Musical Inspirations

My earliest musical inspirations were 1950’s artists like Elvis, Rick Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. I was born in 1950 in Fresno, California. An older kid lived next door to my grandmother. His collection of singles (45's) were the first rock songs I heard. The first records I owned included "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson, "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by The Everly Brothers, "Little Star" by the Elegants, "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears (this song was written and produced by Teddy Bear, Phil Spector) and "Come Softly To Me" by the Fleetwoods. I would sit in my bedroom and listen to these songs over and over again. Both my parents thought it didn't bode well for my future.

In 1958, our family moved from Fresno to Palm Springs. There were 3 record stores in Palm Springs: Pat Barbara Music, Patty’s Record Shop and Butch Diamond Music. They all catered to different audiences. Pat Barbara Music was where most of our parents shopped. It was the world of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Dean Martin. Patty’s Record Shop attracted local white teenagers. At Patty’s, one could buy the latest Pop Hits. That’s probably where I bought sweet, Pre-Beatles fare, like Johny Tillotson’s “Venus In Blue Jeans” or Shelly Fabares’ “Johny Angel” or Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” Butch Diamond and his brother, Saul, had, in retrospect, the most interesting shop. North Palm Springs is where most of the town’s blacks lived. Butch’s shop was on North Indian Avenue while Pat Barbara Music and Patty’s Record Shop were situated in the more affluent Palm Canyon area. Butch sold Bobby Bland, early Ray Charles and Chess releases like Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters. I bought “Finger Poppin’ Time” by Hank Ballard at Butch Diamond’s. Our family employed a black woman named Susie Johnson as a housekeeper. I believe that she was from Detroit. Susie and I would listen to “Finger Poppin’ Time” together. It gave me great pleasure to be able to listen to records with her and to know that she “felt” the music like I did.

And then, the Beatles arrived and my whole world changed. I was 14 years old and a student at Nellie N. Kaufman Junior High School. And, like everyone else, I loved the Beatles. I will never forget the indescribable, electrifying jolt of hearing “I Want To Hold your Hand”, “Please Please Me” and “She Loves You” for the first time. I helped form a rock band called, The Fables. Kurt and Greg Patzner played keyboards and guitar. Their dad, Gus Patzner, was the music teacher at Palm Springs High School. The Fables practiced in the music room at the Patzner’s house. I was the lead singer. We played some of the easiest Beatles songs that didn’t require too many harmonies, like, “You Can’t Do That.” We also played songs by the Animals (“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”), the Kinks (“You Really Got Me”), the Rolling Stones (“The Last Time”), the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”) and the Beau Brummels (“Just A Little”). We performed at the Youth Center, Palm Springs High School dances and at private parties. Sometimes we would bring girlfriends along as go-go dancers. It was an unbelievable amount of fun.

Around this same time, I became aware of the melodic masterpieces written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. At the Youth Center, we would slow dance to “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick or “Wishin’ and Hopin’” by Dusty Springfield. They were romantic and appealed to girls.

Roy Orbison had his own special niche. Songs like “In Dreams” and “Oh Pretty Woman” had enormous impact on me. Roy’s voice and unique, emotional style of writing were amazing.

The first concert I ever attended was Ray Charles. My mind was blown by Ray, his band, the Raeletts and the audience. The audience was at least 3/4 black. Children and adults were dancing in the aisles and clapping their hands. Songs like “What’d I Say” and “Hit The Road Jack” were powerful. Ray, who sadly just passed away, is my favorite singer of all-time.

Also, in the mid-1960’s , I learned to love the blues. The Rolling Stones, Them and The Animals covered great blues songs like Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want To Make Love To You”, Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go” and John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.” White bluesmen like John Mayall, Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musselwhite made electric blues albums. This led to my discovery of records by black bluesmen like Elmore James, Junior Wells, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Fred McDowell. Muddy Waters’ Real Folk Blues album, with songs like “Same Thing”, “Mannish Boy” and “Walkin’ Blues” was a great inspiration. I sang lead in a blues band called, Dirt. We did versions of Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful”.

