5 Questions: Marc Lipkin of Alligator Records

Marc_Lipkin Marc Lipkin

Award-winning music industry professional Marc Lipkin has been director of publicity for Alligator Records since September 1992. Since that time, he has earned a reputation as one of the most dedicated and efficient in-house publicists working in the field today. He has placed feature stories and reviews, both locally and nationally, in newspapers, magazines, on NPR and in major music blogs as well as worked to book performances and interviews on television for Alligator artists. Over the course of his time with Alligator, Lipkin has worked with legendary artists including Koko Taylor, Mavis Staples, The Holmes Brothers, Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Allison, James Cotton, Son Seals, Billy Boy Arnold, Long John Hunter, Lonnie Brooks, Elvin Bishop, Shemekia Copeland, Coco Montoya, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Eddy Clearwater, Toronzo Cannon, Selwyn Birchwood, Eric Lindell, Tinsley Ellis, Roomful Of Blues, Curtis Salgado, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Guitar Shorty, Sugar Blue, Saffire—The Uppity Blues Women, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, JJ Grey & Mofro, Lee Rocker, Anders Osborne, Nick Moss, The Cash Box Kings and many others.

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?

Nothing keeps me up at night. Although I do wake up awfully early, long before the alarm rings. Sometimes I’ll craft opening or closing paragraphs in my head for whatever artist bio I may be working on. Occasionally I come up with something worthwhile. Other times I think about how the USA got into World War II to defeat fascism, which is now growing roots right here at home. Then, to calm down, I recall the true story of Groucho Marx dancing on Hitler’s grave.

Then, to calm down, I recall the true story of Groucho Marx dancing on Hitler’s grave

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?

Mavis Staples’ uplifting, inspirational performance the other night at The Vic was the coolest thing I’ve seen and heard in a while. It was one for the ages. Her infectious smile and extra-warm hugs before the show were even better. Alligator released Mavis’ comeback album, Have A Little Faith, in 2004. It’s an amazing record and served to reignite her career. Working together with her and her wonderful sister Yvonne at the time was not only professionally rewarding, it led to a closeness between my family and hers that is strong to this day. Mavis’ new album on Anti, If All I Was Was Black, should be required listening for every person on Earth.

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?

Everything’s exciting all the time. I’m currently working new releases from Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis (Winning Hand) and Portland’s Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager (Rough Cut). The two albums debuted on the Billboard Blues Chart at #1 and #2 respectively. Our upcoming releases — The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling (The High Cost Of Low Living), Marcia Ball (Shine Bright) and Shemekia Copeland (still untitled) — are all at various stages of completion. This new music is as timeless and moving as anything in Alligator’s almost 50 year catalog. Ball’s album was produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Copeland’s album, set for release later this year, is being produced by master guitarist Will Kimbrough and features guests John Prine, Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Gauthier, Steve Cropper and Emmylou Harris.

4. If you could add anyone alive or dead to your team, who would it be?

It’d be easy to say, “Yeah, how about if Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, J.B. Hutto, B.B. King, Hound Dog Taylor, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace, Freddie King, Albert King, Koko Taylor, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, JB Lenoir, Elmore James, Earl Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson (I and II) all come on down and make some records.” But repeating the past doesn’t interest me. That said, a late night party with these cats jamming and shooting the shit would be my kind of heaven.

But repeating the past doesn’t interest me. That said, a late night party with these cats jamming and shooting the shit would be my kind of heaven

 

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?

Don’t miss our next exciting episode: Blind Luck Blues or Rebel Without A Clue.