Aside from being an assistant professor of English at the University of Arizona, where he teaches courses on film, critical theory and post-World War II American literature, Charlie Bertsch has written for Punk Planet and the Phoenix New Times, is a founding editor of the online journal Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, and contributed to Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer (Nation Books, 2004).
What was the first concert you ever saw?
The first I attended by myself was Rush at the now-demolished Capital Center in 1985.
What CDs are in your changer right now?
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; James Carter, Chasin' the Gypsy; The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me; The Coup, Party Music; The Avengers, The American in Me.
How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?
Approximately 1,600 CDs, 300 cassettes, 50 LPs, and 100 45s.
Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?
Only to preview upcoming concerts. I try to buy something at every show I like. The artists get more money that way.
What was the first album you owned?
The Village People, In the Navy. I played it to death.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
"A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.
Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
I was raised on opera and still love it: Verdi, Mussorgsky, Puccini, Weill. My guilty pleasure? a-Ha, especially Scoundrel Days.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation. Once you've heard it, nothing sounds the same.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
I'm going to cheat a little and say the double-CD reissue of Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted. The addition of the Watery, Domestic EP, superb Peel Sessions, and a live show push it to the top of my chart.