What started on a whim over a lunch one day back in 2001, has turned into 15 years of Innocent Words. February 2002 was the first official issue of Innocent Words. We were a quarterly print zine back then and in some ways that seems like a lifetime ago. We have gone through countless changes over the 15 years and I can honestly say, each one has worked out for the best.
When I started Innocent Words, we had a goal to be a DIY focused zine and I feel we’ve maintained that to this day. I never set out to be as big as Rolling Stone or Pitchfork when I started this, we are as DIY as the bands we cover and we are perfectly happy with that.
Over the 15 years, I personally have interviewed over 200 musicians/bands, but it’s not about me. I consider Innocent Words to be a small family and I couldn’t do this without them. But as I prepare for an interview, I try to be original with my questions. I don’t want to go through the robotic 10 questions to ask a band with a new album. One of the best compliments I could get when I am interviewing someone is for them to say “that’s a good question, no one has ever asked me that before.”
I am always the one doing the asking and it makes me feel somewhat guilty, even though I have heard some of the most amazing music stories you can think of. During the end of the interviews, I will sometimes ask an artist if there is anything they would like to ask me. It seems only fair.
When the 15th anniversary started getting closer, I thought I’d take it further and gather some of my all-time favorite artists and have them ask me a few questions. To my surprise, I got a lot of responses. So, we are going to spread this out over several issues and make it a series. I hope you like it. You might learn way more than you wanted to about me and innocent Words.
Thank you all for supporting Innocent Words, reading and sharing our stories and reviews. It means the world to me.
Founder, publisher, editor, writer, minion
Gretta Harley (singer/songwriter)
Gretta Harley: What were the records that first made you fall in love with music?
Troy: My first three records were Kiss ‘Love Gun’ (1977); The Go Go’s ‘Beauty and the Beat’ (1981); and Prince ‘1999’ (1982). I didn’t realize it until now, but that is diverse, which I pride myself on. Even before that I would lay in front of my parents cheap all-in-one stereo and look through their small vinyl collection of Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Linda Ronstadt. I was so fascinated with the cover art, the liner notes and gatefold art. I was just five or six years old and I was obsessed with those things.
Gretta Harley: What are the most exciting new musicians/bands that you’re looking forward to hearing in 2017?
Troy: Honestly, I fear for the future of music. Based on recent trends and future trends, I don’t see too much exciting. There will always be a band here or there which will come out of nowhere and blow my mind, but you will have to dig to find it. There looks to be some good releases coming this year though — Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, The English Beat, KXM, The Dollyrots, and UME.
Maureen Herman (Babes in Toyland)
Maureen: What is your favorite song to sing along to when you’re alone — the one where you think you nail it?
Troy: I make no bones about it, I can’t sing. I don’t even sing in the shower. So as far as nailing a song, that just doesn’t happen. However, one of the weird things is, I can remember song lyrics from a song 20-30 years ago, when it is played, yet I can’t remember shit they taught me in high school or what I had for dinner last night….it was probably chicken. I always eat chicken.
Kathy Moore (the Guessing Game)
KathyMoore: Do you notice any musical trends happening currently that would point to an exciting music scene?
Troy: I do see an upcoming trend in music for 2017, but it is far from exciting unless you like “country pop” or “soul pop.” I am hoping with all the reunions of bands from the ’90s there will be more guitar-driven bands coming back and hopefully, considering the recent election, some music with some rebellion.
Kim Virant (Lazy Susan)
Kim Virant: What song makes you super happy?
Troy: The list is long, but my top three would be 1) Bruce Springsteen “Born To Run” 2) Led Zeppelin “Kashmir,” and 3) Soul Asylum “Just Like Anyone.”
Gary Westlake (the Guessing Game, Flight To Mars)
Gary Westlake: When did you realize, you were doing what you were meant to be doing? Was it an “ah ha moment” or was it gradual?
Troy: It was gradual. Even after 15 years, I still question if I made the right choice, especially when I the bank account is low, but money doesn’t matter to me. I am rich beyond my wildest dreams thanks to everything we have accomplished.