Of Frank Zappa and food poisoning 

Long story short

Ah, concerts. The first one I ever went to was a typically bizarre performance by Frank Zappa at a nearby college. As a junior high school student who wasn't very musically aware, I was both baffled and intrigued by the music I heard coming from onstage.

That was also the first time I ever ate at Jack in the Box, which resulted in a late-night adventure in food poisoning along the side of the highway, and I swear there was no alcohol involved.

From that point on, I was completely hooked. I've since gone to countless shows in warehouses and normal houses, clubs and theaters, alleys and arenas. Along with interviewing musicians, seeing live music is one of my favorite parts of being a journalist. And I owe at least part of that to Mr. Zappa.

Which brings us to this week's cover story, for which I had the opportunity to moderate a roundtable discussion with eight of our area's most prominent promoters. The resulting discussion begins here and, trust me, these folks' stories are a lot better than mine.

Whether you're an artist who wants to navigate your way around a sometimes byzantine music scene, an avid club-goer who wants to know what's happening behind the scenes, or just a normal person who wants to read some pretty hilarious and insightful stories and observations, you'll likely find something to love. I know I did.

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