Tony Scherman

Thomas Conrad, Tony Scherman  |  Jul 13, 2023  |  5 comments
Sasha Matson: Molto Molto; Dan Rosenboom: Polarity; Billy Childs: The Winds of Change; Taj Mahal: Savoy
Tony Scherman  |  Jun 06, 2023  |  0 comments
In 2009, Robbie Fulks decided to make a change. For almost 20 years, the singer/songwriter had led a series of hard-hitting country-rock bands across America and beyond, his blistering guitar chops and madcap levity (the latter frequently testing, if not violating, standards of taste) winning him a modest-sized but ardent fan base.

"I was fatigued from what I'd been doing," Fulks told me recently via Zoom, sitting in his kitchen in Atwater Village, a Los Angeles neighborhood between Glendale and Burbank. "Me on acoustic guitar, with electric guitar, bass guitar and drums, that was my sound for something like 13 years. I was so tired of it, I was actually thinking of doing something other than music."

Tony Scherman  |  May 23, 2023  |  5 comments
Before offering a few modest observations about the music, life, and times of David Lindley, a man who never met a stringed instrument he couldn't master and who died on March 3, I'll make two points, both somewhat contrarian.

In the flood of obituaries and tributes that have appeared since his death at age 78, one reads ad nauseam that Lindley, a lifelong Los Angeles resident whose most productive years were the 1970s and '80s, "help[ed] shape the sound of West Coast soft rock," as Guitar Player's writer put it. While Lindley's impact on Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and other Southern California soft-rockers was indeed considerable, he was equally, if not more, a firebrand, especially on his favorite instrument, the lap-steel guitar, which he essentially introduced to mainstream rock.

Tony Scherman  |  Mar 29, 2023  |  0 comments
I considered it an exciting discovery. It was an exciting discovery, in the rarefied world of rock'n'roll historiography: namely, that the great New Orleans, later Los Angeles, drummer Earl Palmer was responsible for one of the major paradigm shifts in 20th century American culture: the rock'n'roll beat. The aha moment came when Earl and I were preparing his 1999 oral autobiography, Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story. Long before my cantankerous interlocutor (Earl ran hot) unspooled his amazing life story for me, a running interview that swallowed the better part of my 1990s, I had come to believe that Earl played a major role, perhaps the major role, in the development of rock's rhythmic underpinnings, hence of the music itself.
Tony Scherman  |  Mar 08, 2023  |  6 comments
As Vilray Bolles marched down Manhattan's Second Avenue on a rainy afternoon late in 2014, participating in a demonstration against police brutality, he slipped on the wet pavement, fell hard on his right hand, and broke his pinky. For a guitarist, a broken finger can be a major, if not catastrophic, setback. But the gods were smiling on Bolles. He was, in fact, a lapsed guitarist, having all but abandoned hopes of a musical career, and the universe was giving him a nudge, not just back into music but into a collaboration with Rachael Price, one of contemporary pop's great vocalists, who, when she isn't singing cabaret jazz with Bolles, fronts the headlining rock band Lake Street Dive.
Tony Scherman  |  Jan 25, 2023  |  8 comments
Three or four years ago, coming back from hip surgery, I put in a stint of physical therapy. The assistant trainer, a 24-year-old named Caitlin, was a big pop music fan, as am I, although, to borrow from one of Hank Williams Jr.'s songs about his daddy, Caitlin's kind of pop and mine ain't exactly the same.
Tony Scherman  |  Dec 06, 2022  |  3 comments
Summer 1959. The concert under the stars in the Wellfleet, Massachusetts, town parking lot was over. Pete Seeger was packing up his banjo as I approached him gingerly—I was 6 years old. I stuck out the notepad I'd been careful to bring. "Can I have your autograph?"

Towering over me, six-three to my three-eight, Seeger said in exasperation, if not outright coldness, "I don't give autographs. I'm not some goddamned star."

Terrified, I stood my ground.

Tony Scherman  |  Nov 30, 2022  |  2 comments
Tyler Chester was headed south on the I-5 to San Diego, where he would join indie-rock eminence Andrew Bird's road band for a brief tour. Touring is an activity Los Angeles–based Chester pursues with decreasing frequency, he told me in a recent phone chat. After years as a busy sideman and recording-session musician—he is equally proficient on bass, guitar, and keyboards—Chester finds himself spending less and less time as a player and more as a producer.
Phil Brett, Kurt Gottschalk, Tony Scherman  |  Nov 11, 2022  |  0 comments
Big Joanie: Back Home, Mike Cooper: Forbidden Delta Planet Blues, Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork and Bonny Light Horseman: Rolling Golden Holy.
Tony Scherman  |  Nov 09, 2022  |  0 comments
It was another glorious Lower Cape summer, the warm breeze almost viscous against your skin. Tim Dickey played bass, or ersatz bass, tuning his Gibson SG Special down an octave. I played drums. My brother John and cousin Dave Scherman traded leads. Tony Kahn was a good guitarist, but with the surfeit of guitarists, he played organ.