Ronn Spencer is a graphic designer, photographer, disc jockey and photo editor who moved to Tucson in 2000. He has designed album covers and posters for musicians including the Sex Pistols, the Dead Boys, Angry Samoans, Marshall Crenshaw, Buddy Guy, Talking Heads, the Avengers and Alejandro Escovedo. He also co-hosted and produced two notorious L.A. radio programs: Unprovoked Attack (KPFK-FM, 1979-80) and The Cool and the Crazy (KCRW-FM, 1984-88).
What was the first concert you ever saw?
The Ronettes, Dovells, Donald Jenkins and The Delighters and Bobby Vee at the Teaneck Armory, N.J., 1963. When Ronnie Spector hit the stage in a skin-tight slit skirt, a frothing pack of hyper-hormonal teenage boys rushed the stage. ... Out in the parking lot, gang members randomly stomped people in the crowd. In short, the perfect rock 'n' roll evening.
What CDs are in your changer right now?
Scott Walker, Scott 2; Rashaan Roland Kirk, Blacknuss; Marshall Crenshaw, What's in the Bag?; and three anthologies--Phil's Spectre (A Wall of Soundalikes), Doug Sahm and The Sir Douglas Quintet (The Complete Mercury Recordings) and Cameo Parkway (1957-1967).
How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?
About 4,500 albums and 1,000 45 rpms.
Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?
Never. I have to own the liner notes and graphics. CDs, and especially vinyl recordings, are fetish objects.
What was the first album you owned?
Stormsville by Johnny and The Hurricanes in 1960--instrumental rock 'n' roll from America's heartland.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
Brian Wilson's "'Til I Die."
Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
"Schnappi, Das Kleine Krokodil" by a 6-year old German girl, Joy Gruttmann. It was a Top 10 tune in Australia when I was teaching there.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
The Velvet Underground. ... No one in rock 'n' roll had ever embraced anything so troubling, so dangerous, so noir. It was a revelation.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
I can't decide between The Everly Brothers' Roots, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Forever Changes by Love or The Velvet Underground and Nico.