Tracy Frey grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Ill. Her obsession with music began in the early 1980s when she was in junior high. Hard rock and metal were big at her junior high, and she listened to bands like Judas Priest and AC/DC. She subscribed to music magazines; listened to the sole metal radio station in Chicago, which only broadcast after 9 p.m.; and started taking drum lessons.
When Tracy entered high school in the mid-1980s, her musical tastes changed. Through watching MTV's 120 Minutes, she discovered more alternative pop/rock bands like the Smiths and the Cure. She started to go to concerts at smaller Chicago venues and was exposed to lesser-known bands. To get a discount on CDs, she took a job in a record store. She also worked on her school newspaper and, among other things, wrote album reviews. By the late 1980s, her tastes expanded to include several Manchester bands and some indie rock.
In 1990, Tracy went to the University of Wisconsin to study journalism. Here she was exposed to the American Trad Rock of the Grateful Dead and Phish, which was very popular in Madison's limited music scene. However, indie rock bands remained her favorite. In 1994, Tracy graduated with a BA in journalism and moved back to Chicago. In Chicago, she was exposed to a wider range of musical styles and became acquainted with some local bands. Her musical knowledge expanded considerably.
Career-wise, she worked various editing jobs until she took a position as conference producer with ICM Conferences. After approximately six months, she switched jobs again to become the assistant editor of Coal Age, a monthly, four-color trade magazine. Although she had no background in coal and thought the subject matter was a little strange, she liked her job and her co-workers. After a year at Coal Age, she was promoted to associate editor. In 1999, she decided to branch out from Coal Age and try freelancing. She applied to the All Music Guide and was accepted. ~ Tracy Frey
Tracy J. Frey's Desert Island List
1. Helium The Dirt of Luck
2. Sarge The Glass Intact
3. Polvo Exploded Drawing
4. Tuscadero The Pink Album
5. Pavement Slanted and Enchanted
6. Old 97s Too Far To Care
7. T. Rex Electric Warrior
8. Apples in Stereo Fun Trick Noisemaker
9. Portishead Dummy
10. Stereolab Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements
11. Pixies Doolittle
12. Chavez Ride the Fader
13. Guided By Voices Bee Thousand
14. Sebadoh III
15. Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground and Nico
16. Man or Astro-man? Is it Man or Astro-man?
17. Fugazi13 Songs
18. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses
19. The Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady
20. Blonde Redhead Fake Can Be Just As Good
21. Dinosaur Jr. Green Mind
22. Luna Bewitched
23. Sonic Youth EVOL
24. The Replacements Let it Be
25. Superchunk Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)