Quotes About Rock and Roll

  • Lou Reed on Lou Reed

    “I have never thought of music as a challenge — you always figure the audience is at least as smart as you are,” he wrote. “You do this because you like it, you think what you’re making is beautiful. And if you think it’s beautiful, maybe they think it’s beautiful.”

    NY Times

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  • George Harrison on The Traveling Wilburys

    The thing about the Wilburys to me is, if we'd of tried to plan that, or if anybody had tried to say, you know, "Let's form this band and get these people in it," it would never happen. It's impossible. And, the thing happened completely just by magic, just by circumstances. Maybe there was a full moon that night or something like that. It was quite a magical little thing really. I had dinner with Roy Orbison and Jeff [Lynne], and I said to Jeff, "Look tomorrow I'm just gonna go in the studio and make up a tune, and do you wanna come and help?" And he said, "Sure." Bob [Dylan] we knew had this little studio. I phone Bob up, I mean sometimes you can call him and not get through for years. He picked up first ring and said, "Sure come on over." My guitar was at Tom Petty's house, so Tom, Jeff picked me up, we went over to Bob's. I got the first line, it said, "Been beat up, battered around," and then, wham. They just kept coming with all these lines. And, there's Bob saying, "Well what's it called, what's it about?" Well I finally saw behind a door this big box with a sticker on it saying, "HANDLE WITH CARE." I said, "Handle With Care?" He said, "Oh yeah, good."

    The True History of The Traveling Wilburys (Documentary)

  • Brad Paisley on Mick Jagger

    When they were in Nashville, they came in a couple of days early. What they do, which is really neat, when you tour at the level they're at, they sort of take over a city. When The Rolling Stones are coming—and you remember when they were here—Nashville was buzzing for several days. It was like, "There's a Mick Jagger sighting!" We ended up going to dinner at Etch here in town. And what was funny about that was that Mick had said—I had said, well when you get in town you wanna go eat? We've got some great new restaurants, and he said, "Yeah." He picked the restaurant, and I thought for sure he's got people that do that. When we sat down to eat I said, "I've never been here before, how'd you find this?" He said, "Oh yeah I think Trip Advisor or something like that." [Laughs] He, like looked it up, and it said this is great. He said, "It said this is great, I thought we should try it." The next thing you know we're sitting there and I said, "You've gotta come back when we can be here without anybody knowing, and see if we can record and you can experience the city and really see what the creative process is like in this town," and I never expected him to say. "Yeah let's do it," and he did. Next thing you know three months later he was at my house.

    YouTube

  • Brad Paisley on Keith Richards

    Somebody gave me a tip, which was really interesting, "Mention the Louvin Brothers to Keith Richards." That's all I had to do, and he was ready to talk about "Satan Is Real." He loves that album...The Louvin Brothers were a Bluegrass duo that were amazing. They sang great. They were Opry members, Charlie and Ira Louvin. Ira was a hellian. He was crazy. He was one of those guys, the stories are legendary. But they also did Gospel records that were sort of really judgmental Gospel records [laugh], and it was a really interesting thing. [The Stones] were fascinated by stuff like that.

    YouTube

  • Glyn Johns on Terry Johnson

    Last but not least was Terry Johnson. He left school illegally at fifteen and lied about his age to get the job at IBC. By the time I arrived he was already doing sessions as an engineer at sixteen. To say he was a natural is something of an understatement. He was an extraordinary talent. For eighteen months or so we were pretty much inseparable. We soon discovered that we shared the same taste in music and sound and became close friends, closing ranks against the somewhat disapproving attitude of the senior engineers at IBC. As that first year progressed, music began to change and the demand increased for English records to sound more and more like what was going on in America. Most of the older engineers didn't get it and were entirely dismissive. This meant that Terry, being as young as he was and having a natural enthusiasm for trying new ideas, was in great demand, and he pulled me along with him.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Joe Meek

