The Ace Records Podcast
We welcome you to the Ace podcast, lovingly presided over for us by journalist, record collector and broadcaster Pete Paphides. This occasional series will feature interviews with guests from many branches of the extended Ace family, detailing their own careers, the artists that have influenced their lives and the records that they love, all enjoyably explored over two microphones and plenty of cups of tea.
Episode 29 – Gary Crowley
The Crow! A man whose immediately-recognisable cackle introduces himself before our host Pete Paphides even has a chance to. Gary has been writing and presenting music coverage for both his and our whole lives and he’s never lost that contagious Tigger bounce of youthful enthusiasm. Beginning on Capital Radio and migrating across GLR, XFM, 6music and to his current home on London Radio, he talks about the fanzines, magazines, programmes and interviews that have made his life.
Always remaining a fan despite knowing and working with many of his heroes, he talks about swapping playlists with Paul Weller, stickering Pretenders records for his now-neighbour Chrissie Hynde, and Gary can still recite by heart the Weller family’s home phone number, as once printed in Meldoy Maker!
Here to talk about his new compilation for Ace, ‘Productions of Martin Rushent’, he explains that seeing Rushent’s name on a record worked for him as a sign of quality, whether it appeared on the Stranglers, Buzzcocks and punk records that made his youth or the classic synth pop of the 1980s. Gary wrote the definitive sleevenote to go alongside – and as Pete points out, it’s like a theatre programme, you need to read as you listen to get the full effect.
Episode 28 - Corinne Drewery
The one-time vocalist with Working Week (post-collaboration with another Ace podcast alumnae Tracey Thorn) and long-time vocalist with Swing Out Sister, Corinne Drewery joins our Pete to shoot the breeze about the music she’s made and the music that’s made her.
Coming out of St Martin’s art college (this time her alumnae being Sade) and impressing the high street with her fashion designs to the point Laura Ashley paid for her student patterns, Corinne started to realise her real passion was for music and has never looked back. Joining forces with Andy Connell from A Certain Ratio and Martin Jackson from Magazine, Tony Wilson called Corinne an honorary Mancunian. Once signed to a major label, their sound was actually so much bigger, the US in particular embracing them for their cinematic and lush sounds that reflect the love she has for the music of Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, together with Britsoul and soft jazz.
Still recording and touring, Corinne also still DJs and makes pilgrimages to Northern Soul all-nighters and has brought along a box of her favourite 45s to talk through, much to Pete’s delight…
Episode 27 - Stewart Lee
The celebrated comedian, journalist and documentary maker brings to the Ace podcast his unique take on the world, covering what Jimmy Tarbuck might have seen when given acid by the Beatles, how he met then-stranger Ian McShane for dinner when allowed out after a Covid lockdown and comparing a Dream Syndicate improvisation session to what he hopes to achieve with his stand-up. This is all via talks on record shopping in the Birmingham area, bogs and being a volunteer corpse.
It is the only Ace podcast that includes a live toilet break.
Episode 26 – Sean Rowley
Hero of radio, ‘All Back To Mine’, ‘Guilty Pleasures’, the Mighty Hoopla Festival and so much more, Sean Rowley chats to our Pete to walk him through Sean’s new compilation for Ace – ‘Ladies Sing The Boss’, a CD of female artists covering Springsteen. Sean talks us through his overarching love of the cover version and how they allow you to luxuriate in the beauty of a song to the extent it can take on a whole new meaning. Likewise ‘the cars and girls’ surface nature of Springsteen songs can have a whole new light shone on their perhaps more hidden yet innate sensitivity and vulnerability. As Lucy Dacus sings on ‘Dancing In The Dark’ – ‘wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face’, Bruce has never sounded more understanding of a female experience. They talk about how ‘Cover Me’ was originally written for Donna Summer, and perhaps a little more tangentily, Pete’s love of Mike Read’s Heritage show and Hall & Oates’ dynamic when off duty.
Further listening: Ladies Sing The Boss
Episode 25 - Lenny Kaye
We’re very proud to have as special guest on the latest episode of the Ace podcast Lenny Kaye - musician, producer, rock scholar, Nuggets compiler and integral member of the Patti Smith Group for five decades and counting.
