Author Steve Rosen

The time is only a few minutes past 10:00 a.m in the morning and Travis Barker has already been beating on something for the better part of an hour. All around him, the unique choreography of a video shoot is revealed: camera operators and technical crew scrambling about in search of the perfect angle; wardrobe and makeup people finessing one final spike of Mohawk; and go-fers, posers and hangers-on desperately trying to position themselves in postures of self-deluded importance. Drum crew and lighting techs are illuminating his green acrylic Orange County Drum & Percussion kit to glow like radiated frog…

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For his latest Behind the Curtain entry, rock and roll writer Steve Rosen recounts a memorable afternoon with one of his heroes — Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.  I was just a little rockhead, not yet a teenager but I was mesmerized, transfixed and had mad love for the Beach Boys. It was somewhere around 1965 and every time I turned on my little transistor radio “California Girls” or Help Me, Rhonda” was playing and I’d be sent into audio ecstasy. I turned on that radio a lot, a green Sony TR-63 [I think that’s what it was] with…

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Most Behind the Curtain columns feature Steve Rosen detailing his eye-popping encounters with rock and roll icons — but this piece, about his decades-long pursuit of Eric Clapton, is different. Once upon a time long ago in a land of guitar wizards and six-string warriors … Forgive the mixed literary metaphors, but that seems as accurate a way as anything else I might write to kick off this story. Because this is a tale of fiction. Rather, it’s a true story about something that didn’t happen. A non-fictionalized fairy tale.  A fable of an almost was. The one that got…

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For this month’s Behind the Curtain, Steve Rosen recalls various encounters with Joe Perry and Aerosmith at disparate points in the band’s career — first as a fledgling guitar god, and then an actual guitar god.  Joe Perry is sitting across the table from me with the biggest pile of cocaine I have ever seen in my life. I mean, I’d seen coke in the little vials people used to carry around and I saw an 8-ball once, which was an 1/8th of an ounce, or approximately three to three-and-a-half grams [lest you think I am some sort of drug-sniffing…

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There was a movie released in the summer of 2019 titled Yesterday, depicting a world in which the Beatles never existed.  Pretty difficult to ponder, right? Well, try and picture a world — or more poignantly, hear a world — without the Marshall amp. I’m not suggesting that the absence of Marshalls would have anywhere near the staggering impact of a Beatles-less planet. Without the Beatles, we might still be trying to figure out how many strings to put on a guitar. Not really, but maybe. However, I am suggesting that without the Marshall amplifier, rock music as we hear…

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STEPHEN STILLS: BEHIND THE CURTAIN  I do my food shopping at a market called Ralphs. Located at the corner of Ventura Blvd. and Coldwater Canyon, the location makes it a favorite haunt for a lot of rock and roll cats who live in the area. On any given day you can see Eddie Van Halen strolling up and down the aisles [he used to shop there but not so much now]. Paul McCartney was seen checking out the perishables a couple times, though he doesn’t live around there. A while ago, I was cruising up the aisle when I saw…

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December 2019 brought with it exciting news for fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as longtime guitarist John Frusciante rejoined the mix, resuming the duties that Josh Klinghoffer served since 2009. Five years before leaving the Chili Peppers in 2009, Frusciante granted rock journalist Steve Rosen an in-depth interview about a number of topics in and out of the realm of the Chili Peppers, including his 2004 solo record Shadows Collide with People (which featured musical colleague Josh Klinghoffer), Enjoy the archival and previously unpublished interview below in audio format, followed by the full transcript. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSTBOT1nZLs ———————————– John Frusciante,…

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In August 1978, I interviewed Gene Simmons for what would become a January 1979 cover story in Guitar Player Magazine. Ace Frehley — whom I also interviewed — snagged the main cover story, while Gene and Paul Stanley were relegated to a diagonal yellow banner across the right bottom portion of the cover. Disclaimer: I need to say this upfront so you, the person reading these words, understands the intent and emotional thrust of this story. I have never liked KISS. No, that’s not entirely true: I hated KISS and always have. In my mind, they were no more than…

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In this latest Behind the Curtain entry, Steve Rosen recounts an unexpectedly serious chat with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, then of the Doobie Brothers, all about survival.  Imagine the world is ending. Well, maybe not the end of the world but some very nasty stuff is happening. You can choose your own scenario about how it happens: Scenario One A giant meteor crashes through the earth’s atmosphere, causing all the planet’s oceans to overflow. Tidal waves 150 feet high wash over cities and turn the planet into one big swimming pool. Surfers the world over rejoice. Scenario Two A huge earthquake…

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Rival Sons made a one-off stop at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles recently to perform a stripped-down, acoustic set before an intimate though rabid crowd of fans. The band — singer-guitarist Jay Buchanan, guitarist Scott Holiday, bassist Dave Beste, drummer Mike Miley and keyboardist Todd Ögren — participated in a Q&A session with Executive Director Scott Goldman before jumping into an abbreviated four-song set. The performance included three songs from their most recent album,  Feral Roots: “Too Bad,” “Do Your Worst” and “Shooting Stars,” as well as “Where I’ve Been” from the Great Western Valkyrie record. Buchanan strummed on…

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