    The late great Joe Meek used IBC on occasion. He had his own studio at home, where he developed his extraordinary sound, but he would often bring his tapes in to run them through one of our home-built equalizers to cheer them up a bit. I think he was frowned on by the powers that be, and as I was the most junior in the place I would be given the job of looking after him. What a great opportunity for me. He was a great and innovative engineer and a quiet, kind, and seemingly egoless man.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Ray Prickett

    Then there was the very aptly named Ray Prickett. Although he suffered from little or no sense of humor and treated me like an unpleasant smell, he was still a great engineer. Among many others, he engineered most of the records that Alan Freeman produced for Pye Records. Petula Clark, Lonnie Donegan, and Kenny Ball being a few of the many successes he had.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Eric Tomlinson

    IBC was not only the best-equipped independent studio in Europe but it was also blessed with a great assortment of engineering talent, starting with Eric Tomlinson, who was the senior engineer on the staff when I began and, in my opinion, was one of the finest in the world. I remember that he had this habit of standing with one foot on top of the other while he worked, his hands flying around the console, never needing more than one run-through of the most complex of orchestral pieces before having it memorized, balanced, and ready to record. He was extremely kind to me, and I learned a great deal from watching the master at work.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Jeff Beck

    Brian was as insipid as I had expected, but the guitar player was astonishing. I had never seen anything quite like him. Playing rhythm and lead seamlessly with a fantastic sound. He was very cool-looking, quite scruffy, and had car grease ingrained in his hands. I grabbed Stu and asked where the hell he had found this guy. He and Brian had gone to see a band called the Tridents at Eel Pie Island, a popular venue on an island in the middle of the Thames at Twickenham. Being impressed with the guitar player, they approached him and asked if he would consider joining Brian's new band, the Nightshift. Everyone knew who Stu was, and I am sure that was the reason Jeff Beck agreed to join. The band did not last long, but Stu and Jeff became lifelong friends and he quickly became one of the crowd that would hang out at the house, as he lived a short distance away in Carshalton. There must have been something in the water locally, as you could have thrown a net over the small area that Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Stu came from.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears at the end of the "Stu '62" chapter of the Glyn Johns autobiography, Sound Man. The Brian that he references is a Brian Wiles, roommate of Glyn and Ian Stewart (aka "Stu") in 1962. At the time The Rolling Stones were hanging out at their house a lot, and Brian decided he wanted to be a star as well. Glyn describes it like this: "After some months, Brian Wiles, feeling left out of the action, decided he was going to become a singer and put a blues band together. Stu, being the pal that he was, took it upon himself to help, as Brian did not know any musicians other than those he met through Stu and me, and they were all committed to other bands. I thought the whole idea was a joke, having had the misfortune to hear Mr. Wiles sing, and a blues singer he was not. A few weeks went by and I was informed that the band was formed and ready to play their first gig. It was to be at a local folk club in Leatherhead on a Sunday afternoon. Dreading the prospect, I thought I should at least show willing and went."

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  • Glyn Johns on Ian Stewart

    By this time the Stones had a successful record deal and were being managed by Andrew Oldham, who had taken the decision to fire Stu from the band as he felt Stu did not look right. I thought that was pretty extraordinary as none of them were exactly textbook for a rock star. He was offered the job as their road manager, I am sure out of loyalty from some members of the band and also due to the fact that he owned the van that they all traveled in with the gear. I was in the next room at Decca Studios when he was told, and when I expressed my disgust at their decision he told me that he was quite happy with the arrangement, adding that the idea of being a pop star had no appeal to him whatsoever and, as he felt they would become incredibly successful, it would be a great way to see the world. As time went by, it proved to be an excellent decision, as he really took to his new role and the freedom it gave him. He was far too straight to ever be a rock star. The Stones were the true beneficiaries. They not only got the services of a great piano player, they also had the most trustworthy friend anyone could wish for as a road manager. Keith Richards has always said that he is still working for Stu and, as far as he is concerned, The Rolling Stones are Stu's band.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Ian Stewart

