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Chuck Leavell Talks About His Documentary, Career, & Stones Tour

Posted October 2021

CL Trees cropped001Long time Boomerocity followers already know that I am a huge Rolling Stones fan. I have been following them since I was a teenager and was turned on to him as a pre-teen by a couple of my cousins. So, to say that I'm a fan would be an understatement.

And as you also already know, I've had the privilege of interviewing three or four of the people behind the scenes (Lisa Fischer (here), the late Bobby Keys (here), Bernard Fowler (here, here, and here), and Chuck Leavell (here and here). The previous interviews with Chuck were done by email. But this time, I had the privilege of being able to link up with Chuck via Zoom and what is especially flattering to me about this is he did this while on the road with the Stones as they're on their current tour. In fact, we linked up while he was in Pittsburgh and me here in East Tennessee.

In this interview, we talk about the documentary on him, “Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man”. If you're not very familiar with Chuck, you may be wondering why “tree man.” Well, he's a world-renowned conservationist, especially in the area of forestry, tree conservation and harvesting as well as salvaging trees. It is something he learned as a result of his lovely wife, Rose TreeManCoverClick Above To Rent This FilmLane, inheriting her family’s plantation in Georgia. Just like his incredible expertise in music, Chuck is quite the expert on most things “trees.”

The documentary (which I really encourage you to watch. I've watched it three times and ordered my own copy of it!) talks about his conservation work; about him and his relationship with the love of his life: his lovely wife, Rose Lane; as well as, obviously, the music that he's been involved with his entire adult and pre-adult career. So, yes, the documentary is fascinating and a must-watch.

This interview (below) is equally as fascinating. We had a good, long talk (around 45 minutes), and you're going to pretty much see it all from beginning to end. So please give it a very close watch. Let me know what you think. You can also keep up with Chuck at his website (here) as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Watch it. Share it.

The Boomerocity 2021 Interview With Chuck Leavell

Bob Heimall Talks About Covering The Soundtrack Of Our Youth

Posted October 2021

 

Heimall Bob by Edward Lea of Atlantic City PressPhoto by Edward Lea of Atlantic City PressWhat do these albums all have in common?

The Doors’ 13                             Carly Simon’s No Secrets
Barry Manilow Live                   John & Yoko’s Milk & Honey
The Stooges’ Debut LP              Jim Croce’s I’ve Got A Name
Bread’s Manna                           Harry Chapin’s Heads & Tales
The Kinks’ Sleepwalker            Patti Smith’s Horses
Ted Nugent’s State of Shock     Kool and the Gang’s Celebrate!

Those albums and many, many others were all designed and created by Bob Heimall and he has written an amazing book called, “Cover Stories: Tales of Rock Legends CoverStoriesCoverand The Albums That Made Them Famous”. It's a story behind the aforementioned iconic album covers that we know that we grew up with and many more.

That’s the glitzy stuff.

In it, Bob also shares his tough stories of tough personal times and where that ultimately led him. The results were life-changing and instructive to anyone who needs encouragement while going through tough times.

In the interview, below, we talk about all of that and more. Please watch this interview. Then, buy a couple (or more) copies for yourself and the music lovers on your gift list. You can do so - AND have it autographed with your order - by e-mailing Bob directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Tell them that you heard about him here.

The Boomerocity With Bob Heimall

Steve Hackett and His Surrender of Silence

Posted September 2021

Steve HackettI have been waiting a long time to have this interview with Steve Hackett. For those of you who don't know who Steve Hackett is, he joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band's classic lineup that included Peter Gabriel, Tony banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. His guitar work just put a whole different sound to Genesis. After he left the band in 1977, he went on to do his own solo work, and to his credit, he's come out with 30 albums and his latest one is what we got together to talk about: ‘Surrender of Silence’, which is an amazing album. It’s a very ‘deep’ album as the video on this page will certainly show.

I had a lot of fun talking with Steve since it was my first time I didn't know what to expect. We laughed, we cut up, and we had some serious conversation about a lot of things such as world events - especially the pandemic, but mostly about the album. Below the interview screen (below) is the press release for “Surrender of Silence”. You can also order the album by click on the album cover image.

I think you're really going love this interview. Please share it with your other rock music buddies, especially those who have loved Genesis from the beginning, but also if they happen to be Steve Hackett.