In 1966, I started to listen to Bob Dylan. Bringing It All Back Home was the first Dylan album I owned. Earlier, I had been aware of songs like “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “The Times They Are A Changin’” but I had never heard Bob’s versions or owned his records. “She Belongs To Me”, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Love Minus Zero” changed my life. I had known the Byrds’ hit cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man”. It was cool to hear Bob sing it, to hear all the verses left off the Byrds’ single and to compare the recordings. By the time “Like A Rolling Stone” from the Highway 61 Revisited LP hit the airwaves, I was a Dylan disciple. Blonde On Blonde is, arguably, Dylan’s most realized creation. Dylan’s lyrics are deadly, poetic, mysterious. To this day, they continue to amaze and inspire me. Dylan’s joy at playing with words and his willingness and ability to plumb the unconscious sparked my interest in lyric writing. “”Like A Rolling Stone” remains my all-time favorite song.

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones kept getting better all the time. Every time a new album was released, I would pour over every song and photo. At Bard College, in upstate New York, I was a flower child. Donovan, Laura Nyro and Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex were big influences. Van Morrison’s Moondance and the Band’s Music From Big Pink were huge.

Motown and Stax were great labels and musical movements. Songwriters Holland, Dozier and Holland and Smokey Robinson have had enormous influence on me. Smokey’s voice along with soul men like Otis Redding, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder got me goin’. Aretha, too.

One of the last “waves” to really wash over and influence me was “New Wave” in the late 1970’s. Elvis Costello, Blondie, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and the Talking Heads really grabbed my attention and inspired me. Punk and garage band-influenced songs like the Cars’ “Just What I Needed”, the Police’s “Roxanne” and the Knack’s “My Sharona” inspired me to write more rockin’ songs. Once I did, I formed a band called, Billy Thermal. I wrote the songs and sang lead. Bob Carlisle (of “Butterfly Kisses” fame) played bass, Craig Hull played electric guitar and Efren Espinosa played drums. We were signed by Richard Perry to Planet Records. One of the songs I wrote in Billy Thermal, “How Do I Make You,” became a Top Ten Hit for Linda Ronstadt.

In the early 1980’s, Prince and Michael Jackson were big influences. Prince, in particular, was a song-writing inspiration for my partner, Tom Kelly and me. Some of our early hits, like “Like A Virgin” and “So Emotional” were certainly inspired by Michael and Prince. Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders’ first album from that time is remarkable. “The Wait” is the first Pretenders’ cut I ever heard. I was driving on Sunset Boulevard late one night and it came on the radio. I had to find out who it was and what the song’s title was and where I could get it. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve been as profoundly effected by any music since that time.

One of the great thrills in my life was to work with artists whose music I love. This includes Roy Orbison (he recorded Tom Kelly’s and my song “I Drove All Night”), the Divinyls (Tom and I co-wrote “I Touch Myself” with Chrissie Amphlett and Mark McEntee) and the Pretenders (Tom and I co-wrote “Night In My Veins” and “I’ll Stand By You” with Chrissie Hynde). Roy Orbison was an idol since my childhood. To hear him sing “I Drove All Night” in Tom Kelly’s living room was magic and more than any songwriting music fan could ever dream.


Billy Steinberg has been among the most successful songwriters of the past two decades, co-writing (with Tom Kelly) five, #1 singles on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart, including "Like A Virgin" (Madonna), "True Colors (Cyndi Lauper), "Eternal Flame" (the Bangles), "So Emotional" (Whitney Houston) and "Alone" (Heart). In addition, Steinberg has written six other Top 10, U.S. pop hits, including "I'll Stand By You" (the Pretenders), "I Touch Myself" (the Divinyls), "How Do I Make You" (Linda Ronstadt), "I Drove All Night" (Cyndi Lauper, Roy Orbison, Celine Dion), and "In Your Room" (the Bangles).

Many of Steinberg’s songs have become enduring classics, which have received multiple honors, and have been covered and become hits again. "Like A Virgin" was recently honored, being named by Rolling Stone & MTV as the #4 song on their list of the "100 Greatest Pop Songs." In 2001, “Like A Virgin” was featured in a riotous scene in the innovative, movie musical, Moulin Rouge. “True Colors” was recorded by Phil Collins for his greatest hits album, and it became a major, worldwide hit. “True Colors” was also spotlighted in a prominent Kodak ad campaign for several years. In the summer of 2001, British act Atomic Kitten recorded “Eternal Flame,” and it reached #1 on the U.K. singles chart. “I Touch Myself” was featured in the hit movie, Austin Powers: Man Of Mystery. Celine Dion’s version of “I Drove All Night” was a hit single and was featured in a Chrysler television commercial in 2003.

