Q: What happened to the end of 1986 Week?
A: It collided with the weekend. Party!

Q: Aren’t you too old to party?
A: You’re never too old to party. You might have to party at 12 frames per second instead of 24, but you’re never too old to party.

Q: Well, how would you rate 1986? What kind of year was it musically?
A: It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls of independent means.

Q: Since you were writing about 1986, why didn’t you mention The Smiths’ The Queen Is Dead? It’s supposed to be their best album.
A: I’ll end with them. Sort of. Like it’s any of your business anyway.

Q: Looking at your tag cloud, I see that the biggest name is Bruce Springsteen. You mention him a lot, but you don’t write about him very much.
A: You have to form a question in the form of a question. Don’t be a sports journalist.

Q: Right. Bruce – WTF?
A: Springsteen has been around so long and recorded so much that it’s impossible not to notice him. He’s a handy measuring stick. Dylan has been around even longer and has recorded even more, but he doesn’t have the same impact on our culture. Bruce has remained relevant, or at least topical. Bob has not. Plus I don’t like Dylan’s voice. But to answer your question, I don’t know what I could add to the existing mountain of Springsteen music journalism that would make a difference or sound original by even one gram. So I’ll go on referring to him and trying not to refer to Dylan. Or Donovan.

Q: How are you getting along in the novel-writing sector?
A: I’ve written 15,000 words.

Q: Is that a big number?
A: If I keep them, yes. If not, no.

Q: Would you say that writing a novel is an iffy proposition?
A: I’d say I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

Q: What did you listen to today? Sweatin’ to the Oldies?
A: Today I listened to M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011). The radio hit, “Midnight City,” sounds like vintage Depeche Mode. I’m still wading through the rest of this two-disc set. This French band is kinda arty, like Arcade Fire but without the beat. I might have to counter with Oingo Boingo. I might spend this week listening to M83, blink-182, Haircut 100, Matchbox Twenty, Heaven 17, Maroon 5, The Dave Clark Five, The Bobby Fuller Four, 3 Doors Down, and Fun Boy 3.

Q: Fun Boy 3?
A: I bet I’ll be able to dispense with some of these guys in a song or two!

Q: Where’s Deadmau5 on your list?
A: I just learned that the 5 should be pronounced as an s. I feel as ridiculous as the day someone busted me for pronouncing R.E.M. as “rem.” Which reminds me of something I read recently. What a way to begin a review: “I don’t ordinarily like to think about sex and R.E.M. at the same time…” I don’t even care what the rest of the sentence is! (Review of the film Fourplay in Portland Mercury, 27 February 2013)

Q: Let’s get back to The Smiths. Are you hating on them?
A: As if. I like half a dozen of their songs very much, but they’re scattered across their four studio albums, so their 1986 disc, The Queen Is Dead, didn’t move me.

I have tons of respect for Johnny Marr, their guitarist, but not much for Morrissey, even if he’s still being treated like a god. If all bands can be explained by The Monkees, then Johnny Marr is Mike Nesmith and Morrissey is Davy Jones.

Nevermind all this Q&A BS. Here’s a real interview for you. In the April 9 Seattle Weekly, Duff McKagan, the original bass player in Guns N’ Roses, interviews Marr. (Marr has a new album, The Messenger. It has some surprisingly strong tracks for a guy whose heyday was in 1986.) The interview is not only fun, it produced this gem:

McKagan: You were sort of the anti-guitar hero. I’m just so fascinated by your guitar style. I try to picture you guys in 1979 or whatever. I don’t know what he was listening to to get that sound.

Marr: Joy Division were rehearsing in the room above my band. They were scary guys just to look at because they wore old man’s clothes. With haircuts like they just came from the second world war. And that was much scarier than looking at someone who looked like the New York Dolls, or one of the Rolling Stones.

A: Everyone have a good week. Sweat to the oldies all you want, but don’t sweat the small stuff.
Q: I didn’t ask a question!
A: Deal.


  1. Michael Eichner says:

    15,000 words! Great! Is that about a fifth of the way into the novel you are envisioning?

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I’m still not sure. I’ve been told that 80,000 is a good length for a first novel. I’ve been concerned that I’d be short, say around 70,000, but yesterday it occurred to me that I might hit 120,000. This is why an outline is so important! And this is why I’m finally writing one! The last thing I want to do is try to break into mainstream publishing with a three-volume Lord of the Rings-style saga, all of which takes place on a train.

  2. Michael Eichner says:

    When you’re done counting down from Blink-182 to Fun Boy 3 (then 2 Live Crew and One Direction) you might want to work up through songs like 1812, 1957, 1959, 1969, 1977, two different 1979’s, three different 1984’s, 1985, 1999, 2112, and 2525.

    Then again, maybe not.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I just KNEW there was a way to get to one! Thank you! I think. These bands are not on my Most Favored Nations list. But I’ll listen. Like Gina Lollobrigida, I am fair and balanced.

      I like the idea of songs with numbers. I’m going to do that, too. Because after all I have nothing better to do.

  3. Accused of Lurking says:

    Re: Bruce Springsteen. I have one more question for you about Bruce Springsteen. BTW, I agree with your analysis of Bruce Springsteen’s impact on our culture. The Bruce Springsteen question is this: Does mentioning Bruce Springsteen in the comments section count in the tag cloud? Wait, that appears to be less a question about Bruce Springsteen and more a question about WordPress. Oops. And Dylan’s voice isn’t that bad. But you can always use more Beatles, not to mention The Who, who I just mentioned.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I like lots of Dylan songs. I sort of listen right through his voice, if that makes any sense. His voice is not as bad as I make out, it just sounds bad to me. Maybe that doesn’t make sense either.

      This is WordPress, not Google Analytics! You can say your name over and over in the comments and it won’t show up in the tag cloud no matter how many times I approve it. If you’re trying to take over my blog with a flash mob, you’re meowing up the wrong Christmas tree.

      I wrote a term paper in high school on The Who. Maybe I’ll resurrect (selected portions of) it. (Very selected.) Hey Who fans — Petra Haden of The Decemberists redid ‘The Who Sell Out’ entirely by herself. She SINGS all the instrumental parts! Must be heard to be believed.

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