When Ron Bennington interviews musicians, he dives deep into their careers and elicits stories that would surprise even the biggest super-fans. His show Icons on SiriusXM VOLUME (Ch. 106) features revealing interviews with some of the industry’s most legendary musicians.
This week, Bennington interviews Mick Fleetwood, founder and drummer of Fleetwood Mac; Peter Wolf, lead vocalist of the J. Geils Band; Ray Davies, lead vocalist and guitarist of the Kinks; John Densmore, drummer of the Doors; John Fogerty, lead singer, guitarist and principle songwriter for Creedence Clearwater Revival; and Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist and primary songwriter for The Band.
Here are some highlights from Bennington’s debut week on VOLUME:
Mick Fleetwood said he’s still amazed by the way fans have stuck with the band throughout its nearly 50-year career.
“What it becomes is something that’s not when you were 20 years old playing for other 20-year-olds,” Fleetwood said. “As you grow into that period, now we have a huge bumper basket full of almost the Nth degree of performance art where the audience itself has grown and spent the better part of getting on for over 40 years of listening to Fleetwood Mac’s music as with other artists. So when they’re sitting there there’s a huge exchange, they have their own lives the bring with them and it’s as big and as important as the history of the band that they’re looking it. So it is like performance art now.”
Peter Wolf released his eighth studio album, A Cure for Loneliness, in April. He praised the musicians that were brought in to play on the record.
“To me, I bring in a song and i get so excited to watch these guys bring it alive,” he said. “Wastin’ Time was just me and an acoustic guitar, I wrote it in my kitchen in my underwear eating a bologna sandwich. Just bring it in and all of a sudden it just turns into something else… To me, I think what makes movies or a playwright, the excitement they must have when they write the words of a play and all of a sudden the actor comes… When you write something, you never know how it’s gonna end when you’re dealing with such fine artists as I believe I have on this record.”
Ray Davies discussed how the Kinks’ brief stint as part of the British Invasion before their U.S. touring ban in 1965 helped shape their career.
“What I’ve tried to do is parallel our career with the American journey because when we first came here Kennedy had just been shot a few years earlier, so much was suppressed and more conservative than it is now,” Davies said. “That’s why we were banned, I think, because we had such radical and stupid English sensibility. First time I came through the American immigration the immigration man said, ‘Are you a Beatle or a girl?’ I said, ‘I’m a girl and so is my brother.’ So I knew we wouldn’t hit it off, it’s just a different sensibility.”
John Densmore touched on his legal battles with bandmates Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger over commercial use of the Doors’ name and logo, which he had explained at length in his book, The Doors Unhinged.
“We’re talking again, we’ve begun the healing,” Densmore revealed. “But when they went off with the name it was a frustrating time, that’s for sure. Hardcore fans thought I was messing up the band they love, but that’s why I wrote this book. Read it and you’ll see I was trying to preserve the legacy and the purity of what we represented from the beginning.”
John Fogerty recalled writing Proud Mary, the hit single he said helped him figure out he was a good songwriter.
“It was really after the success of Susie Q. I was still in the army reserve, I was still in the army and trying to get out,” Fogerty said. “One day I found this package on the steps to my apartment, it was my honorable discharge. It was something I had been seeking and working on because really the military thing was getting in the way of the musical career. I was so happy, there was a little patch of grass and I literally did a cartwheel, just because I could. I went right in the house, grabbed my guitar and started writing a song.”
Robbie Robertson reflected on how he came to be The Band’s primary songwriter.
“Over the years, whenever it came up that we had the opportunity to do some recording or something, the other guys always said, ‘Well, you need to write a song or something,’ and I would,” Robertson said. “But it wasn’t until Music from Big Pink that we really had the opportunity to say, ‘OK, now we’re gonna write some songs.'”
New episodes of Icons air Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET on VOLUME (Ch. 106). Hear this week’s interviews again Wednesday 10/19 at 8 pm ET; Friday 10/21 at 11 pm ET; Saturday 10/22 at 6 am ET and Sunday 10/23 at 6 am ET.
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