Storytellers with DJ Roy Atkinson, City of Altoona, WI

In this series, we’re asking you to tell your life story through eight songs. Starting with your earliest memories, guest columnists will name their defining songs along with a couple of sentences explaining their meaning.

Previously: DJ Kirsten WyattDJ Shelby Teufel, DJ Jason Jones, DJ Nick SmithDJ Sarah Medary, and DJ Emily Edmonds

DJ Roy Atkinson

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City of Altoona, WI – LinkedIn and Twitter

I took quite a while to think of some good songs that I enjoy and relate to my life. One of my passions in life is music. It is apart of my being. Honestly, I am thankful for where I landed my job because of its rich musical ties. I hope you enjoy my life in eight songs!


Artist: Alice Cooper

Album: Billion Dollar Babies

Song: Elected



Meaning: I grew up subjected to a lot of the good~great~amazing music of the late 60’s and 70’s. My parents always had the good tunes blasting. Hailing from Michigan, I clung to Alice Cooper at an early age which fueled my love for Metal and Rock. For me, this song displays the flashy and fake “dog and pony shows” which can be evident in politics. This is one of the reasons I made a shift from political involvement to local government work. I am thankful that my Federal political experience as a research intern for US Senator Angus King exposed me to the good’s rather than the bad’s. He is truly a great person. At this point of my life, I do not know if I ever want to be elected.


Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Funeral

Song: Neighborhood #2 (Laika)

Meaning: I am a huge Arcade Fire fan. They are, simply put, one of my favorites. They have really driven home the community and familial themed records. This song is on their Funeral album. I was torn between the first three songs on the album but settled with this one. Each one of us have hailed from some kind of neighborhood, if raised within a city. I was raised in the South End of Bay City, MI which is a predominant Polish area of the City. My neighborhood is a large part of my identity. In my role in local government, I have carried over that sense of pride and identity. It is for your/the neighborhoods.


Artist: The White Stripes

Album: Elephant

Song: Seven Nation Army



Meaning: I remember getting this album as an eighth grader. The Stripes/ Jack White have always been near and dear to me. I think this song speaks to life’s distractions / distractors that you really have to push through sometimes to move yourself forward. Especially when you encounter negative people or environments. I think we all have encountered this with old friends and so on. I think this song speaks to the ability to breakthrough and persevere. A Seven Nation Army couldn’t even hold me back.


Artist: Bob Seger

Album: The Distance

Song: Roll Me Away


Meaning: This song describes the sense of adventure I feel when I get in the car and take my weekend drives. I do not own a motorcycle, as is described in the song, but the strong sense of wanderlust that I hold is caught in this song. I recently took a weekend trip to Seattle and Portland. I had 36 hours to explore the cities and I think I did quite nicely with my time frame. I munched on Voodoo Donuts, watched fish get thrown around at Pikes Market, and drank far too much of the dark roast at several notable cafe’s. I have further travel plans moving forward too! Roll me away.


Artist: John Lennon

Album: Imagine

Song: Imagine


Meaning: This is truly a beautiful song. The pursuit of peaceful and respectful communities is a cornerstone of my being. I think it is important to have a togetherness in community and we are currently furthering the #OneAltoonaWI concept. You may say I am a dreamer but I know I am not the only one!


Artist: The Decemberists

Album: Her Majesty The Decemberists

Songs: I Was Meant For the Stage (from Her Majesty)

Meaning: I was not meant to be a musician but I know I was meant for the stage of public service. In the pursuit of this career, I have had to navigate the stigmas associated with being political or in government, especially the negatives. The lack of trust in government is a real thing. I feel a sense of fulfillment every day when I get to work. I am learning something new all the time. Every day presents something different. Overall, I am convinced I have sought out the right career. I was meant for the local government stage.


Artist: Grizzly Bear

Album: Veckatimest

Song: Foreground



Meaning: I think this song relates to the every day swing of things and the constant give and take of daily work life. Everyone works together so well in our office in Altoona and we take on another shift when need be. It is apart of the job. I know one thing, this song is amazing. This is the foreground.


Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: The Suburbs

Song: Ready to Start



Meaning: This is a song that I fell in love with from the first time I heard it. I decided at an early age I didn’t just want to be apart of the machine or “let the businessmen drink my blood”. My copy of this CD has to be close to worn out from being played so much. It is easily my most shared album. I have always wanted to be a part of something special and unique. I want to make a difference. I have always followed my passions. I am always ready to start.