    We moved in together and the one piece of furniture that Stu brought with him was his upright piano. I remember waking up one morning to the sound of the most extraordinary blues music wafting up from the living room along with the usual smell of deliberately burned toast that he would make every morning. I went to investigate, to find Stu sitting at the piano, wearing nothing but his underpants, with an open letter on the stool beside him. The contents of the letter, apparently from an old flame, had upset him to such an extent that the only way he could deal with it was to play the blues. I felt like I was intruding, so I went back to my room where, for the next hour or so, I was treated to this impromptu outpouring of emotion by one of the finest blues musicians I have ever come across.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears in the "Stu '62" chapter of the Glyn Johns autobiography, Sound Man. Glyn and Stu became fast friends and eventually roommates. Glyn describes there house like this: "Stu kept all of the Stones' gear at the house, so we would appropriate guitar amps various from the loft in the roof to use for our sound system, which was very rarely silent, and incredibly loud. Fortunately, the house was in the middle of a large plot a long way back from the road and the neighbors on either side were some distance away. There were many great parties at 'The Bungalow,' with much coming and going. There was always something going on, but because we were all so busy we never seemed to get under each other's feet."

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  • Glyn Johns on Ian Stewart

    In 1962, Colin Golding, the bass player in The Presidents, introduced me to Ian Stewart, or "Stu" as he was affectionately known. Colin told me that he knew this guy who lived locally who had a vast collection of jazz and blues records. So he was definitely to be checked out. The friendship that grew from that meeting had an immense effect on my life. We met and discussed our mutual interest in the blues. He was so modest that it wasn't for some time that I found out that he played the piano and that he and a bunch of like-minded blues enthusiasts had put a band together called The Rolling Stones. In fact, he was responsible for starting the band with Brian Jones, having answered an advertisement Brian had placed in Jazz News earlier that year.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Ry Cooder

    Later in 1969, on a Stones session for Let it Bleed, Keith didn't show. So while we were waiting, Nicky [Hopkins] started jamming on the piano with Charlie and Bill. Pretty soon Mick got a harmonica and was soon joined by Ry Cooder, who was sitting in with the band that night. Jack Nitzsche had brought him over from California to play on the soundtrack to the movie Performance that we had finished a couple of days earlier. I ran the tape machine and the result was an album called Jamming with Edward, eventually released on Rolling Stones Records in 1972. It is just a bit of fun, showing Nicky's sense of humor and extraordinary technique, and it is great to hear Ry playing with Bill and Charlie. Definitely worth a listen.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Jimmy Page

    Soon I realized that I could use the time to experiment and get some great experience at the console, and I put the word out that you could get free studio time at my Sunday sessions. This attracted a crowd of exciting young musicians. Among them was Jimmy Page, who my pal Colin Golding had told me about. They were both at Kingston Art School—not far from where we all lived—along with Eric Clapton. I suggested that I might be able to get Jimmy some paying sessions, but initially he declined, saying he would lose his grant at school if it became known that he had an income. It was not long before he changed his mind, and in a short space of time he had replaced Big Jim Sullivan as the number-one session guitarist in London.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears in the "Sunday Sessions" chapter of Sound Man, the Glyn Johns autobiography. He describes his Sunday sessions at IBC, the studio where he worked as an engineer in the early 60s like this: "Weekends were almost never booked in those first two years I was at IBC. So we were allowed to use the studio on Sundays to record our own projects. It all started with me and my friend Rob Mayhew recording a few demos, with John Timperley or Terry Johnson engineering. It was with one of these recordings that I attempted to be 'discovered' as a vocalist, with a song I had written with my neighbor Hugh Oliver, called 'Sioux Indian.'"

