Welcome to 21 Questions, a regular feature where PHXmusic.com goes to the favorite hangout of a notable Phoenician and asks the "big" questions. This week we met up with Common Wall Media founder Chuckie Duff at the Ford Graduate Suite at Arizona State University.
Name: Chuckie Duff
Occupation: Student, Founder and Owner of Common Wall Media
The former Dear And The Headlights bassist
is now a full-time student at the W.P. Carey School of Business, about to finish up his MBA in finance this spring. When he's not home with his family or running Common Wall Media, home to Gospel Claws
and Snake! Snake! Snakes!
, he's at school. So, we met up at the graduate suite on the Tempe campus. Among the noses shoved in books and eyes glued to laptop screens, he answered my 21 questions.
New Times: In one sentence, what do you do all day in your job?
Chuckie Duff: Like I said I'm in school, so most days I'm doing reading and homework. But, as far as business it's a lot of e-mails and calls, and finding opportunities for the bands I work with.
NT: What's wrong with the world today?
CD: Let's see. I guess the political answer... My one political soap box would be the war on drugs. That's as political as I'll get hopefully.
NT: Who's your favorite local band?
CD: Well you know, it's a biased answer because I work with them, but it's Gospel Claws. I work with them because I like them. It's not really a business decision. It's an emotional decision.
NT: What was the last show you attended?
CD: I went at saw Lady Gaga in Portland for the second time because the show here
didn't satiate my need to see her. It's my guilty pleasure. But, I remind everyone who snickers at me to check out her Pitchfork review and compare it to the bands they like.
NT: If you could time travel, where would you go?
CD: As a history major undergraduate, I should have something interesting to say. I think, not to sound too narcissistic, but: my own childhood. I'd like to see it from a different perspective. So, the early '80s.
NT: What's the worst job you've ever had?
CD: Well, I did intern for the Arizona Republican Party. It wasn't the worst job, but I was probably the worst intern they ever had. It was my first year undergrad, so I was 18 or 19. Clerical work was kind of beyond my responsibility level at that point. I wasn't really qualified, apparently, to be an intern.
NT: How good are you at cooking?
CD: I'm pretty comfortable with my cooking skills. My wife and I sort of share that duty at home. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together. I'm pretty good at kitchen prep: cutting things, measuring things. Oh, and I've gotten pretty good at scrambled eggs, 'cause it's my son's favorite food. I can whip up a mean set of scrambled eggs.
NT: Where do you go to be alone?
CD: Here actually because they have the little study rooms. All my alone time is school time I guess.
NT: Who's your all-time favorite fictional character?
CD: Probably Dexter
. I think obviously his secret is pretty terrible, but it's a universal story because everyone has secrets. I like that.
NT: What's the first album you ever bought?
CD: I remember as a kid having a Michael Jackson Thriller cassette tape, but I think it belonged to my parents. It was probably a Petra tape. Christian metal. I can't remember the names of the albums, but that was probably it. It's a sad story, but it's the truth.
NT: Where is the best view in Phoenix?
CD: I've been traveling a lot this summer, so I think every time I come home and see the city from the sky, I like it. I've enjoyed that view of the whole city. So from the air, I guess. It's always good to see home. I love Phoenix. I love living here.
NT: What's one thing you hate about Arizona?
CD: You know I was never one of those people who complained about the hot weather, but now that I have a son it's harder. He wants to go out and play, and it's usually not the best idea in summer. It's definitely just the 3 or 4 months of heat, but other than that it's a great place to live.
NT: What's your homepage?
CD: It's just the Firefox default. I haven't set it. For awhile my Safari browser was set on AbsolutePunk. They have good music news. That was while I was in Dear And The Headlights, and it was good for keeping tabs on bands to tour with and stuff like that.
NT: Do you give money to panhandlers?
CD: No. I never have any cash or change on me, but if I do I usually will. So I'm the guy who says I never have any cash on me, and it's true. On tour you get asked a lot, and that's hard 'cause you're on the road working every day. But in town, walking out of a Starbucks or something you feel bad not hooking them up.
NT: What's your drink?
CD: I just like a vodka soda with Grey Goose. I have a Russian friend who gives me a hard time about drinking it, but I like it.
NT: Who is your mortal enemy?
CD: Hopefully I don't have a mortal enemy. But if I had to choose an arch rival, it would be Benjamin Hawthorne. If he's reading this he'll get it, but it's too complicated to explain.
NT: What's the deal with Sheriff Joe?
CD: I think he's popular and people like him because he does stuff in a time when it seems like nothing's getting done. It's sometimes the wrong stuff. But he gets stuff done and he's a man of action, and that's why people love or hate him. He's a man of action, but not good action.
NT: What would you do if you won the lottery?
CD: I would spend even more money on Gospel Claws. A few of them have wives. Sloan has a kid and Joel's going to have a kid. So it's hard for them to tour. So I'd like to get them more exposure without touring. Because everyone should hear the new record. It's out of control.
NT: What's hanging above your sofa?
CD: My wife and I don't have much good art, but behind my sofa is a piano. Piano lessons were how I got started in music. I like that my son gets exposed to it.
NT: What's the best love advice you have?
CD: I think you should find someone who thinks you're funny. You don't have to be funny, just find someone who thinks you are. My wife thinks I'm funny and it diffuses a lot of situations.
NT: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
CD: Well, if heaven exists, I'll be glad to have arrived at the pearly gates and not somewhere else. Gosh. I don't know. That's a hard one. He'd probably say, "I'm not offended that you wasted most of your life on the devil's music." Rock and roll at least used to be the devil's music.
Looking for more 21 Questions? Check out more of the interviews here.