The New Cue #1 February 26: St. Vincent, Django Django, Arlo Parks, Cassandra Jenkins, Tony Visconti

26 February, 2021.


Great to see you for our first edition of The New Cue, the weekly newsletter I’ve put together with Chris Catchpole and Niall Doherty. This week we’ve got Annie Clark of St Vincent desperately trying to not tell us the name of her forthcoming seventh album; we’ve Arlo Parks calling to explain what it’s like to break-through commercially during a pandemic; Alan McGee reveals the secrets of his past success as a music mogul; Chris Hillman of The Byrds is very modest about inventing country rock; Catchers digs through his bag of ‘new’ and plucks out the jazzy Lady BlackbirdDjango Django’s Dave Maclean recommends an Album To Blow Your Mind; Producer Tony Visconti reveals to Niall how David Bowie wrote one of his biggest belters; Cassandra Jenkins sends in a lovely email from NYC about the smart poetry and far-out sounds of her new album, An Overview On Phenomenal Nature. There’ll be other recommendations, but at the time of writing the other two haven’t sent theirs in so you’ll have to trust me on that.

This first edition is necessarily heavy on the Q&A format as we’re doing everything by phone or video. That’s the modern world, baby. In months to come, when we are released from captivity, we hope to have a few in-person meetings with interviewees and that will free some of the prose (are you enjoying my sexy editing talk?). As we all know, the first edition will bear little comparison to the tenth, the sixtieth…we’re learning on the job. We will evolve quickly.

We’re so happy to have you on the journey and to be back delivering contemporary music coverage and access for you again. Thanks very much for signing up. If you enjoy it, please tell your friends.

Ted Kessler

In Production: St Vincent

They’ll call it their masterpiece

The visionary multi-music-tasker Annie Clark spills as many beans as allowed about St Vincent’s “fluid and wiggly” forthcoming album. “It’s the sound of being down and out Downtown in New York, 1973.”

Hello Annie. How are you?
[muffled] I’m good, how are you?

Are you eating?
I was trying to hide that fact… I’ve stopped now.

What’s for lunch?
Well, please make it the focal point of the story but it’s a salad.

I’ll make sure to get it in there.
It’s the beginning of any celebrity profile… “She orders a cobb salad, but hold the bacon, the blue cheese and the egg.”

So, we are going to talk about your excellent new album, except because it hasn’t been announced yet we’re not allowed to mention any of the song titles or what the record is called. If you weren’t allowed to tell them any of the important bits, what would be the first thing you’d tell someone about it? 
Oh boy. I would say it’s the sound of being down and out Downtown in New York, 1973. Glamour that hasn’t slept for three days. 

Nice. What was your headspace going into it? 
In hindsight, I realized that the [last album, 2017’s] Masseduction and tour was so incredibly strict, whether it was the outfits I was wearing that literally constricted me, to the show being tight and the music being angular and rigid. When I wrapped that, I was like ‘oh, I just want things that are fluid and wiggly and I want this music to look like a Cassavetes film’. I wanted it to be warm tones and not really distorted, to tell these stories of flawed people being flawed and doing the best they can. Which is kind of what my life is.

What were you listening to when you were writing it?
I went back to these records that I probably listened to more in my life than at any other time, music made in New York from 1971-76, typically post-flower child, kick the hippie idealism out of it, America’s in a recession but pre-disco, the sort of gritty, raw, wiggly nihilistic part of that. It's not a glamorous time, there's a lot of dirt under the fingernails. It was really about feel and vibe but with song and stories.

You almost had a nervous breakdown making the last album. Did you find a better balance on this one?
Yeah, everything about this came out so naturally. Usually it would be my instinct to second guess everything but I had enough wisdom to get out of the way and run with it. I started writing these songs and took a couple to [producer] Jack Antonoff. I was in Electric Lady Studios in New York and wanted to do this sleazy, grimy record and Jack was fully on board. He whipped out some great Wurlitzer playing, super funky, then he’d get on the drums and do totally the right vibe. And then he was playing this fucking awesome bass, ripping it. 

Did you actually do anything on the record?
No, no, I sat back, I was filing my nails and looking at Instagram. But no, it sounds like a record that was played in a room with five or six people, but it wasn’t done that way. It was cool to get to see Jack bust out these chops. And same here, I actually have some deep understanding of harmony that I keep to myself most of the time but here I bust it out. 

