Readers of the Coachella Valley Independent know the work of Brian Blueskye well; he shared his unique view on the arts in the valley and gave local music a voice in these pages for six years. Blueskye’s coverage of smaller bands brought them more notoriety, and his entertaining conversations with bigger acts made the Coachella Valley’s music scene pop. After writing up many Lucky 13 interviews over the years, it’s now his turn to answer the questions—and here are his answers.
What was the first concert you attended?
Aerosmith in 1994, at what is now called the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. A band called Jackyl opened up, and their lead singer has this gimmick where he uses a chainsaw as an instrument. At that time, Aerosmith was still putting on fantastic shows, and I loved every minute of it.
What was the first album you owned?
Huey Lewis and The News’ Sports, but I put an asterisk by that, because I asked for a Metallica album for Christmas when I was 11 years old, and my mom bought me that album instead, saying, “You like Huey Lewis and the News!” as if it was a joke. I sent that CD flying into a wall and enjoyed watching it shatter into millions of pieces. I actually bought my first three albums with my own money: Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral, Aerosmith’s Pump and Metallica’s self-titled Black Album, which I wanted for Christmas a few years earlier.
What bands are you listening to right now?
I’ve been getting more and more into Latin music lately and artists who were/are on the Fania record label like Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades. I also got into the Chilean folk singer Victor Jara, and the Brazilian guitar player and composer Arthur Verocai. I’ve also been listening to David Axelrod, Miles Davis, Herlin Riley, Emma Ruth Rundle, A Tribe Called Quest, Jawbreaker, Nick Waterhouse, Max Richter, and Durand Jones and the Indications. I really like the Captain Ghost album.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
I can’t stand Sublime. There’s a podcast called Your Favorite Band Sucks, and they did an entire episode on Sublime, and it was spot on as far as their music and their antics as a band.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
Beyonce’s Lemonade album.
What’s your favorite music venue?
Pappy and Harriet’s is one of my favorite places on Earth; I love going up there. But one of the only times I get homesick for Cleveland is when I think of the Agora Theatre and Ballroom. I saw a lot of good shows there.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
“Turn off the news and build a garden, just my neighborhood and me. We might feel a bit less hardened; we might feel a bit more free,” Lukas Nelson, “Turn Off the News (Build a Garden).”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
I was a closeted gay teenager growing up in Mentor, Ohio. I didn’t want to listen to upbeat pop anthems sung by divas. I was alienated and pissed off. Bands like Metallica, Motörhead, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and the Buzzcocks got me through my late teens and were my saving grace. My musical tastes evolved, and my perspective has changed as I’ve gotten older, but I still appreciate that stuff.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
I’d ask Paul Tollett, the CEO of Goldenvoice, why he didn’t give up and persevered to do more Coachella festivals after the first one was such a disaster.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
U2, The Joshua Tree. People can rag on U2 all they want, but that album is a masterpiece and should be higher up on those lists of best albums.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
Durand Jones and the Indications, “Is It Any Wonder?” (Scroll down to hear it!)