WHY I WRITE ABOUT MUSIC
by Denis McGilvray, creator of Jukebox Delirium
I started this blogazine as a chronicle of my musical madness – not madness as in insanity (although that may be arguable) but madness as in a wild enthusiasm for listening to and searching out good music of all kinds, from rock-and-roll to be bop jazz, Americana to Afrobeat, British folk-rock to alt-country, and most things in between and beyond. I love listening to music and thinking about music and talking about music, and I love to write; I figured I might as well put all that together and share my explorations with those of you who may also be a bit musically adventurous. Even if you’re not so mad about music, I hope you find something worth your while here. I want this to be a place where we can join together in a conversation about music and what it means to us.
WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND HERE
I’m calling this a blogazine because many of the posts will likely be more in-depth and less frequent than a typical daily blog post. I’ll be aiming for at least weekly feature-length posts with other ones being made as pertinent information becomes available. These feature-length posts could be about how music intersects with my personal story, full reviews of new or classic and beloved records, concert reports, stories about a particular musician or band or genre, how music intersects with pop culture, discussions of music books and movies, musings about the changing ways we listen to music and how the music business is evolving…well, you get the picture. Other shorter posts might involve round-ups of relevant new releases, concert tour news, links to free (and legal!) music downloads, and the like. And since I’m based here in Tulsa, Oklahoma there will certainly be posts that are specific to the lively Tulsa music scene, both past and present, as well as the music scene around the Sooner state, for those of you who live here. At some point there will also be contributions from some of my music writing friends; stay tuned for all that.
WHAT YOU CAN DO HERE
You, dear music lover, are a vital part of this venture. I welcome comments (you can add them at the end of posts – and please let’s be friendly here; comments will appear after being approved.) You can subscribe to Jukebox Delirium and receive new posts via e-mail. You can add an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed to your bookmarks and have a folder with recent posts linked there. (Click on the RSS…) You can explore the links to interesting sites, peruse the archives for older posts, and read, read, read! (If the font is too small, use your web browser’s font sizing tool to increase its size; unfortunately, I can’t change it here.)
I grew up in Chatsworth, California (in the very northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley suburb of Los Angeles, near the Santa Susana Mountains) and started collecting records as a teenager. In 1982, my family moved to the Monterey Peninsula in central California, where I had my first job working as music buyer in a record store (at the Record Factory on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey.) I also became a volunteer programmer for public radio station KAZU-90.3 FM in Pacific Grove; my first show was a weekly evening jazz program, then I moved to a rock time-slot which ran from 11 p.m. Friday nights to 2 a.m. Saturday mornings. Ah, those were the days! My first show in that time-slot was called “Not Fade Away” and featured classic rock mixed in with some modern rock; I eventually switched that around and featured mostly modern rock and titled the show “Sharkey’s Night,” after the tune by Laurie Anderson. In the late 1980s, I moved up the coast on the other side of Monterey Bay to Santa Cruz, where I had been commuting to my new job as the jazz music buyer at Cymbaline Records in Capitola and then in downtown Santa Cruz. After ending my show at KAZU, I started as a programmer at KUSP-88.9 FM in Santa Cruz, doing a jazz show called “Old and New Dreams” – from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. once a week. Yes, you read that right. This show didn’t last long, as I was finishing up my Literature degree at U.C. Santa Cruz and had a class at 10 a.m. on the morning after my show. That was the last of my radio career. I also worked at Beat City Records, a used record store on Pacific Avenue owned by the incomparable Speed Coseboom. In 1992, I moved with my soon-to-be wife Sarah to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. After many years of not really being involved with music (I had been a teacher briefly and then a librarian with the Tulsa City-County Library for many years) I suddenly entered the world of concert promotion in 2001 when I volunteered to help Anitra Lavanhar with her new folk music series at All Souls Unitarian Church, the All Soul Acoustic Coffeehouse concert series. Although I didn’t know much about the musicians coming to play, I quickly learned about the thriving contemporary folk and Americana scene and have been involved with the series since then, having been one of the main coordinators for the past several years. We’ve presented around 70 concerts since 2001 and will be starting our tenth year in Fall 2010.
WHAT MADE ME START WRITING ABOUT MUSIC
Well, this is a complex question which will surely be explored bit by bit throughout the whole lifetime of this blogazine, but the most immediate impetus was this: in March 2009 I received a note through Facebook from my younger brother, Patrick. It was called “25 Random Things About Me,” one of those things you’re supposed to respond to and pass along to others. I don’t usually partake in these things, but I was inspired by Patrick’s witty and edifying list (for example, I learned that since his successful testicular cancer surgery in 2003, he now only participates in sports that require one ball…) Needless to say, I was inspired, and wrote my own list. After doing so, I realized that many of the 25 random things related to music in one way or another; it started me thinking about how music was such a huge part of my life. When a friend who had read my list suggested that I think about creative non-fiction or memoir writing, it put a seed in my mind that started to grow, ever so slowly, but grow it did. At around that same time, I had started listening to an NPR podcast called All Songs Considered, an excellent weekly program which explores new music and music topics in a discussion format. One particular episode caught my attention and really started me thinking about music as I had not thought about it in years. (A separate post about this will appear soon.) Between suddenly thinking passionately about music and thinking about writing, the idea for this blogazine was sprouted, and now it has come to bloom.
Thanks for reading. Welcome to Jukebox Delirium…
Mardi Gras Day, 2010