What did you feel compelled to write about?
Well, I called the record… no wait, I can’t say that can I?

Well, it is all over the internet that it’s reportedly titled Daddy’s Home, but we are not permitted to confirm or deny that here.
Okay! So the nuts and bolts of it is like, my dad got out of prison in 2019. He'd been in for 10 years. My first song for it was a story about when I used to go visit him and I would sign crumpled-up Target receipts somebody had left in the visitation room. And, of course, it's incredibly sad, but it’s also incredibly absurd so the whole family has found a way to laugh about it. So that was the impetus, I guess.

My favourite song is a track that rhymes with “clown”.
Oh yeah! You know, that one’s a pretty straight-up, “Don't fucking fuck with me” song, like “I know I'm nice, but try to take advantage of me, I'm not stupid.”

It’s a good one! You can get back to your salad now. Thanks for your time, Annie!
Okay, talk soon, bye! 

An Album To Blow Your Mind

As recommended by Django Django’s Dave Maclean: Jimmy Cauty’s ambient house cult classic.

Space (KLF Communications, 1990) 
“This is an album by Jimmy Cauty from The KLF. I read somewhere that it was nearly The Orb’s debut album - Jimmy Cauty left The Orb to focus on The KLF with Bill Drummond and he took Space with him. That’s what I read, anyway – you’ll have someone from The Orb phoning you up going “that’s bollocks!”. I didn’t really associate it with The KLF the first time I heard it. When I was growing up, I had their Doctorin’ The Tardis single and had no idea that they were doing this avant-garde music and that their pop side was a bit of a piss-take of the music industry. A few years later, I was at art college and read their book The Manual and I went back and got into Space then. I used to put it on after coming back from being out, really late at night with all the lights out and try and get into the atmosphere of it. It’s a very escapist record.” ND

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Say hello to your favourite new artist

Lady Blackbird

A brief history:
New York singer Marley Munroe had tried her hand at pretty much any genre you can think of before aligning with Quincy Jones collaborator Chris Seefried and Miles Davis’ pianist Darryl Jones. The sparse, piano-led sketches on her debut album Black Acid Soul, out in April on Foundation Music Productions, finally give Munroe’s remarkable voice the setting and space to soar.

They say: 
“This album is just based on my voice. We stripped everything back and went in with that rawness. There are certain songs that you just can’t touch, they’re perfect, but you get the songs where I think ‘OK, what can I do to elevate this, how can I make this my own?’”

We say: 
Comparisons to Nina Simone and Grace Jones might sound excessive but Black Acid Soul clearly pitches itself towards the classics. Smouldering through subtly inventive re-workings - Simone’s Blackbird, rare groove classic Wanted Dead Or Alive by Voices Of Harlem, Bill Evan’s Peace Piece - Munroe’s arresting voice breathes new life into old jazz moves. It’s powerful stuff.

For fans of:
Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo

Hear this: 


The Story Behind The Song

How we birthed a classic

The Man Who Sold The World, 1971, by David Bowie

Producer Tony Visconti on recording the title track of Bowie’s third album and revisiting it for last year’s Metrobolist remix.

“I mixed a new version of this [for 2020’s Metrobolist reworking] in the studio that I'm in now. This is where I made David's last two albums, Blackstar and The Next Day, so he was sitting very close to where I'm sitting now and reading a book whilst I was mixing, or then he'd go in and do a vocal and all that. So I feel like he's always looking over my shoulder when I'm mixing, it’s a little spooky, but I'm comfortable with that. I feel like I need to be close to him, even though he's passed away all these years now. I feel like he's with me and he's listening to these mixes and I think to myself, "I hope he likes this. I hope he likes what I'm doing and all that." It puts me in the mindset of being in the past and in the present at the same time.

I remember being very impressed by this song when David first played it to us. I thought it was an intriguing title, The Man Who Sold The World, very intriguing. I'd never heard a title of a song like that before then. It didn’t take very long to record because we’d rehearsed it back in Beckenham, and I remember the ending was David and Mick Ronson and I doing that whole choir with the three of us. I was the low voice, and then Mick is somewhere in the middle and David's doing the very, very high stuff. That took a bit of a long time, but it was just so much fun.

