Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An interview with Robert Forster, author of The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll

Robert Forster was a founding member of The Go-Betweens and is currently the music critic for the Monthly magazine. His first book The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll is an exhilarating trip through the past and present of popular music – from Bob Dylan, AC/DC and Nana Mouskouri through to Cat Power, Franz Ferdinand and Delta Goodrem.

You were first known as a songwriter and musician, how did you come to be a music writer, and was it something that had always interested you?

I was asked to be a music writer by Christian Ryan who was the first editor of the Monthly. Music journalism was something that always interested me but only as a reader. I thought about music and I would almost run ideas through my head when I listened to a record or saw a concert, but I never put any of thoughts to paper. I needed some impetus to do that, and that eventually came from Christian's request.

Are there particular music writers whose work you admire, and have they influenced your own writing in any way?

I admire the following people but you may not see any of their influence in what I do. And there has been no overriding person whom I have wished to be with my writing. No one example. But I like or have liked Nick Kent, Robert Christgau, Ann Powers, Bernard Zuel, Victoria Segal. There are many others.

What 2009 album have you enjoyed most this year?

Sarah Blasko's As Day Follows Night.

The bands and albums that you write about are diverse, what are some of your most loved albums?

Hunky Dory by David Bowie. Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan. Marquee Moon by Television, If You’re Feeling Sinister by Belle and Sebastian.

What are some of the best and most memorable gigs that you’ve been to?

Talking Heads, at Festival Hall in Brisbane in 1979, Orange Juice at Glasgow Technical College in 1980, The John Steel Singers at Trobador(sic) Club Brisbane in 2009, and The Beach Boys at Festival Hall in Brisbane in 1978.