Get to know your blogger – Live Music Blog

Today’s “get to know your blogger” features Justin from Chicago.  Justin runs the Live Music Blog, and does a pretty fine job at doing so.  One of the things that I liked so much about his interview is his first concert answer.  Sometimes, things are so painful that you need someone else to come forward and admit for you to do the same.  I would like to officially thank Justin for admitting the Gin Blossoms were his first concert, mine too!  I guess I don’t have to send that on a postcard to Post Secret anymore, thanks!

Thanks Justin for your time, and check out his site!
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Let’s get some general background on you. Where do you live, how long, etc.

Right now, I’m living in Chicago with my wife and my cat. I’ve pretty much lived in Illinois my whole life, and I moved here after attending college downstate.

I want get an idea of your musical taste evolution if you will. What were some of the first albums/tapes/CD’s you bought?

It’s really hard to remember what I actually bought, because I got most of my music from my older brothers or my friend (who’s dad owned a music store). Not a bad way to get started musically, though…

One of the first CDs I remember that I really got interested in was Green Day’s Dookie (and that was before my high school days).

My high school progression was intense, though. If I consider what I listened to from start to finish, it would look something like: Fugazi, The Suicide Machines, The Vandals, The Get Up Kids, Braid, Beastie Boys, Rush, 311, Dave Matthews Band, Santana, Phish. It’s funny to look back on that.

How about some of the more recent CD’s you’ve purchased?

I just recently got Rogue Wave Descended Like Vultures, LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem, Wilco Kicking Television, Phish Live at MSG 1995–I love them all.

Where do you buy the majority of your records? Do you support a particular record store in your area, buy online, and if so, where?

I buy online exclusively now, usually from iTunes. If I can’t download it there, I’ll check to see if Amazon has it. I just find that to be the easiest and the quickest.

When I started listening to music, there were certain musicians that led me in the path of a lot of other bands. Did you have any similar experiences with bands growing up?

I have a profound love and respect for bands that can put out excellent instrumental music, and I think the Beastie Boys were the ones that turned me onto that sound. Of all their albums and all their white-boy rap hits, my favorite is their In Sound from Way Out album, which is just a rehash of all their past instrumental segues.

As of recent and until they broke up, Phish is definitely that band that got me interested in many, many different artists that I probably would have never listened to otherwise. I know a lot of people could say that same thing about them, too.

What are some of your favorite records of all time?

I have to include live albums and really just about anything that I’ve overplayed so many times that I can hardly listen to them anymore.

The Vandals Sweatin’ to the Oldies, Phish Rift, Heroic Doses Heroic Doses, Santana Live at the Fillmore ’68, Rush, Exit…Stage Left, Digable Planets Blowout Comb, Talking Heads Stop Making Sense, The Secret Machines Now Here is Nowhere, The White Stripes Elephant.

Any idea how many albums are in your collection?

I’d say about a good 1,000 or so plus plenty of live shows. My 80GB hard drive is about full right now, so I’m taking inventory of the collection to see what might need to get cleared out. I’ll probably just buy a bigger hard drive.

If you could spend time with 3 musicians, who would you choose?

Trey Anastasio, Jack White, Les Claypool

I’m sure you’ve seen some great concerts. Can you tell me what the first concert you saw was and when? To follow that up, are there any particular shows that stand out in terms of being favorites?

My first concert ever was The Gin Blossoms opening up for UB40. I think I was about 12 or something like that; I can still laugh when I think about it. I remember thinking it sucked when the lead singer of the Gin Blossoms announced “a double-guitar solo” and both guitarists just went nuts. In hindsight, I bet it was pretty cool. That’s why it’s funny to me. Also, I remembered it smelled like Otto’s jacket once UB40 came on. Yeah, and it was in the Chicago suburbs, so that’s cool too.

