Ari Shapiro moved to Tucson four years ago, after a decade in San Francisco. His first exposure to music was being forced to play Hannon exercises on the family piano. After giving up his dream of being the next Leonard Bernstein, he became a songwriter for several years. After giving up on songwriting, he decided to be just a music aficionado. He still thinks indie rock will be the next big thing after people get over American Idol. He currently owns and works at XOOM Juice, whose menu boasts 20 to 25 hidden musical references.
What was the first concert you ever saw?
Technically, Blotto ("I Wanna Be a Lifeguard"), opening for Steve Forbert ("Romeo's Tune") in New Rochelle, N.Y., 1979. The first real show was a few months later: Springsteen at Madison Square Garden. He simply rocked.
What CDs are in your changer right now?
The Wrens; The Rapture; Atmosphere; The Shins; Sigur Ros; Doves.
How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?
CDs--250; vinyl--150; cassettes--50 (all live Grateful Dead); 8-tracks--nada. (I'm not that old.)
Do you download music, and if so, legally?
Nope. I will burn, baby, burn. But I will buy the actual CD if I like it.
What was the first album you owned?
Pink Floyd, The Wall.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Radiohead, "Let Down," or The Clash, "Death or Glory." Depends how I died.
Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Public Enemy, followed by Gustav Mahler.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
The Rolling Stones. They taught me that real greatness and talent need to be authentic, and cannot be faked or posed. Also, that melody and grittiness are not mutually exclusive.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.