Nine Questions

Tucson artist Gene Hall moved to Tucson from Northern California in 1978 and attended Sabino High School. He hooked into the local music scene when he worked at Zip's Records in the 1980s. Hall attended the UA where he received a BFA in Studio Art and MS in Entomology, and although he's managed museum collections in Colorado and Nebraska before returning to Tucson where he now oversees the UA Insect Collection in the Department of Entomology, his other life is as a painter and comic book artist and historian. He's contributing artwork to the next Charlie's Comic Books charity auction benefiting Youth on Their Own on Saturday, Feb. 7. The downtown resident is also currently working on a group of new figurative and abstract paintings that he hopes to show at a local gallery soon. Hall lives downtown with his two rescue Chihuahuas, Cesar and Jimmy, whom he credits as "instigators" of his vegan diet and teachers of compassion. For more info on Charlie's and Youth on Their Own, visit or, and on Hall's insect world go here, .

Mari Herreras,

What was the first concert you attended?

The first concert I purchased was Elton John at the Tucson Community Center in 1980. I was 17 years old and went with my dad. I can still remember hearing Your Song for the first time in late 1970 on the radio in our living room while my mom was vacuuming.

What are you listening to these days?

Classical music when painting and writing; currently on the CD player Captain Beefheart's "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)," "Tibetan Buddhism: Tantras of Gyütö," William Burrough's "Dead City Radio," Billy Sedlmayr's "Charmed Life," and "Flower Dance: Japanese Folk Melodies."

What was the first album you owned?

My mom gave me a stack of her music when I was 9 years old, including singles from the '50s and '60s, and LPs by Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley. Fond memories of watching the Parrot label on Tom Jones' "Green, Green Grass of Home" single spinning around on the turntable. First purchases were David Bowie's "Young Americans" and Elton John's "Greatest Hits" in 1974. I tried to convince my mom to buy Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" when it was released, but the cover made her decide otherwise. Being a single parent at the time, she was looking out for me. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone seem to love, but you just don't get?

Wow, that is a long list (Korn, Insane Clown Posse, Madonna, etc.), but I love music so much, from kabuki, old jazz, techno, punk, classical, chants, metal, rockabilly, its hard to dismiss entire genres. Having said that, I cannot watch shows like The Voice or American Idol.

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

It would have been great to see Lou Reed, Captain Beefheart, and one more performance from The Cramps. Ryuichi Sakamoto is high on the list and Joe Jackson is always a treat.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

John Denver, especially when I worked with his Windstar Foundation overseeing the Environmental Studies Scholarship program, but I think liking any music is a guilty pleasure; we're all guilty.

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

Tom Wait's "On The Nickle," Warren Zevon's "Mutineer," followed by Lou Reed's "Magic and Loss" in its entirety at the reception for those who care to stick around.

What artist changed your life and how?

As a kid: The Beatles, Elton John, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, later Warren Zevon, Kate Bush, Captain Beefheart, Billie Holliday, Lou Reed, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson, Tom Waits, and they sent me off in other directions. When Joe Jackson released "Jumpin' Jive," I bought the original versions of those old jazz songs, and groups like The Ramones and Fear were a good alternative to EJ. Kevin Beringer and Jim Hardy at Zip's Records on University Boulevard passed on their exhaustive musical knowledge, and Kidd Squidd for obvious reasons.

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

As a single unit, the trilogy of Lou Reed's "Magic and Loss," "Set the Twilight Reeling" and "Ecstasy," extremely solid songwriting and recordings. Thirty-years ago it would have been Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Ask me again in another 10 years.

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