Barney Hoskyns on APB – February 28th, 1988

hoskynsHere’s an interview dating from the early part of the “Langley Park” promotion and a little before the album was released. Quite reasonably there were very high hopes for “Cars and Girls” which was the payload for this piece from the music show APB, but arguably releasing a summery song in late Winter wasn’t the brightest piece of marketing ever.

Paddy had yet to be fitted with the “fop top” bob, and his long and flowing locks were disguised in a yuppie pony tail and slick back. It’s a peculiar interview in that it’s more or less the last hurrah for the opinionated version of Paddy – following this period he created a much gentler persona – but all the more interesting for that.

A quick word or two on Barney Hoskyns. Great journalist and writer on music, and he did a fair bit with Prefab Sprout here and there. He later founded “Rock’s Back Pages”, a subscription repository of music journalism. I have mixed feelings about this site: it’s quite expensive for fans – it’s a monthly subscription, although there are ways of accessing it via University libraries and so on – but it does preserve material that would otherwise be very ephemeral or disappear forever. As a case in point, there is an extended and unedited audio version of the video posted here in the repository, but sadly I can’t host it here. There are a couple of free interviews on the site incidentally, including an excellent 1999 one by Chris Ingham. You have to register to read it, but it’s worthwhile.

Hoskyns wrote an excellent oral history of Led Zeppelin too. He did a little interview on that subject, which is fascinating in that if you changed a few of the names it might equally well apply to the difficulties faced by anyone looking to create a biography of, ahem, other bands.

Roch Parisien’s Rocon Communications

Did you seek the remaining band members’ approval of your project? Did they all participate and contribute new interviews? Are you aware of any of them having read or commented on the book yet?

Barney Hoskyns

I did seek it and they did not participate, other than in the form of my spending a wonderful evening with Robert Plant in Tucson in August 2010. Plant is also the only member who – via a friend of his – has indicated that he likes the book. But I don’t know how easy it is for him to say that publicly at a time when he has to put his promotional shoulder to the wheel that is CELEBRATION DAY. I would imagine that diplomacy has to be the order of the day right now.

Roch Parisien’s Rocon Communications

Did you encounter any roadblocks or reticence in breaking through what Swan Song employee Sam Aizer referred to as the ‘secret society’ of the band’s entourage and machinery? Or had some kind of unspoken ‘statute of limitations’ passed at this point?

Barney Hoskyns

I think enough time has passed, and most of the scary villains of the piece are no longer with us. Any loyalty anyone felt to Jimmy Page in particular has probably evaporated. People get long in the tooth and want to have their say. And the greater the number of people that talk, the more OTHER people want to be heard too…

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