Asking the tough (musical) questions of candidate Joyce Craig

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No, Joyce Craig isn’t singing at open mic night. But she did answer some musical questions. Photo/Isaac Epstein

This is the first time I’ve found myself winded writing a column. My lungs are on fire from two-stepping up my basement stairs every seven-minutes, fending off all these trick-or-treaters that seem to range from ages 6-27 years old.  

The last batch of ghouls had better goatees than I do. 
Do these spirits in disguise have no clue that I’m trying to conduct an interview with candidate for Mayor of Manchester, Joyce Craig?  Craig is going up against current mayor, Ted Gatsas, for the second time since 2015.  She came close to winning the seat a couple years back, losing only by 60-odd votes.  
But, alas, she surrendered nonetheless.
Now, I have two criteria when voting for a candidate. First, if you come to my house, shake my hand, introduce yourself and give me a brief (and I mean brief) rundown on your stances, you get my vote.   
Second, if I see you downtown some night jammin’ back to some swamp rock at the Shaskeen, you will definitely get my vote. That’s never happened, not once, but I am curious about the arts and how connected Craig is to music and theater, film and word, and what her plans are for growing the thriving arts scene in Manchester when and if she gets elected. 
So, I reached out and Mrs. Craig during this very busy time for her and she was nice enough to carve out a minute for some questions.  
Q. What was the first record you bought and where?
I remember going to the Mall of New Hampshire in the late ’70s with my best friend at the time, Sue Sevigny Myers, because A Taste of Honey was making a guest appearance at Strawberries.  I bought their 45 “Boogie Oogie Oogie.”
Q. Was music played in your house growing up?
When I was a young girl, my mom played a lot of James Taylor, Carole King and Elvis.  I’m dating myself, but I remember the 8-track tapes!  In high school, I listened to the Cars, Prince, U2 and The Go-Gos and I was fortunate to have seen all of them in concert, too.
Q. How often do you turn to music when you’re running for Mayor, just to get out of your own head?
I’m a runner and I love listening to music when I run.  My playlist is pretty diverse – from Bruce Springsteen and REM to Vampire Weekend and Florence + the Machine.  I love how a song can motivate me to run faster.  Since running for mayor, I’ve been doing less running and more walking and knocking doors.  When I’m alone in my minivan, I love it when a good song comes on and I can turn it up loud and find happiness and strength in the lyrics.
Q. Where do “the arts” fit in with the Queen City?  It’s teeming with talent. Do you get out enough to hear live original music played?
I think there’s tremendous opportunity to increase “arts” in Manchester.  Our public schools have great music programs – their concerts are outstanding and we can do a better job getting the word out to the public.  And Manchester is fortunate to have venues such as the Palace Theatre, the SNHU Arena and soon, The Rex, now that an agreement is in place.  We also have smaller, more intimate venues such as Java Jams at Café la Reine – Alli Beaudry is amazing.  And the Keys to the City program, that put pianos (painted by NHIA students) in public spaces was successful in bringing our community together.  But, as a city, we can always do more!  The last live music concert I attended was at Stark Park, their Summer Concert series, which was outstanding!
Q. If you win, do you have a band picked out to bring the party up a level?
All of our efforts right now are focused on talking to voters.  And I’d like to encourage everyone to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 7.  It’s time for a change so I respectfully ask for your vote.  Thank you!
Rob Azevedo covers the NH music scene and is host of  Granite State of Mind on Friday nights at 9 p.m. on WMNH 95.3 FM. He can be reached at



About this Author


Rob Azevedo

Rob Azevedo is an author, poet, columnist and radio host. He can be reached sitting in his barn at Pembroke City Limits and