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Let Me Go Back To My Carrot Sticks And Ranch Dip

I think it's become blatantly apparent at this juncture that if there is a way to mess up an Interview, I will find it, and with surprising ease and grace. I prefer not to think of this as a lack of skills, but a particular talent for making things a little more interesting than they actually need to be.

In other words, I shamelessly lie to myself.

What must be kept in mind, though, is that I struggle through interviews with my foot in my mouth even when the interviewee is giving me every opportunity to succeed with pre-printed information about themselves and amusing anecdotes to cover my awkward pauses, and by politely overlooking it when I butcher their names, confuse their songs, or, my most often faux pas, shorten the titles of their albums. I have no idea why I commit this last sin, but it comes as naturally to me as breathing - perhaps moreso, as I just noticed that I've been needlessly holding my breath as I write this.

(That certainly explains the dizzy spell.

Inhale. Exhale.

Okay. Much better. My word, I was turning blue!)

Anyway, where was I? No skills...botched interviews...album titles...ah, yes. Album titles. Well, for the longest time, I called The Click Five's forthcoming CD Imrie House. I knew full well that it was Greetings From Imrie House, but I could never be bothered to get those first two words out of my mouth. It's as though my brain was trying to eliminate any excess information that might trip me up, and encouraging me to stick solely to the main idea. Last weekend on the PCC, I made a conscious effort to include the entire name of the disc, and it came out as Greetings To Imrie House.


The Click Five aren't my only victims, mind you. Howie Day's Stop All The World Now was shortened to simply Stop, World. Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of MiMi became MiMi's Emancipation. (There are traces of my word dyslexia in that one, also evident in the title of Jack Johnson's song that, when said by me, comes out, "Sitting, Wishing, Waiting." This particular switch was brought about when I noticed that the intended title, "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing," induced thoughts of Young M.C.'s "Bust A Move." Every time Jack would sing, Young M.C. would interrupt.

Well, I was sittin', waitin', wishin'...

...someone could cure your lonely condition!

I can't always be waiting, waiting on you...

You want it? You got it!

I was all, "Shut up, dude! Get back into the 80s where you belong!"

He was all, "No way, bitch, bust a move!"

Words were exchanged, punches were thrown, my love of retro rap, consequently, suffered. It sucked. Trust me.)

Probably the least flattering of all of my album-name edits: Green Day's American Idiot. Yep, you guessed it. Just Idiot. I should probably work on memorizing the entire name of that CD if I want to talk to them next month.

I was headed somewhere specific with the album tangent, but that specific point has long since vanished, so we'll just go with the general idea, which is that I don't need help screwing up my interviews. It's best if I work with artists who are well-spoken, intelligent, and enough on their game for the both of us. If I get thrown a curve ball, striking out shortly thereafter is a certainty.

Last weekend, I drove 3 1/2 hours to get to an interview that was taking place in a nothing little Midwestern town. That was the first problem. They have apparently not informed either Mapquest or Google Maps that the highway leading into their quaint community is currently CLOSED. This, predictably, makes finding (let alone entering) the city limits quite the task. Add to that the fact that none of the locals appear to know that there is a Civic Center, which means they certainly can't tell me where to find it, and violent exasperation sets in. There's no relying on printed maps, either, since all of the ones currently in existence place the venue a good 5 blocks north of where it actually is.

The second problem was the band itself. I have no intention of revealing who these guys are, lest somebody take my words the wrong way. (The record rep giveth the hook-up. And just as easily, the record rep taketh that hook-up away.) I do sincerely love them, so don't think otherwise. My affections have never been swayed by the fact that they're good ol' southern boys who find it challenging to string a sentence together, and once they do, the final product is loosely held together by a strand of uhhs, umms and errs. I've also never been put off by my strong presumption that if they weren't doing what they're doing (that being selling millions of CDs - the titles of which, I'm happy to say, I have never shortened! - and touring the country), they would spend obscene amounts of time huntin' and Walmartin'. I accept them as they are, and when they're kind enough to grant me an interview, I do the work for both of us. I gather the questions and the answers, so that hopefully, neither of us will run into any unanticipated obstacles.

Like them not knowing what the name of their group is.

Often time, with bands, I will be assigned one specific member to talk to. In this case, it was the bassist. Sigh of relief, for I have spoken with him before and find him to be delightful and pleasant. Sigh of despair, for I have spoken with him before and know full well that he's oblivious to anything happening outside of his immediate personal space. I'm certainly not suggesting that he's a Loser, because - no, no! - I would never insinuate that he could Be Like That. It's more me letting you know that this dude is a little...non-communicative. Conversationally inept. Certifiably inelaborate. Just pick a favorite and run with it, here.

I showed him my interview cheat sheet, because I had a feeling he would need it more than I would. "Here," I said, sliding it to him as we sat side by side on an oversized couch. Yes, I was close enough to fondle the back of his neck or run my hand up his leg. But never you mind about that. "Check out this thing that your website is doing right now, and has been doing for the tour thus far. Fans can subscribe to this service, and as they leave your concerts, Verizon will stream concert footage to their phones. Cool, huh?"


"I'm going to bring this up, okay?"


"Good. Because it will be mentioned roughly thirty seconds after I press record. I just wanted you to be prepared for that."

"Cool, cool," he replied appreciatively. "Let's knock it out."

Perhaps it was the fact that we reached that question approximately twenty-five seconds sooner than I initially indicated we would be reaching it that threw him off. And that was only due his impaired answers to the first few questions:

"How's the tour going?"


"How was it playing with the surprise guest you had onstage a couple of nights ago?"

"It was cool."

"What on earth are you looking at?! The microphone and cheat sheet are right here!"

(The answer to that last one, by the way, was carrot sticks and ranch dip. He was absolutely enamored of the spread in his dressing room.)

For whatever reason, though, when the Verizon video streaming came up, I was met with the blankest gaze I have ever in my life seen. His eyes were emptier than my savings account currently is.

I know you can't fully grasp that comparison because you haven't seen my bank statement, but trust me, that's empty.

"Umm...uhh...ohhh..." he stammered into the microphone. "Yeeeaaaahhhhh, ummm...I don't really know when we're gonna start that...but...uhh...ohhh...yeah, um, that's something we're going to be, uhhh, ahhh, errr, ohhh...doing."

I gaped at him incredulously, simultaneously gripping my recording equipment until my knuckles turned white. (Then purple. Then a teensy bit blue with a blackish tinge. But I suppose that's really neither here nor there.) How is this happening? I asked myself. How is it that I spelled the correct answer to this out for him, yet he still fails to provide that correct answer at an appropriate time?!

As I inquired about this inwardly, I noticed him sitting there, grinning at me as though he didn't have a care in the world - head tilted, eyes agleam. Just like a little puppy dog. That sort of made me want to kick him in the crotch.

Okay, Mysti, what's done is done. Just keep going.

So, I did. "As soon as this tour wraps up, you're set to hit the road again immediately. Exciting or tiring?"


Moving right along. "You just released an E-P exclusively through iTunes?"


Alritey. Skipping that. "Can you tell me what's in your iPod? Do you know what you, yourself, are listening to on your own time?"


"Right. Hey, thanks for taking the time to stammer at me."

"Sure!" he said brightly. "Thanks for having me!" And, back to the carrot sticks and ranch dip he went.

Man, it's a good thing he's pretty.

This post first appeared on Pop Counterculture, please read the originial post: here

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Let Me Go Back To My Carrot Sticks And Ranch Dip


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