Hello Reddit!

I'm Steve Rosen, I have been interviewing the greatest musicians on the planet for over 45 years. I have written 16 cover stories in Guitar Player Magazine including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore. I've written 8 cover stories for Guitar World Magazine, which included three Edward Van Halen stories now considered to be some of the most important conversations with Ed ever published.

I've written several books including biographies of Ozzy/Black Sabbath, Free/Bad Company, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Rhoads and others.

I've done work for magazines all over the world including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Nepal and dozens of other locations.

I've done well over 1,000 interviews with everyone from AC/DC, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper to the Who, Pink Floyd, Beach Boys, Zeppelin and ZZ Top.

I've been on the road with Humble Pie, Zeppelin, the Who, Heart, Purple, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Loggins & Messina and a bunch of others I can't even remember.

I kept asking people questions, now lets reverse the roles and have You interview me. Ask me anything!

Proof: https://imgur.com/3VUYllZ

Brian May and I: https://imgur.com/a/liExRzy

Michael Jackson and I: https://imgur.com/a/D1zDwPn

Comments: 116 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

RealSteveRosen11 karma

Hey, Everybody:

Thank you so much for participating. I hope you had some fun. If you were digging on my comments, please check out my YouTube channel:

https://wwwyoutube.com/channel/UC06c588VT7Yri9RjbbG6evQ

You'll be able to actually hear the audio from these interviews I've been talking about here.

Again, thank you. I'm going to clock out now. I wish everyone a great week.

Play all the good notes.

As ever,

Steve Rosen

RubiesBoobies12310 karma

I’d love to know what MJ was like? Who acted like the biggest rock star?

RealSteveRosen24 karma

How are you? Michael was actually quite cool. Very nice. Soft-spoken. No ego that I could see. After the interview, he went into a corner of this room where the interview was held and he started dancing. It was as natural for him as breathing was for all of us. Being that close to him and watching him dance was pretty freaking unreal. I don't think his feet touched the ground.

Biggest rock star? I've interviewed a lot of people and they were all pretty cool. There were some morons. Todd Rundgren believe it or not was pretty difficult. I was interviewing him for a guitar mag and he didn't want to talk about guitars. As if he was above that. Made me mad! Thanks.

RubiesBoobies1231 karma

Thank you for answering! This made my day!

RealSteveRosen6 karma

Very happy to hear that.

loztralia10 karma

I've always got the sense that the majority of readers of music journalism want stories about musicians' personalities, whereas musicians themselves tend to be much more comfortable talking about making music. Is this fair, and if so how do you square the circle as a writer?

RealSteveRosen17 karma

Terrific question. Most of the interviews I've done have been for musician-oriented mags - Guitar Player, Guitar World, Bass Player and assorted musician-related international mags - so the conversation centered on the artists talking about their playing, techniques, tones, songwriting. I mean what guitar player doesn't like talking about guitar? But if I've done my job correctly and asked the right questions and stuff, a player's personality will come out in his description of how he plays and how he approaches a song. Who he is will be revealed. That being said, yes, most people want to know about the person as much as they want to know about the music. I've done those types of interviews though they're not my most favorite conversations I've ever had.

Fuquar76 karma

Out of the artists that are no longer living that you've interviewed, which stood out the most?

RealSteveRosen18 karma

Hey: That's a good question. Recently, I went back and made a list of all the people I've interviewed who have subsequently and it was a very long list. A very long, sad list. Tom Petty was amazing. Jack Bruce. Jeff Porcaro. Keith Moon. Paul Kossoff. John Entwistle. Cozy Powell. Ray Manzarek. Les Paul. Leo Fender. Very sad.

PM_ME_YR_TROUBLES5 karma

Thanks for your time Steve. What artists or albums have you been listening to lately? Old and new

RealSteveRosen7 karma

Thank you for checking in. I tend to go back to the records and bands I loved before I even started writing. I'll put on an album by Cream, the Who, Spirit, Hendrix, Humble Pie, Free. Classic rock stuff. In my mind, music never got any better than that stuff though I'm sure lots of you out there would disagree with me. I really don't listen to much new stuff. I suppose I should.

Jack_Benney5 karma

So far you have only talked about male guitarists. Who in your opinion are great or promising female guitarists?

