Music Pieces

elvis-costelloOne of my first jobs was at jazz and new music magazine The Wire, and writing about music has given me some of my greatest pleasure in journalism.paul-weller

One series of interviews I particularly enjoyed researching and conducting for The Wire was “Invisible Jukebox”. The idea is similar to the long-standing “Blindfold Test” in DownBeat: you play a musician a set of tracks which they are asked to identify and comment on – with no prior knowledge of what they’re about to hear.

It proved to be a great way of getting something new and different, something highly personal, from an interviewee; musicians would often respond very powerfully, emotionally and insightfully to the (carefully chosen) tracks. Often more so than in many a “straight” interview.

miles-davisThere were quite a number of people that I interviewed jools-hollandusing this format, and I’ve included some of the better ones – Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Ali Farka Toure, Jack Bruce, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Leon Redbone, John Harle, Lester Bowie and Billy Jenkins – here, and on the Music page. Some of these interviews also made their way into book form, in an Invisible Jukebox anthology.

For other music interviews and profiles, from Miles Davis to Nick Cave, Jools Holland to Gil Scott-Heron, click here.


About admin

Philip Watson is an experienced freelance journalist who has written articles on a wide variety of subjects. His in-depth features range from 9/11 to the Poker Million tournament, fathers’ rights to Chernobyl children, Miles Davis to (a film version of) James Joyce’s Ulysses, British soldiers injured in Afghanistan to the Peace One Day campaign, and the Irish boom to the Irish bust. Interviews and profiles extend from Martin Scorsese to Claudia Schiffer, Paul Weller to William Boyd, conman “King Con” to F1 driver “Fast” Eddie Irvine, Antony Gormley to Antoine de Caunes, and maverick British inventor James Dyson to radical American comic Lenny Bruce. Philip gained a distinction on the postgraduate journalism course at University of Wales, Cardiff and worked for a number of years at GQ, where he was deputy editor, and Esquire, where he was editor-at-large. He has been freelance for the past decade or more, contributing articles and features to many publications in Britain, Ireland and the US, including the Telegraph Magazine, Guardian, Sunday Times, Observer, Irish Times, London Evening Standard, Travel + Leisure and music magazine The Wire. Philip has also appeared on radio and television programmes in the UK and Ireland, including RTÉ arts review show The Works. He is the editor of More Than A Game: GQ on Sport (Orion) and a collection of his interviews with musicians features in the anthology Invisible Jukebox (Quartet).