I had seen six Phish shows before it, but all four that I saw on Phish’s 2004 summer tour were beyond amazing for me. We ended up seeing the two nights at Deer Creek and then the next two nights at Alpine Valley, and a friend of ours got us up close and personal for three of those nights. We were fifth row at Alpine Valley and it makes all the difference compared to back up on the 45-degree-angle lawn section. It was my own personal “Goodbye, Phish. Thanks for the tunes!” and it was really just great.

I just have to list this show as well, because it stands out as something emotional for me. I saw Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) at The Vic (Chicago) back in early 2004, and we had one of those perfect concert moments where you’re literally finding your seat while the house lights cut out and the band takes the stage. The first song they played, Squares and Cubes, was one they had on one of their first albums and they hardly played it ever. They completely reworked the song, and it completely reworked my down-trodden spirit by the time they got halfway through it. I didn’t even realize how low I felt until they played that song, and I probably could have started crying once they got into the song. It was incredible–definitely once in a lifetime.

What are some bands that you haven’t gotten the chance to see live, but would really like to?

We just did a post about this the other day, and I’ve got a couple in mind already: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (I saw Bruce solo last October), Toubab Krewe (new band to me), Rogue Wave, Wilco, The Shins, Broken Social Scene…I could probably go on and on here.

How did you choose the name of your blog?

This one’s easy. I like live music a lot. It’s what really interests me about music, the live setting, improvisation, powerful/intense/quiet shows, everything about live music. Hence, Live Music Blog.

Can you tell me what got you into blogging, and are you surprised by the popularity your blog has attained?

I started to read blogs and I knew I wanted to start one myself. I literally just thought, “I want to make a blog that I would want to read myself,” and that’s what I try to do. I think it’s working out.

So far, yes, I have been pleasantly surprised with the popularity that the blog has gotten. I hope it continues–I’m having a lot of fun.

What are some of your favorite blogs? Music or otherwise.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Lifehacker.com and stuff like that, Lifehack.org. Those sites are cool to me. They can take even the most mundane life chore and make you think about it in a totally different way. At least, that’s what it does for me…

Some cool other blogs I’ve been enjoying are: i guess i’m floating, Hits from the Blog, Who’s Driving the Bus?, BurningOak.com

How important do you think music blogs are in general? Do you think they will continue to be as popular as they are today?

I don’t know, I actually think they’re really important. I think they serve as equalizer–another spot to make sure those artists that we love are getting recognized for their talents. That’s important to me and it’s something we need to support. As long as they continue to offer info and downloads without completely over-the-top over-writing, I think they’ll serve as a nice alternative to over-produced self-promotion press releases.

Let’s get away from music for a bit. What are some of your favorite movies and television shows?

My favorite movies are probably some of the usuals but I really have way too many to list. The Big Lebowski, Austin Powers, Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Matrix 1 and 2 (NOT 3), Twister–I’m not actually that kidding about Twister. That movie cracks me up.

As for TV, I’m into Lost hard right now. I mean, bad. I love the show. I also like the My Name is Earl / The Office combo that NBC has. I’m a big Jason Lee fan way back from his pro skateboarder days, and you’ve got to love Steve Carrell.

Outside of music do you have any other interests or projects?

I really enjoy camping and usually hope it goes side-by-side with a nice music festival attached. I really don’t go as much as I should, though.

Otherwise, I’d say I’m a decent computer nerd, a fair-weather Cubs fan, a huge fan of microbrews, and a work-from-home enthusiast.

A lot of people have a favorite concert t-shirt, do you have one?

It’s not even mine. My wife’s old concert t-shirts are the best, though. She was hardcore alternative back in the day, so I wear this green Ned’s Atomic Dustbin t-shift all the time. It has this funky x-ray spec ad as the graphic, something you’d see in the back of a comic book. It’s starting to wear out, though.

In your opinion, what’s the best place to eat on your city?

In Chicago, it has to be Tecalitlan near Chicago and Ashland–the best Mexican food that I’ve had in the city. My mouth waters just thinking about going there.

Animals dressed as humans. Funny or not?

Actually, humans dressed as animals is funny; animals dressed as humans is cute.