The three-part harmony that we did at the end, I sketched it out on a piece of scoring paper, musical score paper and I still have it. And there were a lot of other directions on that piece of paper about how the song should be mixed and what part goes where and all that. So that's actually quite a nice little document.” ND

Line One

Five minutes on the blower with… Arlo Parks

Twenty-year-old West London singing sensation Arlo Parks dials in to talk about her debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams, and to detail other ambitions: "I'd like to be a dolphin."

Hello Arlo, how are you?
I’m good thanks. I’ve been staying at my parents’ place since March. It’s been quite nice to have that grounding force because it’s been so chaotic.

Your album Collapsed In Sunbeams came out at the end of January, were you tinkering away on it at your parent’s place all through last year?
I wrote most of it during that first lockdown that we had in March and then finished off by about June. It did definitely feel like it had just been this Dropbox link on my phone but now it's out in the world.

How else have you been attempting to stay sane through all this?
I’ve been getting really into film. I’ve been watching a film a day for the past few weeks. I’ve been reading a lot of biographies too. Cooking, I’ve gotten pretty good at Mexican food. I went through quite a big Scrabble phase with my dad.

Are you quite competitive when it comes to Scrabble?
I’m not competitive when it comes to board games at all. I just don’t have it in me. Which is good because my dad’s so good at it that even if I wanted to be I couldn’t.

There’s a lyric on the album that goes ‘You quote Thom Yorke and lean in for a quick kiss’. I’ll be honest, if I was going in for a smooch a Radiohead lyric might not be my first port of call…
It was less of a quote, he was more singing the first line from House Of Cards, ‘I don’t want to be your friend, I just want to be your lover…’ I was like ‘Oh for god’s sake…’ That’s on my favourite album as well, I didn’t want to associate it with that situation.

Billie Eilish was singing your praises recently, do you have any other famous fans?
Michelle Obama put me on her Spotify playlist. That was pretty wild. I was having dinner with my mum and we saw that on Instagram. There’s not even a way you can respond to moments like that, you just have to wait for it to sink in.

If you hadn’t become a musician what do you think you’d be?
I've thought about this. Maybe I'd be some kind of writer or novelist. But I wouldn’t like that lifestyle. I wouldn't like to sit by myself in a room, I think it'd be super boring. Maybe I’d like to take care of kids in some capacity. I used to volunteer at a nursery when I was a kid so maybe something like that.

That’s nice. OK, if you hadn’t been born a human, what animal would you like to be?
I'd like to be a dolphin. I think that'll be cool. They’re quite intelligent, I’d just be vibing and having a good time in the sea. Not too many people eat them either I don’t think.

You might get caught in a tuna net though…
Oh yeah. I don’t like that sound of that. Maybe I’d be something that could fly then like an eagle.

What else have you got on for the rest of the day?
Honestly, I might just sleep. Maybe I’ll cook something nice like a ramen and watch a little film.

That sounds like a perfect evening. Nice talking to you Arlo…


LOST IN MUSIC: Our Secrets

How music lovers became music lifers

“Don’t go with technique over passion”
Alan McGee, 60

After managing The Jesus And Mary Chain, McGee set up Creation Records with Dick Green and Joe Foster in 1983, signing bands including Oasis, Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream before shutting the label down in 1999. He currently manages Shaun Ryder and has launched a new label called It’s Creation Baby. A film based on his autobiography, Creation Stories, written by Irvine Welsh and starring Ewan Bremner is available on Sky Cinema from 20 March.

First job in music:
I was a 15-year-old roadie for The Zips. They were a punk rock band in Glasgow. My good friend Jon McNeill, who I’m still friends with, of The Zips paid me three pounds to roadie for them in 1977,78.

Best job in music:
Fucking brilliant question. Hmmmm… publishing Noel Gallagher! His rights reverted back to him in 2011 but that was a great time.

Hardest lesson learnt:
The answer would be fucking mental if it was personal shit but professionally it would be don’t go with technique over passion. Just in terms of people. I’ve been let down by people I’ve worked with so I would say go with the people who have the passion and the love and the feel for it over the people that come with the fucking certificates.

What piece of advice would you give your teenage self:
Chill out motherfucker, it’s going to be alright. 

What work are you most proud of:
It’s a crass answer but the fact that I’m still alive and I’m still doing it.

What’s the most underrated part of your career:
Felt’s Forever Breathes The Lonely Word. When they came to me in 1985 I was so young myself, I was only 24 or 25. If they’d come to me five years later I could have done some damage with Felt. My biggest regret is that I never put that one away. It’s a brilliant record, should have been massive. Lawrence is amazing, I’m still friends with him. I’ve not seen him during lockdown but his phone rings out occasionally so I’m assuming he’s still alive.

