Rock's Backpages Ep.94: Caroline Boucher on Zappa + Beefheart + Alice Cooper + Yes


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In this episode we invite former Disc (and Music Echo) reporter Caroline Boucher to reflect on her journey from the Gravesend & Dartford Reporter to The Observer's Food Monthly supplement — via a stint at Elton John's Rocket label. Barney, Mark & Jasper ask Caroline about being a female pop reporter in that very unwoke era, and press her for stories about her favourite L.A. freaks Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.

The Zappa theme leads into clips from not one but two audio interviews with Vince "Alice Cooper" Furnier, the first from August 1969 — when Alice signed to Frank's Straight label — and the second from exactly 20 years later, when Adam Blake talked to him about his new Trash album. Fond recall ensues of 'School's Out' and other Cooper classics.

The conversation turns from freaky California weirdness to pompous English prog-rock, though Mark makes a compelling case for — and defence of — the 50-year-old Yes Album. The "team" pays its respects to the Supreme Mary Wilson, the jazz-fusing Chick Corea, Salsa godfather Johnny Pacheco and Byrds/Smiths biographer Johnny Rogan, after which Mark talks us through his library highlights from the previous fortnight and Jasper signs off with remarks on pieces about Halsey and Pharrell Williams.

Many thanks to special guest Caroline Boucher; for more of her writing, visit her page on RBP.

The Zappa documentary is streaming now on the website and all major platforms from March.

Pieces discussed: Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Burgers with Alice Cooper, Alice Cooper backstage, Alice Cooper audio, Yes, Yes, Yes, Mary Wilson, The Supremes, Chick Corea, Johnny Pacheco, Johnny Rogan, The Beatles live, Aretha Franklin, Nick Drake, Sunset Strip groupies, Evan Parker, Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, George Clinton, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Alan Douglas, Al Bell, Pharrell Williams and Halsey.

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