From the opening moments of Bob Dylan's new self-produced album Tempest - of which I had my first and single listen to yesterday - the spine shivers. All the questions Dylan fans might have - What will we hear? Can he still sing? Will he deliver? - are immediately rendered irrelevant as one becomes transfixed by these initial tracks. Yes, he can still carry a melody. Yes, his road band, plus Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, can rock, can lilt, can augment a lyric like few others. Yes, Dylan delivers. Set for release in the UK on September 10 (September 11 in the US), here's what we heard.Read More »from Bob Dylan’s ‘Tempest’: First Listen
Blog Posts by Michael Simmons
- Michael Simmons – Mon, Aug 20, 2012 5:24 PM EDT
- Michael Simmons | The MOJO Blog – Mon, Oct 3, 2011 10:54 AM EDT
For our George Harrison commemorative issue, MOJO's Michael Simmons spoke to Harrison's former bandmate Paul McCartney about their musical life together. While quotes from it form part of the enormo George profile in the MOJO magazine that hits US stores shortly, this is the director's cut of their interview.
MOJO: Louise Harrison [George's sister] told me that their parents taught them to be trusting and that when George was young, he was a very trusting person. She implied that it made him vulnerable. Does that ring true?
PAUL McCARTNEY: I would think of it more like loyal. Trusting? Mmm, I don't know. His elder sister would see him differently than his contemporary mates on the street would. So it depends what you're talking about. If it was charlatans, he would definitely not be trusting and he was quick to spot them. But he was a very loyal guy; anybody he liked he was very loyal to. [laughs] But there were a lot of things he didn't trust. He was super-canny. He had an eye out forRead More »from Macca On George: “He Had An Eye Out For The Fakes”
- Michael Simmons – Wed, Jun 8, 2011 11:35 AM EDT
After 43 years The Fugs return to London. America's legendary subversive rockers are curator Ray Davies' special guests at this year's Meltdown Festival. Playing the Southbank Centre this Saturday, June 11 are the current Fugs, together since 1985: guitarist/singer Steven Taylor, bassist Scott Petito, drummer/singer Coby Batty and, of course, singer/co-founder/guiding light/poet/journalist/novelist/activist Ed Sanders. Missing will be Sanders' partner-in-rhyme Tuli Kupferberg, the beloved singer, poet, and performance artist who passed away last year at age 86. The band will perform a homage Sanders wrote for this occasion called In Honor Of Tuli. With songs like "Group Grope," "CIA Man," "Slum Goddess," and "Coming Down," as well as the aching ballad "Morning Morning" and "collaborations" with William Blake like "Ah, Sunflower Weary Of Time," the Fugs embody the history of bohemia in one outrageous rock 'n' roll band. MOJO spoke to Chief Fug Ed Sanders from his home in Woodstock, NewRead More »from The Return Of The Fugs
- Michael Simmons – Thu, Nov 18, 2010 9:24 AM EST
Released this week, West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology is a revelation, a classy box set with 4 CDs and a DVD documentary that chronologically details the short but unparalleled career of the greatest electric guitarist of all time. (CD1 contains Jimi's sideman recordings with various soul artists.) MOJO spoke to engineer Eddie Kramer, who co-produced the new set with Janie Hendrix and John McDermott, by phone from his Los Angeles home. He's an erudite man who began working with Hendrix in February 1967 on his first album Are You Experienced? and remained his sonic co-conspirator until Hendrix's death in 1970. We also discussed Jimi's work habits, the future that never happened, the commercial success of the "new" Hendrix album Valleys Of Neptune and briefly touched on the mythic Black Gold tape that some fans speak reverently of - though few have heard.
MOJO: A previous box set, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, came out in 2000. Why another one?
Eddie Kramer: TheRead More »from Jimi Hendrix Shows His Roots
- Michael Simmons – Fri, Oct 16, 2009 2:09 PM EDT
Santa Dropped Bob Dylan's Christmas album down MOJO's chimney last night, and as we celebrated with premature mince pies and stollen it provided plenty of food for thought.
Overall, it's without a doubt the most minor and oddest record in Bob's canon. The 15 selections are all straightforward Christmas standards and there's a cognitive dissonance on hearing "He Who Gargles With Battery Acid" backed by what sound like the Anita Kerr Singers. That Dylan's voice is shot (albeit poignantly so) isn't as glaring when he sings "If You Ever Go To Houston"; it's when he attempts "Winter Wonderland." And throughout Christmas In The Heart Dylan makes Tom Waits sound like Antony Hegarty.
Moreover, the mixture of kitsch and reverence is surreal, referencing both his jokey Theme Time Radio Hour persona and the Born-Again Bob's true believer trip, reinforced by graphics that include the Three Wise Men as well as Bettie Page in a scanty Santa get-up.
The two songs that thoroughly work are "HaveRead More »from Dylan’s Christmas Album: First Listen!
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