This is a guest post from regular The Black Keys Fan Lounge contributor, Merlyn. It’s a cautionary tale for anyone preparing to do an interview for the first time or interviewing a band they have always wanted to meet. You too might be able to emphathise with Merlyn’s angst as he prepared to interview Dan Auerbach – an experience he surely wont quickly forget. Thanks for the honesty of your post, Merlyn.
Like any fan, when the opportunity arises to meet and greet their ‘hero’ you take it. So when an opportunity was presented to interview Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys I jumped at it like a fish out of water. But when the phone rang with Dan on the other end of the line, for my first ever assignment as a ‘contributor’ to a well established website, that’s exactly how I felt.
I had actually met Dan before, in a bar after the last concert on The Black Keys January 2009 tour in Melbourne, Australia. I figured out where the after party was, had a few beers and waited. There was no pressure, it was just a casual chat. Dan was a gentle character, with modesty to match, who kindly humored my questions at 1am. But formally interviewing Mr Neo-Blues is a whole different kettle of sea mammals.
I answered the phone with my stomach in my throat. I was so nervous I forgot to introduce myself. I was very much out of my element. I had so much to ask and so much to say but the words eluded me. I felt like a gun without bullets.
I’d already set the tone as a bumbling fool, whose heart was very much in the right place. Fumbling at every turn I had 20 minutes to shoot off some questions and dig deep for answers. I felt hard pressed, a balloon in a vice – it was agony. In the back of my mind there was a voice urging me to spill out my healthy obsession for Dan, and clear the air. 5 minutes in, the trembling left my voice but I couldn’t get on that ‘buddy’ level and establish a natural ebb and flow.
The minutes melted away. Towards the end I felt I’d reached some sort of personal achievement. We shared a joke or two, or at least Dan did. Mind you I was giggling like a little school girl whose pigtails were held together with a pink hair tie. I confessed my affection and said goodbye.
Hanging up the phone I felt relieved – I’d run the gauntlet. My body was heaving and weezing beneath the weight of what I’d semi-accomplished. I felt 12 years old again, giddy after finishing that gigantic pirate lego set that took 3 days to put together with help from Dad. Regardless of my futile attempt I was happy. I had interviewed a man I’ve dreamed of talking with for sometime.
In retrospect, it is quite a surreal thing to have done. Harder than it’s made out to be in your head and twice as stress inducing. I don’t know why I didn’t break the ice by mentioning I had met him a few months earlier. Maybe he wouldn’t have remembered anyhow, it would at least have put me at ease, and probably him too. At least the published interview didn’t turn out as badly as the interview experience.
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