stop going. They’re clapping. Get off, get off.
Jim Sullivan 17:13
I was gonna say they weren’t clapping because they liked you. They weren’t clapping
Jimmy Tingle 17:17
for me. And the next day, and I had never been reviewed in the Boston Globe before and this was not your review. Oh, no. This was this was Betsy Sherman. I remember it because in the review said the night was a tremendous success. Miss Labelle was brilliant as usual. I’m paraphrasing despite the fact that hard working local comedian Jimmy tingle went over like the Hindenburg. Of course, it goes right into the act. The Hindenburg. Okay, the Hindenburg was a blimp that exploded in 1936 85 people died. Okay, maybe I’m not a common genius, but an aerial disaster. So opening up for a rock band could be very, very tough. Sometimes they weren’t great. But sometimes Barry Crimmins opened up for what’s his name, Billy Bragg.
Jim Sullivan 18:09
They toured together? Yeah.
Jimmy Tingle 18:11
A tour together. Now that’s different. If you’re touring with somebody that’s different. They’re on the marquee. They’re in the posters. They’re in the avatar. But if you’re just getting thrown up there to kill, we got to kill 20 minutes. get tangled up there. Yeah. That’s that’s a different thing.
Jim Sullivan 18:25
Jimmy Tingle 18:28
But it was, but it was a lot of fun, Jim, and in your book, you talk about all these behind the scenes experiences that people have in the musicians have, and that their what their life is like what they’re trying to do, like Tina Turner, I love that interview with Tina Turner, talking about how she was not really doing what you wanted to do. She really wasn’t anywhere. She had been doing gigs, just for the money to pay the bills. This is after splitting up what I then she met a manager and how one manager can completely turn her life around when I just tell everybody about that.
Jim Sullivan 19:03
Yeah, it was it was a great talk. It was arranged by the record company was a dinner with some record company people when I was the journalist invited to sit next to her and talk about her her life and career. And you know, she was very candid in not just promoting a new record or tour, but kind of musing about whether she wanted to continue doing what she did. She wanted to act actually, she wanted to join one of the most charismatic sexiest singers ever. And she wanted to step away from it. She’d done it a long time, and it was time to maybe try to do something else. So that was part of the conversation. You know, as well as what was not part of the conversation was her time with Ike. And that was me respecting her. In the sense that story had been told the bulk had been written. I didn’t want to spend time during you know, a limited amount of energy time, dragging it into it and forcing her to either dismiss him or say he did some good things, or whatever it was, she was gonna have to say. So we kind of kept it out of it, which I think was a good call. And the other thing I remember from that, too, that she dressed down, I forget exactly what it was. It’s in the book. But I mean, it was not the Tina Turner glam that you see on stage. And the other thing that was kind of sweeping away, was as beautiful as she was. She started talking to me about a skin condition that she had, and face, you know, was breaking out here and there, and you know what to do or trying to do this and do that. And, you know, I’m sympathetic here, but I’m also thinking, this beautiful woman is telling me about her problems looking. And this is for publication. You know, it’s not not just a private talk. So I mean, it’s very humanizing, I guess, in a way. I mean, she has problems we all have, you know,
Jimmy Tingle 20:53
well, she was great. And what I loved about that was, a lot of this is luck, a lot of who makes it. And music is so competitive, and there’s so many people, a lot of it is due, do you hook up with the right people early on? Do you meet the right manager? Do you have an agent that believes in you? Do you have a record company that’s behind you? And what I’ve just found so amazing about that story, and uplifting really was she found a manager who just loved her, loved her understood the business, took a took him under his wing? He’s from Australia, I believe. Yes. Yeah. And that made all the difference. And then he just did the business. She did the songs, and he made him a superstar.