Tell us your best work-place anecdote:
There’s great stories but most of them are unprintable. I remember being in a shrink’s office in Christmas ’95. There was a psychoanalyst and my psychiatrist at the time there and I was sitting there having a wee cry going, ‘I never asked for this level of success! Oasis are number one in 32 countries!’ And they were just laughing at me. I was like, ‘You’re not supposed to laugh! You’re supposed to be giving me fucking sympathy!’


What’s been flipping our wigs this week

Niall Doherty
I am in an extended phase of listening to mostly wordless, melancholic music, the sort of things you’d put on if you wanted any lingering guests to leave. I must remember that when people are allowed to visit. It’s not exactly good for the soul but I’ll move onto something with a little more pep for spring - for now, I have been staring at walls to excellent new songs from Alex Somers, A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Wolf Alice.

Somers is a long-term collaborator with Sigur Ròs who is releasing two records, Siblings and Siblings 2, at the same time next month. The track Sooner is out now via Krunk and is the sort of dreamy, atmospheric soundscape you expect David Attenborough to start talking over. It even has a bit of Sigur Ròs-y plinky-plonk piano at the end, the point at which David would be narrating about a snow leopard cub being born at the top of a mountain and you’d start crying.

AWVFTS’ Total Perspective Vortex is another jaunty number I’ve had on repeat. From their new album Invisible Cities, out on Artificial Pinearch Manufacturing today, its spell is occasionally broken by members of my family enquiring, “is he alright in there?”.  

It hasn’t been instrumentals all the way, though. The Last Man On Earth, the new single from Wolf Alice and out now on Dirty Hit, also chimes with my quiet devastation vibe. Minor chord piano, contemplative vocals, sweeping strings… where do I sign?

The moody atmospherics will pass, no doubt, or get shunted out of the way by the excellent St Vincent album I’m not allowed to talk about. In February 2021, though, they fit the bill to perfection.

Chris Catchpole
Sometimes it pays to be predictable. In December, a friend of mine texted to say he’d just heard a track he thought I’d like, Love And Hate In A Different Time by LA trio Gabriels. He was bang on the money. It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve played their EP of the same name most days since. Dusty soul breaks, stirring gospel vocals, a bit of doo-wop here and little flourishes of lush David Axelrod-like string arrangements there - it couldn’t be more up my alley unless it moved in with me. Currently available on the streaming service of your choice, but should you want to experience it with some added crackles and pops for that full retro soul experience the band are putting it out on vinyl next month.

Anything else? Sure, plenty. How about Bird Of Passage, the new single by Danish duo Communions on Tambourhinoceros? Exactly the sort of soaring, jangly baroque and roll this week’s guest Alan McGee might have signed to Creation in the mid 80s.

Or perhaps the clanking Extricate-era Fall groove on fellow Danes Iceage’s latest release Vendetta (new album to come in May via Mexican Summer, watch this space)?

If intense Scandinavians aren’t your thing, London Pirate Radio Adverts 1984-1993 Vol 1. is a fascinating, if a little muffled, trip into a since disappeared world. Filled with clips promoting warehouse parties, clubs, local shops (“you know, just opposite the rice and peas”) and even a ravers-only dateline, it’s a strangely addictive listen. Lock down your aerial and get on Bandcamp.

A massive bonus of doing these newsletters on a Friday morning is that we have the option of recommending stuff that’s landed that morning or the night before. Like Nick Cave & Warren Ellis’ new album, Carnage (out yesterday via Goliath Records Ltd), for instance. Am I recommending you should listen to it? You bet your bottom dollar I am, it’s a glowering, end of days fitting masterpiece. Balcony Man is my current favourite number but I’d advise devouring it all in one long delicious gulp.

Ted Kessler
When we started talking about this newsletter last October, it flicked a switch in me to listen to new music again. I’d kind of switched off for the summer after Q Magazine folded in July. It was like seeing someone you love going out with a new flame for a while – I needed to look away, so I got lost in old music again, digging deep into jazz, reggae and soul. My old fall-backs. 

