What is your favorite lyric, and from what song?
There's a serious tossup between "Hello my love, I heard a kiss from you / Red magic satin playing near, too / All through the morning rain I gaze, the sun doesn't shine / Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind," (Shuggie Otis' "Strawberry Letter 23") and "Cash rules everything around me, CREAM / Get the Money, dollah, dollah bill ya'll" (Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M.").
If you were in a band, what would it be called and what kind of music would you play?
If I were in a band, we would be called JAMBO and we would only put out three albums, titled "First Blood," "First Blood, Part II," and "First Blood, Part III." We would mostly play vietnamesian-soundclash-destruction-jam music, with limited lyrics glorifying the great John Rambo.
What's the first concert you went to as a teenager with your friends?
Primus, Buckethead, Incubus at the Lewiston civic center.
Favorite song to sing in the shower?
Tom Jones' "She's a Lady."
If you could meet any live musician or artist, who would you meet and why?
I probably would want to link up with a producer. For instance, DJ Premier, the legendary producer who worked closely with Guru (R.I.P), who formed the group Gangstarr. The reason being that I am heavily interested in the golden age of hip-hop 1990-1995, the influence jazz, funk and soul had on hip-hop, and the innovators of sampling techniques used to create the backdrop of hip-hop sounds, like DJ Premier.
If you could only listen to one soundtrack for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Spike Lee's "Crooklyn" volume one and two. On cassette, of course.
If you could dedicate a song to your mother, what would it be and why?
This two-parter can be summed up into one teary eyed conclusion. Bette Midler: "Wind Beneath My Wings."
Song to which you know all the lyrics.
Billy Joel: "Downeaster Alexa." (YouTube it.)
If you could title your own song, what would it be?
"Love is Like a Volcano."
If you could get two autographs (one for yourself) from Billy Joel, who would you gift the other autograph?
Most likely my Uncle Al, who always played BJ's "Storm Front" album in the "Lead Sled" (Chrysler Town and Country Wagon).
Best concert you've ever been to?
I saw Radiohead at Bonnaroo in 2006 or something, and it was amazing. [I'm] not even a Radiohead fan, but loved the show. (Someone may have given me psychedelics.)
Best breakup song ever written?
Easily L.L. Cool J's 1987 smash hit "I Need Love."
If you were to give a piece of music advice to any artist, live or dead, what would the advice be and for whom?
I may have advised Axel Rose to refrain from racial and prejudice slanders in the G and R album "Lies, Lies, Lies."
Best weekend party music?
Boogie-Funk-Soul from the late '80s.
To listen to DJ Downs' playlist, visit the Orient Express at
- Compiled by Mariya Ilyas.