Jim Sullivan - a 2023 inductee into the New England Music Hall of Fame - spent 26 years writing for the Boston Globe and two decades more writing for national publications. He has interviewed and reviewed countless musicians, many of them multiple times.
The second volume of his music-writing anthology, Backstage & Beyond, focuses on artists who came to prominence in the 1970s and '80s: punk, new wave, post-punk and beyond. Eleven of them are already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Chapters on: Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, Patti Smith, Buzzcocks, Damned, Fall, Joy Division / New Order, Cure, Stiff Little Fingers, Gang of Four, Pogues, Police, Cramps, David Byrne / Talking Heads, Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, Cars, English Beat, Morrissey, Pixies, Mission of Burma, Feelies, Puff Daddy, Spiritualized, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Swans and U2
Praise for Backstage & Beyond:
"I have spoken to many journalists in my time: some good, some bad, some terrible. And it is lovely when you meet someone who is just like you ... a huge music fan! Jim Sullivan ... is friendly, knowledgeable, forthright and opinionated! An expert in his chosen field. He is no pushover ... if you have faults or are resting on your laurels, he is the first to tell you off." -Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order)
"There's a lot of history here, and a lot of reflecting on that history. For me, it's interesting to see the conflict many artists have as they try to evaluate their own work and its place in the scheme of things. Jim Sullivan has been able to coax some of those reflections out of a broad spectrum of artists, and it's fascinating to read." -Greg Hawkes (Cars)
"Jim Sullivan is an expert interviewer with an uncanny ability to connect with his subjects. In Backstage & Beyond, he brings out the humanity in a host of rock and roll icons who are too often portrayed as godlike figures. This an intimate and revealing look at many of the major personalities of the classic rock era." -Tom Perrotta, author of Election, Tracy Flick Can't Win, The Leftovers and Mrs. Fletcher
"These are wonderful stories across the whole range of popular music, by one of rock's finest journalists. As history lengthens and some of these legends move on, these become increasingly precious fragments of lives lived at the sharp edge of music." -Richard Thompson
"Jim is one of those journalists that you feel comfortable with. No hidden agenda. If he likes your band, he says so. If he doesn't, same. He's always been kind about us. The thing is, unlike a lot of writers, if Jim said we did something that sucked, I would pay attention. That's why these writings are worth reading. He's the real deal." -Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers)
"Having been on both ends of his many years of reviews and interviews with all manner of artists - as subject and reader - I am always drawn to his writing; because I know he won't have ambushed anyone or left them (us) feeling caught out, yet still end up with insight and history shared and some great stories." -Hugo Burnham (Gang of Four)
"With a twinkle in his eye, Jim cuts through the business and, speaking from his heart, he gently gets you to do the same. You learn a great deal about an artist from a Jim Sullivan interview, including yourself!" -Dave Wakeling (English Beat)