Education: Bemidji State University, Minnesota
Location: Minneapolis, MN
A freelance writer from Minnesota, I began my musical education very young, listening to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, and George Jones at beer-soaked family gatherings. My mother listened to the radio constantly, and by the time I was eight or so, she had taken up the acoustic guitar and was learning rock-oriented songs like Janis Joplin's version of "Me and Bobby McGee." My first memory of a song absolutely blowing me away? When I was nine years old, my dog had just been hit by a speeding car right in front of my eyes, and the Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays" came on the radio. Top 40 Radio -- the AM variety -- dominated my world during the '70s. I could hear Kiss, Debby Boone, and Rose Royce in one set, and though some of the songs were downright painful, I think it paved the way for the open-mindedness and eclectic listening tastes I developed and display as an adult. The '80s -- well, let's just say that, as much as I love the Minutemen, Black Flag, and the Del Fuegos nowadays, I spent most of the decade with hairspray-fettered metal bands playing loud and proud while I lived the hedonistic lifestyle most of my peers were also floating irresponsibly through.
In the late '80s, I grew disillusioned with the formulaic, inane noise-fests I heard everywhere -- cars, bars, all across the radio dial. By the early '90s, I had discovered a low-wattage FM station in Minneapolis, KJJO, which was run by the now famous Revolution Radio pioneer Kevin Cole. The format astounded me -- Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Television, the Ramones, and the Clash all mixed with gems by Bob Dylan, the Stones, Beatles, Everly Brothers, and, of course, Patsy Cline. It was a huge awakening for me -- to discover that I could like all these different genres of music, such disparate artists, and that there were other musical freaks like me out there playing them over the air! I began my writing career not long after, finding that the knowledge of all these great artists was just too important to keep to myself. I worked as an intern for a year or so at a local punk zine, The Squealer, where I interviewed artists as diverse as Badfinger's Joey Molland and quirky singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt.
After a short stint as music editor (which I found to be more of a babysitting job than a writing/editing position), I moved on to a weekly arts and entertainment paper, The Pulse of the Twin Cities, and also began doing periodic freelance work online. To date, I have interviewed over 100 artists and bands, including Sonic Youth, John Fogerty, Tommy Stinson of the Replacements, Joe Henry, Pantera, John Cale of the Velvet Underground, Son Volt, the Spinanes, Babe the Blue Ox, and plenty more, including a plethora of up-and-coming local bands. I look forward to both sharing and expanding my musical knowledge here at AMG, and await with eager anticipation a year full of great upcoming releases. ~ Tom Hallett
Desert Island List:
(In No Particular Order)
2) The Replacements - Tim
18) The Carpenters - Gold: Greatest Hits
21) The Ramones - All the Stuff (And More), Vol. 1
24) Anarchy in the U.K. (Compilation) - U.K. Punk, 1976-1977