Musoscribe’s Most Popular

Perhaps remarkably, a look at the stats for shows that the most popular (as in, most-read) stories this past year are things I wrote years – sometimes many years – ago. With some 4725 entries (nearly all of which are at least 500 words in length) it stands to reason that things that have been online the longest would rank among the most popular. Of course I’m gratified when anyone reads anything I’ve written, be it something here, on my non-music site or in print-only, or perhaps in the form of some 30-plus liner note essays.

In any event, on this last day of the calendar year, I thought it might be interesting to list the top stories along with a brief comment about each.

Question Mark & the Mysterians: Is This Guy for Real? I wrote this feature – based on an in-person interview/encounter – in 2009, and it first appeared in the pages of Shindig! Magazine. All these years later, Question Mark remains at the top of my list of, er, most unique interview subjects. The piece’s online numbers are undoubtedly helped by the fact that for many years the homepage of Q’s website linked to the story (perhaps it still does).

A Conversation with The Tubes’ Founder Bill Spooner Back in the days before transcription software (or a budget that allowed me to hire human transcriptionists), it often took a very long time before transcripts of my lengthiest interviews were posted online. This conversation from 2012 is one such example. Spooner left The Tubes in the ‘80s, but for me he has always been the group’s creative center of gravity. Some of the funniest anecdotes I’ve ever heard came from him during our chat. (You’ll find the best – about “Baby, Your Face is Mutated” – in a later section of the multi-part interview.)

Album Review: Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees I first interviewed BJM’s Anton Newcombe in 2012, and found him quite unlike his notorious public image. But in early 2022 I was invited to attend a Brian Jonestown Massacre concert, and that performance was an unmitigated disaster. So bad, in fact, that I told the publicist that I wouldn’t write the planned concert review. Instead, I reviewed the then-new album – a quite good album, as it happens – but I couldn’t resist including some references to the show I had seen. Lots of people read it.

Yes’ Drama at 40: A Critical Look Back at the Band’s Most Controversial LP The title says it all, really. I love Drama, and as a serious Yes fan – one who has interviewed something like nine current or former members of the group – I believe the album deserves more respect than it receives. This 2020 piece generated a lot of interest.

Straight No Chaser: All Vocals, Hold the Instruments This one remains something of a puzzlement. The group is doubtless interesting, but the number of readers of this 2018 piece is well out of proportion with the group’s popularity. Still, I’m glad people read it, and I hope doing so sent them to explore the a cappella music of Straight No Chaser.

Liliac: C’mon Get Metal This family band of young metallers is talented and hard-working, and it was a fun interview. I assume their demographic skews younger than do most of my interview subjects. No word if anyone picked up on the Partridge Family reference I worked into the 2022 story’s title.

Climbing That Tree: The Story of She Trinity A personal favorite, this feature was a labor of love. I had the honor of chronicling the largely untold story of one of England’s few all-female rock bands, based on interviews with every available former member. That roster included bassist Pauline Moran, best known as Miss Lemon in Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Earlier this year my wife and I had the pleasure of sharing tea with Ms. Moran during a visit to London. This 2021 piece first appeared (in shorter form) a year earlier in Record Collector Magazine.

Happy New Year!