Lenny’s genre, continent and decade spanning book “Lightning Striking” comes with a companion double CD released on Ace. Identifying some seminal moments in the history of rock n roll, Lenny describes some formative "lightning strike" moments in music history and latterly, what it's like to be present when it actually happens to him.
Further listening - Lightning Striking
Episode 24 – Edgar Wright
Film director, screenwriter and producer Edgar Wright is the latest guest on the Ace podcast, talking us through his latest film about Sparks and how he manages to crowbar music into everything else that he does besides. Our host Pete and Edgar discuss how important ‘Bell Bottoms’ and ‘Harlem Shuffle’ proved to Edgar’s film ‘Baby Driver’ and how he was inspired by two very different uses of ‘Blue Moon’ in ‘An American Werewolf In London’. Keen to make his own soundtrack before one ever existed, Edgar recorded clips of the film from VHS onto cassette and as a result of endless listens to his own version, can do an incredible impression of Jenny Agutter shrieking. So there’s lots to tune in for for all the family.
Blue Moon by the Marcels on Golden Age Doo Wop Edition * Harlem Shuffle by Bob & Earl on Land of 1,000 Dances * Jon Spencer Top Ten
Episode 23 - Jim McCulloch
Join us for a long distance, hour long call between Ace’s lovely podcast host Pete Paphides and this episode’s guest, Glaswegian music royalty, Jim McCulloch, ex of the BMX Bandits, the Soup Dragons, the Green Peppers, Snowgoose and many more. Jim fondly talks us through the naivety of being a teenage superstar (and starring in Grant McPhee’s documentary of the same name), through music academia and teaching, to working the early shift at the M&S bakery making pecan pastries, to his more recent and starry turn writing and performing with Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell – and both Pete and Jim finding Isobel by far the scariest of the two.
Treat yourself to a copy of Jim’s brand new mini album ‘When I Mean What I Say’ (Violette Records) and why not grab some of the other amazing and eclectic records they take in along the way, from Francoise Hardy to Love.
Episode 22 - Norman Jay MBE
On the Ace podcast this week, we’re joined by all-round Good Times guy, Norman Jay. Pete talks him through his route from squatters rights’ warehouse parties and early pirate radio infamy to published author, celebrated label owner, household name - and also featuring on the New Years’ Honours List as an MBE no less. The coiner of the phrase “Rare Groove”, the co-owner of Talking Loud, KissFM’s most hallowed DJ and proud exponent of any music he cares to love, unrestrained by genre - regardless of the letters of complaint! In Pete’s words, no other DJ has him “reaching for Shazam so often”. And they had such a nice chat, they’ve immediately planned the next.
Episode 21 - Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park)
Our special guest on this episode of the Ace podcast is the always humble and kind-spirited lead singer with Maxïmo Park, Paul Smith. Mercury-nominated for the band’s debut “A Certain Trigger” and a big champion and collector of music of all genres and eras, a frequent collaborator with others (including Field Music and the Unthanks) and indeed frontman with this week’s biggest indie album release to boot.
Join Paul & regular host Pete as they talk about juggling trying to record an album in the attic along with home schooling, breaking off from interviews as your four year old wants a tickle fight, their musings on how to feel about loved records that in hindsight could be tarnished and the highly revealing & controversial question, “Please put Nick Drake’s albums in order of preference?”
Further listening: Robert Kirby Arrangements
Episode 20 - Ady Croasdell
The latest episode of the Ace podcast keeps it in the family, with Kent label boss, Ace’s Head of A&R and Northern Soul royalty, Ady Croasdell.
Ady’s “For Dancers Only” was the beginning of a beautiful partnership with Ace, being his first - and yet somehow simultaneously one of the most definitive - compilations of the genre. Ady also has the longest running Northern Soul night ever and yet he remains staggeringly modest.
Listen in to Ady and Pete talk about the joys of dancing on your own without having to worry about a partner, and how selling records for a few bob’s profit as a kid led to buying whole catalogues with exciting tape hauls.
Further listening: For Dancers Only
Bonus Episode 19 - Roger Armstrong & Kevin Howlett
We happily bring you a bonus half-hour lockdown episode featuring Ace’s head honcho Roger Armstrong in conversation with his co-compiler of our extended reissue of Motown’s original compilation “The ‘Sound’ Of The RnB Hits”.
