August 9, 1996

When You Talk About Music

Stories of people whose lives are transformed by music.

Act One

When You Talk Music

Dael Orlandersmith's funny, moving story from her Obie-award winning show Beauty's Daughters. Though she's an African-American woman, she transforms herself in this story into a loudmouthed Italian guy. At a wedding, this character meets a woman who reminds him of who he was before he got married and had kids: a guy who loved jazz, a different guy than he is now. Recorded at Millie's Orchid Show in Chicago. Thanks to Brigid Murphy. (12 minutes)


“Original sax solo” by Chicago musician (and MacArthur genius grant winner) Ken Vandermark
Act Two

A Brother Who Struggles To Be A Star

Radio producer Dan Gediman's story about his older brother, "Alex Jones," who he idolized when they were kids. After many unsuccessful attempts to become a rock star, he finally made it in music, as a Tom Jones impersonator. Visit Alex's website for more. This story produced by Jay Allison with Ginna Allison, as part of Jay's Life Stories series. (21 minutes)


“Fall in Love” by Alex Jones singing Tom Jones
Act Three

Choosing Fandom

A reading from the zine Motorbooty about the crisis of World Band Overpopulation. Then, This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell on someone who is not part of the world band overpopulation problem: Scott Lee, the world's greatest fan of the Fastbacks, a respected, semi-obscure Seattle alternative band. Lee maniacally charts obscure Fastbacks facts and calculates statistics. (12 minutes)

Act Four

A Life In Music

Ira with Sam Franco, a 72-year-old Chicagoan who spent his life playing and teaching accordion. He never became famous. Never hit it big. He just had the pleasure of making his living in music in a way so many people wish they could but few do. (7 minutes)