Don Gest began playing acoustic Irish music in 1975. He moved to Tucson in 1980 and soon began promoting Celtic and acoustic-folk concerts. For the Arizona Theatre Company, he works as the facility coordinator and house manager of the Temple of Music and Art. Since 1995, he's been a host on Acoustic Alternative, which airs from 8 to 10 a.m., Saturday, on KXCI FM 91.3. His company, In Concert! Tucson, will present Leo Kottke on Feb. 9 and 10. Learn about other upcoming shows at inconcerttucson.com.
What was the first concert you ever saw?
The Beatles, in December 1965, at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. I was 13. ... One of my main memories, besides the screaming girls, is that during one song, "Yesterday," they all actually shut up to listen.
What are you listening to these days?
T With the Maggies, an all-woman Irish group formed by Triona Ni Dhomhnaill—it features the lead singers from The Bothy Band, Clannad and Altan. Then there's La Bottine Souriante, a French-Canadian band. And The Little Willies' second album, For the Good Times.
What was the first album you owned?
Beatles for Sale.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone seem to love, but you just don't get?
Grunge music; I don't get it at all.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
The Bothy Band; I've seen all the members perform, but never saw them play live together. And then the Grateful Dead; I saw Jerry Garcia, but not with the Dead.
Musically speaking, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
American Idol's Top 24, and a band called Moving Hearts, an all-instrumental Irish rock band.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
Any lament played live on uilleann pipes.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
The Bothy Band. By hearing them, I got totally hooked on Irish music. I heard Old Hag You Have Killed Me in 1977 or '78.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Mary Black, By the Time It Gets Dark.