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Author Jeff Slate

Larry “Ratso” Sloman has been a fixture on the New York City music scene since the 1970s. Along the way he was befriended by Bob Dylan, The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn, Nick Cave and many others. He was given his moniker “Ratso” by Joan Baez herself, chronicled Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour — which has been immortalized in a Martin Scorsese-directed film and 14-disc box set (and vinyl reissue package) — in his must-read, instant classic book On The Road with Bob Dylan. And, of course, he collaborated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis on his amazing memoir, and…

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This month, famed auction house Christie’s will auction more than 120 of rock and roll legend David Gilmour’s guitars. The David Gilmour Guitar Collection represents a remarkable, hand-picked group of instruments from the Pink Floyd guitarist’s personal guitar collection, including his infamous Fender Stratocaster -– dubbed the “Black Strat” –- as well as Fender Broadcasters, Esquires and Telecasters, the Martin 12-string he played on “Wish You Were Here,” Gilmour’s 1963 Gibson J-180 “Everly Brothers” acoustic, and a 1973 Rickenbacker 360-12 12-string electric guitar, among many others. The June 20th auction marks a rare opportunity for Pink Floyd fans, guitar aficionados, musicians…

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Stewart Copeland is always game for an intellectually-stimulating conversation. He’s proved it time and time again over the years, and roughly a year after he was featured on these pages as a Rock Cellar TV interview subject (conducted at his beautiful home studio in Southern California), Jeff Slate caught up with him about some exciting new releases in his world …  Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police, is one of those larger than life rock and roll personalities who lives up to his reputation. Known as whip smart, opinionated, and, of course, one of the most distinctive drummers to…

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Whether you know it or not, you hear Curtis Mayfield’s influence every day. Sure, his grooves have been endlessly sampled, but the gorgeous soul music he created, especially after he split with the Impressions, the groundbreaking group, whose unique blend of gospel and soul made him famous, have inspired countless artists, from Paul Weller and Johnny Marr to Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar. “I discovered Curtis Mayfield in the 1970s, and his music really opened my mind as to what was possible, rhythmically and stylistically,” Paul Weller, who has covered the legend several times over the years, most notably in…

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Along with Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann was the heartbeat of the Grateful Dead for more than thirty years. After more ups and downs than any band should have to endure, it all came to a crashing halt when Jerry Garcia, the band’s guitarist, heart and soul, and titular leader, died in 1995. But far from retreating or retiring, Kreutzman is as busy as ever. His recent book, Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams and Drugs with the Grateful Dead, recounts the history of the most famous jam bandv in the world, as well as the many adventures and career…

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“I love this place and it means a lot to me, because when I was young, before I wanted to be a lumberjack, I really, really wanted to be an explorer,” Monty Python’s Michael Palin tells me, as we sit in an office at New York City’s venerable Explorer’s Club. “It was very frustrating living in the north of England and wanting to be an explorer, partly because I couldn’t grow up fast enough. Places were being explored, and the unknown places were shrinking away. We had climbed Everest, but I had only been as far as Nottingham. It was…

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“Prince had this conversation with Mo Ostin, the head of Warner Brothers Records, on the phone,” Michael Bland, who was a member of Prince’s New Power Generation, and who has played with Soul Asylum for more than 15 years, recalls of his time working with the legend in the 1990s. “They were talking about some business, and Mo brought up the album that was due. Prince told him that he hadn’t even begun work on it, and that it was just a concept. My understanding is that Mo’s response was, ‘Well, whatever, it’s ours anyway.’ Prince got off the phone…

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Today, April 1, 2019, is the 35th anniversary of the day legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye passed away, and the eve of what would have been his 80th birthday. To honor his memory, here’s Jeff Slate’s feature with Gaye’s biographer, David Ritz, on the singer’s previously ‘lost’ album You’re the Man, which was released on March 29. In 1972, Marvin Gaye was on top of the world. The singles “What’s Going On” — the title track from the universally acclaimed album — plus “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler”),” also from What’s Going…

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“Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were a big part of how we all learned how to do this thing in the first place,” Dawes’ singer and guitarist Taylor Goldsmith tells me when our conversation turns to the legendary rocker, and his band. “Benmont Tench, especially, has become a friend, but he was such an inspiration, too.” Dawes burst onto the scene from a Los Angeles suburb in 2009, and, after a brief foray into punk, quickly carved out a niche in the burgeoning Americana circuit. Inspired by the music made by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, and so…

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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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