Nick Lowe - bass, vocals; Billy Bremner - guitar, vocals; Dave Edmunds - guitar, vocals; Terry Williams - drums
For a period of three years, British pop songwriter, bassist, and producer Nick Lowe had an interesting arrangement with his fellow Brit musician and longtime collaborator, Dave Edmunds. The two decided to produce tracks for and play on each other's solo albums, as well as be members in a band that would support each one when they toured as solo artists. Hence the birth of Rockpile, probably the best known and best loved of all U.K. pub bands.
This show was taped for the King Biscuit Flower Hour when Lowe was promoting his debut classic solo album, Pure Pop For Now People. The record was released in 1977 in the U.K. as Jesus Of Cool, but Lowe's U.S. label, Columbia, was scared that the title would keep the record out of the more conservative retail chain stores.
Pure Pop For Now People was a hit anyway, gathering rave reviews on both sides of the pond, not as much for its concise pop tracks and pub-influenced musicianship, but more so because Lowe had become producer of the hour. He is generally regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of punk (not because he made punk records himself, because he didn't) but because he took the grit and the passion from the U.K. pub scene and translated it effectively in the studio with a litany of angry British musicians, among them Elvis Costello, the Damned, Graham Parker & the Rumour, and the Pretenders.
This show opens with a trio of songs sung by Edmunds before Lowe takes center stage and blasts his way into our ears and hearts with such brilliant songs as "So It Goes," "(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass" (a parody of David Bowie's drug-induced Berlin period), and "I've Been A Fool Too Long." After Bremner fronts the band for "Mess O' Blues" and "Trouble Boys," Edmunds takes center stage again for a number of songs associated with his career. "Here Comes The Weekend," "They Call It Rock," " Falling In Love Again," and "Heart Of The City" all help bring the show to a climax. Another highlight is Edmunds' 1972 cover solo hit, "I Hear You Knockin'."
After leading and playing bass for the classic Brit pub band, Brinsley Schwartz, Lowe moved into producing by the mid-1970s. In 1976, he signed on with Stiff Records, the punk label started by Elvis Costello's manager, Jake Riviera. Lowe saw his initial success with Stiff, producing many of its artists at the same time he was an act on the label as well. Between 1979 and 1981, Lowe and Edmunds worked under the name Rockpile with Bremner and Williams. Vocally, Lowe and Edmunds borrowed heavily from the Everly Brothers. The band's one LP on Columbia did moderately well, but by 1981 the group was kaput.
Lowe went on to produce budding country-rock singer, Carlene Carter (daughter of June Carter-Cash and stepdaughter to Johnny Cash). During his work on her first LP, the two fell in love and married. He worked with her for three albums before divorcing and joining up with another ill-fated supergroup, Little Village, along with Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, and Jim Keltner.
Lowe battled alcohol abuse during much of the '80s, but cleaned up and has been making concise and extremely enjoyable country and rock albums ever since. His latest disc came out in 2007, and was entitled At My Age.