What was the first concert you ever saw?
The Blasters at the Ritz in New York City around 1983. Rank and File opened, so you got two of the great early L.A. bands for the price of one. I've never seen a show with more sheer energy.
What CDs are in your changer right now?
My changer is my index finger on the open/close button. Lately, I've been listening to Jim Lauderdale, The Other Sessions; Wayne Hancock, Tulsa; early Loretta Lynn stuff; The Louvin Brothers, Tragic Songs of Life; and Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti.
How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?
Several hundred CDs, several hundred LPs and a few bleached-looking cassettes.
Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?
I pick up odds and ends on iTunes. I use my own credit-card number, so I guess that makes it legal.
What was the first album you owned?
E.L.O., Time. I still love it.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
Celtic tunes, both slow and fast, to go with lots of drinking and dancing. One favorite is "Lament for Frankie" by the Irish band Solas.
Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Rick Astley. Top that one.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
When I was a kid in Southern Indiana, my folks took me to see Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin and others at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. Years later, I would feel an inescapable urge to sing and play bluegrass.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
I'm figuratively soiling myself. R.E.M., Reckoning.