Each week The Advocate asks a different “quiz taker” for his or her current favorites in pop culture.
QUIZ TAKER: S.J. Montalbano, 75 “as of yesterday,” retired but hosts “Jukebox Legends” with brother Mickey on WBRH 90.3 every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: “Just about everything we play on the radio. I like oldies. Some of my favorite artists are Dean Martin, Louis Prima and Frank Sinatra. I like R&B (rhythm & blues) — artists like Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Etta James; what I call songs with meaning. One of my favorites is Guitar Slim’s ‘If I Should Lose You.’ To listen to that kind of music when I was in high school … it was hard to find. We’d listen to stations like WLAC in Nashville, and we could only hear them at night.”
WHAT I’M READING: “The Advocate, of course, USA Today, 225, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and anything about music — older music. I guess because I was a part of it.”
WHAT I’M WATCHING: “I like ‘America’s Got Talent,’ Investigation and Discovery networks, and I love National Geographic and History Channel. I also like TMZ and amusement shows that talk about the stars.”
WHERE I’M SURFING (ON THE INTERNET): “I’m on Facebook mainly because of the radio show. I go into Wikipedia a lot looking up authors of songs, history and the people who played back in the ’50s and ’60s. I love the Internet for research, especially about music.”
WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? “I research music. I spend most of my time on the computer discovering which artist did what. Otis Redding was a good friend, and I was researching and found out he had recorded some songs that have never been released. I would love to be a comedian but I’m not funny. I tell everybody I do my comedy on the radio so I can’t see them booing me.”
You were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Tuesday evening; what do you remember most of your 20-plus year career?
“The most impactful was the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. Jimmy Clanton and I were traveling together at the time (S.J. was Clanton’s tour manager), and we had just come home from a tour. I got a phone call that next morning asking for Jimmy to replace Buddy Holly for the rest of the tour. I called Jimmy and we packed up. When the curtain went up and the announcer said, ‘Here’s Jimmy Clanton from Baton Rouge …’ Jimmy would cry when he sang a Buddy Holly song; we were all friends, you know. And then there was the bomb threat when I brought Jimi Hendrix to town; it was his only Louisiana appearance. It got called in about 15 minutes before he went on stage and I’m crawling around under the stage with the police, dressed in a suit looking for a bomb. There wasn’t one but I stood on stage right next to him (Hendrix) throughout the show.”
Advocate staff writer