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  • Glyn Johns on The Beatles

    The one thing that struck me about The Beatles in those early days was how relatively ordinary they sounded without the vocals. They could have been any competent group of the day, but as soon as the voices were added the magic was there. It has always amazed me how they progressed as writers, musicians, and producers from this already exalted position.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears in the "Jack Good" chapter of Glyn Johns' biography, Sound Man. In this chapter he was describing a lot of the bands he heard and recorded in the early 60s when he was working as an engineer at one of the most prominent independent recording studios in Europe at the time, IBC.

    Permalink
  • Glyn Johns on Lonnie Donegan

    The first session I was assigned was for Lonnie Donegan. This was too good to be true. He was still my favorite recording artist. I even discovered that the picture on the front cover of my much-coveted 10-inch album was taken in studio B at IBC. It was all too much for a young boy.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears in the "Early Years" chapter of Glyn Johns' autobiography, Sound Man. He's describing his first job in a recording studio, writing: "I started work at IBC the very next day, as a lowly assistant engineer. This meant setting up the studio before each session to the engineer's requirements, keeping continuity, and taking the blame for anything that did not work, while receiving varying amounts of verbal abuse from my superiors before, during, and after the session, and then stripping the studio afterward, with a great deal of tea making and equipment polishing thrown in."

    Permalink
  • Glyn Johns on Ian Stewart

    It was through the window of the Harlequin that I was to catch my first sight of Ian Stewart. He would ride by on his racing bike, cutting a very athletic figure in his leather cycling shorts, his exaggerated chin thrust forward from the exertion of pedaling up the hill on Cheam High Street. He was three or four years older than me and we were not to meet until I was seventeen or eighteen, and boy did that change my life.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears in the "Early Years" chapter of Glyn Johns' autobiography, Sound Man. The Harlequin was a coffee shop that Glyn would frequent as a teenager. Here's how he describes it: "Sometimes smaller groups of us would meet in the Harlequin coffee bar in Cheam, making a round of toast and a cup of tea last until we were asked to leave by the owner, Mrs. Hughes. Little did I know then that twenty years later she would become my mother-in-law."

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  • Glyn Johns on Lonnie Donegan

    Les Paul's records almost paled into insignificance when I heard "Rock Island Line" by Lonnie Donegan for the first time on the radio. I had heard nothing like it and rushed out and bought it the next day. This was the first record I ever owned, and it and the 10-inch album Donegan released shortly thereafter became my staple diet for the next few months. He started the skiffle craze, which led to a fairly short-lived dominance of the charts by several other bands that copied him, and led me to American folk music and on to the blues.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Les Paul

    My sister Sue had a portable record player and, being three years older than me, found me to be nothing more than an annoyance throughout our youth. Therefore the record player was strictly off-limits, with very rare exceptions. I remember she bought a 78 of "Little Rock Getaway" by Les Paul and Mary Ford. It was a completely new sound. Les Paul was the first artist to use multitracking. He would record a guitar part on a mono machine, then play it back and record it onto another machine while adding a second guitar, repeating the process until he had the arrangement he wanted. Then he would do the same with Mary Ford's voice, adding her three or four times in harmony with herself. This was some years before the advent of multitrack recording as we know it today. Along with every other punter, I knew nothing of this and just thought it was a great sound. His innovative approach to recording led to the formation of the Ampex company, who produced the first multitrack tape machines with Les being given the second one off the line.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Jimmy Page

    I stayed on at the church as a server and started going to the church youth club on Wednesday nights. Among other delights, we would have discussion nights and play table tennis and were taught ballroom dancing, which didn't appeal to me at all, but at least you got to put your arm around a girl legitimately. One evening we had a talent night. I remember a boy in his early teens no one had seen before, who sat with his legs swinging over the front edge of the stage and played an acoustic guitar. He was pretty good, he may have even won, but I don't think anyone in the hall that night had any idea that he was to become such an innovative force in modern music. This was to be my first meeting with Jimmy Page.

    Sound Man