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Live Music For A Living

Kansas City Star

If you spend any amount of time going to concerts or music shows in Kansas City, you’ve probably seen a tall, thin man with a shock of grey hair usually standing by himself, often near the back of the club.

He might say hi to passing friends, but this guy’s a lot more tuned in to the music than your typical concert-goer. And he should be; he’s working.

For the past 16 years, Tim Finn has been the pop music editor for the Kansas City Star. This week, he’s the subject of the latest installment in our occasional odd jobs series.

When Tim Finn went to college at MU in the ‘80s, he was, he admits, kind of a music snob. He was a devotee of ‘80s punk rock and early alternative rock like the Replacements and REM. But as he started writing about music, he wound up getting assigned to cover bands he’d never listen to on his own. He told Alex Smith that, eventually, an assignment to cover a heavy metal concert opened his eyes and changed the way he thought about music.

Interview Highlights

“It showed me they love their music just as much I love mine. There are no wrong or right answers. You can argue some intellectual points about what’s artistically better or more influential, but when it comes to live music, you show up, you have a great time. And no matter whom it is, if that’s what happened—mission accomplished.”

“Probably the thing that has changed the most over the last five, maybe even 10 years, is shifting our focus to the local scenes and local bands.”

“I think what I like doing the most now, and this goes back to what I said before, (the local scene) is so vibrant right now. And I like writing about the people in it: the musicians, the songwriters, the guys in the bands.”

“I wish more shows started at a reasonable hour.”

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KCCurrents podcast.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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