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Author Jeff Slate

Public Enemy’s Chuck D is on a mission. As one of the godfathers of modern hip hop, he’s has taken on the mantle of elder statesman of the genre, in an effort to ensure that it’s now 40-plus year history is held in the same esteem as that of rock and roll, country, jazz and the blues. “Rap is a truly American art form that’s been around now for almost half a century, but it’s not taken all that seriously,” he tells Rock Cellar. “I think that needs to change, and I’m going to do what I can to make…

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Drummer Denny Seiwell discusses his time with Paul McCartney and Wings, his friendship with McCartney over the years and much more …  When The Beatles imploded, Paul McCartney, by all accounts, was shattered. Without a band, or the friends that had traveled that remarkable road together with him, he retreated with his new wife Linda to his Scottish farm, with its barebones living quarters, and, depressed, he drank himself into a stupor. “I think I was just trying to escape in my own mind,” McCartney said in 2012. “I had the freedom to just have a drink whenever I fancied…

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Reggie Griffith, Prince’s sometime front of house sound engineer, recalls vividly what it took to work with the icon, though he hardly complains about the herculean hours required. “I loved it, because he was great,” he says. “He was extremely hardworking. I think he slept two hours a day! He gave everyone around him that same work ethic. Once you started to work, you worked till you were done. Sound checks were rehearsals. Everything that wasn’t the show was a rehearsal. You want to know how to get good? Rehearse! His dedication to his craft was astonishing.” In 2004, Prince…

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Bob Marley would have turned 74 years old on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. To celebrate Marley’s influence, enjoy a chat with Don Letts …  Don Letts is a Grammy-winning filmmaker, world renowned DJ, and was the yin to Mick Jones’ yang in Jones’ ahead-of-its-time post-Clash outfit Big Audio Dynamite. But back in the wild days of the early era of punk in London, when he was simply trying to make ends meet between gigs spinning white label reggae records to the punk cognoscenti, Letts was also Bob Marley’s weed dealer. “I’d go by his house on a pretty regular basis,”…

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Chris Stein photo (Shepard Fairey) Chris Stein cut his teeth 40 years ago as a co-founder and guitarist for the band Blondie, and via his songwriting partnership with Debbie Harry, eventually creating classics like “Heart Of Glass” and “Rapture.” The band, like the partnership, has endured personal and professional ups and downs of the last four decades, and, by all accounts, is as strong as it’s ever been. Through it all, Stein says he always managed to have a camera at hand. For any fan of the band, or of the late-70s CBGBs/punk/New Wave era that hit New York City,…

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It’s hard to believe that Jimi Hendrix has gone from this world for nearly 50 years, given the remarkable string of releases — especially in recent years — drawn from the Hendrix vault since his passing. But his star burned so brightly, and his talent was so unique, that each release from Experience Hendrix — the family-run company set up by the late guitarist’s father in 1995 to oversee such matters — has only added to his legend. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Jimi Hendrix Experience masterpiece Electric Ladyland, a deluxe edition box set is out…

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Bob Dylan’s 1975 album Blood On The Tracks was a game-changing album upon its release. At the time, Dylan was long past his mid-60s heyday, and although his recent albums had hit Number 1 on the albums charts, and his 1974 reunion tour with The Band had broken sales and attendance records around the U.S., a slew of new artists appeared to have taken his place in the hearts of a generation of music fans, who already thought of Dylan as the granddaddy of the singer-songwriter genre, one he had invented and jettisoned in short order before many of them…

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Mike D. and Ad-Rock are just the same as when I first met them in the mid-80s. When I catch up with them at their Bowery hotel to discuss their fantastic new Beastie Boys Book — part oral history, part cookbook, part graphic novel, and so much more — they’re still loud, brash, funny and fully of life. But they’ve also logged a lot of miles in the intervening years, with epic highs and crushing lows, not least of which was the loss of the heart and soul of the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch, to cancer in 2012. All of…

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Every year like clockwork, since 2015, there’s been a deep dive box set, highlighting each period of David Bowie’s remarkable career. Rightly so, Five Years: 1969-1973, Who Can I Be Now?: 1974-1976 and A New Career In A New Town: 1977-1982 topped year-end critics lists. But the highlights of each were the hidden gems. The lost soul album The Gouster, and Tony Visconti’s magical remix of 1979’s Lodger were everything fans had hoped they’d be, and made the box sets worth every penny. This year’s box, Loving The Alien: 1983-1988, delves into the period when Bowie became an international pop…

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“We never once thought about what audience we were making this for,” Sebastian Krys, the co-producer of Elvis Costello’s new album, Look Now, told me as we lingered in the aftermath of a listening event held by Concord Records at the fabled Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village. “We just wanted to make the best album we could make — with real scope to it — in the hopes that it would find an audience, and maybe even inspire younger musicians who might stumble on it via some playlist one day down the road.” While Krys’ statement speaks volumes about…

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