In 1993, Steinberg & Kelly began a rewarding collaboration, writing many songs together with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. The trio wrote six songs for the group’s Last Of The Independents album in 1994, which included the Top 10 hit, “I’ll Stand By You,” and the single, “Night In My Veins.”

In the mid-‘90s, Steinberg teamed up with Rick Nowels. Since initiating their collaboration, Steinberg & Nowels have written and produced for an array of top artists. The duo won Grammy Awards for producing their song and title cut, “Falling Into You,” (co-written with Marie Claire D’Ubaldo) on Celine Dion’s multi-platinum, 1996 album. Steinberg & Nowels have also written and produced notable cuts for k.d. lang, the Corrs, Sinead O’Connor, Amber, including the #1 dance hit and Top 40 pop hit in 2000, “Sexual (Li Da Di)”, Enrique Iglesias, Cher, Kylie Minogue and international, #1 hit singles for Melanie C. (“I Turn To You”, in 2000) and Robert Miles (“One And One,” in 1996).

Billy grew up in Palm Springs, California, and attended Bard College in upstate New York.


* Your musical inspirations?
* Any CD's or songs which are meaningful to you?

A I receive rather a lot of unsolicited demo tapes and CD's from would-be musicians as well as from more professional performers, so I listen to a lot of "new" stuff that way. The car radio and music television keep me as informed as I want to be. But I have never been a great listener of other people's work. Even when I first started, I listened only to a few things which really caught my attention. My favourite music to listen to these days is that of Muddy Waters, Beethoven and Indian Classical and pop music.


Ian Anderson, known throughout the world of rock music as the flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull, celebrates his 41st year as a recording and concert musician in 2004.

Ian was born in 1947 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. After attending primary school in Edinburgh, his family relocated to Blackpool in the north of England in 1959. Following a traditional Grammar school education, he moved on to Art college to study fine art before deciding on an attempt at a musical career.
Tull formed in 1968 out of the amalgamation of the John Evan Band and McGregor's Engine, two blues-based local UK groups.

Still enjoying a lengthy and ongoing career, Jethro Tull has released 30 albums, selling more than 60 million copies since the band first performed at London's famous Marquee club.

After undertaking more than 2500 concerts in 40 countries throughout three decades, Tull plays typically 100 concerts each year to longstanding, as well as new fans worldwide.

Widely recognized as the man who introduced the flute to rock music, Ian Anderson remains the crowned exponent of the popular and rock genres of flute playing. So far, no pretender to the throne has stepped forward. Ian also plays ethnic flutes and whistles together with acoustic guitar and the mandolin family of instruments, providing the acoustic textures which are an integral part of most of the Tull repertoire.
Anderson has recorded three diverse solo albums in his career: 1983's eclectic-electric "Walk Into Light"; the flute instrumental "Divinities" album for EMI's Classical Music Division in 1995 which reached number one in the relevant Billboard chart, and the more recently recorded acoustic collection of songs, "The Secret Language of Birds", released in 2000.

In early 2002, Jethro Tull completed their first DVD of live concert and performance material. Also released is the new associated live CD. Both are

In 2003, Ian A. released his fourth solo album, RUPI'S DANCE, Martin Barre launched his guitar towards STAGE LEFT and Tull did the almost unthinkable: THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM was released to celebrate the "other" Christmas. With its fair quotient of "cynicism and grumpiness" as Ian puts it, this record will delight old fans and new fans alike with the alternative and conventional Christmas spirit combined.

Re-masters of the entire Tull catalogue are being released, dusted down and spruced up. Hear that tambourine again.... the breath behind the flute.... the pick on string and the stick on skin.

Doubtless, hundreds of thousand of fans of all ages will continue to thrill to the trill of flute, and twirl to the twang of string over humbucker. Critics will gripe and grumble, and contemporary radio will say, "Who? Thought they quit years ago to go fish-farming."

Ian Anderson lives on a farm in the southwest of England where he has a recording studio and office. He has been married for 27 years to Shona who is also an active director of the companies. They have two children - James and Gael - who work in the music and television industries respectively.

His hobbies include the growing of many varieties of hot chile peppers, the study and conservation of the 26 species of small wildcats of the world and collecting and using vintage Leica and other cameras. He reluctantly admits to owning digital cameras and scanners for his work on the photographic promotional images related to Tull as well as his solo career.

Ian owns no fast car, never having taken a driving test, and has a wardrobe of singularly uninspiring and drab leisurewear. He still keeps a couple of off-road competition motorcycles, a few sporting guns and a saxophone which he promises never to play again.

