This one is a chat with Sylvie Simmons – that’s Sylvie Simmons the music writer, Leonard Cohen biographer and MOJO staff writer, legendary rock writer who was on the tour bus with Black Sabbath and Van Halen, who published the first interview with Guns n’ Roses and championed the young Motley Crue; also the same Sylvie Simmons who has written liner notes for a Johnny Cash box-set, spending time with him at his request in the months just before his passing; Sylvie Simmons famed Americana columnist.
She’s interviewed nearly everyone in music and she makes music herself now too – an album of her own songs on the market, a second one in the works. She’s written fiction (and has more short stories to come – hopefully) and has worked for a range of international music magazines.
The English writer lives in America and I caught up with her at her home in San Francisco. She showed me the book where she keeps a note of almost everyone she’s reviewed or interviewed and we sat and had a cup of tea in the same spot where, four years earlier, I met her on my first visit to San Francisco and heard all about the Leonard Cohen book which was then still taking shape. Since its publications Sylvie has visited New Zealand – as part of the book-tour – and I interviewed her live on stage in Carterton. She ended up staying the night with us when her flights were mixed-up, and then a few nights on we attended a Kraftwerk gig together in Sydney.
I’ve written a bit about our previous meetings and her influence on me as writer, one of my writing heroes. And I’ve interviewed her, rather informally, a couple of times in the lead-up to her New Zealand visit.
So to sit down and talk to Sylvie on the record about records – about gigs, interviews and so many other things – was a great treat. I hope you enjoy our conversation here.
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I hope you like episode 29 of Sweetman Podcast, my conversation with the great Sylvie Simmons, musician and music-writer.
Postscript: There’s a bit more about my time hanging out with Sylvie and recording this podcast in my tour diary entry from my time in San Francisco here.