They talk about the lifetime’s resonance this early childhood purchase had for Roger, the huge influence The Beatles had over the UK’s introduction to Motown and how surprisingly quick it was to order a record in an arcade in 1963’s Belfast with the shop picking it up off the boat from Liverpool the very next day.
When The Beatles played their cover of ‘Please Mr. Postman’, it was almost certainly the first time that record had ever been heard on the BBC, and their Motown covers kept on coming - “and it wasn’t a rip off, it was a love-in”. Over to Roger & Kevin to tell you more.
Further listening: Sound of the R&B Hits
Episode 18 – Katie Puckrik
With thanks to Soho Radio for helping us record this whilst the Ace studio was closed during lockdown, we make the most of our time with Katie Puckrik in this feature-length episode. Dancer with the Pet Shop Boys and Michael Clark, presenter of TV and radio, purveyor of yacht rock docs (not easy to say out loud), author of the cult favourite, must-read “Shooting From The Lip”, and connoisseur of (boy-only) Power Pop, donuts and smells. We take a fascinating tour through all Katie’s loves — and Pete cracks a rather brilliant Billy Joel joke.
Further listening: Fountain Coffee Room
Episode 17 – Bob Stanley talks Occasional Rain
In our first episode of the Ace podcast recorded off-site during the Covid lockdown, we join our affable host Pete Paphides in the shed at the bottom of his garden and guest Bob Stanley, gazing out his bedroom window in Yorkshire and describing his neighbours on either side. They’re all very nice. Together they talk us track-by-track through Bob & Pete Wiggs’ follow up to the hugely successful ‘English Weather’ compilation, ‘Occasional Rain’. And Pete also randomly pitches for a Location, Location, Location orchestral event if anyone wants to take the baton up on that.
Episode 16 - Dana Gillespie
Dana is here to set you straight.
On whether she's an actor or actress, on what it's like to grow up in a five-floor upper-class townhouse in Kensington whilst also hitchhiking and sleeping rough as a teenager on tour, and on how many albums she's made during her extensive career to date (depending on your definition, it's anywhere between 30 and 70!). She'll tell you about her (often very!) personal experiences with illustrious friends and colleagues David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Donovan, Mick Ronson, Rick Wakeman, and not forgetting what it was like to play to over 1 million people at the request of Indian spiritual guru, Sri Baba.
As Dana says at the end of an almost breathless extended episode which covers everything from being in the GB junior snow team, in the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar and starring in films with Pete & Dud and Art Garfunkel. - there are still millions of things she didn't get to say. There's never enough time with Dana.
Further listening: Dana Gillespie
Episode 15 - Dean Rudland
Dean is right-hand man to Eddie Piller at Acid Jazz (and as such the co-compiler of their seminal Totally Wired compilations), he’s the man behind the relaunch of EMI’s Stateside label and perhaps most importantly for our podcast, label boss of Ace’s funk, mod and soul imprint, BGP.
Dean and our host Pete Paphides talk about growing up listening to Radio One and shopping in HMV, and how such large, commercial companies can give you a chance to specialise and find your niche. Dean also talks about visiting Rodney Hall and the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals and trips to Detroit to wade through all that Westbound has to offer.
That plus DJing in London and double-taking at Paul Weller at the bottom of the stairs.
Episode 14 - Tim Burgess & Bob Stanley
Our guests this episode come from strikingly similar backgrounds - both released their debut singles in 1990 (with the Charlatans and Saint Etienne respectively), both are published authors, both have run their own record labels and both are known for being avid record collectors.
Having teamed up once before to collaborate on the single ‘I Was Born On Christmas Day’, Tim Burgess and Bob Stanley have once more been brought together to work on a new compilation for Ace. “Tim Peaks: Songs For A Late-Night Diner” celebrates their mutual love of David Lynch, as reimagined with a soundtrack from Northern England.
Enjoy their chat with our regular host Pete Paphides about their choices for this record, their love of Factory Records, the art of the b-side and how non-League football first brought them together.
Further listening: Tim Peaks
Episode 13 - Alexis Petridis
Alexis Petridis, The Guardian’s head rock & pop critic and the ghost writer for Elton John’s official new biography, “Me” (hardcover published Oct 15th 2019), joins our regular host Pete Paphides for a chat about all things, well, rock and pop. Which as Pete points out, finally proves to people who can’t process more than one Greek surname in the music critic world at a time, that they are not in fact, one and the same person.
