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The Hustle

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Best Episodes of The Hustle

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Episode 170 - Cherry Vanilla
Cherry Vanilla has done and seen just about everything. She's a recording artist, actress, author, publicist and groupie. Just a few of her career highlights include being a part of Warhol's Factory scene and acting in his play "Pork," being a publicist for David Bowie in the early 70s, putting out two excellent glam rock albums - Bad Girl in 1978 and Venus D'Vinyl in 1979 - and touring Europe with a pre-fame Police backing her up (including Sting and Stewart Copeland), and enjoying the free love culture of classic rock n' roll with the likes of Bowie AND his wife Angela. She's written a book about her many exploits called "Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla" that is free on Kindle and Audible. I tried to have an insightful discussion on sexual politics and morality and I'm not sure I quite got there, but it was certainly entertaining either way. Enjoy!
Episode 194 - Ian Burden of the Human League
Ian Burden was a key member of the revolutionary new wave band the Human League during their imperial 80s period. Philip Oakey was desperate to find band members during the lead-up to the creation of 1981's game-changing album Dare! and called upon Burden to bring his musicianship to the group, which lead to classic singles like "The Sound of the Crowd," "Love Action," and "Mirror Man." After the unpleasant experience of recording 1986's Crash with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Ian decided to leave the group and a music career. Yet, out of nowhere, last year he put out his first solo album Hey Hey Ho Hum, which sounds exactly like the album a former Human League member should make. In this chat we discuss all of it - the albums, the hits, the ups, the downs and the motivations for a solo album at this stage. What an honor to hear from him!
Bonus - Top 10 80s Movie Soundtrack Songs on Reliving My Youth
Once again Jon teams up with Noel Fogelman from Reliving My Youth for another music-related topic close to his heart: Top 10 soundtrack songs from the 80s! We discuss our lists and defend our picks. But, we ask you, dear listener, who wins?  Good news - no metronome this time!  Look for a Part 2 in the near future. 
Episode 157 - EG Daily
Yes, E.G. Daily has been an accomplished actor, voice over artist, and singer/songwriter for over 35 years, but to me she will always be the Queen of the 80s Movie Soundtrack. Her "unmistakable" voice can be heard in decade defining films like The Breakfast Club, Summer School, Scarface, and Better Off Dead, in which she also appeared. Plus, in addition to her own successful solo career, she's collaborated with artists like Giorgio Moroder, Jude Cole, Phil Oakey, Jellybean Benitez and the Cruzados. We discuss her many years in the business, the stories behind many of her songs, what she still wants to accomplish, and her greatest role - motherhood. Enjoy!
Recap v.3: May and June and Top 3 Underrated Artists with Special Guest Andy Schaal
Jon and Jan welcome special guest, listener Andy Schaal for the latest recap episode. They discuss their thoughts and behind the scenes stories from the May and June episodes and debate Andy's chosen topic of Most Underrated Artists/Bands. Thanks again for the support, Andy! 
Recap v.5: September and October and Top 3 Songs that Should've Been #1s with Special Guest Sonny Pooni
Jon and Jan are happy to be joined by the great Sonny "Hollywood" Pooni of the Growin' Up Rock Podcast Rock City podcasts to recap the last couple months of episodes. We also discuss the Rock n Pod Expo, how he got into podcasting, and the possible future of The Hustle. Sonny has suggested a deliciously fun topic to discuss - Top 3 songs that we wish had hit #1 between the years 1983-1989. Songs get played, names get dropped, and tastes are debated. Enjoy!
Episode 193 - Brian Vander Ark of the Verve Pipe/Solo
After building a devoted fanbase in their native Michigan in the early 90s, the Verve Pipe struck gold in 1996 when a song they'd been playing for years called "The Freshman" totally changed the game, catapulting their third album (first on a major label) Villains into platinum territory. The world was their oyster. Unfortunately, the follow-up tanked on an epic level and they never quite regained their footing. Since then their songcraft has only improved over the years, including 2017's excellent Parachute. Along the way, frontman Brian Vander Ark did his very best to stay afloat with solo albums and revolutionizing the house concert. In this chat we discuss all of it including working with producers like Jerry Harrison, Adam Schlesinger, and Bill Szymczyk, what he purchased when he finally hit it big and the impact of constantly being confused for UK band The Verve. Brian's about as down to earth as it gets and the Verve Pipe are currently on tour so catch them while you can!