RealSteveRosen13 karma

Good question. Jennifer Batten was a scary good guitar player. I interviewed Heart in the early part of their career when the were still playing clubs. I remember I had flown up to Vancouver from my little guest pad in the Hollywood Hills. I was there to interview Nazareth and one night they took me to this club to see a band called Heart. I remember they did all these Zep covers and were really good. Afterwards, Roger Fisher - the band's guitarist - came over to where Nazareth were sitting and said hello. They introduced me as a writer from Guitar Player Magazine. I remember saying to Roger, "Man, the band is really good but you should lose the girls!" I was such an idiot. All by way of saying, that I didn't appreciate how great a guitarist Nancy was. Chrissie Hynde was amazing though I never interviewed her. I interviewed Nita Strauss fairly recently. Good player.

HeadbangerNeckInjury4 karma

Hi Steve, i definitely recognise your name from over the years, good to have you here.

So, most memorable interview in terms of people being a straight up asshole and in terms of being the most fucked up out of it from drugs and/or alcohol?

Thanks mate.

RealSteveRosen11 karma

Hey: Cool. Thank you. There have been several interviews that were less than pleasant. Yngwie Malmsteen (while I was interviewing him, he ran his finger down a guitar string and almost cut off the end of his first finger on his fretting hand and ended up bleeding all over the place) was one. Ginger Baker was only a phoner but he yelled and belittled me the entire interview, which only lasted about 15 minutes because that's all I could take. Jimmy Page was more than challenging. Honestly, a lot of guys would drink and stuff while I was interviewing them but they'd been high so much, it was kind of natural for them. That being said, Joe Perry sat in front of me with a pyramid of drugs in front of him.

sirmaim_iii4 karma

May I ask what it was that made interviewing Jimmy Page particularly challenging?

RealSteveRosen12 karma

Hi: There's a long answer to this so I'll try and sum it up: I went on the road with Zeppelin in '77. I was supposed to be on the road with them for as long as it took me to interview Page and John Paul Jones for Guitar Player Magazine. I spent several hours with John Paul Jones and that was delightful. I had been in Chicago - this is where Zep was based for this portion of the tour - for three days and I still hadn't interviewed Jimmy. So I had to wait in my hotel room, babysit the phone and hope it rang. Finally it did. I was ushered into Jimmy's room and from the beginning it was strange. There was a huge hole in the wall and the phone was lying on the rug on the floor in pieces. Turns out, Jimmy didn't like to hear the phone ring so he tore it out and threw it at the wall. Jimmy had been drinking so that made it really difficult. Also, he didn't talk very loud so it was hard to hear him and on top of that, he had a pretty thick English accent and that didn't help. Jimmy would start to talk about something and then just drift off to another subject so I had to keep kind of herding him back on track. He was incredibly difficult and I wish I'd had more time with him. Thanks.

HeadbangerNeckInjury1 karma

Awesome, thanks for reply dude, keep up the good work, rock n roll!!!!!

RealSteveRosen2 karma

May pleasure.

imjust-thinking3 karma

Who do you believe is the greatest technical guitarist of all time?

RealSteveRosen15 karma

Hi: I will tell you who I think is the "greatest" guitarist of all time (hands down): Jeff Beck. Jeff can play anything. Country, rock, jazz, blues, fusion, metal, R&B. His hands were gifts from God. In term of technique, it doesn't get much better than Satriani or Steve Vai. Eric Johnson was a real game changer. Thanks.

imjust-thinking2 karma

Thanks

RealSteveRosen6 karma

Welcome.

The3mpyrean3 karma

Hi Steve!

By the question you'll know who's asking haha.

What are your thoughts of John Frusciante interviews that you've done a while ago? What vibe was in the room?

RealSteveRosen7 karma

Hey:

What's going on? I interviewed John a couple times. Once when he was there in the room with Anthony and the second time he was by himself and talking about his solo album. John was a nice cat though odd. Bright guy but drugs had impacted the way he spoke and stuff. Knew a lot about guitars and had a true and deep understanding of who he was as a player and writer.

Bruce_Ring-sting3 karma

Did MJ do it? You know, those things?

RealSteveRosen10 karma

When I met him around '79 - I think Off the Wall had just come out - he seemed completely normal. Shy, quiet and a bit timid but normal. He hadn't gone through all that face-changing. I'd like to think he didn't do any of that. What I do believe is he was the loneliest person on the planet. I don't think he had any real friends and I think his parents messed him up terribly.

pani_blinchik3 karma

Who made a much better impression on you than you had expected when you first met? And what interview disappointed you most?