He declares a lifelong commitment to music as a profession, being far too young to hang up his hat or his flute, although the tights and codpiece have long since been consigned to some forgotten bottom drawer.
Listen/Order Ian's new CD


Your musical inspirations?

There are any number of guitarists who have been both inspirational and
instructive to me. I have a deep gratitude to John Fahey for having
started the Takoma record label in the 60s to release his music and
introduce Leo Kottkee, Robbie Basho and other guitar innovators to the
world. It was the example of Takoma Records which gave me the idea of
creating the Windham Hill label. As a minor tribute to John and
Takoma I chose C 1001 (the number of John's first release) as the
catalogue number which graced my first record and the first record on
Windham Hill.

That said, I can't really pretend that I've studied the guitar or any
particular guitar styles or techniques.  I'm certainly not the brilliant player
 that my cousin (and Windham Hill label mate) Alex deGrassi is, nor am I even
 close to being the innovator that Michael Hedges was. Though I signed and
produced these mega-talents, I don't think there is much that I personally
derived or imitated in them.

I was and am in awe of their work, but it never occurred to me to try
to import their methods into my writing. I was pleasantly stunned
years ago with the writer Dan Forte (then writing for Guitar Player
Magazine) noted at a release party for one of my records that a piano
player was in the studio playing transcriptions of my songs and that it
suddenly struck Dan that I was less a guitarist than someone who
wanted to get melody out to the world and happened to play the guitar.
I think that's probably true. What's important to me is melody; the
primary vehicle that I use to reach an audience emotionally. Some
use rhythm extensively. I haven't for the most part. A lot of
musicians wow and audience from the stage with their technical prowess.
If I do it's more because of the intimacy of what I do and the
attention to minute detail that makes it possible. I've always been
grateful to Dan Forte for his observation. I'm content to do what I
do; communicate feelings.

I really don't care how fast a musician plays. I am personally bored
by exhibits of gymnastic acrobatics in music. It seems to have more
to do with ego than music to me. In producing Michael Hedges I was
working side by side with one of the most startling technicians who
liven in the 20th century. The demo tapes I get today from around the
world are almost exclusively Michael Hedges clones. Michael, on the
other hand, never let technical ability overshadow the musical message
and it was technology in the service of music and not the other way
around. My own listening tastes are all over the place. I've always
been a fan of the Red Hot Chilie Peppers. I loved The Crash Test
Dummies' God Shuffled His Feet as much as anything I'd heard in a
decade. I was rabid for Counting Crows and Toad The Wet Sprocket.
I confess that I didn't make the transition to Rap, but loved De La
Soul and, while we're in that realm of group names, include Yo La Tengo
as well. I love folk music from around the world and the sound of an
obscure language and what it does to cadences in the voice. I love
Bach and Sibelius (the third movement of the fifth symphony and the
tone poems). I listen to the Beatles and think that The Byrds sound
like they could be released today. Talking Heads, Joni Mitchell, The
Cure. Then there are these people no one's ever really heard of yet
that I think are just monsters and I love their work as much as
anything on earth. Frank Tedesso is maybe the best songwriter
writing in English on the planet, but no one knows about him.
There's a twenty-one year old named Gregory Douglass who lives in
Northern Vermont who is a brilliant writer/singer/instrumentalist who I
expect will be just plain famous at some point. I could go on, but
here's the point. I live in some large part to be blown away by
music and what blows me away is anything that stirs deep emotion in me.
To be an A&R guy in a record label is like getting a job where
you're favorite drugs are provided as part of the deal. But there is
nothing that touches me more deeply than a solo performer. That
vulnerability and self-sufficiency never ceases to overwhelm me and no
performances or recordings have a deeper effect on me than those which
feature a single lone musical voice.

I was sixteen. I think it's rarely easy being sixteen, but I'd been
thrown into a bit of a rough patch with my mother's suicide and some
years of sexual abuse by a pedophile. Music was a rare place of
solace then, as it is now. There was joy and exuberance in the
Beatles' arrival in America, but I was also clinging to the early folk
music of Odetta and others who sang with an abundance of raw emotion
and inescapable directness: a one to one relationship between performer
and listener.