Recap v.6: The Year In Review
Jon and Jan recap the episodes from November and December and countdown their top 10 episodes of the year, as well as the listener's top 5. We also answer some listener questions AND we announce a new sidecast for 2019 that listeners should really love. 2018 turned out to be a great year for us thanks to all of you. Hopefully we can keep it going! 
Episode 163 - Jack Hues of Wang Chung
Wang Chung scored some of the biggest, and most ubiquitous, hits of the 80s with seminal songs like "Dance Hall Days," "Let's Go," and, the mother of all 80s hits, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight". Though Blender magazine may have ranked that hit the 3rd worst song of all time, it's never gone away and is as well known today as it was 30 years ago. Jack and I talk about how that song came to be and how it's affected his life. We also go deep on the rest of his career, his relationship to touring, his many side projects, his upcoming solo album, and his soundtrack work for To Live and Die in L.A. and the Breakfast Club. Hopefully, you'll learn some things you didn't know before!
Episode 169 - B.J. Thomas
Billboard Magazine lists B.J. Thomas among the top 50 most played artists of the modern era. This shouldn't be surprising considering his career goes back over 50 years and features songs that have become standards at this point like "Hooked On a Feeling," "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," and, of course, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" from 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In this conversation B.J. discusses how he was selected to sing that song, how his spiritual awakening helped him overcome alcoholism, the time he met John Wayne, and how he came to sing the theme to Growing Pains. He's still going strong and next week is his 76th birthday!
Episode 89 - Nick Van Eede of Cutting Crew
Cutting Crew made a huge splash with their debut album Broadcast in 1986, which featured three top 40 hits including the #1 smash "(I Just) Died In Your Arms". Lead singer Nick Van Eede had the musical chops and hunky good looks to catapult a great band into the mainstream. Unfortunately, a long delayed second album cost the group the momentum it needed to stay there, and Nick's broader and more epic songwriting lost some pop sensibility in the process. They sadly never regained their stature. Over the years, Cutting Crew have released five albums in total, including 2015's Add To Favourites, and held a pleasurable spot on 80s Rewind-type tours throughout the world. Nick talks about his prog influences, the death of his musical partner Kevin Scott MacMichael, his involvement in the creation of Cher's global juggernaut "Believe", and how he nearly replaced Phil Collins in Genesis. Cutting Crew may have seemed gone to those not paying full attention, but Nick has never really gone away.
Episode 72 - Mark Gable of Choirboys
Choirboys have been an active, vibrant pub rock/hard rock band in their native Australia for over 30 years. They've had several major hits Down Under, including 1987's "Run To Paradise" which, get this, is the 11th best selling Australian single of the 80s! Surprisingly, they've never made much of a dent in America (and never tried too hard). We talk about the differences between Australian and American success, what kind of a lifestyle "Run to Paradise" has afforded them, and them being discovered by George Young, the older brother of Angus and Malcolm from AC/DC. I also pick his brain on some of my favorite artists hailing from the eastern hemisphere. The guy has quite the personality, enjoy!
Episode 73 - David Sterry of Real Life
David Sterry is the man behind one of the most iconic and enduring hits of the 80s synth-pop era, "Send Me An Angel". His band Real Life were major players in the 80s when Angel reached the charts TWICE (in 1983 and again in 1989), and "Catch Me I'm Falling" also made a huge splash in 1983. You'd think writing a song as evergreen as Angel would keep you comfy for the rest of your life, but surprisingly, that was not the case. Luckily, after 20 years, David is now benefitting from his impactful legacy and successfully touring the 80s nostalgia circuit in his native Australia. We talk about the ups and downs of his career, the other great music Real Life has recorded, what he did during the lean years, and some of his best memories. 