Jim Sullivan 21:37
And keep in mind, she was considered old at that time. I mean, it was sort of a, you know, record companies didn’t really want her. She’d had her he had her moment in the sun. Okay, thanks. Goodbye. So it took a lot to get her to where she went
Jimmy Tingle 21:53
again. Right. And she went bigger than just about anybody. She’s like you said she was considered old. I think she was 42. At the time. Yes. Something like that. Yeah. I mean, when you’re in your 40s, I mean, come on. We’re not athletes here. You can you can do music, I mean, the stone to tour in the ad. Right. So that is one thing that’s changed. And probably because people, you know, the whole country, their audience is also ad run, you know, right. And so the everybody’s evolved, but they didn’t see that when, back in the day. Yeah. But that was just a very revealing a very revealing part of the book that I loved. I want to let people know that my wife Katherine, and I went to his first book signing, but he has another one coming up a launch party for Volume Two, backstage and beyond 45 years of modern rock chats and rants at the paradise October 30. From six to nine, it is free and open to the public. So that is October 30. Mark your calendars free and open to the public. You can get a book. And you can obviously do a photo with Jim and see some of the stars that come by to rub elbows with Jim and support him. Also, on November 7, he’ll be at the burn. He’ll be there with Courtney Swain and I take it she’ll be she’ll be doing a set. Yeah, it’s
Jim Sullivan 23:15
the earful series has two writers and two musicians. And we alternate. I know I’m going to start the night. I’m not sure Ted Leo, I believe in the mark in the coordinate I think is always going to go
Jimmy Tingle 23:28
great, great. There’ll be a reading, assigning and sales is that as well. And then on November 13, we’ll be at the city winery, which will be a reading science and sales wine pairing. That’s that there is an admission for that that’s $15 admission for pairing and 35 for pairing and copy of volume two. So for $35 You get some wine and you get a copy of volume two and $5 off the list. The gym The other thing I want to ask you about the Brookline library is November 16. And that’s at seven o’clock, and that’s free and open to the public. So you got Brookline library November 16. You got the city winery on November 13. You got the barn on November 7. And you got the paradise rock club on Commonwealth Ave on October 30. All of these they’re all free except for the city winery. But where do people get tickets for these? Jim I will see
Jim Sullivan 24:23
for the ticketed events they would be on the website of the venue itself city one. Yeah, so
Jimmy Tingle 24:30
you get tickets city winery for the November 13. Right but the other ones are all free and open to the public. Right?
Jim Sullivan 24:37
You’re full is not earful is ticketed. So, you would need to get an earful e AR F ull.com. Right. And you can get tickets there.
Jimmy Tingle 24:46
And that’s at the barn that was at the barn. So you could probably get it off the bargains website. Yes. Well, yeah, right. Right. Right. Great. Well, it’s an awesome book. Jim, congratulations. And let me just ask you. What was the motivation to write well, you just slike you know what I’ve been doing this for? What do you say? 40 years?
Jim Sullivan 25:03
Yeah. 45 Plus, yeah, 45
Jimmy Tingle 25:05
years did you say, you know, I want to document what I’ve been doing and because they’re not just reprints of the article, they’re all there’s some of their some insights that appeared in the articles, but they’re about the conversations and the notes that you took all those years.
Jim Sullivan 25:19
Yeah. I put myself into the book stories more than I normally would have in a newspaper article or magazine story. But the impetus to do it well, I credit my wife Rosa for over the years saying, you got some great stories, you know, this Yeah, good, good book. And then also, we met with who my publisher, I wrote Robins, trouser, press books, and his wife, Christina. Last summer. And, you know, he planted that too. He said, We could do a book with you, you’ve got good stories. And so between Rosa and IRA, and then the occasional encouragement from people on Facebook, where I would post some snippets of stories, it was right, like, you know, I think I’ve got something here. I set the time aside to do it, and just burrow down and wrote a feverish pace.
Jimmy Tingle 26:10
While you’re a great writer, and even for a great writer, how long did it take? Four months? Four months to do Volume One?
Jim Sullivan 26:19
And two, both? Actually, I just got on a roll. Yeah, I was doing a chapter a day for a while there. And wow, yeah, it just, it was an interesting zone. I mean, you must find that too, with comedy, sometimes just when you hit that sort of like, when you’re writing, like, I’m on a roll now, I’m not going to stop. And I did to be honest. I mean, I wrote more than I wrote wanted, initially. Because that’s why we decided to put it into two books because he said, you don’t want it. This is going to be a doorstop. We don’t want a doorstop. Let’s break it down. So we did. And but the thing was, I kept turning in chapters, and he would edit them and send them back and say, This is great stuff. Yeah, keep going. And kept going until I think finally, he said, You know, I think we got enough here. No, no. I’ve got more stories, you know, but volume three, right?
Jimmy Tingle 27:14
Yeah, well, this is volume one backstage and beyond volume one. It’s an awesome book. And I just want to read you who’s in this book, just so you can get and Jim if anything pops into your head while I read these names. Give me 10 seconds on anybody who pops into your head Jerry Lee Lewis,
Jim Sullivan 27:32
a wild man a very a man of many contradictions. A man who I drink whiskey with and a man who offered the opportunity for me to write his autumn. Autumn co write his autobiography with him when we were drunk one night at the bottom line, and then sobered up and said, No. I know I certainly do.
Jimmy Tingle 27:55
Yeah, David Bowie.
Jim Sullivan 27:58
Tremendous interview and loquacious warm, and very willing to go wherever I wanted to go with questions and answers. I mean, he was in very happy to take negative criticism about himself and very eager to discuss his odd work habits of it is the fact that he was somewhat of a chameleon is a musical approach to style.