RealSteveRosen14 karma

How you doing? Cool questions. I interviewed Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi and I expected Richie to be cool and Jon to have a massive ego but it was the other way around. I asked Jon, "What's it like being you? You're successful, good looking, great songwriter." He just said he'd worked hard his whole life to get where he was and I really respected that. In terms of disappointments, there were interviews where I wish I'd had more time or, as you suggest, where the interviewee was more receptive. I interviewed Jimmy Page in '77 and it was a good interview but I only asked him a fraction of the questions I'd prepared. Thanks.

Terryfoldyholds3 karma

What is the wildest thing you have witnessed a musician do?

RealSteveRosen13 karma

Hi: You're trying to get me in trouble aren't you?! I saw Joe Perry snort up a mound of coke that was right out of Scarface. I watched Yngie Malmsteen run his finger down a guitar string to try and clean it and end up almost slicing the tip off of his first finger on his left hand. He wrapped toilet paper around the finger and in 30 seconds, the toilet paper was soaked in blood. I saw John Mayall get down on all fours and sniff the carpet for some drugs he'd dropped there. Backstage at a Van Halen show, topless waitresses were serving drinks. I think I ordered 10 drinks that night and I don't drink! Thanks.

frogstein2 karma

When you toured with those different bands, who came closest to being like Spinal Tap?

RealSteveRosen15 karma

Zep. Though pretty much everything they did was behind closed doors, it was insanity around them. Though nobody was supposed to say a word, every girl within a 20-mile radius was there in the hotel lobby. It's beyond me how they found out. Each guy in the band had his own limo and they had their own private jet. It was insanity though a lot of fun! Oh, I almost forgot being on the road with Sabbath for a couple days back in '74. Some of the band - I can't remember if Ozzy was there - came into my room and trashed it. Set the couch on fire, blew the fire extinguisher over everything, broke the TV. Of course, I had to join in. I mean how could you be in a room that was being destroyed by members of Black Sabbath and not join in, right? Fun fun fun. I didn't know what was going to happen but when I checked out the next day, all the damage had been paid for. One of the nicest bands in the world.

Thanks.

kwenlu2 karma

How are you?

RealSteveRosen7 karma

I'm good. Thanks.

How are things with you?

ForThorsake2 karma

Hi Mr. Rosen, as a life long Dave Gilmour fan, can you tell me about your interview with him?

RealSteveRosen5 karma

Hi: Please call me Steve! Gilmour was delightful. Funny, smart, confident without sounding like an egomaniac. I remember asking him about Dark Side Of the Moon and he quite nonchalantly talked about recording it and stuff. Needless to say, it's one of the greatest and most successful albums of all time but he just spoke about it like it was any ordinary record. That blew me away. Thanks.

ms_magnolia_mem2 karma

David Gilmour or Roger Waters? If you had to choose one to interview, which would it be?

RealSteveRosen12 karma

Hi: No question - David Gilmour. In fact, I had the special opportunity to interview Gilmoure around '78 or '79 when he released his first self-titled album. Very proper English gentleman. Loved to talk about guitars. Humble cat.

Thanks.

ms_magnolia_mem2 karma

I knew it. He’s my favorite! Thank you!

RealSteveRosen2 karma

Welcome.

ryanlindbergo2 karma

Obviously we've heard the stories about rock stars that go to the extreme with partying. Who would you say are the most down-to-Earth?

RealSteveRosen7 karma

Hey:
How are you? If I've answered this, sorry. My first time. There was a ton of amazing, down-to-earth individuals: Brian Wilson, Steve Winwood, Edward Van Halen (in the earlier days), David Gilmour, Steve Lukather. People with extraordinary gifts and completely without ego.

Thanks.

ryanlindbergo1 karma

If I've answered this, sorry. My first time.

Yeah no worries! Thanks for the answer!

RealSteveRosen3 karma

Rock on.

RealSteveRosen6 karma

How you doing? There are so many remarkably cool, honest, down-to-earth musicians I've had the honor of meeting. Steve Winwood was humble beyond belief. Billy Gibbons. Paul Kossoff. Back in the day, Edward Van Halen was completely without ego. I never heard him talk about his own guitar playing. Pretty unbelievable. David Gilmour. Brian Wilson. The majority of them were pretty normal except for their exceptional gifts. Thanks.

