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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.


continue Categories: Inductee, Library and Archives, Exclusive Interviews

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 ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Education, Exclusive Interviews

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 ...


continue Categories: Education, Exclusive Interviews

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


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Event

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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Rock Hall Sessions: Interview with Bethesda

Friday, February 17: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Members of the band Bethesda interviewed at the Rock Hall

Although Bethesda is an Ohio-bred band whose homespun tales and sounds are grounded in the folk tradition, the members' ecletic musical backgrounds, creative energy and flair for the dramatic ensure that they're never beholden to the trappings of one particular style. Instead, the group's core of musicians – violinist Christopher Black, bassist Dan Corby, vocalist Shanna Delaney, guitarist/vocalist Eric Ling, drummer Justin Rife and guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Jesse Sloan – have cultivated a refreshingly vibrant sound that has made them a band to watch. Their music has been slated to appear in programming on Showtime, MTV, Oxygen, VH1 and E!; they've shared the stage with such noted indie acts as Azure Ray and fellow Ohio native, Jessica Lea Mayfield, and exposure on more than 200 independent and college radio stations nationwide has given them serious buzz. 

Delaney hails from Circleville, Ohio, while Ling grew up in nearby Bellefontaine. Sloan originally came from Florida, Rife from Tallmadge, Ohio, Corby from Chardon, Ohio, and Black was most recently living in Connecticut. The members brought divergent tastes, with Rife coming from a background playing in punk bands and Delaney having found her voice in musical theater. Ling was a student ...


continue Categories: Summer in the City

Spotlight Exhibit: Joy Division / New Order

Friday, February 3: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Joy Division / New Order bassist Peter Hook in front of the Spotlight Exhibit with his bass

The members of Joy Division were post-punk visionaries. In contrast to the raw fury of the British punk scene that gave birth to the band, Joy Division created a more nuanced, expressive template for emphatically projecting discontent. Tortured lead singer Ian Curtis' introspective lyrics and melancholic worldview were reflected in the band's manic live performances and moody arrangements. This motif was captured in songs like "Disorder," "Transmission" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart." In addition to Curtis' vocals, Bernard Sumner's angular guitar work and Stephen Morris' frenetic drumming, the band's signature sound owed much to the bass of Peter Hook, who cultivated a lead-bass style that rejected the notion of a bassist's sole role as being backup. "I never did really play bass, because I always found it intensely annoying whenever some twat of a guitarist would turn around to you and say, 'could you play the root note?' said Hook during a 2010 interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "Luckily, I found a style."

That signature style involved playing lead lines high on the fretboard, creating melodies that were often mimicked in the vocals. “That came about early, when ...


continue Categories: Spotlight Exhibit, Exhibit

Five Minutes with Fame: Hollywood Undead

Friday, November 18: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Hollywood Undead

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is pleased to partner with Microsoft Zune for Five Minutes with Fame, an exclusive video series on the Zune Marketplace featuring singers, songwriters and bands at the forefront of today's music. After a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum, we sit down with artists to talk about their music, their road to success, inspirations, being on tour and of course, some of their favorite artists and artifacts highlighted in the Museum. This week's featured artist is Hollywood Undead.

As their name not-so subtly suggests, Hollywood Undead emerged from the music scene in Tinseltown, combining elements of hip-hop and hardcore in a sound they call "heavy pop." The first incarnation of the band took shape in 2005, and evolved into the six mask-wearing musicians that compose Hollywood Undead today: Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man and Daniel "Danny" Murillo.

The band's debut album Swan Songs was released in 2008, selling more than 800,000 copies worldwide. Sales were helped by two years on the road that found the band headlining international gigs and on the bill at major festivals, including the Download Festival in the UK ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Five Minutes with Fame, Exclusive Interviews
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