The Archive: Lisa Robinson in front of her very-analog interview archive.
I mean, you have to understand,” Lisa Robinson tells me. “I was on the road from the ’70s all the way through the ’90s. It’s like I wasn’t domestic. I didn’t have time; I didn’t care!”
She and her late husband, Richard, a radio host turned music producer turned magician, rented this two-bedroom on the Upper East Side in 1976, and it has stayed pretty much the same ever since. “We painted. We did the floors. We moved in, period,” she says. The couple had one of those always-on-the-go, all-access-pass New York lives together, with late nights, limos, and private jets, which is clear reading her memoir, There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll.
Robinson grew up on the Upper West Side, where “we always had music in the house,” she recalls. Her “left-wing-leaning parents” weren’t interested in pop culture, but that only made her like it more. Her family’s one television in the parental bedroom, she says, “was treated like a forbidden fruit.”
The second bedroom is where the Robinsons’ record albums are stored. During COVID, it has doubled as the studio for her Sirius radio show.
“My mother played the piano and studied sacred Hebrew music and co-founded the Hebrew Arts School for Music and Dance, but they also had a lot of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, and I would listen to jazz on a transistor radio under the covers at night, and I would think, There’s a sexy world out there.”
And she made it her mission to find it. While she was still a student at Bronx Science, she’d sneak down to the Village, where she saw Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot and Anita O’Day and Stan Getz at the Village Vanguard. She saw Little Richard and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre.
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