My Best/Worst Interviews
Over my many years in radio, I've been lucky enough to interview some pretty cool people. Now, none of these people are exactly current pop culture icons, but, for the most part, I thought I was pretty lucky to get to interview some of these folks.
As with any group of people,celebrities pretty much come in a wide range of personalities. Some of the people I interviewed were obviously bored with the entire process and, who can blame them? Can you imagine being asked the same question multiple times every day of your life?
Still, there are a few standouts and I thought I'd share with you the best and worst interviews I've ever done. First, the "worst" category.
1. Tony Bennett-
Without a doubt, the worst interview I've ever encountered was with Tony Bennett. Now, don't get me wrong, he was a heck of a nice guy both times I interviewed him and he is on my list of the best people to see in person, but he gives a lousy interview. I guess he expresses himself so much in his singing that he just doesn't have much to say. He gave me a lot of one-word answers and I never could get a real conversation going with him. Still, he was a super nice guy, he just didn't have a lot to say.
2. Cory Wells of Three Dog Night -
I might have just caught him on a bad day, but talking to him is like trying to nail Jello to a tree. I was wanting to ask him a lot of questions about the group, but he basically just wanted to talk about Cory Wells. He wasn't a jerk or anything like that, but I found him pretty self centered.
3. Jerry Lee Lewis -
Just a jerk. What can I tell you? Not only was the interview a chore, the concert after the interview was like watching a trained dog do the same trick he's done every day of his life. He just went through the motions.
Best Interviews I've ever done:
1. Billy Joe Royal ( Down in the Boondocks)-
Just an all around nice guy. He was so very down to earth that I felt like I'd known him for years. The fact that I knew his Aunt Mickey didn't hurt things because he was a big fan of hers. Later when I was talking to members of his band, they all confirmed that he was indeed one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. He passed away fairly recently and I was very sorry to hear about that. Just a damned nice guy.
2. Gary Lewis -
Yes, the Gary Lewis of "this Diamond Ring" fame. I've interviewed Gary three times in my life and he, like Billy Joe Royal, is just a super guy. Now, you'd think that being the son of Jerry Lewis and growing up in Hollywood that he would be somewhat self centered. Add to that the fact that he and his group had 12 Top 40 hits, that it would add up to a massive ego, but it just doesn't in his case. He was happy to talk about anything I wanted to talk about and made the interviews more like talking to a friend. Speaking of people who make you feel like you've known them a long time:
1. Tony Randall -
Without a doubt, the best interview I've ever had. Now, I was a fan of Randall's and I was kind of nervous about interviewing him. I mean, what if he turned out to be a total jerk? I could have saved my worry for something else. He didn't know me from Adam, but when I listened back to the interview, he made it sound like he and I were old friends just having a conversation. He talked about his experiences in TV and movies as if I had been there and we were just remembering all the fun we had on the set. Just an amazing intelligent, humble man. He was nothing like some of the fussy, uptight people he played on the screen. I can't say enough about what a great interview he gave us.
I've lost track of all the interviews I've done in my 35+ years in radio, but those are the standouts!