One of the hands-down coolest parts of my job is that I frequently get the opportunity to have conversations with people I idolize. I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter’s movies, and talking to him on the phone (for my article this week on the lasting influence his synthesizer scores have had on modern electronic musicians) was amazing. Despite his reputation as a prickly interview, he was hilarious and charming—even though, as the recording of our conversation reveals, for the first several minutes I sounded almost exactly like Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney. Another bonus was getting to have my very good friend Jeremy Wheeler design the extremely kick-ass cover image. A pretty good week if you ask me.

Elsewhere on the B Side, Gossip Wolf runs down the “celebrities” sighted at this year’s Lollapalooza and dishes on what Mahjongg‘s up to. Three Beats offers news on local (or in one case, formerly local) classical, metal, and hip-hop. The Secret History of Chicago Music profiles obscure but influential bluesman Robert Petway. And for live music previews, we’ve got a particularly oddball Soundboard featuring items on Shame That Tune, Huey Lewis & the News, and Jan Terri, plus a rundown of what to expect at this weekend’s Northalsted Market Days.