It was when I was sixteen when a girlfriend, Sara Clebsch, brought me
an album of piano solos. The record was on the classical label, Angel
Records, and the collection was the first in a series of recordings by
the Italian pianist Aldo Ciccolini of the piano solos of Eric Satie.
I listened to this for the first time with Sara at midnight. I'd
never heard anything like it in my life. Nothing musically had ever
completely realigned my compass like this; and this in a kid who was
called "Jazzbo" in the fourth grade because of an almost myopic
fascination with the emotional power of music. Satie was, and is, the
most important influence in my life. It makes no difference that he
was a pianist and I happen (thanks Dan Forte) to play the guitar.
What Satie did in writing Trois Gymnopedies is what I've tried to do in
my musical life.

Satie lived in Paris in a very fecund time in music. He was a
personal friend of Debussy, Ravel and Polenc. While impressionistic
music was moving into lush, romantic places, Satie was like a Haiku
poem musically. Everything was stripped back to a naked essential
simplicity. There was no room for artifice or decoration. The
musician and the writer did not hide behind ego and showmanship.
I saw him then and I see him now as extremely brave. It must have
been difficult to watch as Debussy and Ravel shot into fame and
success. It would be purely speculative to guess whether Satie could
have jumped on that bandwagon, but regardless Satie continued to write
his impossibly simple, impossibly direct and impossibly unique pieces
for piano: I was sixteen when I finally recognized what touched me
in music more than anything: honesty. I hear it in the Koln concerts
by Keith Jarrett, in the songs of someone who left too soon, Nick Drake.
It's the currency of the music of my friends Samite and Phil Aaberg.
That's what matters to me and always has mattered to me.
I was asked recently how my music has evolved. I answered that in
large part it hadn't. I was perhaps a somewhat more seasoned guitar
player with more control in my fingers. I'm a man of fifty-five now
who delights in playing a concert for people more than at any time in
my life; I know how lucky I am to be doing it. But what I was doing
in 1970 is still the same today. I'm taking these feelings that all
of us share and I am expressing them in a medium that I think is deeper
than words. I'm not hiding and I'm not even trying to impress.
You either like it or you don't. I'm just grateful that a lot of
people do.

Will Ackerman
Windham County Vermont

Will’s new CD RETURNING to be released on September 28.
Check Will’s website for further details:
Purchase Will Ackerman's CD's
Imaginary Road Studios


My musical inspirations range from the Beatles, to Hendrix to Antonio carlos Jobim to Stevie Wonder to J.S.Bach.

"It all started with Sting and the gift of a book of Bach partitas and sonatas. "We were about to set out on his last world tour," recalls rock guitarist Dominic Miller. "And he gave me the book and said, 'that should keep you occupied'." At the time, Sting had no idea what he was setting in motion. By a few dates into the tour Miller was not merely "occupied" but had become - by his own admission - "obsessed" with Bach. While the rest of the band partied in true rock'n'roll fashion, Miller shut himself away in his hotel room working out how to play the great man's violin partitas on the guitar. As the marathon Brand New Day tour lasted the best part of two years, by the end he'd got rather good at it.

"I started looking at the tunes as a technical exercise, trying to figure out the fingering for guitar," he says. "I'd work on two or four bars a day and perfect them and then I'd build up the tune. And from there I began to explore the meaning and the soul of the music."

When the tour was finally over, Miller set about writing and demo-ing material for his next solo album. "I was flowing with ideas and had some great tunes," he says. "I was really happy with it, but I was short of a couple of tunes. So I thought I'd try one of the Bach partitas."

Shortly after, he invited noted producer Nick Patrick to hear the material. "He listened politely to my songs and then, just as he was leaving, I played him one of the Bach tunes," Miller recalls. Patrick was spell-bound and the idea for Shapes was born.

"It sounded fresh and new and I immediately felt he should do an entire album of that," says the producer, who has worked with everyone from Roy Orbison to Russell Watson. "As a guitarist Dominic's got a unique touch and although he's very disciplined, he's an instinctive and soulful musician with an entirely free spirit."

Encouraged by Patrick's enthusiasm, Miller put his own songs on hold and began assembling the repertoire for a classical guitar album. To his beloved Bach pieces were added Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Schubert's Ave Maria and Albinoni's Adagio, among others. The results were a revelation for most of the tunes had never been played on the guitar before.

"The idea was to make an album that is accessible and fun," Miller says. "It's not as though I've lived with these tunes all my life. I've been discovering them as I go along and so it's been like falling in love for the first time."

From more contemporary sources were added a Satie composition, a Morricone film theme and Shape Of My Heart, the hit song Miller co-wrote with Sting for the Ten Summoner's Tales album. "He's like my surrogate older brother and so it seemed completely natural for Sting to sing on this album," he explains.