The Boomerocity Interview With Steve Hackett

 

Press Release for ‘Surrender of Silence’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SurrenderofSilencecoverClick Above To Order Your CopySteve Hackett launches ‘Fox's Tango’; second single from ‘Surrender of Silence’

Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett has released his new studio rock album ‘Surrender of Silence’, working hard through the lockdown and, for the first time, has completed two studio albums for release within the same year!

Steve comments: “A protest song at life’s inequalities - in other words, the poor versus the rich. With current conflicts, if we can’t learn to share the land, we’ll find ourselves sharing the graveyards. A song for an unbalanced world. Fox’s Tango has my playing at its angriest. I really let rip here!”

Hot on the heels of his classical-acoustic travelogue, ‘Under A Mediterranean Sky’, which was released in January and hit Number 2 in the UK Classical Album Chart, ‘Surrender of Silence’ is a further exploration of Hackett’s love of world music, discovering different sounds, moods and textures to deliver a rock album of extraordinary variety, power and beauty.

As with ‘Under A Mediterranean Sky’, ‘Surrender of Silence’ was also recorded during the lockdown and, again, Hackett has called upon some of his musical friends from across the world to contribute. Hackett’s regular touring band of Roger King (keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements), Rob Townsend (sax, clarinet), Jonas Reingold (bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals) and Craig Blundell (drums) are supplemented by Phil Ehart and Nick D’Virgilio (drums), the vocal talents of Amanda Lehmann, Durga and Lorelei McBroom, Christine Townsend (violin, viola), Malik Mansurov (tar) and Sodirkhon Ubaidulloev (dutar).

This new album is full-on electric…

“Lockdown cobwebs are blown away in one fell-swoop here!” says Steve Hackett. “With the monster rhythm section of Jonas, Craig, Nick and Phil along with Rob’s soaring sax and bass clarinet, Nad, Amanda and myself on vocals, Roger’s darkly powerful organ and my guitar, we plunge full-pelt into that wild release of energy.”

Our journey takes us from the classical orchestrations of Russia (Natalia) to the plains of Africa (Wingbeats) to mysterious Eastern shores (Shanghai To Samarkand), all via the ocean’s depths (Relaxation Music for Sharks (featuring feeding frenzy)). The Devil’s Cathedral pools the talents of Hackett’s entire touring band and features King’s atmospheric Gothic organ and a powerhouse rhythm display from Blundell and Reingold.

Hackett’s vocals have never been bettered and his duet with Amanda Lehmann adds emotion to Scorched Earth a lament for the environmental horrors facing our planet. Throughout Hackett’s guitars add a rich tapestry of colour with soaring solos and intricate weaving melodies.

“It’s a ‘no holds barred’ album,” adds Hackett, “riding that wave, unleashing those demons, dreams and nightmares, all crashing together over the shore.

“I enjoyed the power of this album allowing my guitar to scream in joy and rage… and once again flying across those oceans to distant lands. It’s terrific to connect creatively with musicians from far flung places, particularly when we’ve all been unable to meet. We all have a voice in our cacophony of sound and we cry out together in the Surrender of Silence!”

Steve Hackett “Surrender of Silence” track listing:

  1. The Obliterati (02:17)
  2. Natalia (06:17)
  3. Relaxation Music For Sharks (Featuring Feeding Frenzy) (04:36)
  4. Wingbeats (05:20)
  5. The Devil's Cathedral (06:31)
  6. Held In The Shadows (06:20)
  7. Shanghai To Samarkand (08:27)
  8. Fox's Tango (04:21)
  9. Day Of The Dead (06:25)
  10. Scorched Earth (06:03)
  11. Esperanza (01:04)

Steve Hackett shares writing credits with both Jo Hackett and Roger King on several tracks. All tracks were recorded by Roger King and produced by Steve Hackett with Roger King at Siren.

About Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Hackett’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the classic Selling England By The Pound.

After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Hackett’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Hackett is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognized in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR.

Hackett’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his later studio works The Night Siren (2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Hackett has explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Hackett celebrate his time with Genesis including a spectacular 2018 tour in which he realized a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra.

The lockdown enforced by the 2020 global pandemic has proven to be a particularly creative period for Hackett. He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of 2019’s hugely successful tour celebrating that Genesis classic together with the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums. Lockdown also gave Hackett the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums, the UK Classical Chart hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and the forthcoming Surrender of Silence.

