I was reading through some old New Haven Advocates for a research project, and was happily distracted by my friend Kathleen Cei’s local band interview column Stuck in a Corner With…
It was a questionnaire format for profile of area musicians. (I had done a similar column for the Advocate years earlier, called Band This Week.)
On a whim, I decided to fill out the questionnaire myself. The answers are true to today.
Music style: jazz-punk on uke.
Plays: a green Flea ukulele.
Other roles: Host, Get to the Point!; arts journalist and critic.
Armed With: a pocketful of black gel pens.
First album bought: The Archies. I owned Beatles, Lovin’ Spoonful, Chipmunks and other albums before that, but the first Archies album was bought (at a supermarket) with my own money.
First concert: The Supremes, March 9, 1968 at The Fieldhouse, Iowa City, Iowa.
In the CD player at home: The Kinks, Everybody’s in Show Biz; Marisa Monte, A Great Noise; Elf Power, Sunlight on the Moon; The Funky 16 Corners; The Shazam, Tomorrow The World; Teenage Fan Club, Shadows; Daddy-O Daddy—Rare Family Songs of Woody Guthrie; 10cc (first album); Adam Ant, B-Side Babies; Elvis Costello Live with the Metropole Orkest, My Flame Turns Blue; The Montgomery Cliffs, Millennium—A Pop Opera; Dave Douglas, Keystone.
CDs in the car: Nilsson box set (RCA Albums Collection); three Fountains of Wayne albums; several Tom Waits bootlegs; The Chipmunks Sing The Beatles; The Beatles, Meet The Beatles; Weezer (Blue Album); Matilda, Original Broadway Soundtrack.
Currently reading: Joe Perry, Rocks; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned; Neil Gaiman, Trigger Warning; W.E. Aytoun, Stories and Verse; Larry Kramer, The American People Vol. 1; and the entire DC Convergence saga.
Album that changed my life: Live at the Rat, 1976. Introduced me to several of my favorite bands of all time—Willie Loco Alexander and the Boom Boom Band, The Real Kids, DMZ, Marc Thor—and showed me what a robust local music scene could mean.
Game I always win: Most word games.
Game I always lose: All card games.
Buy me a drink: Before the spring of 2001, a dry gin martini. Since then, O’Doul’s.
What’s hiding under his bed: A field mouse.
Join another local band for a day: Jellyshirts.
Most memorable local shows: The impromptu Miracle Legion reunion at the Meriden Daffodil Festival; The Gravel Pit opening for Cheap Trick at Toad’s Place; The Swansons at Poco Loco; Groove Fiction Sex Ceremony at Urban Jungle; Mocking Birds at Cafe Nine; etc. etc.
Lyrics I’m most proud of: I used to parody hymns when I was in the church choir in grade school. A parody I wrote with my sister Catherine of “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” began “I sing along with the saints of God/ Because they can’t sing too well…”
Fun fact about Christopher Arnott: In my heyday as New Haven Advocate arts writer, I used to get Christmas cards from Teller (of Penn & Teller), Robert Goulet and Maureen Tucker.
If I was a pizza, what would the toppings be? Mushrooms.
Question I wish I’d asked: Why do so many people in the scene mispronounce my last name?