Miller began playing with Sting in 1989 and has since recorded seven albums with him. Born in Argentina where he lived until he was 11, he grew up influenced Latin American music as well as the obligatory Beatles and Jimi Hendrix records. Although he trained briefly at the Guildhall, he was "put off" by the dry approach of music college and turned instead to session playing. Since then, he has appeared on more than 100 albums by the likes of Phil Collins, Tina Turner and Bryan Adams, as well as playing with Nigel Kennedy, Lesley Garrett and Pavarotti. He has also released two solo albums, First Touch and Second Nature and a collaboration with fellow guitarist Neil Stacey titled New Dawn. In addition to Sting, other collaborator and guest singers are currently being finalised to work on the album.

The striking string arrangements by Nick Ingham which were recorded in Budapest, also play a vital part in creating a timeless connection between the classical and pop worlds. Yet at its core Shapes is first and foremost a guitar record.

"I realised that no guitarist had ever played most of these tunes and so I became a student again," Miller says. "But my attitude is don't get too technical about it, just play the music and put your own soul into it. There are so many great classical tunes out there, I don't understand why people haven't really done an album like this before."

Despite his early studies on the classical guitar and his admission to the Guildhall, Miller admits he is primarily a pop musician. "I'm from the rock world and I'm going into the classical arena, which is a bit cocky, I suppose. But because I know about modern record-making, I really felt I could add something. The tunes have to sound like they were written for guitar and that this is how they were went to be. I think we've done that."

The refreshing approach he brings to such well-known pieces is reflected in the way Miller talks about the great composers. Bach he describes as "pure spirituality with notes". Mozart is "really deep", while he talks enthusiastically of Beethoven's "enormous chords". It is not the language of classical musicians. But it seems entirely appropriate in making the music accessible to a modern audience.

"My versions aren’t better than the originals. They're simply different. But I feel I've achieved something with them," Miller says. "There has to be a relationship between the player and the composer. It's about understanding how they felt and what inspired them. I have to be emotionally attached to the music. It's pointless to do an album of other people's music unless you've got something to bring to the table yourself."

Above all, Miller hopes that Shapes is an album about breaking down barriers. "I'd like to take people who are afraid of the classics on a voyage of discovery," he says. "It's not difficult music. They're just great tunes which I've tried to interpret in an enjoyable and genuinely new way."
Dominic Miller store


* Your musical inspirations?

Rush, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull

*Any CD's or songs which are meaningful to you?

My own CDs and songs have the most meaning for me, obviously, since my heart was involved in the creative process. As to work by other artists, I can't think of any particular songs that hold a special meaning for me, but there are some that I find particularly inspirational and moving. However, that list keeps changing.

* How has music inspired you?

It enhances my imagination. I often play loud rock CDs when I'm writing my novels, especially if I'm writing a scene that I want to be particularly emotional and exciting. My pulse races with the bass lines, and my thoughts follow.

Karen Michalson writes literary fantasy and hard, progressive-edged rock music. She is the bassist and lead vocalist for the adventure rock trio, Point Of Ares, and runs their associated record label, Arula Records. Her novels are under representation by Dunham Literary.

Karen grew up on literary classics and rock n' roll, and now divides her time between literature, music, and the study of law. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts, where she specialized in nineteenth-century British literature. It was in the course of her doctoral program that she became interested in examining the politics of privileging realism over fantasy literature in traditional English studies. It was out of this interest that she wrote her first book, Victorian Fantasy Literature: Literary Battles with Church and Empire.

After graduating, she taught at the University of Connecticut for two years, and then decided to leave teaching to write fiction full time.

It was during this period that she taught herself bass guitar and formed Point Of Ares. Point Of Ares has released three albums, Enemy Glory (1996), The Sorrows Of Young Apollo (1999) and Enemy Glory Darkly Blessed (2001).

Enemy Glory(Tor Books), the first book of Karen's epic fantasy series of the same name, which was the inspiration for Point Of Ares's first and third albums, is available in all major bookstores. It was a finalist for the 2002 Prometheus Award for Best Novel, a finalist for the 2002 William L. Crawford Award (presented by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts), and was one of the books that received the most votes for the 2002 Locus Award for Best First Novel. Hecate's Glory (Tor Books), the second book in her series, has been nominated for the 2004 Prometheus Award and is also available in all major bookstores.

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