Nine Questions

Mitzi Cowell

Tucson native Mitzi Cowell maintains the life of a singer-songwriter, bandleader, producer, philosopher and energy-worker. Her latest work is the EP Love's So ... and the single/video "Shine From the Valley," dedicated to Tucson's response to the Jan. 8 tragedy. Her band will be at the Boondocks Lounge on Halloween, Monday, Oct. 31, sharing a bill with the Bryan Dean Trio.

What was the first concert you ever saw?

ZZ Top, Pure Prairie League, and Climax Blues Band in 1976. "La Grange" was the coolest sound I had ever heard, and I wanted to see the band that did it.

What are you listening to these days?

A metronome.

What was the first album you owned?

Queen's A Night at the Opera and Aerosmith's first album.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone seem to love, but you just don't get?

I think I get it all. Artists just have different priorities, things to say, and ways they want to say it. ... I don't care for really angry or exploitative songs, though.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

The big bands like Basie's or Duke's. ... I'd also like to know how Thomas Jefferson's violin-playing sounded. Or the world before European music. Tough question.

Musically speaking, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

The big, fat guitar tones and warm production aesthetic of early 1970s rock.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

"Crazy Fingers" by the Grateful Dead.

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

It's been a series of moments: going to sleep with my transistor radio by my pillow with "Rock On" and "Spirit in the Sky" every night; as an adolescent hearing Grace Slick sing "your friends treat you like a guest"; listening attentively to Neil Young's After the Gold Rush all the way through for the first time this summer. All seem to be calls to live authentically.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder.