My world wouldn’t be the same without British music magazines. My absolute favorites are Prog and Mojo, which I devour cover to cover every month. Uncut is great, too.
Prog‘s primary musical focus is self-explanatory. But Mojo‘s reach is all-encompassing, giving me tons of directions to explore. Mojo doesn’t waste column inches on fashion or politics. They keep their laser-like focus on … wait for it … music! It’s everything a certain American magazine (which I won’t name, but it rhymes with “Strolling Bone”) could be, but isn’t.
One of my favorite monthly features in Mojo is called “All Over to My Place,” where three or four musicians of varying levels of fame are asked the same seven questions. The answers never cease to amuse me.
To my knowledge, Mojo has never asked these questions of an author or music journalist. It’s safe to assume they will never ask these questions of me. That’s too bad: I’d be more than happy to answer them.
So why not do it here? Hopefully, the good people at the magazine won’t mind. And they’re more than welcome to put my answers in a future issue. (Note to Mojo: a portrait photo is available upon request.)
So here are the answers I would give should Mojo magazine ever let you come back to my place.
What music are you currently grooving to?
My current favorite band is probably Bent Knee, a killer avant-pop band out of Boston. They’re so talented, it’s not even funny. It’s smart music, beautifully executed. I’ve also been on a bit of a post-rock kick lately. I’ve been enjoying albums from God Is An Astronaut, The American Dollar, and We Lost the Sea. And I’ve recently been introduced to Haken, and I’m really excited about them!
When push comes to shove, what is your all-time favorite album?
Jeez, only one? (laughs) There are at least five that spring to mind. But if I only get one, it’s King Crimson‘s Discipline. That record changed my musical world forever. It was my first lesson in what’s truly possible in music, away from the radio and commercial charts. There’s nothing like the sound of four virtuoso musicians (in this case Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford) doing something that’s never been done, and at the highest level.
What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it?
It was 1978. The album was Pieces of Eight by Styx. I got it at Peaches Records and Tapes, at the corner of West Florissant and Chambers in St. Louis County, Missouri. I had just turned 12.
Which musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be?
The quick answer would be Adrian Belew, who is my musical hero. He’s so unbelievably talented, and his skills have been used over a wide variety of musical contexts. A close second would be Steven Wilson, who’s musical abilities defy belief. He’s an amazing songwriter, fronts fantastic bands, and has one of the most gifted sets of ears in the business. If he remixes one of your favorite albums, buy it! You’re in for a sonic treat!
What do you sing in the shower?
(Laughs) Well, I don’t fancy myself as much of a singer, so I’m better off not doing that! I’m sure anyone close by will be grateful. I have played some amazing air guitar solos in the shower. Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb” gets a pretty good workout. So does a solo by Guthrie Govan on a tune called “Regret #9.” You can find that on Steven Wilson‘s Hand. Cannot. Erase.
What is your favorite Saturday night record?
I always think of my parent’s house in the 70s when I hear the words “Saturday night.” Their house was a great place to be! The music was funky and soulful, and runs laps around pretty much anything today that isn’t Prince. That being said, I’d choose James Brown‘s Funk Power, 1970: A Brand New Thang. It’s got classics like “Super Bad” and “Sex Machine” on it. If those tunes don’t get you moving, check your pulse, because you might be dead!
And your Sunday morning record?
Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. It’s the perfect mood-setter for a chill day. That album, a good cup of coffee, a quality breakfast, and a good book. I’m set for the rest of the morning, at the minimum.
Thanks for being there, Mojo! Keep those magazines coming, even if we never speak!