HOW TO GROW UP TO BE A DEBASER: An Intensely Personal Q&A w/ The Pixies’ Black Francis

Photo by NOAH SILVESTRY EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the complete and unabridged version of my 7,200-word Q&A with Black Francis of The Pixies’ for the cover of the March 2014 issue of MAGNET MAGAZINE. Enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA The year is 1988. I’m a college DJ stranded in the middle of Pennsyltucky. Entranced by the naked boob on the cover of Surfer Rosa, I slap it on the turntable and…they had me by the first 20 seconds of “Where Is My Mind?” They never really let go. Shortly thereafter I got a gig working for a Pennsyltucky daily. They asked […]

FROM THE VAULT: A Man Called Francis, Part 2

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview first published on October 19th, 2006. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Welcome to part two of our bazillion-word interview with esteemed jazz critic Francis Davis, wherein our man Fran will be talking non-smack about Coltrane in Philly, Sun Ra on Uranus and the pre-historic beginnings of Fresh Air. If you are just finding us for the first time, you can find Part One here, along with his illustrious CV. When we last left our hero, he was beaten, bloodied and long haired, handcuffed in the back of Philadelphia Police Department paddy wagon charged with aggravated assault and battery […]

FROM THE VAULT: A Man Called Francis, Part 1

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published back in 2006. It’s still a fascinating read. Welcome to the second installment of our Grumpy Old Men series, wherein we learn from our elders and soak up their salty yarns like Bounty Quicker Picker-Upper. Yesterday we had Robert Christgau, today Francis Davis. Tomorrow? The Pope. What’s that you say? You never heard of Francis Davis. Oh buddy, it’s good thing you found us! Check out his CV: He has written about music, film, and other aspects of popular culture for The Atlantic since 1984 and was appointed lead jazz critic for the Voice […]

Q&A W/ Anthony Bourdain, The Lou Reed Of Eating

[Illustrations by ALEX FINE] EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally ran back in November of 2011. We are re-posting it today on the second anniversary of his untimely death. Good night Mr. Bourdain, wherever you are. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Anthony Bourdain is a man who needs no introduction, but for those not in the know or without a consumptive cable habit, understand that he is the enfant terrible of the foodie world who came of age on the Punk Rock Planet of New York ‘77 simultaneously pogoing to the likes of the Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, and Patti Smith and shooting […]

Q&A W/ Joshua Ostrander AKA Mondo Cozmo

BY JONATHAN VALANIA Joshua Ostrander, aka singer-songwriter-producer and one-man-band Mondo Cozmo, is having a moment. After years and years of dues-paying obscurity grinding out laudable-but-doomed-to-the-cutout-bins music in bands called Laguardia and East Coast Conference Champions, Ostrander is finally enjoying a turn in the sun. Born and raised in Bucks County, and a resident of Philadelphia until 2006 when he pulled up stakes and headed to L.A. in search of fame and fortune, Ostrander spent the better part of the last decade working dual landscaping gigs by day, and feverishly recording in his bedroom at night, living on little more than […]

I HEAR A DARKNESS: Q&A With Will Oldham

[Photo by JEFF RUTHERFORD] EDITOR’S NOTE: Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy shares the bill with Jonathan Richman Sunday night for a sold out show at Union Transfer. Oldham is touring in support of last year’s I Made A Place, his first LP of new songs since 2011. To mark this auspicious occasion, we are re-posting our 2010 Q&A w/ the irascible Mr. Oldham. Enjoy. NEW YORKER: Oldham remains an elusive figure, but the show is a gentle reminder of why he is often cited as one of the finest singer-songwriters in contemporary American music. Oldham was a student of […]

GOD OF THUNDER: A Q&A With Gene Simmons

  EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published in June 2017. We are reprising it now in advance of Kiss’ performance at the PP&L Center in Allentown tomorrow night, the second date on the End Of The Road farewell world tour, with David Lee Roth opening. We will be sending a writer and photographer, stay tuned for a complete report. In the meantime, enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA In advance of his performance at the Trocadero tonight as part of the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con nerd jamboree at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (June 1-4), we got Gene Simmons, commander in chief […]

