By Jeremy Frye, @Jerufrye
It all began a few weeks ago, when one of Ticket Alternative’s part-time Customer Service Representatives, Mark Putnam, innocently asked me who I thought would win in a music trivia contest between myself and our Client Account Manager, Molly Segers. I gave the knee-jerk reaction of “yeah.” It was a scoff, but it implied a lot, namely, “of course I would win, and what a silly question, and I can’t believe you would even ponder such a thing.” It was cocky, and not very respectful of someone who, let’s be clear, knows her stuff. She’s smart and she’s done her homework. Aside from her degree in Recording Industry Management, the number of books Molly has read that are specifically about music outweigh the number of books I have read in my entire life (by a significant margin, I suspect). She and I have had many a nerdy discussion about minutiae that most people wouldn’t bother discussing in the first place.
So what’s with all the arrogance, Jeremy? I don’t know. It wasn’t too classy of me, but my response wasn’t really anti-Molly. It was pro-me. I am not good at much, but I am good at music trivia. I spent 13 years working in independent music retail, and every bit of that time learning about all kinds of music. It’s kind of all I know. Certainly, there are people who know more than me, but music trivia is an area where I know I can hold my own.
Not surprisingly, the dismissive nature of my response to Mark’s question was, to Molly’s ears, a gauntlet thrown. She did not take kindly to my confidence that victory wasn’t even in question. Being familiar with a weekly music-specific trivia night at The Independent in Midtown Atlanta, she defiantly said, “Anytime.”
That time came on Wednesday night. We agreed to meet, and go head-to-head, in a battle meant to settle the score. By the time we got to the bar, we had 13 other Ticket Alternative employees in tow, and some of those people brought other people. It was an impressive turnout. People had vested interest in this silly match. The last few weeks in the office have been filled with smack talk, sides chosen, lines drawn. A lot was riding on the outcome. A cash bet was even placed. Though we were teams of one, we chose our team names. Molly was “The Divine Miss M,” and I, “Frye of the Tiger.”
When trivia began, at 9:00 p.m., I really began to worry that the whole thing, after all the buildup, would end in a tie. Sample questions from round one included, “Who was the other person on stage with Janet Jackson during the Super Bowl when she had her famous ‘wardrobe malfunction’?” and “Who was the lead singer of The Grateful Dead?” The questions were so easy, even casual music fans would have little trouble answering them correctly. Molly and I both came out of round one with a perfect score, and she assured me the questions would get harder.
They did, slightly, in round two. I took a four-point lead with the question, “What is the name of the band fronted by actor Billy Bob Thornton?” The fact that I know that it’s The Boxmasters just goes to show what kind of unnecessary bits of trivia are lodged in my brain. There’s absolutely no need for me or Molly or anyone else to know that, but hey, I’m good with names, and that’s worth four points in a trivia contest, apparently. After round two, there was a mid-game bonus question where you wagered a point value between 1 and 10. The number of points you wagered were awarded for a correct answer, and deducted for an incorrect answer. Since I was not close to certain in what year famous New York City punk club CBGB opened (it was 1973), I opted out of answering the question entirely. A wise move, as Molly answered incorrectly, and lost a few points.
Round three was another easy breezy round, the only highpoint of which was a question asking the name shared by the drummers of both Queen and Duran Duran. Molly chose to wear a Queen shirt to trivia, so it would’ve been pretty shameful for her to miss that one. We both correctly wrote down Roger Taylor. Round four was where the trivia master threw the only real curveballs of the night. Molly and I both missed an anagram question that asked us to rearrange the words “Call Dire Lesbian” into a name of a musician, which happened to be Belinda Carlisle. The puzzle solving question had nothing to do with music trivia, and I think we were both pretty angered by its inclusion. The next question was a simple Name That Tune with a song by Dutch darkwave band, Xymox, that neither Molly nor I had ever heard. I came out of the final round with a 114-98 lead. I was feeling pretty good as I went into the final bonus question.
The bonus question was simple enough, asking us to name as many of the top 5 artists as we could on the recently released Rolling Stone list of Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time. Four points would be awarded for every correct answer, but no points would be taken away for incorrect answers. We each got two correct. We both got Aretha Franklin, who was number one, and I got Joni Mitchell, number 2. Molly got Stevie Nicks, number 4. The other two remaining slots on the top five went to Patti Smith (number 5) and Dusty Springfield (number 3). We both guessed Janis Joplin (who was number 12) and Madonna (number 18). Molly guessed Cher who did not appear on the list, and I guessed Tina Turner, who also wasn’t there. After arguing about what kind of world we live in where Cher and Tina Turner don’t even make the top 50 on a list of women who rock, we realized the game was over. If you’re keeping score, Frye of The Tiger closed out the game at 122, with The Divine Miss M getting 106.
None of this would have been any fun at all if I didn’t like my co-workers so much, and didn’t respect Molly as much as I do. Opponents don’t come more worthy. I was really touched by everyone who came out to support both sides on a Wednesday night. That is especially true for Jennifer Ballard, who works in the ticket printing department, which means she wasn’t even really part of the smack-taking buildup to this event. Jen was my biggest cheerleader, and worked tirelessly all night as the runner of our answers to the trivia host. Thanks Jennifer, and thanks Iain, Jamie, Hillery, Sarah, Ross, Baxley, Gini, Shawn, Codi, Nick, Micah, and Patrick! Even if you were rooting for Molly, you guys make me realize everyday why I love my job. As far as the contest is concerned, I may have won, but I’m certain that with a different set of questions, Molly could’ve taken me. I’m ready for a rematch anytime.