Covering topics such as: what are guilty pleasures, the (possible) moment the concept of the tribute band was accidentally conceived and time flattening out so all music is accessible in a way we’ve never known before - plus an unexpected Aaliyah/airport joke found in the bagging area - all makes for a very entertaining and informative episode.
Episode 12 - Chris White of The Zombies
“Adored by Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Paul Weller, Tom Petty and by Dusty Springfield, who even asked him to write a song for her”. So begins the introduction to Ace podcast guest Chris White - long term bassist, occasional lead singer and one of the legendary songwriters in the Zombies - and the accolades just keep coming from there.
Finally being appreciated in the UK as much as they were in the US, their album "Odessey & Oracle" is now spoken about in the same celebrated terms as "Sgt Pepper" and "Pet Sounds". New inductees to the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame in 2019, Chris is preparing to go on tour with Brian Wilson this September, and new fans to the band are still being adopted by the day.
Listen to him talk about the importance of signing a good recording contract, being in a band with your best friends, touring with the Isley Brothers in the Deep South, being chased by over-eager fans with scissors keen for any keepsake, “Fake Zombies”, playing Graham Nash’s wedding, finding untold boxes of unissued tapes in the attic and why "Odessey & Oracle" was spelled wrong.
Further listening: acerecords.co.uk
Episode 11 - David Holmes
When asked what instrument he plays, David Holmes' response is "the studio". He's made solo albums, written Hollywood film scores, music for award-winning tv, been in countless bands, DJed since the age of 14, produced a Mercury-nominated album for Noel Gallagher and only last month, remixed the latest single from Jarvis Cocker. Not to mention being a compiler for Ace Records.
David meets our regular podcast host Pete Paphides to discuss why he's always been driven by doing something different, and how his latest Phil Spector-tinged project, Unloved, came together. They discuss what it was like growing up in a house of ten children in Belfast during the Troubles, including a bomb landing in his back garden whilst he was in the bath aged four, and how he's ended up scoring films about this exact personal mythology. He'll tell you about his love for Kent Records' “For Dancers Only” series and how the record shops of his youth would give him killer 7”s on tab - which he went back years later to actually pay for.
He'll do all this whilst whistling and singing and humming and it's a contagious listen about his true love for all music.
Compiled by David Holmes for Ace – Good Vibrations
Episode 10 - The Seeds
Join us for our latest edition of the podcast, recorded in the bustling Ace office on a day where we were lucky enough to have the Seeds drop by for a chat. Founding member Daryl Hooper, their legendary keyboard player - an influence on everyone from The Doors' Ray Manzarek to '90s Manchester’s Inspiral Carpets - is accompanied by drummer Don Boomer, who joined their line up in the late '60s, and Ace's own Alec Palao. Alec has curated a series of definitive Seeds reissues after tireless master tape digging, produced the documentary about the band and actually features in their current touring line up. In fact, he's so much of an authority on their history, they look to him to answer some of the questions.
A fascinating trip down memory lane for the band, taking in Daryl's move to California as an 18 year-old wannabe piano tuner, their early gigs doing covers, including one where they got paid in spaghetti, the reception of their seminal, self-titled, near-perfect first album and all that's unexpectedly followed for them. Including watching Robert Downey Jr sing along to "Pushin' Too Hard" at a late night showing of "Air America".
Further listening: Here
(The Seeds pictured here recording a session for BBC 6 Music at Maida Vale Studios).
Episode 9 – CP Lee
In this episode, our Pete is in conversation with CP Lee - the compiler, sleevenote writer and also a featured musician on Ace’s recent Manchester release.
Talking us through what it was like during the emergence of Manchester beat groups of the 60s, to be at seminal gigs by the Ikettes and of Dylan, being a constant at Roger Eagle’s house (and who he met as a consequence), how government legislation affected the local clubbing scene and how the first Buzzcocks really came about, it’s a fascinating trip through the history of the city, and of our guest.
Frank Zappa wasn’t a fan of his for nothing.
Episode 8 - Tracey Thorn
Writer and singer Tracey Thorn joins our regular host Pete Paphides to talk about her upcoming book Another Planet (Canongate), which centres around that all too familiar relationship between how your music taste formulates your sense of self whilst growing up, can alienate you from your parents and how this all reflects on the town you grew up in. And how only a Dad could say, "I didn't know you liked music that much" after you’d released several albums and a successful book about it.