Episode 76 - Glen Burtnik
Glen Burtnik embodies exactly what The Hustle represents - the artist that works tirelessly to stay vital, involved, creative and paid. Glen was launched as a promising solo artist in the mid-80s releasing two great records on A&M. He achieved some chart success with 1987's "Follow You" which reached #65 on the pop charts. As the solo career was sputtering, Glen was invited to replace Tommy Shaw in Styx and wrote their last decent-sized hit with 1991's "Love is the Ritual". This began a new career as a professional songwriter (penning hits for Patty Smythe and Don Henley, as well as Randy Travis) and as a gun for hire, bringing his professionalism and vast talents to anyone that needed them. These days he's in, no kidding, at least half a dozen different groups/projects/ensembles all of which showcase his passion for great, classic music.
Episode 68 - Arthur Alexander of Sorrows
Arthur Alexander grew up in Warsaw Poland with dreams of becoming the next Elvis. His dreams brought him to NYC where he paid his dues on the CBGBs scene of the mid-70s with his first band The Poppees before things started to take off with his next band, the killer garage rock/power pop greats Sorrows. Unfortunately, after two under-performing albums the band was no more. Arthur is very candid and opinionated about his own career, what went wrong, and even his feelings about his fellow CBGB cohorts (Ramones, Television, Talking Heads). Sorrows are another in that dreaded "shoulda been huge" category and, while making music isn't what pays the bills anymore, he is still out there writing and creating. Get to know one of rock's great characters!
Episode 78 - Ellen Foley
Ellen Foley burst onto the music scene in a gigantic way when she sang "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with Meat Loaf on his mega-smash Bat Out of Hell album. That incredible performance got her a record deal and she put out three albums with some of the biggest legends in the biz behind the boards (Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, The Clash, Vini Poncia, etc). In the early 80s she decided to focus on her acting career and was rewarded with a starring role on the first season of Night Court, as well as appearances in decade-defining films like Tootsie, Fatal Attraction and Cocktail. When she got married and became a mom she stepped away from the spotlight to raise her kids and now works when she wants. We discuss her thoughts on her career, what it was like collaborating with so many legends, and how she looks back on her career. Imagine the memories that must be floating around her head!
Episode 58 - Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor has been a hugely successful session guitarist for over 30 years, ever since some of his buddies called him up one day asking if he could rush over to the studio and lay down a guitar solo on a song they were working on. That song was "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and, of course, the band was Tears For Fears. This began a long and fulfilling career that's seen him work with luminaries such as Morrissey, Peter Gabriel, and Robbie Williams, whom he performed alongside for 10 years. Today, Neil is putting together an excellent solo career that deserves your attention. In this conversation we discuss many of his collaborators (Naked Eyes, Holly Johnson, Johnny Hates Jazz, Howard Jones, Jane Wiedlin, Red Box, Martin Page, Tina Turner, Trevor Horn) and he shares some incredible stories. I love this one a lot.   
Episode 44 - Robin Clark of Simple Minds
Robin Clark might be best known for her time with Simple Minds during the height of their popularity in the mid-80s. She joined them for the Once Upon a Time album, singing on gigantic hits like "Alive and Kicking", "Sanctify Yourself" and "All the Things She Said" and touring the world for a couple years. What you may not have known is that she's been married to David Bowie's rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar for 45 years and not only did she sing on some of Bowie's most iconic songs ("Young Americans", "Blue Jean"), but was close friends with David since the early 70s. In this conversation, she was gracious enough to allow me to ask her some questions about David and her experience with him. She sheds a unique light on David the man, versus David Bowie The Rock God. Of course we also get deep into Simple Minds, and her longtime friendships with Luther Vandross and Nile Rodgers. She's an amazing lady and this chat is unlike anything you've ever heard.