Jellyfish2_01 karma

I just finished reading Marilyn Manson's autobiography and find him so strangely interesting. Have you ever interviewed him? What were your thoughts about him?

RealSteveRosen1 karma

Hi:
No, I've never interviewed Marilyn. I've interviewed John 5 several times and he's spoken in nothing but glowing terms about him, which doesn't really tell you a lot. I interviewed Jason Sutter fairly recently, a drummer who played with Manson. He said he was a pretty strange fellow. If he ever made a mistake onstage, he would blame it on the band. He'd rant and rave and scream at the guitar player or the bass player in front of the entire audience. Jason said he always had his crew with him but he also said the guy worked hard and was very musical.

Jellyfish2_01 karma

Great info! Thanks so much for the reply!

RealSteveRosen1 karma

Most welcome.

diysub1 karma

Hi Steve, thanks for taking questions.

Phil Collins has always been my favorite. Just saw him in Buffalo last year. Seems like a nice man, have you ever had the

Pleasure of meeting him? Any thoughts you can share would be appreciated. Thanks.

RealSteveRosen3 karma

Phil is a mad talented guy. Funny story about Phil. Back around '74, I interviewed Genesis. To be honest, I didn't know who they were. I was never particularly a fan of theirs back in the day and I actually thought Peter Gabriel was kind of a goofball with the way he dressed and stuff. So I'm sitting in this hotel room of a cheap little place called the Tropicana, which is where all the English bands with no money used to stay. All I knew was there were four guys in there (I do remember Gabriel wasn't there). I remember Mike Rutherford was there and Steve Hackett. Recently, I went back to listen to that interview - not sure why - and I recognize the voice of Phil Collins. That's an interview I wish I could revisit - Phil Collins sitting there in a room and I didn't even know who he was!

JEAFCommander1 karma

What do you think of Travis Scott?

RealSteveRosen3 karma

Hi: To be honest, I don't know much about rap. I don't quite understand what it's about and it's just never appealed to me though I'm sure a lot of those cats are very talented.

IceTheNice1 karma

Have you ever written about King Crimson?

RealSteveRosen4 karma

What a great question! I love Crimson. I interviewed Fripp several times including a story for Guitar Player. Very weird dude. As I was talking to him, he took my page of questions - a typewritten page of questions [this is pre-computer] - turned it around so he could see them and just sat there reading the question and then answering it. Very unsettling. I love the band. I also interviewed Greg Lake, Bill Bruford, and John Wetton.

xPowerLevelOver9000x1 karma

Did you ever get the chance to interview The Clash? If so, how did it go?

RealSteveRosen2 karma

Hi: No, I never interviewed the Clash. That could have been an interesting one for sure.

Communist_Ninja1 karma

Hey Steve, thanks for doing the AMA!

I'd like to know firstly who you spoke with that will always be remembered by you either for how good or bad/arrogant they were?

Also, with it being Rock and Roll, I have to ask.... Who have you interviewed that has been the most high/drunk?

Thank you!

RealSteveRosen5 karma

Very welcome. Thank you for stopping by. One of the very first interviews I ever did back in mid-'73 was Jeff Beck. Before I started writing, which was only a few months before that interview, I had idolized Beck. I played guitar - I was good but not great - and used to play "Shapes Of Things" and "Over Under Sideways Down" and stuff like that. When I had the chance to actually sit down and talk with him, I thought my heart would explode. So that was a special one. I had a chance to meet a lot of my heroes: Brian Wilson, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Ritchie Blackmore...

Those were the good ones. The bad ones? Ritchie Blackmore was a nightmare. Frank Zappa. Doc Watson (old time blues player). Steve Howe was not nice. Bill Bruford.

I've mentioned this before but these guys drank and got high all the time so for them being high was a normal, daily routine. I watched Joe Perry consume a mountain of blow. Guys would drink while I was interviewing them - though not a lot - but they never seemed to get drunk to the point where they couldn't speak or make sense. Thanks.

pelmonster1 karma

What replaced the rock concert?

RealSteveRosen9 karma

Hi: Not quite sure I understand your question. If I think I know what you're talking about, the computer killed the rock concert. Why pay for tickets when you can see an entire concert for free online. I think this is what you're talking about (?) Tickets have gotten too insanely expensive. Going to concerts back in the '70s was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Buying tickets and filing into the auditorium or club or whatever was thrilling. Hope that answers it.