But once we got into The New Cue mode late last year I delved back into all that I’d missed in 2020 and there was so much that I loved. I made a best of 2020 Spotify playlist to prove it, if you’re interested: 

Since then, I’ve been totally consumed by new music again. We may not be able to go to see live music, but it’s a huge relief that musicians are still finding ways to deliver it to us. This week I’ve been all over Cassandra Jenkins’ second album, An Overview On Phenomenal Nature, out on Ba Da Bing!. Native New Yorker Jenkins has delivered a short but stone-cold classic seven-song folk-jazz odyssey, filled with detailed, poetic story-telling and rich in atmosphere. There are flutes. 

You can buy/taste here: 

I had a good chat with Cassandra Jenkins by email this week and she sent in a snowy selfie, too:

I read that you come from a family of musicians. 
I grew up playing & traveling in a family band, and we have been hosting house concerts in our home in Manhattan for the past 20 years– folk and acoustic music. This is where I often try out new songs, tell stories, and play with whoever is performing that night. Story telling & the intimate setting define this part of my musical life. 

I took some lessons as a kid, and went to music camps with my family– from jazz to old time fiddle camps. I picked up guitar and banjo and played in bands all throughout college. Out of college, I worked a lot of day jobs and played in countless bands at small venues all over New York, many of which have closed down at this point. I was in friends' performance art pieces at art galleries and church basements. As long as I liked the music or the art, and the people I was playing with, I said yes to everything. 

After a lot of touring and playing in bands, and releasing a couple albums, I started doing a lot of session work, which led me to Josh Kaufman's studio. He's a life changing human, and I know a lot of other musicians feel the same way I do. I feel so lucky I got to make this record with him. 

The contrast between the frankness in your story-telling with the airiness in the music of An Overview on Phenomenal Nature is striking. Can you tell us about how you went about composing and recording it?
The heart of the record is in the lyrics – it started as lines pulled from voice memos, my journal, and notes on my phone. I rearranged and reworked them until songs started to emerge, and then I printed everything out so that each morning Josh and I could look through the stack of papers and pick the song we felt like working on that day. 

The studio is in a small space in Dumbo, Brooklyn, packed with Josh's gear. We built the songs like moulding clay, adding and taking away until we felt like we had something we liked. It was less driven by a "sound", and more driven by lyrics and the tools at hand. 

We had about a week to write and record everything, and with that constraint there wasn't much time for deliberation or overthinking, which left more room in the writing process for experimentation and imperfections to have a place in the music. I like the integrity of a specific performance of a vocal line, or sax part, and creating a space where I can let an instrument breathe. 

What should we take from the album’s title?
The title is pulled from a voice memo of a security guard at the Met Breuer who pulled me aside to share her thoughts on the exhibition on view, Mrinalini Mukherjee‘s “Phenomenal Nature.” I loved what she had to say, and I especially loved the way she approached me with an "overview" of the exhibit, when she was actually presenting her personal opinions about art, politics, feminism and spirituality. There's a lot of humour in that for me– the idea of offering some objective truth, when we're really sharing something about our completely subjective point of view. Titling the record with the same phrase gives it that same twist. 

Were you trying to answer a question for yourself when writing these songs?
I was definitely processing a crisis of sorts. I was travelling, and exploring uncharted territory in my personal life, trying to feel comfortable amidst chaos, and accessing a sense of balance in those brief moments just before everything inevitably shifted again. Spaces and conversations helped me develop an intuition for where to go next, and how to connect the dots in a cloud of unknowns. 

On Michaelangelo you sing that you’re “a three-legged dog, looking for what I lost.” Can you expand, please?
Michelangelo is a song about being in the limbo space between a difficult experience and any wisdom there is to gain from it.  
I'm looking at trauma, and wondering just how baked it is into my DNA. I'm exploring my relationship to past experiences, and asking how much control I have over falling into, or even perpetuating and calcifying, established roles. I'm simultaneously licking the wounds of a phantom limb and learning how to walk again.
When you watch a 3-legged; you see that everything in their physiology adjusts from imbalance to a new orientation– their gate changes, they learn to redistribute their weight, and they go on running, fetching, panting, living, and finding their balance.  It's so human, on the other hand, to complicate the healing process with aversion, and we're really good at getting in our own way by pushing against our experience.

On Hard Drive, there’s a range of different characters who appear - a driving instructor, a psychic at a party, a Californian book keeper: did you collect them as you journeyed for use later?
I was compulsively recording my experiences at the time, which I think this was more a way of processing the world around me, than it was intended for future use. 
The lyrics to this song came together like shuffling a deck of tarot cards, and reading connections between a specific set of characters. By stepping back and looking at them side by side, I was able to see some of the common threads in the conversations I had with people. 

