The First Question

Jack-and-Elvis

I’ve been interviewing rock stars for a couple years now and I can figure out from the first question if it’s going to be a waste of time. I got the idea for the introductory question from a British music journalist. He said his first question was always, “Where and when were you born?”

He said it takes his subject out of their mindset of trying to sell you on whatever they’re publicizing and into who they were before they found fame. That seemed to make sense so I took a variation on it and always ask, “When did you first fall in love with music?”

If they say, “I’ve always loved music.” I know I’m screwed.

Well, not necessarily. Sometimes I can prod them by asking, “Do you have any specific memories of the first time music really affected you?” And they might open up. But there have been a number of people who will just say, “I’ve always loved it, man.” and I know there’s no way I’ll get an interesting quote out of them about anything.

Fortunately, most people will travel back to a distant past and reminisce about their parent’s record collection or a radio station playing the Beatles or the first guitar they got.

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