Right, so, it’s another one of those Things, this time about musical choices. Frazer tagged me, but I’m replying here since I don’t (usually) do notes at FB.
1. What are you listening to right now?
It’s a tossup:
- The new Neko Case record, which means also her back catalog (mostly Fox Confessor)
- Oddly, Brian Eno’s ambient works
- The new U2
- Black Francis, Powderfinger
- Zoe Keating. Seriously, check her out.
2. As a teenager, what was a band you were ashamed to admit to liking?
I’m not sure I was ever really ashamed of anything except Twisted Sister.
3. And today?
I just turned 39. I have no time for musical shame. If it makes me happy, I’m glad to listen to it. I’m sure there are people at my age who would be mildly ashamed of admitting to purchasing and listening to The Wall again after so many years, though, as I did last week. ;)
4. Have you met an artist you admired? How did it go?
I’ve met and drunk beer with Pat DiNizio, who fronted the Smithereens, a band who lived in my tape deck for most of my high school career via their “Especially For You” record. It was really cool. (At a bar called Alex’s in Memphis, after the Smithereens played at a party at my brother’s alma mater.)
I got to hang out with Kathy McCarty of Glass Eye several evenings in Austin when she did a show a friend of mine put together out of Daniel Johnston’s music, and that was really rad. As part of that process, I met and spoke with Johnston himself a few times, too.
I’ve met-in-passing, ie just shook hands or whatever, with a larger group (Buddy Guy, Chuck D, Billy Joe Shaver, Eddy Shaver, Fred LeBlanc, Jonathan Richman, Mike Mills, yadda yadda yadda), but the only actual conversations were with those three.
5. Have you had dreams about bands or artists?
I can’t recall any.
6. What was your first gig attended?
(ack!) The Beach Boys, when I was in the fifth grade, ca. 1981. My mother took me. (Yes, I know that in 1981, they weren’t really the Beach Boys. Give me a break. I was 11.)
The first one I went to without adult supervision was ZZ Top in 1985 or 1986, for the Afterburner tour. I was 15. Mom still took me, but this time that meant she stayed at the Ramada across the street from the venue in Jackson, MS, and I walked across the road at showtime.
I was a small teenager, and kinda stuck out, I guess, so I was immediately adopted by two Marines on liberty who were extraordinarily pleased with their luck that day; someone had given them the tickets to the show. They discouraged rednecks from fucking with me, bought me beer, and gave me my first exposure to Miss Mary Jane. It was an excellent concert.
7. Which living artist have you not seen, but desperately want to?
Christ, that’s a long list. Shockingly few jazz giants still walk the earth and play occasionally (Ornette, e.g.), but if I keep it to popular music I think there’s only one:
(To my eternal joy I don’t have to say Tom Waits, since I’ve seen him twice.)
8. Which artist or what band would you like to resurrect and see live?
Jon had some obvious ones I’d echo (Minutemen, Ramones). I’d add Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose music has always just blown me away. I’m not really a fan, but seeing the Dead at their peak is something that I’m sure was quite an affair. I’d love to have managed to take in at least one show. And getting a ticket to see Miles Davis during the Black Beauty shows would’ve been amazing.
But at the end of the day, my top wish here has to be Morphine.
9. Which song/riff/solo would you like to learn to play and sing just right?
Too many. I’ve tried to be a guitar player many times over the years, and either I’m insufficiently disciplined or constitutionally incapable. Still, I’d love to be able to play along with a credible blues riff, or be able to improvise well enough to pull together a smokin’ blues take on “Wabash Cannonball” like this guy I knew who owned a guitar shop in my hometown.
10. How many records do you own, or how many songs do you have in your iTunes?
10,000 in iTunes. Well over 2K CDs, I’m sure, most of which aren’t ripped yet.