Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker has worked, chronologically, at The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Entertainment Weekly. He is music critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” and author of the Steely Dan chapter of the first edition of The Rolling Stone: Illustrated History of Rock and Roll edited by Jim Miller, subsequently deleted from later editions.



"L.A. Eccentricity in the 1970s: Thomas Jefferson Kaye, Hirth Martinez, and Moon Martin"

This paper is about eccentric Los Angeles-based singer-songwriters from the late ‘70s, in particular Tonio K, Thomas Jefferson Kaye, Hirth Martinez, and Moon Martin. I lived and worked in LA in late-70s/early-80s and covered these artists then, but now look back and see a bigger picture: That these were quirky, by no means “commercial” musicians who, while having nothing to do with the punk rock erupting around them, were just as much outsiders as LA as any act such as, say, the Germs or the Bags. Indeed, as the years have gone by, these men have received less notice than such LA alternative musicians. They did that distinctively LA thing: They worked within the industry to continue to make their own music, even as their very outsider quality attracted more established LA music-industry stars to work with them. For example: Kaye’s first album was produced by Gary Katz and contained 2 songs by admirers Walter Becker & Donald Fagen; Moon Martin wrote songs for/produced Michelle Phillips’s terrific, ignored solo album Victim of Love (an album worthy of a paper all by itself); Robbie Robertson produced Martinez’s Hirth From Earth.

I will place this music in its historical context, and talk about why it remains vital.

My Speakers Sessions

Sunday, March 25

4:00pm EDT