STEVE HACKETT Online:
www.hackettsongs.com 
www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Hackett/123101228589
www.twitter.com/HackettOfficial
http://hackettsongs.com/tour.html

INSIDEOUTMUSIC Online:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic 
www.twitter.com/insideouteu

Jeffrey Morgan - The Creem of the Crop of Confidential Rock Critics

Posted October 2021

Rock Critic ConfidentialClick Above To Order Your CopyAs a teen in the seventies, I didn’t get to buy a lot of rock magazines because I had to work if I wanted spending money and, for what little money I could make back then ($2.00 per hour!), I had to be very selective on what I would spend it on. If I didn’t spend my hard-earned dollars on an album (which was a special treat for me), then I would buy clothes or reading material of some sort. Often, they were in the form of music-oriented magazines. My go-to rock magazines were Creem, Circus, and (sometimes) Rolling Stone.

Honestly, what would often dictate which magazine I would select to buy was what/who was on its cover. If one of my favorite artists happened to be on its cover, then it warranted a closer look to see if I should buy it. Otherwise, something else would have to command my attention to compel me to look at it and buy it.

More times than not, the “Boy Howdy” character on the Creem magazines commanded my attention. I suppose it was because it had some similarities (in my feeble mind, at least) to the keep on truckin’ characters I saw on t-shirts and posters at the time. I loved the weirdness of it all.

Fast-forward to today.
I connected with former Creem journalist, Jeffrey Morgan, via social media. I followed his posts regularly and loved (and still love) the memories of his career that he shares from time to time.

When he announced that he came out with a book, “Rock Critic Confidential”, a) I knew I had to get the book; and b) I knew that I had to interview him.

I accomplished both.

The interview on this page is the audio with Jeffrey set to a slide show of watermarked photos from his career. Jeffrey shared all sorts of incredible stories. Talk at length about his work and some of the people we both have had the privilege of chatting with.

This interview is an incredible glimpse into the world of rock and roll journalism from back when it was much harder to accomplish than it is today. Articles were written on typewriters. Photography had to be developed and you didn’t know what you had until it was. Access to artists was tough in different ways that it is today.

It just was different back then.

So, please give this interview a close listen. Share it with your friends. Buy Jeffrey’s book, “Rock Critic Confidential”. In fact, buy several as gifts for this Christmas. You can do so by clicking on the image of it on this page. Also, please visit Jeffrey’s website, JeffreyMorgan.info, to check out some of the images he has for sale as well as some of his other work.

The Boomerocity Interview With Jeffrey Morgan

Joe Grushecky Talks American Babylon and Springsteen

Posted September 2021

 

01 JG BS 08292021 6 croppedBoomerocity gets to interview a lot of great people. And as we keep saying that those interviews really are just autographs I get in the form of interviews. Boomerocity is just a way of showing off that autograph. it's all about those artists. It's all about their music and it’s always flattering when these people chat with us more than once.

But another thing I really love to do is to find those great little secrets, musically speaking – something or someone who is below the radar - maybe somebody regional, maybe somebody just in a town - who is phenomenal. When I get to share that talent with the world - and we do have a global following - I feel really honored to be able to do that.

So, in this case, this is one of those closely guarded secrets, regionally speaking. I'm talking about Joe Gruschecky and the Houserockers who have been around a long time. Joe's is in the Pennsylvania area. I'm down here in East Tennessee. You all are all over the world. But let me tell you something. If you like Bruce Springsteen, you're going to love absolutely love Joe Grushecky.

Oh, and speaking of Bruce, you're going to love the album that Joe's got coming out: American Babylon because Bruce is on there. It just so happens that Joe and Bruce are very good friends. And Bruce has performed with Joe a lot. Joe and his band have backed up Bruce a bunch of times. Joe is a talent well worth paying attention to - not only paying attention to but get the entire collection of Joe and his band's work. I guarantee you: if you're a Springsteen fan; if you're a Tom Petty fan; if you love good ol’ working-class, blue-collar rock and roll, you're going to absolutely love Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers.

The interview below is just Joe and I talking about his band, his history, and the re-release of his album, American Babylon. We had a lot of fun talking. Joe’s a great guy; humble, but confident; highly talented. After you’ve watched the interview, check out Joe’s website, Facebook page, Twitter page, and YouTube channel. Load up on his music by purchasing it from his online store or from Amazon by clicking here. Below the interview is the press release that also includes the track listing.