Q&A: Everything You Ever Wanted To Ask Monty Python But You Didn’t Have His Phone Number

[illustration by ALEX FINE] EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally posted in 2007, hence the crappy-looking overcrowded layout. We’re reprising it today to mark the sad passing of Monty Python’s Flying Circus performer/writer/creator Terry Jones. Enjoy.  BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE INQUIRER In 1969 Michael Palin quit smoking, a pasttime he was quite fond of, through sheer will power. Having achieved a victory for mind over matter, Palin decided to raise the stakes — he would keep a diary for the next 10 years come hell or high water. What makes this enterprise interesting to people like you and me is […]

THE LOCUST ABORTION TECHNICIAN: Q&A W/ Gibby Haynes, Frontman Of The Butthole Surfers

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published on July 19th, 2020. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Saints be praised! Butthole Surfers frontman/madman Gibby Haynes will be celebrating the publication of his debut novel Me & Mr. Cigar with a book released party/concert (backed by The Paul Green School of Rock) at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville on Friday January 17th — and we are totally there for this. To help get the word out, we got Gibby on the horn for a wide ranging, no-holes barred interview. If you are new to the Gibby/Surfers’ weird-ass corner of the universe, I suggest you read […]

Q&A With Jesus Lizard Guitarist Duane Denison

 EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published on 9/7/18. We are reprising it here in advance of the Jesus Lizard’s performance @ Union Transfer on Monday December 30th. Enjoy. BY RICH FRAVEL Jesus Lizard ruled the indie noise-rock roost in the ’90s releasing six albums of elegant psychosis before breaking up at the end of the decade. And now they’re back. I chatted up J-Liz guitarist Duane Denison [pictured, above left] for a bit over the phone. Hopefully I don’t sound too stupid. Duane sounds smart — I’m pretty sure he’s a smart guy. When he’s not Jay Lizzing, he’s a […]


  EDITOR’S NOTE: This is interview first published back in July when Dave Alvin was touring in support of the 25th anniversary of the release of The King Of California. We are reprising this interview in advance of his appearance at World Cafe Live tonight as part of The Reverend Horton Heat’s Holiday Hayride, featuring 5,6,7,8’s and The Voodoo Glowskulls. Enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Americana standard-bearer Dave Alvin is a national treasure. His first band, The Blasters, formed with his brother Phil, schooled a whole new generation of young punks about the glories of early to mid 20th Century American […]

HOT FREAK: Q&A w/ Philly’s Own Alex G

Photo by DYLAN LONG BY JONATHAN VALANIA Alex G, aka Alex Giannascoli, is like the red-eyed unshaven love child of Olivia Tremor Control and the Beta Band drunk on early Iron and Wine, Portland-era Elliott Smith and Guided By Voices circa Vampire On Titus: pretty/sad zig-zag bedsit folk-pop chopped and screwed until blissed out and chimerical. Born and raised on the mean streets of Havertown, an inner ring suburb of Philadelphia, and bottle-fed on the mid-90s’ indie-rock of his big sister’s record collection, he started making his own music on Garageband at the tender age of 15 and pumping it […]


PETE YORN PERFORMS @ THE FOUNDRY ON WED. NOVEMBER 6TH @ 8 PM BY JONATHAN VALANIA A way out West there was a fella, fella I want to tell you about, fella by the name of Pete Yorn. Now, above all things, Pete Yorn is a dude. He is, in fact, a dude’s dude. Same as there’s a man’s man and a songwriter’s songwriter, Pete Yorn is a dude’s dude. You can tell even before he opens his mouth, which is when it becomes really obvious. That hair, that denim jacket, those eyes — eyes that have searched soulfully through […]