Thanks.

pelmonster2 karma

I grew up with them in the 80s maybe it was because I was young I thought it would always be like that and still have ticket stubs from then. Think I remember Frank Zappa talking about it and maybe Joe Walsh . Guess it was just an era and computers and internet along with the war really dissolved the magic. I know there’s festivals and such but not the same.

Thank you for your time.

RealSteveRosen3 karma

Hi: Right, that's what I thought you meant. I have the ticket stubs as well. I can remember looking in the paper and seeing who was coming to town and then going down to the venue and waiting in line to buy tickets. I miss that a lot.

the_real_zombie_woof1 karma

Which artists (guitarists, bands) do you keep coming back to listen to? Which record have you most worn out?

RealSteveRosen7 karma

Hi: I'm an old school guy so I keep going back to what I think were the greatest albums ever made. Who's Next, Benefit and Stand Up (Jethro Tull), Cream albums, Spirit albums, early Stones, Humble Pie, Free, Beatles of course. Jeff Beck's Truth, Beck-ola and Blow By Blow albums contain some of the greatest guitar playing ever; Blackmore's stuff with Deep Purple. First, second and fourth Zep albums. Give me those few albums and stick me on a desert island and I'm happy (provided you include a turntable and speakers)!

Thanks.

Jack_Benney3 karma

I agree, but I think Zep's 3rd album is pretty good too!

RealSteveRosen3 karma

The third album is good but at the time it didn't quite touch me. Now I can see how great it was.

the_real_zombie_woof1 karma

Haha, thanks for the reply. I'm not as gray as you by a couple years, but we definitely dig the same albums. See you on the island.

RealSteveRosen3 karma

Welcome. I'll save your spot!

bunchofclowns1 karma

Did you ever interview The Ramones?

RealSteveRosen3 karma

How you doing? I interviewed Marky Ramone back in 2010 but I guess he wasn't considered one of the original members. Very nice person.

Thanks.

isny1 karma

After interviewing all these folks, would you want to be a rock star?

RealSteveRosen5 karma

Tremendous question. I mean, really, who wouldn't want to be in ZZ Top or Aerosmith or Pink Floyd? Truthfully, I would have given anything to have been a guitar player in a band that made records and toured. I didn't have to be the greatest guitar player in the world or sell the most records. All I ever wanted was to be someone who made music for a living. I wanted that so terribly and worked for a long time trying to make that happen. I sent out cassettes - back in the pre-digital/download/MP3 days - to publishers and producers and bands. I had a few small successes along the way but I could never figure out a way to earn a living as a musician.

So, I guess the closest I'd ever come to being a musician was hanging out with them. And though I loved every second of it, of being a rock and roll journalist, I would have traded it all in a second if I could have been on the other side of the microphone!

Leff_hook1 karma

Hey Steve, how are you today? What was your favorite and least favorite interviewed you've done? And why?

RealSteveRosen6 karma

Hey, Leff_hook: I'm great. Thanks for dropping in. That's a hard question because there have been so many interviews I've done that were just off-the-hook incredible. I still can't believe how lucky I've been to meet and talk to all these legendary heroes of mine. And that is the truth - I loved these bands way before I ever started writing. I wanted to play guitar like Ritchie Blackmore and write songs like Brian Wilson. I was a mad fan for these musicians.

In answer to your question, my favorites would include Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Jack Bruce, David Gilmour, Billy Gibbons, Dave Davies, Paul Kossoff, Steve Marriott.

My least favorite interviews were with musicians who were less than accommodating. In other words, they were assholes. Ian Anderson, Ginger Baker, Zappa, Steve Howe, Bill Bruford and a few others were just not nice people. They didn't want to talk. They made every question I asked sound like it was the stupidest thing they'd ever heard. I couldn't wait for those interviews to end.

Thanks.

Leff_hook2 karma

Thank you for your answer! It's crazy how just a little bit of fame can turn someone into a massive jerk. But I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't want your job haha! Thanks for the AMA! It's fascinating stuff!

RealSteveRosen3 karma

It is a strange medicine. When you live in a world where nothing is denied you and you can do nothing wrong, it can fill your head with craziness.

I really appreciate that. It means a lot to me to share my experiences with people like you.