Finally, we’ve all been through it these last few years. Optimistic or pessimistic for the medium term?
OPTIMISTIC! It's the only way. I lean heavily into an optimism that acknowledges how hard life is. Life is so vulnerable and somehow it persists, I'm in awe of that every day. 

Playlist Station

Hey DJ, play those songs

TK recommends…

Number One:
I made a Spotify playlist of my favourite twenty new songs of January and February 2021. At the time of writing I’ve failed to keep it down to just twenty but maybe by time we publish I’ll have managed that edit:

Number Two:
The great British DJ, producer, remixer, soothsayer and pack-leader Andrew Weatherall died on 17 February 2020. So, to mark that year’s passing, please enjoy this five and a half hour compilation of music from the five and a half years of Music’s  Not For Everyone shows he presented for NTS, compiled by Catherine Eccles (@LitSeeker):

Number Three:
We were gutted to learn that U-Roy, the king of toasting and soundsystems, died last week in Jamaica. Please bow down before his work with this fantastic playlist compiled by Andy Chislehurst (@Birmingham_81). 

If you have a playlist you’d like to share with the class or have stumbled upon something golden please do let us know by emailing and we’ll try to stick it on a forthcoming letter. Sharing is caring, as my children try to tell me.

Recommender Two

The music-based books, films or TV that is tickling our fancies this week, plus a chat with their maker.

This week, we speak to Chris Hillman, the acknowledged key architect of country-rock. His autobiography Time Between tells the story of Hillman’s journey from the Southern California folk circuit of the early 1960s to starting The Byrds with David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and Michael Clark and making harmonious jingle jangle history in the process. Later, he formed The Flying Burrito Brothers with the late, great Gram Parsons, laying the foundations of all country-rock in the process. We nervously sent him some questions to answer and he graciously replied:

How would you compare delivering your memoir with writing and recording an album? 
Two distinctly different styles of writing. Both methods require a flow of lyric be it musical rhyme or scripted story. The book, having taken some time to complete, has given me a whole new appreciation for the process. The response to has been overwhelming and that was beyond my greatest expectation.

What made you want to order and inspect your life on the page?
Initially I planned on writing a memoir to leave to my children and grandchildren, and thankfully I managed to remember so many parts of the journey. Reliving your life on page is not only cathartic, but also highly stimulating when re-examining every turn, every juncture. I really enjoyed writing the first draft and the fine tuning before turning in the final manuscript.

There’s real dignity in the story you tell. Nobody gets dug out, even though you worked closely with some notorious rascals. Where did your self-control come from? I didn’t feel there was any relevance in denigrating anyone I had worked with. It would serve no purpose to portray any of my bandmates and friends in an unkind way.  Rather, I thought it best to emphasize their talents and my continued friendship with those who are still with us. My self-control came from dealing with many difficulties in my early days, and the upbringing of my parents.

You’ve been involved in the creation of some of music’s touchstone moments, most notably with The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers. What do you consider your single greatest musical achievement?
I’m still searching for that ‘greatest musical achievement’; but my first Top Ten single on the Billboard Country Singles chart was Love Reunited, which reached Number 3. That was a great moment. It made me happy and fulfilled.

John Lennon famously asked if you spoke when he met The Byrds. Were you happy to hide in plain sight in all your bands?
I was very shy in my first years with The Byrds. I did not hide in plain sight. My stage presence was something that was inherent within the Bluegrass groups that I had played in prior to joining The Byrds. With The Flying Burrito Brothers, the band became successful on the road and in the studio, as I took on a complete leadership role after Gram’s departure.  Many of the other groups were ensembles, with all members equally involved. The goal eventually came with The Desert Rose Band, where I was writing the songs and singing the lead vocals and it was not only successful artistically, but also with its acceptance by the Country Music community.

What do the days hold for you currently?
I await the end to the worldwide chaos. But I have my strong, loving and wonderful family, surrounding me. More books and recording in my future? Yes!

Please recommend an album to blow our mind.
Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys.  It is a masterpiece, he weaves a vivid, moving picture of the South, through wonderfully musically driven stories.

And finally…

The best piece of advice Alex Turner ever received:

“Surround yourself with people who really make you laugh.”

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