‘Woodstock Was Extremely Terrifying,' Says Melanie Safka

Melanie vividly recalls the day she busked in London. It was 1983, and the performance she was supposed to perform had been canceled owing to low ticket sales. So she was dining with friends, sipping Pimm's, when she got a phone from someone informing her that admirers had gathered outside the Royal Albert Hall. "I […]

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‘Evolution Is Part of Tradition,' Says Makaya McCraven

Every day, we have so many options to make, and we're continuously improvising them, much like in jazz," explains Makaya McCraven, a drummer and composer. "Even when we try to order and sanitize the world so that we can function, we're improvising in various frameworks." It's all a way of expressing existence." McCraven, 38, is […]

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Irreversible Brain Taint from Segregation: Leo Nocentelli

Leo Nocentelli is impossible to pin down. When I ask how the renowned funk guitarist's astonishing solo record Another Side came to be published after 50 years in obscurity, he gives me the whole tale in a seven-minute monologue, but I can't confirm his age. "It's not important," he adds, his Louisiana accent thick as […]

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Beyond the Stage Review — A Haunting, Heartbreaking Show

A lined A4 notebook is pinned open on a board, highly doodled with love hearts and the strange ideas of an 18-year-old girl, not unlike any other 18-year-old girl throughout history. "Just plain fuckin' nice" is the title of a playlist that includes Bobby Darin's I Wanna Be Around (1965), as well as the words […]

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‘Boris Was Teasing Me the Entire Time. We Have a Swindler as PM.'

Billy Bragg is reminiscing about a day at the Glastonbury festival in 2000 at an Exeter bar on a rainy Monday morning. Boris Johnson had been lined up as an unexpected guest for the BBC's broadcast. Johnson, who was a year away from being an MP at the time, forgets to get off the train, […]

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I Got a Rare Cancer: I Was in a Band

It was a beautiful bright day in Glasgow on June 25, 2019. I had a good time packing bags with my wife, Jackie, this morning. I was a screenplay writer by day and a songwriter with the Sweetheart Revue, an Americana band that had been going for 14 years. For the first time in my […]

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