Hello. I’m Gavin Edwards, contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of Last Night at the Viper Room, the ’Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series, and (with the original MTV VJs) the New York Times bestseller VJ. I live in Los Angeles. I like caffeine, boardgames, and lists with three items.
I am not generally a superstitious man. I don’t think twice about the number 13, black cats, or the danger to my mother’s spine should I step on the wrong section of sidewalk. But the last couple of years, I have had a private Beatles-related superstition. It started when I bought a set of four pint glasses, each decorated with the image of a different Beatle (circa Let It Be). Every time I stacked the dishwasher, where glassware sometimes goes to die, I worried that if the John Lennon glass was the first one to break, it would be a spooky reprise of his being the first Beatle to die. I wasn’t obsessed with this–if I had been, I could have just put John on a high shelf–but it was a frequent, brief, morbid thought.
Last week, I knocked the John glass off my desk. It landed on a carpet, but broke anyway. I know it’s just glass and there was a 25% chance of this happening, but I am officially a little weirded out. If the next glass to break is George Harrison’s, then I will actually put the final two away, because I don’t want to be responsible for a kitchen mishap designating either Paul or Ringo to be the next Beatle to die.
Inspirational wisdom from Run-D.M.C.: “There’s three of us but we’re not the Beatles.”
posted 21 February 2014 in Photos. no comments yet
I am still wrestling with my Big Deadline, but may I bring you up to date on some of my writing in recent weeks for Rolling Stone? I wrote about Against Me!, both in an article for the magazine and in an online interview with Laura Jane Grace (né Tom Gabel) and James Bowman. I interviewed Damon Albarn of Blur and the Gorillaz about his forthcoming solo album, Everyday Robots. I attended the David Lynch Foundation tribute to Ringo Starr, filing both a report on the evening and a micro-interview with Ringo. Then I attended a Grammy ceremony honoring Neil Young and transcribed his excellent acceptance speech (which couldn’t get across the full flavor of his humor, but it’s still cool to read) and grabbed a micro-interview with Neil as well. There was a fusillade of other Grammy reports: a report on Clive Davis’s annual night-before party, a rundown of all the pre-show awards (at an odd but convivial not-on-TV ceremony–to file that one, I had to walk across the street to the Staples Center and use the free wifi there before the Grammys telecast started), and a short dispatch on what happened at the Staples Center that you couldn’t see on TV. In addition, I wrote about the British Invasion episode of the Sixties documentary on CNN produced by Tom Hanks, the huge mural commissioned by Foster the People, and the late Pete Seeger. And I filed a bonus interview with the Swedish DJ known as Avicii.
But if you want check out one piece that I’m responsible for in the past month, I would recommend my gallery of some of the greatest performances ever on Soul Train. It’s all great stuff, but I particularly recommend the James Brown showcase (especially “The Payback”), the Smokey Robinson duet with Aretha Franklin, and the four (!) songs Al Green did with a hot live band. Enjoy!
posted 12 February 2014 in Outside. no comments yet
Shaun White is on the halfpipe today in Sochi (no spoilers here!). If you want to flash back to his first Olympic triumph, eight years ago, you can read my Rolling Stone cover story on the Flying Tomato here. “I need a Crunk Juice glass with diamonds on it,” he told me. Something that didn’t fit into the article: I was in the green room of Regis and Kelly with Shaun White and his entourage, as were INXS, who had just recruited a new lead singer, J. D. Fortune, via the Rock Star: INXS TV show. Fortune worked the room, shaking everybody’s hand, clearly thrilled to be there, while the veteran members of the band kept to themselves, vaguely glowering from being awake too early. I was very careful to not identify myself as a representative of Rolling Stone to Fortune, because I was afraid that if I did, he would try to tell me his life story.
posted 11 February 2014 in Archives, Articles. no comments yet
Photographed on December 8, during the second night of the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas. The Shrine hosted the Oscars a few times about 25 years ago–it’s looking a little dilapidated now, but it’s still a beautiful building.
posted 24 January 2014 in Photos. no comments yet
Hello and happy new year, citizens of the world. I am currently finishing up a big project (more details to come very soon), so there won’t be a lot of activity around here for another two weeks or so. (But after that, Rule Forty Two bonanza!) You may, however, be interested in some of my recent writing for Rolling Stone: a feature on the Swedish DJ known as Avicii (in the current issue of the print magazine, but also available on the website), a conversation with Stevie Nicks at her home (with video!), a goofy speculative squib on the secret project being cooked up by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, and a Q&A with the divine Rosanne Cash.
posted 14 January 2014 in Outside. no comments yet
For your reading pleasure, some of my writing for the Rolling Stone website in the past month. I attended the annual KROQ Christmas show, with eighteen bands playing over two evenings. Night one had more guitar oriented-bands, such as Queens of the Stone Age and Vampire Weekend, while night two had more dance music, such as the great Capital Cities, and finished with the Arcade Fire. I hung out in the kitchen of Stevie Nicks and interviewed her about American Horror Story (there’ll be more material coming from that interview soon). I interviewed Snoopzilla and his collaborator Dam Funk, and got a contact high just by being in the same room (no lie). And I had the great privilege of attending Stevie Wonder’s three-hour performance of all 21 compositions on Songs in the Key of Life (plus an extra unreleased song, possibly from the Key of Life sessions, called “Living for Your Love.”) A moment that didn’t make it into that writeup: John Mayer leaving the stage, and without thinking, waving goodbye to Stevie.
posted 27 December 2013 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet
You may have missed this one: I recently compiled forty of the greatest Christmas albums of all time for the Rolling Stone website. I wanted to include albums that rewarded repeated plays, not wacky Yuletide novelties–which means that I didn’t include Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart, even though I really wanted to use my “Miracle on Positively Fourth Street” joke. I enjoy all the albums on this list, and I can strongly recommend the top ten. Ella Fitzgerald’s album (my number-one selection) is a wonder, and was previously unknown to me, but the record I’d particularly like to call your attention to is our number-three choice, the Staple Singers’ 1962 album, The 25th Day of December. It’s sparely arranged–four voices doing gospel vocals, guitar, drums, and organ–and it’s jaw-droppingly great. (I don’t know why it’s such an obscurity–maybe because it was out of print for a couple of decades?) At any rate, I hope the list turns you on to some music you don’t know–and if you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have an extremely happy one. And no matter what, I wish you an amazing 2014.
posted 23 December 2013 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet
It’s the time of year when some people celebrate the holidays with loved ones, some contemplate their plans for the year to come, and some compile top-ten lists. I’m pleased to see that VJ has made a couple of year-end lists of people’s favorite music books in 2013. (There aren’t exactly ten on either list–they are not shackled by decimal convention.) Thanks to David Chiu at Brooklyn Based (“outrageous and hilarious”) and Nancy Davis Kho at Midlife Mixtape (“full of delicious insider detail”) for their kind words. Check out their lists for other music books you might enjoy–and remember that VJ makes an excellent Christmas gift.
posted 9 December 2013 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet
The Gates was a 2005 installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in New York City’s Central Park. I just stumbled on this photo in my archives and it made me happy, so here it is. Have a great weekend.
posted 6 December 2013 in Photos. no comments yet
It turns out that the historic Billy Joel announcement was actually that he’s going to be doing a monthly concert at Madison Square Garden for the foreseeable future: at least four months, very possibly thirty or more. And here I was hoping that he’d reveal that Sgt. O’Leary, who at night becomes a bartender, is the same guy as John at the bar who gets Bill his drinks for free. Unleash the power of John O’Leary!
posted 5 December 2013 in Tasty Bits. no comments yet