Jimmy Tingle 28:23
Right, Lou Reed?
Jim Sullivan 28:26
I go on real well, with Lou, not every writer did most contract didn’t. And I really can’t tell you exactly why I interviewed him probably half dozen times over the years. And I got us getting on that same wavelength thing. I guess I knew the music. He knew that I knew the music. And my sense of humor is a bit a servant. His certainly is. And, you know, I got his jokes. I think, you know, as a comic, I think you people bond on that level. Do they get your jokes if they do you get there’s, there’s a connection there. And I think, you know, Lou and I had that. And I guess the other thing I wanted to say Lou, I believe was bipolar. And and I asked him about how he got out of that when he could. And he said, This is great advice. He said, I try to look at it as a clock. And he says, I know the hand is going to be down at six, I’m going to be really low. But I also know it’s going to eventually come back up to 12. Again, very soon night, but something you know, work.
Jimmy Tingle 29:26
Right, right, Peter Gabriel.
Jim Sullivan 29:30
I was fortunate enough to talk with him at the very beginning of a solo career, which was a great time because he was reinventing himself. He was stripping down the ornate music he’d done with Genesis and kind of putting them into three and four minute songs and making them less complex and less convoluted and he wasn’t doing so much with the costuming. So, he was very much inspired by the punk rock of the day and the DIY culture. And it was it was great. to talk to somebody who was so enthusiastic about that about the change that was going on in their career, and taking a leap from the stardom superstardom of Genesis, you know, back down again and then building it back up, we’re trying to write.
Jimmy Tingle 30:14
And that’s how the whole book is. It’s all these insights and just conversations that some of it was a lot of what you wrote about in the book was off the record at the time, you were just conversations that weren’t necessarily always they didn’t appear in articles. So you get a lot of this insight about what what makes people tick. I love what talking about Neil Young and King harvest and excuse me, Crazy Horse, and his band and Crosby, Stills, Nash and just all this stuff. Warren Z would tell me about Leonard Cohen. What was that like talking to Lenin? Oh, he
Jim Sullivan 30:48
was great. I, as you might imagine, when he’s a pretty smart guy. And one of the exchanges that I liked most was he had written a song called the future that was pretty dark, and grim, and harsh. And I asked him, I said, you know, do you have any regrets about making a song like that? I mean, it’s so extreme. And he just says, he says, I wish I could have made it darker. Or that was his regret, it should have been darker than it was. He was terrific. I mean, I I miss him very much. And what I love about Leonard Cohen’s career and what was that he had his his his heyday, if you will, in the 60s, then people kind of forgot about him, I think. And then when the post punk generation came in, and people like Nick Cave and PJ Harvey and others, they kind of rediscovered him and brought him to an audience that maybe didn’t know about him or didn’t know much about him. And then a new audience realize that, oh, he’s one of us. You know, he’s an older guy. And he’s one of us, man. And then, of course, hallelujah here with Jeff Buckley, and none of us,
Jimmy Tingle 32:00
right. Yeah. Right. And that’s just great. It’s just great to hear that people can reemerge with the times. And Neil Young talks about that. He says, You got to change or you’re dead, or no one’s gonna pay any attention to you, but that you can persevere and the same attributes that go into writing songs in the 60s, it’s the same formula and emotions that are driving you to write in the 2000s. You know, and that goes for comedy or acting or writing or anything.
Jim Sullivan 32:30
One thing I liked about Neil too, was he was so adamant about what he was doing at the time. And one of the early interviews I did with him was when he was playing country music with the International harvesters, he plays Foxborough. They’re willing Willie Nelson and some others. And he was just saying, you know, my my best deal was, you know, I played so many screaming loud rock and roll guitar solos. I’ve had it. How many more of those can you do? Country music is where I’m at. I’m like an old dog circles on the rug. And I think I finally found my spot. Okay, but move ahead, move ahead about three or four years. What’s he doing? He’s playing kickass loud rock and roll with Crazy Horse.