The Boomerocity Interview with Joe Grushecky

 

JOE GRUSHECKY AND THE HOUSEROCKERS AMERICAN BABYLON EXPANDED 25thANNIVERSARY EDITION OUT THIS FALL FROM CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL RECORDS
ORIGINAL BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-PRODUCED STUDIO ALBUM AUGMENTED WITH BONUS DEMO TRACKS PLUS FULL-LENGTH LIVE RECORDING


American Babylon CoverClick Above To Order Your Copy

BruceandJoeBruce Springsteen and Joe GrusheckyThis fall will see Cleveland International Records start to issue a slate of archive album releases that underscore the iconoclastic label’s rich and eclectic heritage. A very special expanded 25th Anniversary edition of Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers’ American Babylon is set for digital and streaming release on October 29 with a vinyl LP set to follow early in 2022. Long a fixture on the Pittsburgh music scene, originally fronting the Iron City Houserockers, Grushecky is the son of a coal miner whose “day job” is in special education. He has become a legend among heartland rockers. His loyal following is testimony to his down-to-earth approach and honesty as a songwriter, bandleader and performer since the 1970s.

American Babylon, first issued in 1995, was produced by Bruce Springsteen whose friendship with Grushecky predates the album’s sessions and has endured in the intervening decades. The new American Babylon2 CD set offers 27 tracks including the album’s original 12 selections among which are “Chain Smokin’,” “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “What Did You Do In The War” as well as “Homestead” and “Dark and Bloody Ground,” the latter two co-written with Springsteen. Original demo recordings of “Chain Smokin’,” "Never Be Enough Time” and “Only Lovers Left Alive, never previously released, round out the first disc. A 13-track companion disc documents live performances recorded at Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh during the Houserockers’ legendary “October Assault” tour that launched the album that month in 1995. Joe and the band performed not only in Grushecky’s hometown but also in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Asbury Park as well. Springsteen is heard on eight of the album’s tracks and his voice is heard on “Light of Day,” his own song, as well as on the Chuck Berry version of “Down The Road Apiece,” the album’s closer. One track featured on the live disc that is not part of the American Babylon tune stack is “Pumping Iron,” a fan favorite from The Iron City Houserockers’ 1980 Have A Good Time But Get Out Alive album.

On the topic of collaborative songwriting, Grushecky commented to Rolling Stone, “It’s a great thing for me to write with a talent like Bruce who is obviously one of the greats. I think that in a quiet way it sort of says something about my writing ability.” Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene chronicled the relationship between Joe and American Babylon’s recently: "As the leader of the Pittsburgh-based Iron City Houserockers, Joe Grushecky hammered out four heartland rock albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These won over more critics than fans, so he became a special education teacher to support his family. Still, he maintained a close friendship with Bruce Springsteen, and in 1995, they teamed up for American Babylon. The two remain tight and play together at least once a year, but this album remains their greatest joint accomplishment.”

The collaboration was not pre-planned and came about quite organically. Joe recalled, “I was thinking about making a new record and had a couple songs written. My wife suggested ‘Why don’t you ask Bruce to play?’ I hemmed and hawed for a while and finally we got in touch. It sort of just took on a life of its own. It was fun working with Bruce; he added little twists and turns that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own which made the record a lot of fun to do musically. Once we got together, it just seemed like we were real sure of what we were doing. There wasn’t a lot of second guessing and pulling your hair thinking, ‘Is this good?” We just sort of went in and did it in a very relaxed atmosphere, so it was fun.”

The 25thanniversary edition of American Babylon was preceded by the August 27 release of the live version of “American Babylon” (title song) as well as the demo for “Only Lovers Left Alive.”

Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers American Babylon 25thAnniversary Edition track list

Disc 1

Dark and Bloody Ground
Chain Smokin’
Never Be Enough Time
American Babylon
Labor Of Love
What Did You Do In the War
Homestead
Comin’ Down Maria
Talk Show
No Strings Attached
Billy’s Waltz
Only Lovers Left Alive

Bonus Tracks

Chain Smokin’ / demo
Never Be Enough Time / demo
Only Lovers Left Alive / demo

Disc 2 (Recorded Live at Nick’s Fat City, Pittsburgh, PA October 1995)

No Strings Attached
Only Lovers Left Alive
Bruce Springsteen Intro
What Did You Do In The War *
Chain Smokin’ *
Labor Of Love *
Never Enough *
Dark and Bloody Ground *
Pumping Iron *
Homestead *
American Babylon *
Light of Day feat. Bruce Springsteen
Down The Road Apiece feat. Bruce Springsteen

Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers with Bruce Springsteen