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Legends of Rock

Date: 10-13-12
Host: John B. Wells
Guests: Paul Rodgers, Leslie West, Jack Casady, Ian Anderson

In separate hours, John B. Wells welcomed four classic rock musicians, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company & Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane, and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, for a discussion on what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.

"For me, music is something I love to do and it's my main form of expression," Paul Rodgers said, reflecting on a career which has earned him the nickname "The Voice" from his fans. He attributed the initial explosion of rock music to a younger generation being free from the fears and horrors of World War II as well as the invention of the electric guitar which allowed for an evolution in sound. While he expressed concern about the influence of digital technology on contemporary music, Rodgers contended that "there's always going to be room for the expression of heart and soul" which cannot be created via computer processing.

During the 2nd hour, Leslie West reflected on the serendipitous nature of successful music and shared the story of how his 1969 song "Long Red" was appropriated by hip hop artists Jay Z, Kanye West, and Common for their contemporary tracks. Collectively, he marveled, those three artists sold nine million records featuring aspects of the song. Similarly, West noted that, in England, his song "Nantucket Slayride" was used as bumper music for a weekly four hour news program. "In writing songs, you never know what's going to hit," he observed.

"We mostly just wanted to play the music and search for something a little different," Jack Casady recalled from his early days in San Francisco, contrasting the era with contemporary music where 'stars' are manufactured via reality shows. On the circumstances that spawned the rock and roll revolution of the 60's, he mused that "at the time things were a lot more confusing than they seem now." He attributed the rapid succession of assassinated leaders along with the "backdrop of the Vietnam War" and an active youth culture fearful of the draft as key elements which played a role in the music becoming more political.

In the final hour, Ian Anderson talked about being a part of music's 'British Invasion.' He credited the influence of the "curious mixture of black American music and the music that became rock and roll" in the United States as "what kick started everything" for musicians in Britain. However, he noted that the long history of folk and classical music traditions in England allowed for an "eclecticism" which "produced a more complex blend of herbs and spices to enrich an otherwise bland diet of sometimes not very interesting, simple rock and roll." Over the course of his appearance, Anderson also discussed the plight of homelessness in Europe which was an issue explored in Jethro Tull's song "Aqualung."

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Bumper music from Saturday October 13, 2012

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