Nine Questions

Jimi Giannatti

Jimi Giannatti, "benevolent dictator" of Pop Narkotic takes photos and designs 1960s-era Filmore-inspired posters for area musicians and shows. While in Bisbee, Giannatti formed a close friendship with Amy and Derrick Ross of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl and began making posters for their band. He lives in Tucson now, and if you're lucky, you'll see this tall photographer with camera in hand wandering downtown Tucson's streets. For more on his work, go to Facebook and visit the Pop Narkotic page.

What was the first concert you attended?

I was 14 when I saw my very first concert. It was Aug. 22, 1968. I went to see the Loving Spoonful at the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. As great as they were, maybe even better were the two guys that the Spoonful were opening for, of which I had never heard of: Simon and Garfunkel. From that night on, I was forever hooked on live music.

What are you listening to these days?

Well that's very personal; for the past year since they left us, I've been listening to lots and lots of old live recordings of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl shows, "Bisbee Slim," Derrick's 14-song opus to Beyoncé; and  of course Amy performing her Wednesday solo show. Also Little Dragon, Lisa Hannigan, decker, Arcade Fire, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's. I'm not embarrassed to say my most played Pandora station is a mix of Kelly Clarkson and Pink.

What was the first album you owned? A 45RPM record of "Please Please Me" by the Beatles with "Love Me Do" on the flip-side.

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

You're going to hate this answer but I would have to say I don't "get" anything played poorly and without commitment and authenticity. I love absolutely all genres of music: Pop, Reggae, Country Western, Punk, Hip Hop, Jazz, Rock, etc.—but within every one of those genres are too often horrible, derivative hacks (and anything by Supertramp).

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

Well obviously, without being too morose and redundant, Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl. I also love Jeff Tweedy and Wilco and have only seen them once. Joni Mitchell, Parliament-Funkadelic, Bob Dylan, Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Prince. Also Patsy Cline, Marvin Gaye, and Jeff Buckley if I'm allowed to raise the dead. 

What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Any girl-pop done well! From Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me," Janis Ian's, "Society's Child," to Britany's, "Hit Me One More Time" and Kelly Clarkson's "Don't Leave Me." That whole '90s magical period of L7, Luscious Jackson, TLC, En Vogue, Wilson Phillips, Hole, Seether, is way too often overlooked or dismissed by music critics. I have found that for the most part, the honesty, angst, joy, grace, and unbelievable vulnerability that young female singers/songwriters sing about in their early careers far outreach anything their male counterparts do.

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

I have two: The Chipmunk Song, "Christmas Don't Be Late," and, "One Nation Under a Groove" by Parliament (hey, it's my funeral not yours).

What artist changed your life and how?

Without a doubt, Jimi Hendrix. I was lucky enough to see him seven times and every single time was a religious experience—he literally set the standard for everything I hold important in live music shows: performance, virtuosity, humor, spontaneity, originality, fire, sex, fashion—everything! I actually saw the very last performance of The Experience at the 1969 Denver Pop Festival just weeks before Woodstock. Many bands come close but none have surpassed him.  

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

I wanna be cool and hip and say, Velvet Underground's first album, or Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" but it would be Joni Mitchell's, "Court and Spark." Jimi Hendrix may have taught me swagger, but Joni taught me humility, grace, and never-ending optimism. Maybe in 10 to 20 years it will be Sarah McLachlan's "Surfacing" or Lisa Hannigan's "Passenger," because, after all, I'm still learning. 

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