Tina Turner

Tina Turner is a walking testimonial to the benefits of Buddhism and vegetarianism (also, marrying a billionaire and expatriating to Switzerland). You know how people say, “I hope I look that good when I’m her age?” Shoot: I wish I looked that good now. Also: Private Dancer, greatest comeback album of all time and one of the best ever, period. This one’s for Tim, RIP.

Tina Turner AllMusic page

Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley: Critically acclaimed, cover-model looks, died young. Son Jeff: Critically acclaimed, cover-model looks, died young. There’s a story there.

Tim Buckley AllMusic page

They Might Be Giants

So one time Leigh put on some They Might Be Giants, and after about a half-hour she said, “Don’t you get kind of tired of their snarky cynicism?” Well, no, actually. Besides, “Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders what the part that isn’t thinking isn’t thinking of” may be the greatest lyric of all time.

They Might Be Giants AllMusic page

Thelonious Monk

In my real next life, I want to be Monk’s … you know, the guy who hangs around while Monk does his Monk thing. Miles might get the title, but to me, Monk will always be the coolest kid in school.

Thelonious Monk AllMusic page

Terence Blanchard

So first, Cedric asked Ray and I to pick up some mannequins for him from this free mannequin giveaway, but the giveaway turned out to be a hoax. Then we were going to get dinner at his favorite pizza place, but they had gone out of business. And then he said he had two tickets to see Terence Blanchard that night and did I want to go—but the tickets were for the Thursday show. It was Friday.

So what I’m saying is, not the best day for Cedric.

Terence Blanchard AllMusic page


Of all the Temptations moments of awesomeness (basically, all of them), my personal favorite is “Ball of Confusion.” The song that not only parallels the “eve of destruction” with a “tax deduction” (because, huh?) but also says the safest place to live is on an Indian reservation. I’ll bet the remnants of the Native American population were relieved to hear that.

Temptations AllMusic page


There is a funny joke to be made about forming a music group and naming it “television.” And no, I don’t know what it is. Also: Many songs with one-word titles.

Television AllMusic page

Techno Pop

When “Sweet Dreams” came out in 1983, it was my favorite song of the year by far. My sisters, who were more in the “rockin’ to REO Speedwagon” school, thought I was a weirdo. Thirty years later, not much has changed.

Synth Pop AllMusic page


When they write the story of my life, and get to the chapter “When Joe Stopped Going to Clubs”: That chapter will be about when the clubs switched from house (which I already didn’t like) to techno (which I despise). That’s when Joe stopped going to clubs.

Techno AllMusic page

Talking Heads

When I was in college, a guy I knew said semiotics (is that a thing anymore?) was the best theoretical system, because all other systems were based on some kind of floor, and in semiotics, there was no floor. And I was like, “But if you say ‘there is no floor,’ isn’t that your floor?”

Oh yeah: He was a big Talking Heads fan.

Talking Heads AllMusic page