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Interview with Grateful Dead Drummer Mickey Hart

Tuesday, September 11: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Mickey Hart shares the story of how he joined the Grateful Dead

In 2012, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart sat for an interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was on hand to perform and help open the Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip exhibit. In this clip, Hart shares the story of when he first saw the Grateful Dead perform, before he was a member, and how an invitation from founding drummer Bill Kreutzmann to come by a practice session eventually led to Hart's first live performance with the band at the Straight Theater in San Francisco. "I had never heard their music," says Hart. "And then we started playing and hours later it stopped ...  And Jerry [Garcia] said, 'We could take this around the world. This is the Grateful Dead.'"


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Interview with Bill Pinkney of the Drifters

Friday, September 7: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bill Pinkney of the Drifters reflects on his time with Buddy Holly

September 7, 2012 would have been Buddy Holly's 76th birthday. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Holly recorded a catalog of songs – "Rave On," "Peggy Sue," "That'll Be the Day," "Oh Boy!" and "Maybe Baby," among them – that are rock and roll standards. He was born Charles Hardin Holley (later amended to "Holly") on September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas, and learned to play guitar, piano and fiddle at an early age. Holly was an innovator who wrote his own material and was among the first to exploit such advanced studio techniques as double-tracking at Norman Petty’s recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico. He pioneered and popularized the now-standard rock-band lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. In February 1955, Holly opened a show at the Lubbock Youth Center for Elvis Presley, an event that hastened his conversion from country and western to rock and roll. ("We owe it all to Elvis,” he later said). Between August 1957 and August 1958, Holly and the Crickets charted seven Top 40 singles. While the wealth of material he recorded in that short time made a major and lasting impact on popular music, it ...


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Spotlight Exhibit: Grateful Dead "Wall of Sound"

Tuesday, August 28: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia beside a small portion of the "Wall of Sound" /photo by Richard Pechner

The Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" was among the band's greatest gifts to fans and a remarkable technical achievement. Powered by McIntosh amps, the Dead's "Wall of Sound" quite literally helped set the stage for some of the group's most triumphant live performances. In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer tells the story of its creation. Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012. Speakers and amplifiers from the Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" are among the objects featured in the exhibit.


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Interview with James Brown Biographer RJ Smith

Monday, August 27: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Author RJ Smith discusses 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee James Brown

After presenting at the Rock Hall Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 23, 2012, RJ Smith, author of The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where he discussed discoveries made while researching The One and how James Brown influenced many rock and roll musicians, including the Rolling Stones and the Who. Here, RJ Smith talks with the Rock Hall in the Museum's Cities and Sounds exhibit, in front of the "Respect – the Sound of Soul" display containing, among other artifacts, James Brown's "Sex" jumpsuit, which he wore on stage during the 1970s.


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Interview with 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Wanda Jackson

Thursday, August 16: 11:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Wanda Jackson talks about her conversations with Elvis Presley

In February 2009, a who's who from the world of rock and roll convened in Clear Lake, Iowa, for the Fifty Winters Later series of events honoring the anniversary of the tragic deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, whose plane crashed in Clear Lake on February 3, 1959. As part of the weeklong celebration of those pioneering rockers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's education department led a number of interviews and panel discussions, featuring the likes of Maria Elena Holly, Graham Nash, Sir Tim Rice, Geezer Butler, the Crickets and more. 

On February 2, Rock Hall VP of education and public programs Lauren Onkey interviewed Wanda Jackson in Clear Lake as part of the Rock Hall's Hall of Fame Series. "I was just doing straight country, and that's all I had ever planned on doing," explained Jackson of her early days performing. "[Elvis] started talking to me about his kind of music – we didn't really have a name for it at that point. I said look, I love it of course, but you're a guy, you can sing it, and I just don't think ...


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Interview with Little Milton Campbell

Wednesday, August 15: 3:05 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Little Milton Campbell talks about Elvis Presley in a rare 2005 interview

"Back then, people weren't saying this is a new thing, rock and roll," said blues guitarist and vocalist Little Milton Campbell in Memphis, Tennessee, during a March 2005 interview with members of the Rock Hall's education staff. "I think what brought that to focus was the fact that Elvis [Presley] did it. He was the only white boy at that time that had the guts to do what he felt, the movements. A lot of folks don't realize that this man caused pure hell doing the kind of music that he was doing." Campbell, who was first noticed by talent scout Ike Turner as a teen and launched his recording career under the direction of Sam Phillips at Sun Records in the early 1950s, had a profound understanding of the blues and unique perspective and insights on the evolution of rock and roll. At the time of the interview, the Rock Hall's education department had started recording interviews with artists and seminal figures in the history of rock and roll as part of an oral histories project to help develop the Museum's distance learning program in order to bring rock and roll education to ...


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Donna Jean Godchaux, Grateful Dead and Elvis Presley

Friday, July 20: 11:24 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Donna Jean Godchaux during an interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland

This summer, Donna Jean Godchaux of the Grateful Dead spoke at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the Museum's Hall of Fame Series. During an engaging interview with the Rock Hall's VP of education Lauren Onkey, Godchaux shared stories from her impressive career, including how she met her late husband Keith Godchaux, and how a conversation with the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia after a concert led to Donna and Keith joining the band.

In this interview clip, Donna Jean Godchaux shares "one of the most amazing events in my life" and describes what she felt when Elvis Presley first came in the studio – "I have never seen a human being that gorgeous in my life" – during the sessions for "Suspicious Minds." Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip, a major exhibition devoted to the group, is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012. 

WATCH: Donna Jean Godchaux on Meeting and Recording with Elvis Presley


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Summer in the City: Interview with Torche's Andrew Elstner

Wednesday, July 18: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Torche / Photo by Gary Copeland

Formed in Miami, Florida, Torche has rocked fans, critics and stereos since their forming in 2004. Variously characterized as “stoner pop,” “thunder rock” and “sludge metal,” their self-titled album was declared as the Number Seven album of 2005 on Decibel magazine’s annual Top 40 list. Three years later, Decibel magazine ranked the band’s second album, Meanderthal, as Number One. Torche's latest album, Harmonicraft, was released in April 2012. The band has toured with Mogwai, Isis, Baroness and the Sword, among others, and in 2010, they opened for Coheed and Cambria. Here the Rock Hall catches up with Torche guitarist Andrew Elstner, as the band readies for a free live concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 25, 2012, part of the Summer in the City concert series.

Rock Hall: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?

Andrew Elstner: With my own money? Aerosmith Rocks and damn straight I still listen to it. Although now it's on my iPod, not a cassette tape. 

RH: What artists did you listen to when you were growing up and what about ...


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