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Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Senior Editor

Even if you weren’t reading Rolling Stone magazine in the late '60s /early '70s, you might still know who Ben Fong-Torres is from the movie “Almost Famous.” Ben Fong-Torres is the legendary Rolling Stone Senior Editor who was characterized in the Cameron Crowe movie and now, he’s a part of Team Q. Ben has interviewed some of the greatest names in rock and roll history including The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, and many more. Ben is not only a renowned journalist for Rolling Stone, The San Francisco Chronicle, and dozens of other magazines, he is also the author of nine books, and he does a spot-on Elvis impersonation!

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180 Articles

Posts by Ben Fong-Torres

Tom Petty: The Last DJ

Ben Fong-Torres Posted on October 3, 2017

It’s too easy, because it’s too true: Tom Petty, the Heartbreaker, died of a broken heart and, in doing so, broke a world of hearts, of friends, peers and fans who just assumed he’d be here forever. Even when he said that the 53-stop tour he’d just finished would be his “last big one,” you knew he’d be hitting clubs and theaters now and again—and again. Through all his ups and downs, he never gave up on music, and for 40 years and more…

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Remembering the Summer of Love, 50 Years After

Ben Fong-Torres Posted on July 3, 2017

    Author’s Note: In and around San Francisco, it’s all about the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Exhibitions in museums and libraries; concerts and special events in Golden Gate Park and around town; a return of the musical, “A Night with Janis Joplin.” It’s the endless summer of love, and it’s happened every decade. In 1987, the San Francisco Chronicle noted the 20th anniversary with several articles, including this one, whi…

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No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to New Releases on November 22, 2016

In the way he’s accepted his Nobel Prize for literature, by seemingly not acknowledging it for so long that one of the awards committee called him “rude” and “arrogant,” Bob Dylan was being himself. He let the world read into his detachment. Perhaps he didn’t feel like a songwriter deserved a prize historically reserved for writers and poets. Not at all. A couple of weeks after the announcement of his award, he told a British newspaper that he was…

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‘Hallelujah’ and farewell to Leonard Cohen

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Music News on November 14, 2016

  Only a few weeks before the news broke about his death, Leonard Cohen was the subject of a piece in The New Yorker, which detailed the ailments that had kept him off the road the past couple of years; compressed fractures of the back that did not deter him from making music. And so it was that he managed to write songs and complete a new album, his 14th, entitled You Want it Darker and released just days before he passed away in Los Angeles. Even at age 82, and in need of sp…

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Happy Birthday and Hats Off to Carlos Santana

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Music News on July 20, 2016

 What a shock the NBA Finals were for a lot of fans of the Golden State Warriors.  No, I don’t mean losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers. I mean seeing Carlos Santana playing the National Anthem in Game 2, accompanied by his wife and drummer, Cindy Blackman Santana. As they did in last year’s Finals, they performed brilliantly. The surprise was that Carlos went hatless, exposing a James Taylor-like dome. A shock, and I say salud.  On his 69th birthday, whic…

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The Doors at the Bowl: Mick, LSD and a Moth

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Center Stage on July 15, 2016

To play the Hollywood Bowl. For any musician, that has to be a career highlight. The Doors performed in that revered venue in 1968, and Ray Manzarek, in his interview for Qello Concerts, articulated the import of such an occasion. “Everybody played the Hollywood Bowl,” he said. “Igor Stravinsky conducted at the Hollywood Bowl. Miles Davis played the Hollywood Bowl. Great opera singers, great orchestras, great pop acts played it, but not a lot of rock acts. So to pl…

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The Dead at the End of ‘So Many Roads’

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on July 8, 2016

It’s not a sexy, round-number anniversary, but I bet Deadheads know that July 9 was the date of the last Grateful Dead concert with Jerry Garcia. That was in 1995, at Soldier Field in Chicago. With the surviving Dead having celebrated a 50th anniversary with a farewell tour—and then a return of most of them, as Dead & Company—they continue to be in the news. They are on Qello Concerts, in the Classic Albums series (Anthem to Beauty) and in Festival Express, roc…

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Umphrey's McGee: Storytellers, Soundstage and Live at Red Rocks

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Center Stage on July 1, 2016

A dozen years ago, Rolling Stone declared that Umphrey’s McGee “have become odds-on favorites in the next-Phish sweepstakes.” Truth is, from its beginnings in 1997 at Notre Dame, when two bands became one, Umphrey’s McGee haven’t been the next anythings. They’re their own thing, with their adventurous, wide-ranging music and their enthusiasm for leaping off cutting edges, producing podcasts back in 2005 and performing live mash-ups of their own so…

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Happy Birthday, Sir Paul

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on June 17, 2016

It doesn’t sound right, but on June 18, Paul McCartney turns 64. Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 64? Plus ten. That’s right. The perpetually youthful Macca was born in 1942 in Liverpool, England. And, as you well know, he’s still rocking. Like a couple of his peers, including Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart, he’s dipped into the American Songbook of standards, but unlike them, he continues to mount full concerts of songs his fans…

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Hank Williams, Tom Hiddleston & Me

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Center Stage on June 10, 2016

This week in rock history, Hank Williams made his debut on the live radio show, Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. That was on June 11, 1949, and it says somewhere that he got an unprecedented six encore calls from the audience at the Ryman Auditorium. Must’ve thrown the radio show clear off its schedule. But wait a minute: “Rock history?” Yes indeed. Many rockers point to Williams, a live wire who wrote great, lived hard and died young, as a prime influence. Check out B…

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