Sunday, February 27, 2005


The other night I did a 90-minute phone interview which was one of the best times I've ever had talking to an artist. Part of it was, I'm not a huge slavering fan, so I was able to express my doubts about the guy's body of work (and believe me, I've got some) in the form of "devil's advocate arguments" without fear. And the guy answered me without fear, too, which was great. He's apparently really excited about being the subject of a major profile in the magazine for which I'm doing the piece (and you'll notice I'm being cagey about who it is and who it's for - well, too bad, you'll have to wait a month to find out), and was thus willing to open up. I've read interviews with this guy in the past that have been all surly, one-word answers intended to show up the interviewer as a stooge unworthy of the interviewee's time. Not in this case. Like I said, we talked for 90 minutes straight, and laughed and threw art theory back and forth and generally had a real melding of the minds. It's gonna be interesting to see whether the genuine pleasure I had in talking to him, and the enthusiasm I have for one of his projects (a project I'd ignored because the band he was in before that pissed me off so much), comes through properly in the piece, which is due on Friday. The last piece I was this excited about was a Tom Waits cover story I wrote for The Wire back in 2002, and that turned into a whole big shitstorm, and I'm not all that happy with the final document as it exists today. So I'm kinda hoping that my own lukewarmness toward some aspects of this dude's output can be contrasted with my newfound love for other aspects of it and my respect for his thought processes and attitude, and the whole thing can be balled up and sealed with sweat and spit and turned into something decent. I think it can. I got five days to prove myself right or wrong.

Don't have much to say about Hunter Thompson's death. It took me too long to work his influence out of my own nascent prose style to look back now - I'm like Orpheus heading out of the underworld. Eyes front, keep marchin'.

My cokehead rock-critic uncle-by-marriage told me when I was 13 or 14 that Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas was the only book that really understood the Sixties. I think he was right, if only because Thompson was already mourning the death of the Sixties in 1971 - it took a lot of other folks until at least Carter's election to realize that it really had failed, that the country really had gone to hell, and we weren't coming back out anytime soon. (We still haven't.) I think I'm gonna buy a new copy of Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72 and see if I can make it all the way through this time. The part where he tries to run out the clock by interviewing himself always dooms my efforts to reach the end.

If it doesn't snow too much, I'm gonna go see Interpol on Tuesday night. I've heard they're duller than the Hall of Presidents live, but the show's at Radio City, and Radio City has excellent sound and really comfortable chairs, so a dull band onstage is less agonizing than it'd be at, say, Irving Plaza, a shithole that the best show you've ever seen in your life can't fully redeem.

Well, time to go pound out 5000 coherent words in five days. Back on Monday, maybe. In the meantime, get your metal on at my other spot.

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