At the beginning of The Long Ryders’ concert Friday night at the Pearl Street Warehouse, lead singer Sid Griffin urged the crowd, “Please come forward so we have something to play to.”
Sid Griffin is an acclaimed musician and music journalist based in London. From 1984-87, he led The Long Ryders, who emerged out of the Paisley Underground to become one of the first alternative-country bands, before the term even existed. Final Wild Songs, a compilation of the band’s albums with additional, new live material, released in 2016, received a rare five-star review from Allmusic.
After a 30-year hiatus, the band reunited to record the well-received Psychedelic Soul, released earlier this year. In a turn of good karma, the band’s old roadie, now working as Dr. Dre’s PA, got the band a week at the rap mogul’s studio. In a way, it’s fitting: the Ryders make politically charged, insurgent country-rock.
Sid has written for Mojo, Q, NME, Rock ‘n’ Reel, and the Manchester Guardian. An expert on Gram Parsons, he has published Gram Parsons: A Musical Biography, and co-authored the BBC television documentary Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel. He has also written two books about Bob Dylan, Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band, and The Basement Tapes, and Shelter From The Storm.
In addition to his work with The Long Ryders, Sid has recorded and performed with the Coal Porters and as a solo artist. Mark Engleson of Parklife DC talked to Sid about all of this and more prior to a performance by The Long Ryders at Pearl Street Warehouse on Friday, Sept. 20.