The twin towns’ 2017 mayoral races have been marked by plenty of thorny issues and tough questions.
But for the moment, the question that these music-crazy burgs really need answered is the one Greil Marcus first posed to his fellow critics in 1978: “If you were stranded on a desert island, what one album would you pick to keep you company?” Marcus compiled their responses in the aptly titled book Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island, and that query has been a perennial debate-starter ever since.
City Pages reached out via email to the leading candidates for mayor in Minneapolis and St. Paul to talk tunes, and most of them got back to us. And since you, the voter, can never have too much information, we not only grilled them about their desert-island discs, but we had a few follow-ups about the history of their musical tastes as well.
Should their answers sway your vote on Tuesday? Probably not. But that’s between you and your conscience.
Here, presented without commentary or critique, are their answers. Let the debates begin.
City Pages: If you were stranded on a desert island, what one album would you pick to keep you company?
Raymond Dehn: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie.
Jacob Frey: Audiobook, How to Build a Boat.
Tom Hoch: Joni Mitchell, Blue. It captures all of the emotions in depth. Perfect.
Betsy Hodges: A toss-up between [the Rolling Stones’] Exile on Main Street and [Bruce Springsteen’s] Born to Run. I think at this point in my life Born to Run would win.
Nekima Levy-Pounds: Any album by Jagged Edge.
Melvin Carter III: Earth, Wind & Fire, Greatest Hits.
Elizabeth Dickinson: Either something baroque or something I could dance to in the sand, like [the Casa Musica compilation] Ballroom Dreams.
Tom Goldstein: Carole King, Tapestry.
Pat Harris: The Clash, Sandinista!
Dai Thao: U2, The Joshua Tree.
CP: What was the first record you bought?
Dehn: Ecology by Rare Earth.
Frey: Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em [MC Hammer].
Hoch: Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced.
Hodges: Delightfully, Born Late by Shaun Cassidy. I was nine years old.
Levy-Pounds: Thriller (Michael Jackson).
Carter: Bobby Brown, Don’t Be Cruel.
Dickinson: A red Beatles compilation under the Apple label.
Goldstein: Traffic, John Barleycorn Must Die.
Harris: The Suburbs, Credit in Heaven (at Cheapo on Snelling).
Thao: Don Henley, The End of the Innocence.
CP: What is your most memorable live show/concert?
Dehn: Working backstage for the New York Dolls at the Minnesota State Fair (in 1974).
Frey: The Alabama Shakes in Minneapolis about two years ago.
Hoch: The world premiere of The Lion King at the Orpheum Theater here in Minneapolis. The musical has a stunning beginning and it was incredible to have that experience here first in Minneapolis.
Hodges: I was actually at the [Country Music Association awards] in November of 2016 when Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton played together, and it was one of the most electrifying things I’ve ever seen live.
Levy-Pounds: Beyoncé (Lemonade tour).
Carter: Trombone Shorty at the Palace Theater, 10/21/2017.
Dickinson: I was scheduled to see Harry Chapin in 1981 (which would’ve been my first live concert) the night he was killed in the automobile accident. The venue offered replacement tickets to any of their shows and I ended up seeing the Pointer Sisters in concert. If we’re talking theater, my most memorable show was the two-night adaptation of The Cider House Rules in Los Angeles by Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theater—the most moving/engrossing live theater adaptation of any novel ever. On the second night the actors got a five-minute standing ovation.
Goldstein: Tower of Power in college.
Harris: You have most certainly stirred some incredible memories! While I could write volumes about the incredible shows over the years ([The Suburbs’] Beej [Chaney] hanging from the ceiling at the Cabooze, Lil’ Ed at the Blues Saloon, Flamin’ Ohs at the U, etc.), I will say John Lee Hooker in the afternoon at Riverfest at Harriet Island.
Thao: Skid Row.
CP: What one song best describes you as a leader?
Dehn: “Our Generation” by John Legend and the Roots.
Frey: “With a Little Help from My Friends” (Joe Cocker cover [of the Beatles]).
Hodges: “Do What You Gotta Do” by Garth Brooks.
Hoch: Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run.”
Levy-Pounds: “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child.
Carter: “Come Together” by the Beatles. (The Michael Jackson cover is also great.)
Dickinson: Three I like: “World” by Five for Fighting, “Let The River Run” by Carly Simon, and “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé.
Goldstein: [Woody Guthrie’s] “This Land Is Your Land.”
Harris: “Let’s Make a Better World” by Dr. John. (I saw Earl King sing it at the Blues Saloon—incredible!)
Thao: Dan Fogelberg, “Leader of the Band.”
Raymond Dehn, Representative,
Jacob Frey, Minneapolis City Council member, Ward 3
Betsy Hodges, mayor of Minneapolis
Tom Hoch, former CEO, Hennepin
Nekima Levy-Pounds, former president, Minneapolis NAACP
Melvin Carter III, former St. Paul City Council member, Ward 1
Elizabeth Dickinson, environmental activist
Tom Goldstein, former St. Paul
school board member
Pat Harris, former St. Paul City Council member, Ward 3
Dai Thao, St. Paul City Council member, Ward 1