High Fives: Kara Tucker

I really enjoyed my first High Fives, so I wanted to bring it back. I found an excellent person to interview in my good friend Kara Tucker. She and I have very similar musical tastes especially in our love of Sleater-Kinney, the Beatles, Against Me!, and the Beach Boys. 

Alyson: Tell me a little about yourself so the readers get to know ya.

Kara: Well, I moved around a lot as a kid, though I wasn’t in a military family. I finally settled back in the small Midwestern town where I was born.

I spent over 15 years there in the newspaper business, then came a point where I knew that my own personal truth was not compatible with living there. Two years later, I moved to New York. As far as the music, that goes back to my mom’s old records, then hers and my dad’s. It built from there.

Even though I’ve always had a passion for music, I’d never really written about it before, as I was a sportswriter all those years.

A: Awesome, I assume your parents’ records were like Andy Williams and stuff?

K: I’m not THAT old! Beatles and Beach Boys, actually

Rod Stewart, Three Dog Night. Dad was a huge Doobie Brothers fan.

A: That’s awesome, close to my parents’ age then. My parents had a similar music background.

K: So, it was a fair amount of album rock and Top 40.

A: No Sabbath in the house though?

K: Not really

There was a period where I listened to stuff like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and stuff… back when they were at their peak.

AC/DC, too

(I refer to this style of music as the Dean Winchester Playlist.)

A: So the pressing question. what are your desert island albums?

K: Beatles – Revolver
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Big Star – No. 1 Record/Radio City
Blondie – Parallel Lines

A: I go back and forth between Let it Be and Revolver as my favorite Beatles album. I am on record as saying that Revolver is definitely a perfect album; no real filler there.

I love Pet Sounds.

K: Abbey Road and Revolver for me.

Let It Be was a case where, unlike All Things Must Pass, the Phil Spector production didn’t work as well

A: Lyrically I think that’s what attracts me to Let It Be. “Across the Universe” is my and Carolina’s song. And I really always loved the beautiful sadness of the long and winding road

K: Pet Sounds, just the peak of Brian Wilson’s genius. I know it’s an obvious pick, but sometimes those are obvious for a reason.

A: I think you mentioned to me before about Big Star.

K: I liked the “Naked” versions better.

A: I loved the “Naked” versions. I am a big fan of the version of “One after 909” off of it.

K: Big Star. I know that it’s technically two albums, but for a lot of us, that’s how we first heard them, two albums on one CD.

Since, if you know the story, basically they were on a label that simply couldn’t get physical copies out there. They’d get these great reviews and then people would go to the record store and couldn’t find them.

But Alex Chilton was a great writer when he wasn’t practicing career self-immolation and Chris Bell was right up there.

A: Yeah sounds like Stax and then Columbia buried them (wrestling parlance for holding greats back from competing). They didn’t know how to promote Big Star.

K: Stax was on its last legs financially. I think they were done as a label by…75 or 76.

A: Who are your top 5 favorite musical artists?

Beatles, REM, Neil Young, David Bowie and then…

a tough call between the Replacements and Bob Mould (career-wise)

I would give the edge to the ‘Mats, but a very slight one.

A: I can’t really argue with any of those. All solid choices. Did you find REM’s decision to the end the band a good thing?

K: If they really felt they were at the end of the line, then yes.

They’d come back with a couple of albums that, if they weren’t their all-time best, were pretty solid comebacks after “Around the Sun.” And nobody needed another “Around the Sun.”

I just wish that, honestly, if they were going to break up that Stipe would have done some music on his own. But thus far, he doesn’t really seem to have much interest in it.

A: I am just thinking of how U2 career’s parallels REM but U2 didn’t have the balls to quit when they should have.

K: Plus, as we’re seeing in recent years, bands can always get back together.

A: Yeah the “Band Reunion” trope is a good thing mostly, Smashing Pumpkins aside.

K: I don’t dislike U2. It’s ridiculous that Rolling Stone gave the new one the top slot in their best of 2014.

But then again, with all the good writers they had, they still managed to find a way to give a Mick Jagger solo record five stars back in the day, so…

A: Things the world does not need: Mick Jagger solo records.

K: Hell, I’d kill for one last great Stones record.

A: 5 least favorite songs of all time?

or 5 least fav musical artists or both?

K: Nickelback — “Figured You Out”
Black-Eyed Peas — “My Humps”
Terry Jacks — “Season in the Sun”
David Bowie/Mick Jagger — “Dancing in the Street”
Bobby McFerrin — “Don’t Worry (Be Happy)”

A: All pretty solid picks there. Can’t really argue with any of those. It’s interesting to see two musical greats in Bowie and Jagger just shitting it up in that song.

K: God, the video.

A: I don’t actually mind it that much but I can see where your dislike comes from.

K: That made it worse.

I’d have expected to have more ’70s on there. I mean, “Feelings” and “Gimme Dat Ding,” just to name two.

A: Of course. I just queued it up to watch the video. Oh jeez, that shirt, Mick.

K: Avert your eyes!

A: I turned it off.

K: And that coat, David.

A: Terry Jacks’ song, while some people think is cute, I find heinous and weird.

K: So bad that they wouldn’t even subject Gitmo prisoners. It’s just so mawkish. The way he sings it makes it even more so.

A: I do like the Me First and The Gimme Gimme’s version though, but punk covers of pop songs work usually.

K: Nickelback is just creepy, woman-hating and…wrong

“My Humps” — least sexy song about the human body ever. No woman would ever call them “my lovely lady lumps.”

McFerrin…sadly, we have people that actually think that way 27 years later outside of a song. “Can’t make a go of it in a lousy economy? Just put a smile on and all the troubles will just go away.”

A: So if you could eliminate one entire discography, whose would it be?

K: I could think of a number of different choices aesthetically.

But I’m going to say R. Kelly, simply because not having that discography eliminates any free passes he might have for his behavior

A: That’s a good one. R. Kelly is a terrible human being and I am still mad that Pitchfork gave him all these passes for so many years. Then finally ran some sort of exposé as like IDK a pseudo-apology.

K: Woody Allen and Roman Polanski still get awards.

And R. Kelly still sells music.

A: Exactly. It is weird to finally see regular media people call out people like Charlie Sheen, Woody, and stuff.

K: I mean, yeah, I could have said Nickelback or Limp Bizkit, but some other band like that would have taken their place anyway


A: Wow, this certainly took an interesting turn

K: It kills me when people say, “How come it’s only being brought up now?” when it’s been brought up for years by a lot of the women.

Ted Nugent, ’nuff said.

A: In closing, is there anything you would like to plug?

K: Well, of course, there’s “What She Heard,” where Deb and I post reviews and pieces. And I’ve started to do some freelance work for Topside Press. I’m always on the lookout for more.

A: Thank you for the awesome fun time, Kara. I knew it would be a blast.

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Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

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