They also take a look at upcoming Ace release "Three Day Week" as Tracey's teenage, suburban self remembers her love of David Essex.
Episode 7 - David Quantick
Seminal music journalist, successful author, Emmy-award-winning comedy writer, tv pundit, self-styled grumpy old man and Bill Hicks' official biographer - only one of these is completely untrue and listed as fact on David Quantick's Wikipedia page.
Join Pete and David as they discuss the comedy of Chris Morris as well as the comedy of the Damned, the importance of editors and the unimportance of the truth, and who was the best interviewee - David Bowie or Grace Jones.
Further reading: David Quantick's Top Ten
Episode 6 - Bob Stanley
How do you manage to fit into one hour everything that Bob Stanley has done - his band, his tours, his journalism, his books, his compilations? For Ace alone, he’s put together albums covering everything from a double CD of Charlie Rich’s Groove & RCA recordings and a compendium of folk legend Robert Kirby’s orchestrations, as well as delving into the global politics of the late sixties and the effect of street-rioting and high-profile assassinations on everyone from Frank Sinatra to Serge Gainsbourg with “State of the Union” and “Paris In The Spring” respectively.
The answer is, you can’t. So our host Pete Paphides also opts for asking Bob questions from a tin, Smash Hits-style! Hurray! So you can hear what Bob has to say about Roy Orbison’s dark side but you can also find out what he thinks of the logistics of running a butcher’s shop with Sam Fox.
We’ll no doubt be inviting Bob back soon as there’s so much more to say (Or as Smash Hits would put it: back! back! BACK!!!)
Episode Five - Sheila B
Episode five features girl group expert, album compiler, vinyl collector and radio & club DJ, well-travelled New Yorker Sheila B. The conversation covers the thrill of starting a fanzine and gig-going as a teen, diving down Discogs-rabbitholes, the ups and downs of working in the modern music industry and the sheer adrenaline of being besotted with records - which for Sheila, includes everything from Megadeth and Stereolab through to loving Japanese girl pop so much she then learnt the language.
But to begin - let's confirm what Pete and Sheila feel are the essential components of an English breakfast.
Episode Four – Jon Savage
A fascinating conversation with author, critic and collector, Jon Savage. Listen to his journey from teen music fan, dutifully logging everything he heard on the radio, through his life as a music journalist and gig-goer, then back to enjoying being a fan once more with the comfort and joy he’s found in compiling. Find out what it meant to be “the anti-Nick Kent”, which bands advised you to take LSD and which definitely didn’t, alongside Jon’s surprisingly strong thoughts on beards and disco. Two things occasionally found at the same time.
Episode Three - Graham Gouldman
Join Pete in Graham Gouldman's own kitchen, to talk 10cc, the Yardbirds, the Merseybeats, ‘Bus Stop’ being the greatest song of all time and what it was like to produce the Ramones, who were apparently surprisingly punctual. A charming listen with one of the UK's greatest ever songwriters, punctuated by boiling kettles and bird song from the garden.
For further Graham Goldman songwriting: (Graham-Gouldman-Songbook-1964-2005)
Episode Two - David Morrissey
In our second episode, Pete and actor David Morrissey talk over David's musical upbringing in his home city of Liverpool, the gigs he went to growing up, and David's love of everything from Julian Cope to Northern Soul and Rita & The Tiaras. Let's hope the mentioned Julian Cope film could still happen some day.
Episode One - Bernard Butler
Listen in to Bernard and Pete's chat, recorded at audiophile's dream venue, Spiritland in the heart of King's Cross to talk over Bernard's illustrious career throughout its many ongoing manifestations, his love of groundbreaking guitarists such as James Burton and Link Wray, the lush orchestral arrangements of Jack Nitzsche, and his fondness for Ace's own "Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures" compilation series.
The podcasts have been uploaded to Soundcloud, iTunes etc with more episodes coming soon, including legendary music journalist, Emmy-winning comedy writer and author, David Quantick (David Quantick Top 10).
For Pete Paphides' own Top Ten list complete with an exclusively put together Ace mixtape, clink here: (Pete Paphides Ace Top 10)