When Alternative Press was founded in 1985, mainstream music publications just didn't cover music on the fringes – punk, new wave, hardcore. That music had yet to be labeled "alternative," and its fans had few sources for information. Alternative Press set out to change that.
Truly a magazine written by and for diehard music fans, Alternative Press celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015. The Rock Hall caught up with Alternative Press founder Mike Shea to talk about why he was angry about the Smiths, the earliest days of AP, punk rock clubs, an offer from Madonna and finally saying "screw it."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Why did you start Alternative Press?
Mike Shea: I started AP because two things: I was bored, and also, I was angry. I was really mad because the Smiths, in 1985, were not coming to Cleveland. They were touring the U.S., and they didn’t have a Cleveland gig, and I was upset about that and I wanted to know why. So, the short of it is… I ...
Chris Squire changed the way rock musicians thought about the bass guitar – taking the melodic style established by the Who's John Entwistle and pushing into an entirely new level. His bass had a clean sustained tone that frequently moved back and forth between the high and low registers of the instrument. And all the time Squire was singing beautiful vocal harmony with the rest of the band (and with a completely different melody from the bass).
I'm the Rock Hall's senior director of education, and I'm also a longtime fan of Yes. I can tell you with ultimate clarity the first time I heard the music of Yes on the radio while I was in high school. I imagine it was the same way that many fans of my age did, through the sound of “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” in 1983. That song has always sounded so modern to me (due in part to the stellar production of Trevor Horn), and a key feature of what hooks you in is the foundational bassline played by Squire: it’s simple, memorable and slides right into the groove. When it finally changes up at the two-minute mark ...
With the patriotic pageantry, fireworks, barbecues and neighborhood gatherings that come with the 4th of July just around the corner, Rock Hall staff crafted the ultimate playlist as the soundtrack to all things Americana and celebrations of summertime fun.
The 50-song list covers a lot of musical territory, from 50s to today, blues, pop, punk, R&B, jazz and some classic rockers, of course. Inductees feature prominently – Alice Cooper, Sly and the Family Stone, Young Rascals, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Ramones, among many others – but so do other artists who've made their mark with sunny revelations: Kool and the Gang, Chicago, the Undertones, the Surfaris, Lovin' Spoonful, Billy Idol, Afrojack and, yes, Katy Perry.
Get the Rock Hall's Ultimate 4th of July playlist via Spotify.
In the meantime, here are three tracks that are so routinely misinterpreted – and we included some deliberately in our list! – we just had to give the backstory.
Arguably the most misappropriated song in rock and roll history, "Born in the USA" has been the anthemic backdrop to countless episodes of fist-pumping demonstrations. Anti-Muslim protestors chanted the chorus while picketing the site ...
Noel Gallagher's role in defining British rock and roll in the 90s and beyond cannot be overstated. Along with younger brother and lead singer Liam, he led Oasis as the group's principle songwriter, lead guitarist and sometimes vocalist, delivering a succession of recordings that deeply resonated with fans around the globe, inspired a legion of similarly styled Britpop acts and turned the working-class lads from Manchester into bona fide rockstars. The group called it quits in 2009, with Noel reemerging in 2011 as Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. His self-titled debut topped the UK charts, and the March 2015 release of Chasing Yesterday sees Noel expanding on his rock repertoire yet still delivering the indelible melodies for which he's well-known.
We caught up with Noel during a tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio, where he toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: You've gone on record with a lot of thoughts on the state of rock and roll. What's Noel Gallagher's definition of rock and roll?
Noel Gallagher: To me, it’s not a sound – it’s not an idea. It’s a spirit to ...
The 30th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place on April 18, 2015 at Cleveland's Public Hall and the exclusive HBO premiere broadcasts Saturday, May 30 at 8 pm ET!
Sneak peek of the HBO premiere:
Bill Withers Sings "Lean On Me" with Stevie Wonder and John Legend
Joan Jett Sings "Crimson and Clover" with Tommy James, Dave Grohl and Miley Cyrus
Double Trouble performs "Pride and Joy" with Jimmie Vaughan, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr.and Doyle Bramhall II
Green Day performs "American Idiot"
The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees are (click links for more Hall of Fame stories!):
Special presenters this year include Hall of Fame Inductees Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Steve Cropper and Patti Smith, as well as Peter Wolf, Fall Out Boy and John Mayer.
The star-studded performances this year include Beck, Dave Grohl, Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Walsh, Tom Morello, John Legend, Jimmie Vaughan and more!
2015 special marks the fourth year HBO has presented the Rock and Roll Hall of ...
Testifying on the healing quality of the blues genre he embodied, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee B.B. King once remarked: “I’m trying to get people to see that we are our brother’s keeper. Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues.”
On May 14, 2015, the world of music lost a true icon with the passing of King. Among the blues genre’s most recognizable and influential artists, his half-century of success owes much to his hard work as a touring musician who consistently logged between 200 and 300 shows a year. "B.B. King created a new kind of blues, and was a lifelong ambassador for the music," said Rock Hall VP of education Dr. Lauren Onkey. "He played constantly, all over the world, and taught generation after generation the power of the blues. His singing, single note solos and commanding vocal style made you feel every emotion in his songs."
Through it all, he remained faithful to the blues while keeping abreast of contemporary trends and deftly incorporating other favored forms - jazz and pop, for instance - into his musical overview. He managed to change with the changing ...
In among the most anticipated moments of the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Sir Paul McCartney – a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee – took to the stage to induct his friend and Beatle bandmate Ringo Starr into the Hall of Fame.
Speaking of first meeting Starr in the Hamburg days, McCartney said: "And Ringo was like a professional musician. We were just like, slamming around and doing stuff, but he had a beard — that's professional. He had the suit. Very professional. And he would sit at the bar drinking bourbon and seven. We'd never seen anyone like this. This was like, a grown-up musician.
"Eventually [The Beatles] got on The Ed Sullivan Show, and we got really famous. It was just so beautiful. As all the other drummers say, he just is something so special. When he's playing behind you – you see these other bands, they're looking around at the drummer, like, is he going to speed up, is he going to slow down? You don't have to look with Ringo."
After a quick embrace with McCartney, Ringo Starr took the mic, accepting his award and regaling the crowd ...
Although he was being inducted for his incredible legacy of music, 76-year-old Bill Withers also provided among the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony's most endearing and humorous moments. "One other thing crossed my mind," he said accepting his award. "This has got to be the largest AA meeting in the western hemisphere." The thousands in attendance exploded in roars of laughter.
Stevie Wonder inducted Withers, lauding the accomplished musician for emotionally poignant and resonant songwriting, "songs that were for every single culture there is; everyone can relate, somewhere in the world."
The man behind classics such as "Lovely Day," "Use Me" and "Lean On Me," Withers provided a long list of thanks to the men and women who supported him throughout his career – including the radio DJs that played the flip side to his early single: "Ain't No Sunshine."
"Stevie Wonder inducting me in the Hall of Fame is like a lion opening the door for a kitty cat," joked Withers. "Stevie Wonder knows my name and the brother just put me ...