Monday, October 31, 2011

Celebrities met, saw or interviewed during my journalism career

So, I thought as my career in journalism winds down this week and next (??), I would list the celebrities and musicians I either met, interviewed or reviewed in the past 15 years. Some I met through assignments, others I were able to see (or bumped into) because of my job. Sometimes, I just had an extra set of free tickets and others because I  had connections and knew who was running the light and sound boards on a particular evening.

Before I embarked on my journalism career, my dream was to someday work for Rolling Stone alongside Jann Wenner or Ben Fong-Torres. That didn't happen, but it was a pleasure to at least get an idea of how the entertainment industry works and who the people are that entertain or inspire us. Some were a pleasure to speak with. Others were complete jerks. This list also covers people who surprisingly intelligent, witty, ambitious, obnoxious, demanding and flat-out egotistical.

Starting with my introduction to the field in the early 1990s as a freelance arts & entertainment writer for The Daily Iowan student newspaper at the University of Iowa through my days at the The Daily Journal in Vineland, N.J., here are the names and the memories that I will hold dear:

  • 311/No Doubt (first concert review)
  • Primus/The Melvins (review)
  • Fishbone (review)
  • Smashing Pumpkins (connections)
  • Slaughter (review) (Don't judge; the transition from "hair metal" to grunge was going down) 
  • Roger McGuinn of The Byrds (interview)
  • Actor Tom Arnold (first in-person interview) 
  • TV host Steve Allen (interview)
  • Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (interview, review; Side note: During concert review I sat next to a reporter for Guitar magazine and the guy kept asking me what songs were being performed. It was then that I knew the business was not about what you know, but who you know. Met Tull drummer Doane Perry and bassist Jonathan Noyce at bar in Trump Marina in Atlantic City after show))
  • Alice Cooper (interview, review) 
  • Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood (interview, review)
  • Hanson (review, mm-hm Bop)
  • Leo Kottke (interview/review)
  • Collective Soul (connections)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (connections)
  • Blues singer Koko Taylor (interview) 
  • Blues musician Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (interview)
  • Blues guitarist Buddy Guy (interview, review)
  • Blues guitarist Robert Cray (review)
  • Jackson Browne (interview)
  • Blues pianist "Pinetop" Perkins (met)
  • Boxer Joe Frazier (met, interview)
  • Actress Jackie Zeman of "General Hospital" (interview) 
  • Actor Kevin Bacon (interview, review of performance by The Bacon Brothers band; one of my favorites. Nice guy. Was on train outside of Philadelphia while I spoke with him)
  • Dionne Warwick (connections to Fourth of July performance in Philadelphia)
  • Judy Collins (connections)
  • Natalie Cole/Luther Vandross (connections)
  • Tuck & Patti (connections)
  • The Black Crowes (review)
  • The Rolling Stones/The Pretenders (connections) 
  • Dennis DeYoung of Styx (met, interview)
  • Ziggy Marley and The Wailers (met Wailers members after review of show)
  • Agents of Good Roots (interview, can't remember the band member's name though)
  • Joey Ramone (bumped into of lobby at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City)
  • Tyler Stewart, drummer for Barenaked Ladies (interview)
  • Rodney Sheppard, guitarist for Sugar Ray (interview)
  • George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic (concert review, also bumped into Clinton at Detroit's airport)
  • Jacob Slichter, drummer for Semisonic (interview; told me great story of finding right piano sound for the song "Closing Time")
  • Jazz guitarist Larry Carlton (also session player for Steely Dan)
  • Steely Dan (review, connections)
  • D'Wayne Wiggins, guitarist for Tony Toni Tone (interview)
  • Mike Dean, bassist Corrosion of Conformity (interview)
  • Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum (interview)
  • Salsa singer Obie Bermudez (met, interview, review)
  • Sonic Youth/Wilco (connections)
  • Dave Matthews Band/Santana (connections)
  • Kyle Cook, guitarist for Matchbox Twenty (interview)
  • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (interview)
Whew. That's who I can remember off the top of my head. Artists I failed to get interviews with include Britney Spears and Green Day (because they were too damn big to bother for the little papers I was at). Hey, I tried. 

Also have some fun eye-opening tales about Sammy Hagar, Bryan Adams and Linda Evangelista. But I have to save those for private conversations. 

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