Episode 43 - Joe Frank Carollo of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Joe Frank Carollo is the Joe Frank of popular soft rock group Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds who had a number of hits in the first half of the 70s topped off by the sweet as honey "Fallin' In Love" which reached #1 in 1975. That was their last hit, unfortunately, and after a few years on the casino circuit, Joe Frank focused on the "real job" he had all along, working in camera stores. Dan Hamilton passed away in the 90s and Tommy Reynolds gave up the music industry for his religion, leaving Joe Frank the last man standing. This charming 76 year old southern gentleman tells us what it was like being signed to Playboy Records, how some of their biggest hits came about, how proud he is of his successful composer son, and the band he plays in now.
Episode 54 - Sarah Shannon of Velocity Girl/The Not-Its/Beloved 90s Movie Soundtrack Fame/Solo
The 90s were the golden era of killer indie rock bands fronted by chicks and one of the best of the bunch was Washington D.C.'s Velocity Girl lead by Sarah Shannon. The band put out three albums in the mid-90s before calling it quits. Sarah got married, moved to Seattle, and embarked a mildly successful solo career before turning her attention away from the music industry. Just then, an opportunity to start a children's rock band called The Not-Its became a reality. Think the power poppy guitar of vintage Velocity Girl mixed with lyrics your children will enjoy. Now, Sarah's back in the rock game, although from a completely different perspective. She's also the mother of two young girls and she shares her views on parenting as a former rock star. Fascinating stuff!
Episode 49 - Ranking Roger of The English Beat/General Public/Solo
Ranking Roger is a music and style icon that needs no introduction. He was a founding member of one of the most important and beloved alternative/ska bands of all-time with the English Beat. Then, he and fellow front man Dave Wakeling broke off and formed General Public to even greater chart success ("Tenderness" #27 in 1984). Today the former partners function as two separate groups - Dave carries on as The English Beat in the states while Roger is The Beat throughout the rest of the world. We discuss the dynamic between the two, the state of potential reunions, Roger's excellent solo work, and his views on marijuana. And, he announces new Beat music coming in 2016!
Episode 48 Bonus - Phil Spalding and I discuss some of his collaborations
Phil and I discuss several of his collaborations including... Talk Talk Seal Terence Trent D'Arby Jai When In Rome Dubstar  OMD Flesh for Lulu Heaven 17 Suggs
Episode 47 - Grahame Skinner of Hipsway
Hipsway were a Scottish band in the mid-80s that scored one hit in the states off their first album with "The Honeythief" in 1986, one of the finest singles of its era. That was about it for Hipsway, however, and after one more album that was barely released the guys parted ways. What's interesting about lead singer Grahame Skinner is that he's been a part of numerous other bands, both before and after, that were even better and deserved to be discovered, but mostly weren't. Today he manages a cafe in Glasgow, while making killer music as The Skinner Group when opportunity presents itself.
Bonus - Bowie Thoughts: My feelings on the passing of my constant companion
David Bowie has been my #1 since I started keeping track at 10 years old. He's had more impact on me than any other public figure alive in my lifetime. I remember thinking last Friday on his birthday how grateful I was that he was still out there producing art, but it hit me that at 69, I should start mentally preparing myself to see an old David Bowie. That it was time to especially cherish anything and everything he gives us from here on out. Two days later he was gone.  It blew my mind to hear his voice crack singing "tremble like a flower" in "Let's Dance" and I was never the same. It was provocative for a 10 year old to hear a grown up break a rule like that. And nothing is more influential or tantalizing to a 10 year old than seeing rules get broken. I've probably spent more time thinking about David Bowie in my life than anyone other than God. Both are puzzles we may never solve in this life. Maybe in the next.  
Episode 39 Bonus - David Frank and I discuss some of his collaborations
I hit David with a list of some of my favorite credits of his. The artists include Scritti Politti, Phil Collins, Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan, Billy Idol, Billy Squier, and Rod Stewart.
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Podcast Details
Jan 1st, 1980
Latest Episode
Nov 17th, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
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