Jimmy Tingle 33:13
It’s hilarious. Jim, you know what I also was interesting about talking to Tina Turner. She wanted to act. But she said there were no roles, very few roles for women, and hardly any roles for black women. So one of the thing most of the folks that you talk here are men because that was the those were the rock and roll as of the time, but you talk to quite a few women. And just give me a little insight in for example, Marianne, faithful and, and Joan Baez and Katie lane. Did they address that that the challenge it was for women in rock and roll? No,
Jim Sullivan 33:51
not particularly. And I tended not to ask that question of what’s it like to be a woman in rock’n’roll? It kind of sounded a little patronizing to ask that. And, I mean, clearly they were women and rock and roll. But by the time I talked to them, they had carved out their territory. And you know, they had a fairly substantial level of success. Marianne fought it probably for harder than maybe the others did. fought for it, and went through some horrible times. Again, drugs and booze in recovery, part of which was done here and outside of Boston. But, you know, she became, again, a slightly older person who fit into that whole punk New Wave milieu and was rediscovered by people, people, the punks, if you will. And, you know, the other Joan, I talked to her a few years ago. And, you know, it was funny I said, Joni may not remember this, but we met once at Newport Folk Festival when you were, she was I was, what was a queen Joan was I bet, I said Yeah, kind of not so good to me. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. And then we had this wonderful interview. And, you know, she was talking about her, being able to do the Dylan songs that he no longer does, because they’re great songs, and she wants to bring life to them. And whatever their history might be, she’s grateful to have had that history and to keep his songs those songs in her cannon, if you will. So great stuff in the Katie Lange story to one of the touching things there was about what she said about Roy Orbison. Roy is the closing chapter in my book. And she and Roy did a duet on crying, which is just so beautiful. And she was talking about Pete You know, how people think Roy was, you know, the, the person who the songs was so lonely and alone and sad. And that may have been a part of him. And I think it was in certainly a part of him when he was writing songs. But he was anything but that outside of that particular place, and she wanted to stress is more of the humor. And I thought that was kind of a nice thing to get into the interview as well. And Roy, of course, left us and I had the fortune, Miss not misfortunate coincidence of doing the last ever interview with Roy
Jimmy Tingle 36:27
did his warmth and humor. And did that come across in that
Jim Sullivan 36:31
very much so yeah. He had been born again. Not my cup of tea, but aliens, but I can ride with it. And he was feeling the sense of, again, this idea that people were rediscovering them. You know, the Traveling Wilburys boosted his visibility, I guess, the praise from all these other rock people. And he was just on the verge of releasing his solo album. And with mystery girl and you got you got it. And I talked to him right before that album came out. I’ve listened to it. I hadn’t advanced tape is a great record. And I said, you’re playing Boston, a couple of dates at the channel, you’re gonna do any of these songs and said, Oh, no, Jemma? I can’t do that yet. Because that would be unfair to my audience. They don’t know the songs if they want to hear the songs that they know. Yeah, okay. I understand. That’s too bad. I’d like to hear one or two. But again, I said, but next time around all next time around. Well, there was of course, no next time around. And, you know, it was a real shock to me to everybody. That He died so young. And I miss him. I mean, I and seen him several times and had the good fortune to exchange hugs with them. Yeah. And actually, in a period when men didn’t do that quite so much, but it was.
Jimmy Tingle 38:01
Well, Jim, when I see you, I’m gonna give you a big hug. Oh, and I want to thank you for doing this. And thank you for all the support not only of the music scene, but of course, the comedy scene, as well. You’re just been just such a yo and Steve Morris and Dean Johnson, rest in peace, Dean. But you folks really made it easier, so much easier for her just speak for the comedy scene for us. And obviously, for the music scene as well. And it’s a real tribute to the Boston music and music in general, folks get this book, this is volume one, go to the paradise on October 30. You can go to the bar and on November 7, you can go to the the Brookline library. I think that is the what is that one June 16. The 16th. And there’s also the city winery. And what is that? The 13th? The 13th You gotta memorize. I’m glad. But Tim, great to see you. Thanks so much. The book is wonderful. And just leave people tell us about some of the surprises or what we might find in Volume Two, because this is only the first volume and it’s easy reading. That’s what I love about it. The letters are big. The book is baked potatoes big and it’s easy to read. And it’s very conversational. What will we see in volume two?
Jim Sullivan 39:17
Well, the same tone, I think, but it keys on the Clash, The Sex Pistols. Billy Bragg Ramones, The damned the Buzzcocks? Patti Smith. Wow. It’s you know, the punk post punk New Wave era. Primarily, the outlier is Puff Daddy. And what’s he doing in there? I just had spent a day with Puff Daddy riding around Boston as he was promoting his record going to various radio stations. And it’s just it’s a good story. I mean, it’s a little bit it was it’s kind of an outlier in the book, but it’s a good story about riding around with this, shall we say extremely well to do man and his entourage and beings sort of, uh, looking in at that entourage, in the way they interact with him and the way he is a master of self promotion. So that was, anyway, it’s a fun ride. And I think, you know, I like both books. I think they I think hopefully there’s an overlap between the two. Some of the people in the first book like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, certainly influenced people that show up in the second book.
Jimmy Tingle 40:26
Well, great, Jim, thank you so much. Congratulations on both books and I’ll see you probably the 30 at that the paradise. Thank you, buddy.
Jim Sullivan 40:33
Looking forward to it Jimmy alrighty. Thank you