Author Steve Rosen

Steve Rosen checks in with another entry in Behind the Curtain… Down through the years, the term “mad genius” has been given to those rare human beings who straddled the line between eccentric and brilliant. Leonardo DaVinci only slept two hours a day and was dyslexic. Thomas Edison—the American who invented the phonograph and the lightbulb—was a slob. Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu—the modern day inventor who patented the floppy disk in 1952—did much of his thinking in a bathroom tiled in 24-karat gold tiles as well as deep underwater where he would remain submerged to the point of drowning. Steve Jobs…

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When you think of the iconic guitar players who rocked a Les Paul and Marshall to create tones that fans still talk about to this day, certain names always come up. If you know your music history, you certainly zoom right back to Eric Clapton and the landmark Bluesbreakers recording with John Mayall. At that time, Clapton famously combined a sunburst 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard with two PAF humbucking pickups with 45-watt model 1962 Marshall 2×12 combo (JTM 45). The guitarist cranked the amp while recording, which resulted in the engineer complaining several times that it was too loud.…

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(Photo by: Glen LaFerman www.glenlaferman.com) Interviewing Ray Charles back in 1983 was like interviewing a man who had conquered the world and done it all. Ray was like an explorer seeking out new lands or a great warrior defeating his enemies in battles that were stacked against him. He was afraid of nothing, and though he experienced more than his share of defeats and losses, he never turned his ship around to head back to home shores or retreated in the face of an overwhelming enemy. Charles had seen and done it all by the time I met on him…

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Every day now for two weeks, I heard the song rise from what must have been a pair of seriously-powered speakers the size of refrigerators. Floating out over the hills of Hollywood like sweetly-scented sonic spores, the music had to be screaming from those distant monitors because the riff of Billy Gibbons’ guitar scuttled the birds in the trees and the vocals came down the canyon walls like the voice of God himself. If the Lord spoke with a southern twang, sported a beard that tickled his belly button and played the meanest blues guitar in the world. Precisely at…

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I have always been awed, mesmerized and fascinated by the people who make music. Their ability to touch fans and to bring joy and sadness, communicate emotions and thoughts and to even change the very course of human history makes them the most powerful creative force on the planet. As profoundly important as painters, sculptors, builders, and architects have been, no creative entity has ever wielded more lasting impact than the musician; the guitar player; the songwriter. And as much as I love writers—John Steinbeck was the greatest who ever lived and used words like nobody else ever did—I think…

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For his latest Behind the Curtain, writer Steve Rosen recounts a memorable experience with guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore… In December 1974, I flew to St. Paul, Minnesota to meet Ritchie Blackmore for the first time. Creem Magazine wanted me to go out to the Twin Cities to interview Deep Purple’s brooding cat in the black hat. There had been a renewed interest in Purple after they made a killer appearance at the California Jam concert seven months earlier. I had been there on April 7, 1974 when the band stunned a crowd of 200,000 Ontario Motor Speedway fans by turning in…

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For this month’s Behind the Curtain installment, Steve Rosen recounts a special kinship with late guitar icon Rory Gallagher. Photo by: Glen LaFerman www.glenlaferman.com Rory Gallagher was a reluctant hero, a soft-spoken Irishman offstage who was nothing like the bigger-than-life persona his fans saw onstage. When you watched the diminutive musician from Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland up there on the stage jumping around and ripping through the meanest blues licks anyone has ever played, you’d never imagine Rory had another, much quieter side. But he did and I saw that softer side on several occasions. I first met and interviewed William…

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In this month’s Behind the Curtain, Steve Rosen details his encounters with AC/DC members Angus Young and Bon Scott at a jam-packed Day on the Green in 1978… It is July 23, 1978 and promoter Bill Graham is presenting another installment of Day On the Green, the recurring concert series he has held at the Oakland Coliseum since 1973. These are multi-act shows but differ from the concerts he’s staged at places like San Francisco’s Fillmore West and Winterland Arena. In those mid- and late-1960s gatherings, he would mix and match musical styles so you’d hear the MC5 kicking out…

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For this month’s Behind the Curtain, Steve Rosen details the trials and tribulations of interviewing one of rock’s most unique personalities… Robert Fripp conjured music with King Crimson that was strange, haunting and disturbing—not unlike the man himself. A Crimson song was unsettling—so was Fripp. A King Crimson album was dark—the stuff nightmares were made of—and Fripp was the boogeyman inside that bad dream. His staccato guitar lines bit at your flesh like some unseen thing as the mournful Mellotrons washed over you in a way that was suffocating. For all the world, it felt like you couldn’t catch your breath…

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Though the moment is just a barely discernible blip on my memory radar, I can still faintly remember seeing Stevie Wonder when he was still Little Stevie Wonder. He was appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and I think I wanted to see what he looked like. In fact, I was more interested in looking at him than listening to him. I was only 11-years old and I couldn’t understand how somebody who was blind could make music. I thought if you couldn’t see that somehow you couldn’t hear or do anything else. I felt so sorry for him. I…

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